Fresh Air: Rock Music
Mavericks' Singer Raul Malo Restlessly Explores Genres02/25/15
In the band's latest album Mono, Malo demonstrates how he likes to make music that confounds the usual expectations of what a country hit-maker can do.
Robert Earl Keen Delves Into Bluegrass With A Texan Twang
The singer-songwriter usually follows in the story-song tradition of his forebears Townes Van Zant and Guy Clark. But in Happy Prisoner he brings enthusiastic curiosity to covers of bluegrass greats.
Bob Dylan Looks To The Ageless American Songbook
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Dylan both infuses the songs with his personality, while also allowing them to be heard anew.
Sleater-Kinney Comes Roaring Back With 'No Cities To Love'
Few bands re-form with their power as intact as Sleater-Kinney have; fewer still brag about their power, and make the claim something more than a brag.
Ty Segall Goes 3-D On 'Mr. Face'
Ty Segall's new EP comes on two 7-inch discs that double as a pair of 3-D glasses.
D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah' Collapses Years, Genres
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Black Messiah is as adventurous as any fan could hope for.
Ken Tucker's Top 9 Albums Of 2014, Plus A Book
Making new sounds while staying mindful of the past is a common theme in the Fresh Air music critic's year-end list.
A Punk Memoir That Makes The Ordinary Seem Transcendent
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says that one of the best books he's ever read about punk rock is a new memoir by Viv Albertine.
Four Holiday Goodies, Including 'Christmas At Downton Abbey'
It's not too early to be releasing Christmas albums, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has been listening to a lot of them.
Bob Dylan's Atmosphere Captured In New Basement Tapes
A batch of lyrics that Bob Dylan wrote in the late 1960s were given by Dylan to producer T-Bone Burnett, who came up with the idea to have some contemporary musicians set the words to music.
Lee Ann Womack Scales Back And Goes Traditional And Moody
Womack, who had the hit "I Hope You Dance," hasn't released a new album since 2008. The sound of her new album The Way I'm Livin' is different from the country music dominating the industry.
Taylor Swift: The Peppiest Pop Star We Have Right Now
1989 sidesteps country music entirely to become Swift's first pure pop album.
Ex Hex's 'Rips' Does What It Says On The Cover
The initial triumph of Rips is that nearly every one of its songs is sing-along-catchy, immediately memorable.
Art In The Age Of Prince
Prince has released two new albums simultaneously: Art Official Age appears under his own name, and PlectrumElectrum is the debut record of a Prince back-up band called 3rdEyeGirl.
Blake Mills' Restless 'Heigh Ho' Is A Roundabout Journey
Pere Ubu's 'Carnival Of Souls' Is A Dreamscape That's Never Dreamy
Led since the late '70s by co-founder David Thomas, Pere Ubu has created something far more rich, experimental, and emotional than the spooky, horror-movie that Carnival of Souls is named for.
The New Pornographers Return With A 'Celebration Record' That's Fun To...
Brill Bruisers is a collection of lushly arranged and harmonized pop. While Neko Case, Dan Bejar and A.C. Newman make moody music individually, there's a brightness when they come together.
At 71, Elvin Bishop Is Still Vigorous, And Can Do Wrong Right
The white bluesman whose corny jokes have made his music enduring and fun has a new album Can't Even Do Wrong Right. He has a raspy chuckle in his singing, and he plays the guitar precisely.
Benjamin Booker Is Raw, Yet Disciplined On Debut Album
The 25-year-old guitarist-singer-songwriter has already served as an opening act on Jack White's recent tour, and he may be ready for headliner status.
At 74, Outlaw Billy Joe Shaver Is Still An Outlier
Billie Joe Shaver has just released his first new studio album in six years, called Long in the Tooth.
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