Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 7:33 am
Andrew Bird's records have grown quieter and more intimate in recent years, but he remains a remarkably dynamic live performer: Last year's Break It Yourself wouldn't seem to be the stuff of blockbuster live shows, and yet when he took it to the stage, he injected its characteristically smart, brooding songs with surprising intensity. Of course, it helps that, 12 albums into an unpredictable career, Bird has become a cult superstar whose fans clearly fuel him onstage.
Tift Merritt was first known as a decorated country singer — her 2004 album Tambourine was even nominated for a Best Country Album Grammy — but the North Carolina native has spent the years since wandering down far-flung side roads. Merritt keeps finding ways to place literal and figurative distance between herself and Nashville: She's lived in New York City and France, while exploring the sounds of folk, cosmopolitan pop and even classical music.
Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 11:02 am
After a long flurry of activity culminating in the release of The Decemberists' 2011 album The King Is Dead, frontman Colin Meloy announced his long-running, best-selling band would take a lengthy hiatus.
It is not easy to play both jazz drum set and Afro-Caribbean percussion. Lots of drummers do it, but few have mastered it in a way that makes their sound in either style unmistakable from the first beat.
The music community lost one of those true innovators Wednesday with the death of percussionist Steve Berrios in New York at age 68. Berrios could move seamlessly from jazz to Afro-Cuban rhythms in a way that perfectly reflected his bicultural roots.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 4:50 pm
Alt-psychedelic quintet Coke Weed is from picturesque Bar Harbor, well up the Maine coast. The band just released its third album, Back To Soft, which took nine months to make and is — despite the title — its heaviest release so far.
Lead by songwriter Milan McAlevey, the band has immersed itself in '60s psych-rock, pledging allegiance to the likes of Jefferson Airplane. So that makes singer Nina Donghia the group's Signe Toly Anderson.