Mischievous Moon, Barber’s third full-length album due for release next month, is perhaps her most purposeful jazz effort to date.
Annie Stela’s latest is the immensely enjoyable William EP, a four-track collection of cover songs by artists whose first names share the album’s title.
It was completely refreshing to hear the music of néGar (born Negar Mokhtassi), whose debut EP, néGar, is a truly remarkable release from what is sure to be only the first of many for this talented songwriter.
This album carries a darker, more gut-wrenching and hopeless look at the pangs of love and its ultimate dissolution.
Lovely and affecting with a strong and unique infusion of deep-rooted folk and classic country, Rattle The Windows is a beautiful testament to the sheer talent that Cadiz possesses for songwriting.
WIth a voice that is both delicate and affecting, coating many of her songs in a hazy, hypnotic warmth, Seattle-based independent songwriter Katie Davis creates the type of dreamy music that I just can’t seem to get enough of.
The Narcoleptic Dancers are a wonderfully infectious Dutch-French brother and sister duo consisting of Anton Louis Jr. and Melody Van Kappers whose approach at music is refreshingly quirky and fresh, but also satisfyingly solid.
The Ericksons are a duo comprised of sisters Jennifer and Bethany, who in the last two years have released two albums of beautiful and original folk.
Proudly recorded without any computer over-processing , Messy Snarls sounds close to what Chew Heart must sound like live. In fact, it’s quite remarkable that the band consists of only two people because at many times, their sound carries the weight of bands twice their number.
Erin Ivey is a young songwriter out of Austin, Texas who in just a few short years, as become one of the city’s most promising talents.
Matrimony is a new musical duo consisting of Jimmy Brown and Ashlee Hardee, both of whom were songwriters in their own right before collaborating.
Sometimes you can find great music in the strangest of places. With Ok Sweetheart, that place was Twitter.
With subtle and consciously understated production, Bullard’s songs possess an ‘off the cuff’ quality in their delivery, many of them sounding as if they were just mere streams of thought seconds before they were recorded.
To those unfamiliar with Atkins, the talented singer-songwriter has created some amazing songs that are both dense with mood and originality, but perfectly bolster her powerful, unmistakable voice – a voice that despite her stellar songwriting, is her greatest asset and is perhaps one of the secret ingredients that sets her apart.
Commagere’s originality certainly sets her apart from her contemporaries and her work up to this point shows a talent that will be exciting to watch and listen to.
Fueled heavily by emotion, as Cole’s confessional music tends to be, Ithaca follows a similar softer side last displayed on her last album, Courage.
Loquat’s music is a dreamy mix of intelligent, electronic pop, often infused with synthesizers, guitar, percussion and subdued atmospherics. The result is musically intoxicating and never superfluous or over-reaching.
Masts of Manhatta clearly shows that Bonham’s penchant for writing smart, engaging songs is no fluke. For her fourth album, she seems truly comfortable with herself and her approach to music writing and these songs simply flow beautifully.
Writing this review in particular is difficult for me, as I’ve always considered Liz Phair to be my most cherished artist and I fear I have no choice but to be biased.
Nestled quietly in an apartment in Portland, Oregon, were borne the sounds of the Woodlands, a husband and wife folk-pop duo who have created a cozy and delicately arrangement of sounds that elicit dreamy stories and the most peaceful of settings.
Although a battle with her record company prevented a timely release for her sophomore album, Australia’s Butterfly Boucher makes good with the release of Scary Fragile and continues on a tireless journey of musical projects
Armed with DiMenna’s take-charge vocals and the tight and masterful music-makers that support her, Saint Bernadette create a lively and kinetic mix of rock that while completely relevant today, it also contains hints of Concrete Blonde‘s earlier recordings; DiMenna herself possessing a Napolitano-like grit.
I’d wager that many people still regard New York’s Jill Sobule as a one-or-two-hit wonder, referring to her brief rush with mainstream fame which occurred during the mid-nineties and sparked silly controversy.
Armed with an acoustic guitar and the some beautifully poignant stories, Claire Cronin is a great example of how art is all-encompassing.
Despite being a young artist in her 20’s, Kuney has been through some amazing life experiences that have undoubtedly shaped her to become a very talented songwriter and an artist to keep an eye on.
I can honestly say that my only complaint with Shenandoah Davis is that I’ve just now discovered her.
Through her earlier beginnings as one of the Gypsy Moths and the many songs she has written along the way, Rose is finally set to emerge as a fully fluttering butterfly – young and vibrant with a life full of beautiful songs she has yet to write.
Sarah Burton is a young, Canadian songwriter and self-taught guitarist who last year, released her debut EP, Love Is For Pussies. The collection, like it’s tongue-in-cheek title, features a smart selection of original, charismatic songs about breaking up and making up and the many shades in-between.
Chrestomanci has somehow tapped into the ability to exude that same mesmerizing pull that can be found on works by Jolie Holland and earlier songs by Cat Power.
Together, Young and McQuaid have created a very unique record with Crow Coyote Buffalo. One that will require several listens to truly absorb.
An introduction to the intricate musical world of Brooke Waggoner
Ireland’s Lisa Hannigan, a songwriter who for the last several years, has been providing her talents to other artists like Damien Rice, now poises herself for the spotlight with the release of her debut album, Sea Sew
An outdated message board is all it seems we’re able to go on in regards to the current status of Poe, the once popular performer and songwriter
Having been fortunate enough to spend her childhood immersed in music, it seems logical that English-based songwriter Martha Tilston would make it her career.
While reading up on Grey Anne, I quickly realized there is a whimsy and charm to its sole member, Anne Adams
Ane Brun’s songs are the embodiment of ‘heart-felt,’ each track carrying a melody that is as memorable as the story being told.
With every album she’s created, Canada’s Jill Barber has inched closer and closer to the beautiful gems found on her latest, Chances
The Jasmine Flower is unlikely to garner Nova heeps of press in America, but it is a lovely, unadorned album that fits beautifully with the songwriter’s strong career
Amy Ray never disappoints and Didn’t It Feel Kinder is an addictive collection of edgy and eclectic songs
The music of Aussie opera/folk/rock star Kate Miller-Heidke is as colorful and bright as it is playful and strange
With Don’t Do Anything, Sam Phillips’ third album for Nonesuch Records, the songwriter has again made an album to become awestruck by
From start to finish, Apple Tree firmly stands as something Herzig should be proud of, as it’s quite possibly her best album to date
Though she’s largely remained under the radar when it comes to commercial accessibility, Cerbone’s music is a rare treasure that anyone with a penchant for original, well-written music should experience
At only 21, the Los Angeles-based artist has created an album of pure beauty; a fantastic mix of honey-sweet folk and dense, beat-driven folk-rock
Three years ago, Boston-based songwriter Tracy Bonham, released her third, and quite possibly, best album to date with Blink The Brightest. Since its release, the accomplished violinist hasn’t slowed down.
For over ten years, China Forbes has lent her voice and her songwriting talents as the frontwoman for the unique and exquisite sounds of Pink Martini, a multi-genre musical ensemble spearheaded by Thomas M. Lauderdale, a pianist to whom Forbes befriended in the early-90’s as they were attending Harvard University.
Tracy Spuehler’s music is another of those gems I’ve found while casually surfing the Internet on some idle Monday evening. I was initially drawn to a photo of her with her guitar. Petite, pretty and wearing librarian-styled glasses, I originally thought she was Lisa Loeb. But after listening to her music, I quickly realized she wasn’t.
I believe my first encounter with the music of the Puppini Sisters was on another music blog a year or two ago. Someone (who I wish I could thank) had posted the trio’s cover of ‘Wuthering Heights,’ a song written and originally recorded by Kate Bush. I have always loved the song, but to hear it recorded the way this England-based trio did, was truly remarkable.
On their official web site, the music of the Grace Woods Trio is described as what the collaboration of Ben Fold’s Five and Tori Amos writing a Broadway musical sung by Ella Fitzgerald would sound like. And if you’re left scratching your head at the idea of such a description, then giving the band a listen will provide you with a better understanding
I was quite happy when I recently discovered that Swedish singer-songwriter, Anna Ternheim, will be making her official American debut with her self-titled EP, a six-song collection scheduled for release by Decca Records on October 30, leading up to her full-length debut for March 2008.
Tennessee native Clare Burson has quite a stellar and growing catalogue of music to boast; especially considering she’s only been professionally recording music and writing her own songs since the turn of the century.
Since 2002, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have built a reputation for captivating audiences with their high-energy performances and solid rock songs.
Suzanne Vega has had an envious catalog of albums to boast during her two decade (and counting) career.
It’s been many years since Devon Sproule first charmed Charlottesville, VA with her intricate songwriting and stunning vocal style. Ms. Sproule’s music evokes a pastoral America full of sublime views and cozy vignettes.
A self-taught musician originally hailing from Eureka, California, Bareilles began her career in Los Angeles, performing in small clubs and venues and building her audience.
Operating her own record label from a charming shack within the Australian bush, one will find the lovely Emily Maguire
If her face isn’t immediately recognizable, her voice most certainly is. Since 1993, Dolores O’Riordan led the Cranberries, one of the more commercially successful bands of the last decade and spawned the hits ‘Dreams’, ‘Zombie,’ ‘Ode To My Family,’ ‘Salvation’ and others. Together the group released five albums, the most recent in 2001 with Wake Up And Smell The Coffee.
So what can one find with Feist’s latest record? Well, more of that same winning formula which has made her so irresistible to those who already love her
Of all the artists featured on this site, Shawn Colvin is perhaps the most widely recognized. Since the late 80’s, she has received multiple Grammy nominations (including three wins), collaborated with some of the best known names in the biz, and has released an envious catalogue of honest, captivating music. She has grown to become one of music’s most beloved songwriters, receiving countless accolades and praise at every turn.
Any fan of music can easily attest to how difficult it can be to find something fresh and different in today’s selection. The discovery of a new favorite artist are few and far between these days. But perhaps your new favorite will be the delicious sounds of Ingrid Michaelson.
One of my favorite bands of the early nineties was October Project, who released only two albums during their brief stint under Sony/Epic Records.
A former member of the Boulder, Colorado group, Newcomers Home, a band she helped form while in college, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Katie Herzig continues to keep her musical wheel spinning with a remarkable solo catalogue worthy of people looking for something refreshing and good
Rose Polenzani has been making music since the mid-90’s, infusing her magnetic poetry and delicate whispers to noticeable effect.
Kristin Diable is an artist who makes music to escape to a different plane, one where the constraints of routine day-to-day life are mere afterthoughts
There’s something incredibly special about the music of Christine Fellows. There is a beautiful isolation to her sound, as if it were created while she was on another world and then travelled back to Earth to show everyone what she has discovered.
In a land where the blues reign, where California is both home and a place far, far away, and where pretty much all emotions reflect off the surface of the radiant moon before hitting paper, resides Jolie Holland.
For the last week, I’ve been listening to the music of Birdie Busch, a Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter whose songs have had a surprising effect on me. Warm and comforting, her music exudes a casualness that will easily put its willing listener at ease with little effort.
Julia Darling‘s career as a musician started in her late teens when she bought herself a guitar and taught herself how to play. Shortly thereafter, the New Zealand native began playing on the streets of Melbourne, Australia and as fate would have it, was discovered by a record executive.
Texas native Trish Murphy has been writing heartfelt, lyrically rich songs for nearly a decade. Her interest in music arrived early in her life.
Britta Persson was a discovery prompted by a reader some time ago. And while I quickly became familiar with her music, it’s taken me awhile to properly feature her here on the site. That is, until now.
Somewhere in-between Sarah McLachlan‘s smooth pop and Beth Orton‘s penchant for the experimental lies the sounds of Beth Hirsch. However, unlike McLachlan and Orton, Hirsch has yet to find her wide audience as a solo artist, having been much more commercially successful on her collaborations with other artists.
Nova was born Heather Allison Frith on July 6, 1967 in Bermuda – a place decidedly not known for its rockstars, and her life since has been about as idyllic as her birthplace. During much of her childhood, Nova sailed the ocean with her family on their 40-foot yacht which sailed the Caribbean and was educated by her parents. Needless to say, with no television, much of her time was spent listening to her parents’ record collection.
Norwegian folkster Ane Brun is a name you won’t soon forget and a sound you’ll wish you heard long ago
One of my most treasured discoveries of this year is the beautiful music of Kate York, which is quite a bold statement considering that her debut album isn’t even available yet.
The music of Rachel Ries (rhymes with ‘peace’) possesses what some refer to as a ‘vintage-sounding folk’. While this is hardly a definitive description, perhaps it is one that fits best.
Sweden seems to boast some of the most impressive musical talent, and yet sadly, the general American public seems to know so little of what is out there. Let’s face it, ABBA can only take you so far.
Texas-born Shea Seger was originally intending on a career in theatre, but gravitated toward songwriting in her late teens.
Even if her name isn’t immediately recognizable, her face surely is. Kathleen Wilhoite has been able to succeed at both an acting career and a musical one, although the former has garnered her stronger fame than the latter (Wilhoite has appeared in such films as Lorenzo’s Oil, Road House, Nurse Betty as well as shows like ER, Mad About You and 24 among others).
Using the strange moniker, ‘New Buffalo,’ Australian-bred musician Sally Seltmann creates some of the most beautifully odd music to come out of the ‘land down under.’
With her tall, thin frame and at one time, sporting bright red hair, British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap seemed to represent the physical embodiment of the intensity found in her music – striking, bold and unique.
With a sound that can be wholly described as pure rock, the band Magnapop made its mark in the early 90’s during the hay day of such bands as the Breeders and Nirvana. Led by singer Linda Hopper, the band consists of bassist Shannon Mulvaney, drummer David McNair and guitarist Ruthie Morris, with whom Hopper shares writing credits with.
Despite the similarity to Sinead O’Connor, singer-songwriter Sinead Lohan creates a brand of music decidedly different than O’Connor’s. Both have remarkable voices and leave traces of their Irish influences in their music, but Lohan is a much more subdued player, relying more on her ability to write infectious melodies than being the vocal powerhouse.
Wynn, a native Virginian who has been singing since her early childhood, eventually learned how to play guitar and took a brave stab at performing during an open-mic night. That performance opened Wynn up to her first taste of singing her own songs in front of a live audience. It also allowed her to meet her future producer and band member, Mark Goldstein.
The Canadian-based singer-songwriter makes some of the most beautiful folk-inspired music I’ve heard of late. Her rich, old-timey voice beguiles her youthful appearance, but is the perfect counterpart for the instruments she enlists in many of her songs.
Mentions of Leslie Feist have been making the rounds amongst music-related sites as of late – and with good reason
The words ‘dark’ and ‘haunting,’ must be ones that San Francisco-based performer Jill Tracy is exhausted to find when reading her latest review. But they are the words that instantly come to mind when hearing her unique blend of jazz/parlour music. And while there are many artists who are considered to write on the darker side of music, it is Tracy who seems to wield it with uncanny ease.
Even though they’ve been together for over fifteen years, I’m still a fairly new convert to the music of Over The Rhine.
It was in 1999 when Ambrosia Parsley and her band Shivaree first appeared with the oddly titled I Oughtta Give You A Shot In The Head For Making Me Live In This Dump. The album was highly praised amongst music critics and select radio stations, much in part due to its standout track, ‘Goodnight Moon,’ but spawned only a modest following. Its luke-warm commercial reception incited Capitol Records to refuse an American release of their follow-up, the equally superb, Rough Dreams in 2002.
As I’ve stated before, one of the great things about keeping an MP3 blog is the opportunity to hear new music first hand. In the case of Alison Breitman, this works as a great benefit.
When Holly Palmer‘s self-titled debut arrived in 1996, I was pleasantly surprised at both her artistic style and unique sound. This was a record that set itself apart from the flux of Alanis-esque records that seemed to be ever-flowing during that year. Blending soft, soulful ballads with more jaunty numbers, Holly crafted a collection that was both refreshing and long overdue.
A rather new discovery for me, Laura Burhenn was suggested to me by a nice reader of of the site. He suggested I check out her official site, which I did. From there, I was able to sample a few of her latest songs and decided that she was definitely worthy of mention.
When Amy Correia officially arrived with her 6-song EP, Transportation Songs, I was immediately drawn to her song, ‘The Bike.’ A toe-tapping story of a hand-me-down bicycle, the song tells the story of a little girl who becomes the heiress of the rusty bike and recalls the history of her possession while pedaling around town.
Sometimes the bargain bins are the best place to discover new music without draining your pocketbook. And it was there that I discovered the music of Wild Strawberries, the Canadian husband & wife team of Ken and Roberta Carter Harris.
One of the nice things about maintaining this site is the opportunity to hear some great music from people who point me in specific directions. About a week ago, I received an e-mail from Louise Quinn, who asked me to give her music a listen. Always thirsty for something new, I was more than willing.
For a few years in the late 90’s, there was a huge surge of female songwriters being scooped up by major label companies following the huge commercial success of Alanis Morissette. Lauren Hoffman was one of them.
Already a household name in Britain, Scottish-born singer/songwriter Eddi Reader is an artist who initially started her performing career with a traveling circus before landing a leading role as the voice for the appropriately named group, Fairground Attraction, before embarking on her solo musical career. With an incredibly clear voice, she has created a very impressive catalogue of music mainly falling into the folk genre while occasionally traveling to other musical realms.
Debut albums are always difficult to critique because generally there isn’t an earlier effort to contrast and compare. With the music of Kim Fox, I don’t know where to begin.
When I initially listened to Morley’s music, I knew I was listening to something special. I discovered her quite by accident. Her song, ‘When I Love You,’ was featured on a promotional compilation for Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair back in 1998. The song immediately caught my ear as her music blends experimental pop and folk with subtle lacings of jazz. Needless to say, I needed to hear more.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have people send me musical recommendations from artists I probably wouldn’t have been able to hear of otherwise. Michelle Cross was one of these artists.
After spending nearly all of her childhood surrounded by music and learning several instruments along the way, Dublin-born Eleanor McEvoy officially embarked on a musical career in the early 90’s with her self-titled debut. The album would land Eleanor as one of Ireland’s most treasured artists.
Even though she’s still best known as the ‘I Kissed A Girl’ girl of 1995 (from her self-titled album of that year), Jill Sobule deserves a larger following solely based on the material that she has released since that headline-provoking song. Having an uncanny ability to forge her dry humor into a folk-styled musical backdrop, Jill has created an amazing catalogue of witty, well-crafted songs.
When looking at the career of Lesley Rankine, it’s difficult not to think about Shirley Manson. For one, they both hail from Scotland and have had earlier musical stints in bands with ‘fishy’ names (Lesley in the London punk band, Silverfish and Shirley in the Scottish band, Angelfish). And since then, both have gone on to make engaging electronica/pop music.
Before the MP3 revolution began, there was a time when I would walk into my favorite record store and simply buy an album without ever hearing of the artist. Sometimes the impulse was prompted by a review I had read or a simple recommendation. Other times, something as simple as an appealing album cover would peak my interest. In the case of Joan Jones’s Starlite Criminal, it was pure chance.
I discovered the music of Claud9 when I was in Italy last year on vacation. One night while in my hotel room in Rome, the video to ‘Addicted’ appeared on MTV Italy and I was instantly awestruck at what I heard and saw. Once I arrived back in the States,…
After spending years with her band Throwing Muses, Kristin Hersh did what many frontwomen eventually do: she went solo.
Belonging to a genre most often described as alternative-country, I find Neko Case to be the perfect music for people who ordinarily wouldn’t find themselves listening to any sort of country.
Rich with inexplicable soul, Nina Simone’s voice is unmistakable and capable of evoking a kaliedoscope of emotions.
Veda Hille is a unique singer/songwriter from Vancouver whose strange and oddly beautiful music sets her apart from many of her contemporaries.
While there are a plethora of artists that I like and think are talented, few come as close to my music-loving heart as Lisa Germano.
It’s a difficult task to categorize Beth Lisick‘s music. Firstly, she’s a poet and therefore doesn’t do much singing at all. Instead, she relies on her keen observation of the world around her to create magnetic, if not sometimes bizarre stories.