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Latest Additions:

Marc Broussard - A Life Worth Living (7/29)
Benjamin Booker - S/T (8/19)
Luluc - Passerby (7/15)
Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear (June TBA)
Whitehorse - Leave No Bridge Unburned (Feb. 2015)
The Kooks - Listen (9/2)
Annie Stela - Whiplash Blues (TBA)
Jess Klein - Learning Faith (6/24)
Stu Larsen - Vagabond (7/15)
Tiny Victories - Haunts (6/10)
How To Dress Well - What Is This Heart? (6/24)
Chatham County Line - Tightrope (5/20)
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - The Revelation (5/20)
Big Wreck - Ghosts (7/15 US, 6/10 CAN)
Levon Helm Band - Midnight Ramble Sessions III (7/1)
Old Crow Medicine Show - Remedy (7/1)  

April 22 

Black Prairie (Decemberists) - Fortune
Dwight & Nicole - Shine On
EELS - The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Fear Of Men - Loom
 G. Love & Special Sauce - Sugar
Hedley - Wild Life
Justin Rutledge - Daredevil (Tragically Hip Songs)
Keb' Mo' - BLUESAmericana
Little Daylight - TBA
Little Feat - Live in Holland 1976
Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos - Sling Shot to Heaven
Sharon Corr - The Same Sun
The Madden Brothers (Good Charlotte) - TBA
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Days of Abandon
To Kill A King - Cannibals With Cutlery (U.S.)
Tom and Hebron - Zoyugo

April 29

Amber States - Saratoga EP
Archie Powell & The Exports - Back In Black
Ben Watt - Hendra
Brigitte DeMeyer - Savannah Road (4/29)
Broken Twin - May
Caitlin Park - The Sleeper (5/2 AUS)
Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Phosphorescent Harvest
Curtis Stigers - Hooray For Lovers
Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) - Everyday Robots
Dave Keller - Soul Changes
Edward David Anderson - Lies & Wishes
Fiona Bevan - Talk To Strangers
Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon) - Midnight Sun
Hafdis Huld - Home
Jackopierce - Live 25
Johnossi - Transitions
Little Hurricane - Gold Fever
Pink Mountaintops - Get Back
Prefab Sprout - Crimson/Red (U.S.)
Rodrigo y Gabriela - 9 Dead Alive
Sam Morrow - Ephemeral
The Currys - Follow
The Howlin' Brothers - Trouble
 The Milk Carton Kids - Live from Lincoln Theatre DVD
The Old 97's - Most Messed Up
Tommy Malone (Subdudes) - Poor Boy
Wye Oak - Shriek 

May 6

Ben Harper/Ellen Chase-Verdries - Childhood Home
Brian Eno/Karl Hyde - Someday World
Bridie Jackson & The Arbour - New Skin
Current Swell - Ulysses
Gabrielle Aplin - English Rain EP (U.S.) 
  Gregg Allman & Various Artists - All My Friends (CD/DVD)
Gruff Rhys - American Interior
Imogen Heap - Sparks 
Jenny Scheinman - The Littlest Prisoner
Kina Grannis - Elements
Leisure Cruise (Dave Hodge, Leah Segal) - S/T
Liam Finn - The Nihilist
Lily Allen - Sheezus
Luke Elliot - Provisions
Lykke Li - I Never Learn
Natalie Merchant - S/T
Nikki Lane - All or Nothin'
Pacifika - Amor Planeta
Papercuts - Life Among the Savages
Rachel Taylor Brown - Falimy
Rae Morris - Do You Even Know? EP (UK)
Ray LaMontagne - Supernova
Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera) - Seven Dials (UK)
Sarah McLachlan - Shine On
South Rail - Stars EP
The Horrors - Luminous
Thomas Dybdahl - What's Left Is Forever (US)
Tiny Ruins - Brightly Painted One
tUnE-yArDs - Nikki Nack
Willie Watson - Folk Singer, Vol. 1
Wooden Wand - Farmers Corner
You Are Wolf - Hawk to the Hunting Gone (UK)

May 13

Amen Dunes - Love
Braid - No Coast
Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt - For Keeps
Collin Herring - Some Knives
Eleanor McEvoy - Stuff
Jake Bugg - Messed Up Kids EP (UK)
Jeremy Fisher - The Lemon Squeeze
Jesse Denaro - Dear, Love
Joseph Arthur - Lou (Lou Reed Tribute)
Kris Delmhorst - Blood Test
La Sera - Hour of the Dawn
Little Dragon - Nabuma Underground
Megson - In A Box 
Mimicking Birds - Eons
Mirah - Changing Light
Molly Beanland - Night Dreams
Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband
Nick Mulvey - First Mind
Rhodes - The Morning EP (5/11 UK)
Swans - To Be Kind 
Sylvan Esso - S/T
The Black Keys - Turn Blue
The Shilohs - S/T
The Trouble With Templeton - Rookie
Tom The Lion - Sleep
Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines
Walter Martin (The Walkmen) - We're All Young Together

May 20

Bry Webb - Free Will
Cara Dillon - A Thousand Hearts (UK)
 Chatham County Line - Tightrope
Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) - Upside Down Mountain
Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean
Haley Bonar - Last War
Hundreds - Aftermath
Jolie Holland - Wine Dark Sea
Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Going Home
LCD Soundsystem - The Long Goodbye: Live @ Madison Sq. Garden
Malka Spigel - Gliding EP
Nightmare & The Cat - Simple
Oasis - Definitely Maybe 20th Anniv. Ed.
Phillip Phillips - Behind the Light
Smoke Fairies - S/T
Syd Arthur - Sound Mirror
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - The Revelation
The Roots - And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
Wilsen - Magnolia EP (5/18)
Yann Tiersen - Infinity

May 27

Amy LaVere - Runaway's Diary
Blair Dunlop - House of Jacks
Challenger - Back to Bellevue
John Fullbright - Songs
John Illsley (Dire Straits) - Testing the Waters
Little Barrie - Shadow
Madison - The Bright Light EP
Matthew Barber - Big Romance
Miniature Tigers - Cruel Runnings
moe. - No Guts, No Glory
Owen Pallett - In Conflict
Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
Teleman - Breakfast
The Ghost Wolves - Man, Woman, Beast
Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers - World of Strangers


Erlend Øye (Kings of Convenience) - Legao
Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

June 3

Alice Boman - EP II
BANKS - Goddess (Full Length Debut) 
Birdy - Fire Within (U.S.)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Only Run
Echo & The Bunnymen - Meteorites (4/28 UK)
Ethan Johns - The Reckoning (Prod: Ryan Adams)
Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen) - Black Hours
Howling Bells - Heartstrings
James - La Petite Mort
JD McPherson - TBA
Joe Henry - Invisible Hour
Josh Record - Pillars (UK)
Kan Wakan - Moving On
Lonely the Brave - The Day's War
Matisyahu - Akeda
Meshell Ndegeocello - Comet, Come to Me
Paul Weller - More Modern Classics
Peter Murphy - Lion
Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour
Sleep Party People - Floating
The Donkeys - Ride the Black Wave 
The Peach Kings - Mojo Thunder EP
The Pierces - Creation
The Shoe (w/ Jena Malone) - I'm OK

June 10

Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin
Cowboy Mouth - Go
First Aid Kit - Stay Gold
Glass Aniimals - Zaba
Got A Girl - I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now
Heather Peace - The Thin Line (UK)
Jose James - While You Were Sleeping
Jack White - Lazaretto
Mary Gauthier - Trouble & Love
O.A.R. - The Rockville LP
Passenger - Whispers
Rival Sons - Great Western Valkyrie
The Who - Quadrophenia Live In London
Tiny Victories - Haunts
Tomas Barfod - Love Me

June 17

Beverly Craven - Change of Heart (UK)
Glass Towers - Halcyon Days
Lewis Watson - The Morning
Mark Chadwick (Levellers) - Moment
The Antlers - Familiars
The Felice Brothers - Favorite Waitress      

June 24

Ed Sheeran - x (multiply)
George Ezra - TBA (UK)
How To Dress Well - What Is This Heart?
Jess Klein - Learning Faith

June TBA

Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

July 1

Levon Helm Band - Midnight Ramble Sessions III
Old Crow Medicine Show - Remedy

July 15

Big Wreck - Ghosts (6/10 CAN)
Fink - Hard Believer
Jay Brannan - Always, Then, and Now
Little Daylight - Hello Memory 
Luluc - Passerby
Puss N Boots (Norah Jones) - No Fools, No Fun
Slow Club - Complete Surrender
Stu Larsen - Vagabond
Woman's Hour - Conversations


Allen Stone - TBA (Summer)
Annie Stela - Whiplash Blues (TBA)
As Animals - S/T
Bebel Gilberto - Tudo! (7/29)
Ben Ottewell (Gomez) - Rattlebag (TBA)
Benjamin Booker - S/T (8/19)
Charlene Soraia - Love Is The Law (TBA)
Dear Plastic - The Thieves Are Babes (TBA)
Deluka - BONDS EP (Spring TBA)
Don Henley - Cass County (TBA)
Ellis Paul - Chasing Beauty (TBA)
Empires - Orphans (TBA)
Haroula Rose - Here The Blue River (TBA)
Imelda May - Tribal (7/29)
James Taylor - TBA (8/19)
Jonah Tolchin - Clover Road (Summer TBA)
Kite Club - Fresh Air for Humans (TBA)
Kris Delmhorst - Blood Test (Spring TBA)
Marc Broussard - A Life Worth Living (7/29)
Miranda Lee Richards - Echoes of the Dreamtime (TBA)
Morrissey - World Peace Is None of Your Business (Summer)
Nick Mulvey - First Mind (9/16 U.S.)
Peter Himmelman - The Boat That Carries Us (TBA)
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) - The Ceaseless Sight (TBA)
Sara Lowes - The Joy of Waiting (TBA)
Sara Swenson - Runway Lights (Summer TBA)
Sasha Siem - Most of the Boys (TBA)
Scott Matthews - Home Pt. 1 (TBA)
The Felice Brothers - Favorite Waitress
The Good Natured - Prism (Summer TBA)
The Kooks - Listen (9/2)
The Vespers - Sisters and Brothers (TBA
Tiny Ruins - Brightly Painted One (TBA)
Toby Lightman - Every Kind of People (TBA)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye (Summer TBA)
Wakey! Wakey! - All It Takes Is A Little Love (TBA) 
 Whitehorse - Leave No Bridge Unburned (Feb. 2015)
Winterpills - Echolalia (Covers) (TBA)  

All titles and dates subject to change! Correction? Addition?


2013 Featured Releases
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Susanna Hoffs - Someday

That the first new solo project from Susanna Hoffs in fifteen years channels the music of the 60's won't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the Bangles frontwoman over the last three decades. It is, after all, Hoffs' "reference point for everything”. The new Someday (July 17), produced by Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow), follows up 2011's Bangles reunion project Sweetheart of the Sun as well as the pair of well-received Under The Covers remake albums with like-minded L.A. songwriter Matthew Sweet. The bulk of Someday's songs were Hoff's collaborations with 27-year-old Nashville songwriter Andrew Brassel including an updated version of "Raining", originally an unrecorded 1989 co-write with Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. With it's vintage 60's instrumentation and a self-described "baroque folk/pop" template, Someday's lush retro sound is ideally suited to Hoff's age-defying voice, an instrument that remains as recognizable as it was in The Bangles "Manic Monday" heyday. She is, says Froom, "one the few great, pure pop singers working today."

Susanna Hoffs - "Raining" (from Someday)

Susanna Hoffs - "This Is The Place" (from Someday)

Pick up a free Susanna Hoffs EP from Noisetrade.

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Watch: Robert Francis - "Eighteen"

In a more perfect and just world, Robert Francis' "Eighteen" would be one of those pervasive summer hits that seem to be drifting out of nearly every radio speaker and earbud. Alas, with nary a dance beat, auto-tune or sing-song playground melody in earshot -- de rigueur for mainstream pop radio -- we'll have to settle for good ol' word-of-mouth. Taken from his May album Strangers In the First Place "Eighteen" scurries with one of those propulsive, shuffling 80's backbeats that pulls you in and then pulls you along. Acoustic live-in-the-studio version after the jump...

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RADAR: Chastity Brown

Over the course of four albums and countless club dates, thirty-year-old Chastity Brown has been quietly, assuredly building an audience for her distinctive hybrid of folk, soul and blues. Her latest Back-Road Highways, recorded in Nashville and released earlier this year, is her best and most confident step forward, an understated and unpolished jewel of roots music that one critic described as "soul searching grit and grace." With a measured and deliberate pace and confident but slow-simmering delivery, Brown's songs don't flood the senses as much as slowly seep in through tiny cracks and crevices. "Slow Time" exemplifies Highway's "less-is-more" attitude as the track builds slowly with a spacious, haunting sound, Brown stretching each word and phrase and letting each note breathe in its own space. "After You" quickens the pace with a mix of Graceland rhythms and layers of acoustic pickings while album closer "If You Let Me" drifts and sways like a gospel hymn, rich organ fills and piano shadings setting the stage for Brown's slow-smoked vocals and Robert Mulrennan's moaning guitar lines.


Chastity Brown - "After You" (from Back-Road Highways) Free Download

Chastity Brown - "Slow Time" (from Back-Road Highways)

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Listen: Anna Ternheim - "China Girl" (Live)

When Swedish songstress Anna Ternheim made an appearance at famed NYC venue The Living Room a few years back she performed solo -- but she did have her trusty iPod loaded up with some beats to serve as her "band" when needed. One song that utilized her pint-sized percussive device was her interesting take on David Bowie's "China Girl". Over a looped beat and her own acoustic guitar picking, Ternheim strips the song down to its core with some finespun minor chord changes and lets the listener take in and savor each lyrical line -- much as she did with Fleetwood Mac's "Little Lies", featured here last fall. Ternheim's fifth studio album The Night Visitor dropped in the U.S. in May -- watch the latest video "Lorelei Marie" below. Listen to The Living Room to The Loft on Sirius/XM on Sunday nights.

Anna Ternheim - "China Girl" (Live @ The Living Room)

Stream the full concert (and browse the live archive) at the Living Room site...

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Eleni Mandell - I Can See The Future

With personal and professional relationships on the rocks, the acclaimed but under-noticed L.A. songwriter Eleni Mandell decided it was time for some changes. There are probably a couple of books that could be written about her decision to become a single mother -- thanks to a sperm donor -- and begin the recording of her eighth album when she was eight months pregnant (with twins, as it turns out). But we'll happily settle for I Can See The Future, her latest longplayer arriving July 10 via YepRoc. The touches of noirish torch songs, cool delivery and wry observational pop still run deep below the surface in Future's array of exceptionally written tracks. But Mandell and producer Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, The Strokes) have swapped the dark irony and edgy bite of her earlier albums for a more clear-eyed, dare-we-say mature -- and remarkably upbeat -- outlook. The pain is heartfelt and real but so is the responsive optimism and sure-footed confidence. "Now We're Strangers" may be about the chilly aftermath of a love gone bad but the breezy dance the song moves to belies any weepy self-pity or angst. The ability to see the future, it would appear, is just the beginning.

Eleni Mandell - "Now We're Strangers" (from I Can See The Future)

Eleni Mandell - "I'm Lucky" (from I Can See The Future)

Stream the full album here...

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Marc Berger - Ride

Playing local downtown clubs like CBGB and The Knitting Factory, Marc Berger may have claimed New York City as his formative stomping ground but it is his fascination with the expanses of the American west that fuels his imagination and songwriting. New album Ride (July 17, Real) ventures down the dusty trails and beautifully desolate landscapes with an attuned ear for lyrical detail and the skill of creating a compelling and revealing musical travelog. Berger, co-producer Mike Ricciardi and an excellent band conjure up stories and imagery with a gentle twang, backing Berger's weathered rasp and acoustic guitar with mandolin, fiddle and accordion. The result is an album that, at times, echoes the stark, evocative songs of Springsteen's Nebraska, the cinematic tone of Mark Knopfler and the Lone Star alt-country charms of Guy Clark and Towne Van Zant. Album opener "Nobody Gonna Ride On The Railroad" quickly and easily establishes the album's unpretentious frontier aesthetic, the shuffling rhythms and pitch-perfect instrumentation the ideal backdrop for Berger's vocal lament.

Marc Berger - "Nobody Gonna Ride On The Railroad" (from Ride)

Marc Berger - "Time Waits For No Man" (from Ride)

Catch Marc Berger and his band @ The Living Room in NYC July 17

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Watch: MSMR - "Hurricane"

The dizzying, eyeball-popping visual onslaught of images in the video for "Hurricane" from New York's MSMR doesn't tell us any more about the secretive duo but that hasn't stopped the gusts of blogospheric buzz. We hear that MS does the vocals and MR does the music but who knows? All will be revealed in good time. They have, after all, been signed to that upstart indie label named Sony Music (!) so we're just sitting back waiting for the oh-so-subtle hype machine to start humming. Nonetheless, this a promising step for both MS and MR, a powerful, ultra-chilled slab of woofer rattling electronica and slamming backbeat with MS' fetching voice the icy icing on the cake. For more, check out their Ghost City Demos from a year ago (we love the minimalist "Strings").

MSMR - "Hurricane" (free download)

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RADAR: Josephine

Manchester, England's Josephine Oniyama cites Fela Kuti, Odessa, The Isleys and King Sunny Ade as influences in her music but also Joanna Newsom, Johnny Cash, MGMT and Iron and Wine. Forthcoming full-length Portrait (October 8, ARK U.K.) promises an equally eclectic mashup of styles. "At school it was all about indie but when I went home it was African," admits the 29-year-old. "The rhythms and subjects were totally different to the Manchester sounds. I never try to cram all these influences in, hopefully they just come out in a natural way." A prior label deal and a pair of EP's behind her, Josephine has been collaborating with writers and producers such as Ed Harcourt and Jimmy Hogarth (Corinne Bailey Rae, Sia), creating eclectic but grounded art/pop and neo-soul/folk that's both sweepingly dramatic (the sublime "When We Were Trespassers") and undeniably catchy ("What A Day").

Josephine - "What A Day" (from the album Portrait)

Josephine - "When We Were Trespassers" (from the album Portrait)

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Listen: Smoke Fairies - "She Sells Sanctuary" (Cult Cover)

Classic 1985 hit from The Cult "She Sells Sanctuary" gets a downright spooky and hypnotic cover in the hands of Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire of London's Smoke Fairies. The young duo have a made a name for themselves with the unlikely hybrid of British fok and madrigal-influenced harmonies forged with swampy American blues and dusty Americana -- but "Sanctuary" leans less on the raw, reverbed guitar riffs of their prior tracks and more on layered keyboard and percussive beds as the ladies coolly entwine their voices in a song lifted from the pages of a dusty gothic hymnal. The track is one of five made available on a new U.K.-only EP This Is A Reflection offered bonus with the purchase of their recently released LP Blood Speaks.

Smoke Fairies - "She Sells Sanctuary" (from the EP This Is A Reflection)

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Charlie Mars - Blackberry Light

Independent Oxford, Mississippi songsmith Charlie Mars describes his upcoming album Blackberry Light (August 14) as something of "the sister record" to his 2009 LP Like A Bird, Like A Plane and it's easy to see the relation. Both expand on Mars' downshift to a soulful, occasionally funky vibe as the backbone to his traditionally folk/pop songs. What forces were at work in what he called Bird/Plane's "snakey, sinewy, sensuality of groove" are still pulling him to what might be his locales' innate southern soul roots throughout Blackberry Light's ten fine new tracks. Chunky bass lines, rich organ fills and good ol' backroads sweat and grit run deep in songs like the irresistible "How I Roll", the blue-eyed soul and Big Pink-styled "Pacific Oceans" and bluesy shuffle "Back of the Room". Even the acoustic-based new single "Let The Meter Run" has a sly, subtle rhythm base that's akin to Paul Simon's Rhymin' Simon drenched in sultry southern heat.

Charlie Mars - "Let The Meter Run" (from Blackberry Light)

Charlie Mars - "Blackberry Light" (from Blackberry Light)

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Twenty-one-year-old Australian singer/songwriter Matt Corby has released four exceptional EP's Down Under, songs that sound like they've been cut from the same distinctive cloth of three of his most pervasive influences: iconic Brit folkie Nick Drake, legendary 90's art/rock pioneer Jeff Buckley and dramatic Irish songwriter Damien Rice. Taking in the depth and vision of Corby's atmospheric, reverbed songs, filled with simmering, spacious melodies and his remarkable Buckley-like voice, it's hard to believe that this is the same person who, at sixteen, was the runner-up in the Australian Idol competition. The loss, it appears, was a ultimately a win as Corby was free to stake out his own musical path, turning down label deals and recording his own haunting, decidedly non-mainstream songs. Signed to the fine Communion label co-founded by Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett, Corby is scheduled to follow up his latest EP Into the Flame (4X platinum in Australia) by heading back into the studio to begin work on his debut full length this fall. Check out the live-in-studio video of "Made of Stone" below...

Matt Corby - "Coloured Stones and Walls" (from the Transition to Colour EP)

Matt Corby - "Breathe" (available on the free Made of Stone EP)

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Shovels & Rope - O' Be Joyful

South Carolina-based couple Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent make up Shovels & Rope, a perfectly raw, ragged, rough-and-ready duo creating rootsy folk rock muddied with a broad swath of rich, organic Americana. The pair's lo-fi and raucous live shows, blessed with a free-wheeling, on-the-fly attitude and a loosely packed but palpable chemistry, have taken them from club-to-club, coast-to-coast. Wielding guitars and an assortment of harmonicas while banging on a junkyard refugee drum kit, Hearst and Trent have created their own brand of country-tinged "righteous racket" on stage and their forthcoming longplayer O' Be Joyful, due July 31. Both solo artists and members of other bands when they met, the two teamed up to have some fun recording Ramones covers over a few beers. Soon, they began writing together while keeping what Hearst calls their mantra of "Creatio Ex Nihilo -- creating something out of nothing". Lean and loose, S+R keep the energy high the concept low, driving their songs with a single-minded passion and two entwined voices. For starters, tap into the elation at the core of "Birmingham" and the tattered acoustic balladry of "Lay Low".

Shovels & Ropes - "Birmingham" (from O' Be Joyful)

Shovels & Ropes - "Lay Low" (from O' Be Joyful)

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Watch: Kat Edmonson - "I Don't Know"

Music has a way of definitely moving you -- literally, as it turns out -- in this ingenious new video from Austin based singer Kat Edmonson. While her last (also amazing) video "I Don't Know (Reprise)" was all mascara-stained noir mystery, the new "I Don't Know" (yeah, we know, it's confusing) is almost something out of the Bjork playbook of twisted, tongue-in-cheek fun. We've been fans of Ms. Edmondson ever since we heard her kittenish take on The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" a few years ago ("lighter-than-air coolness", we opined) and it's clear that her steady rise and subsequent critical worship signals some major moves ahead. Prepare to be disarmed.

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Clare and the Reasons - KR-51

Clare and The Reasons - Brooklyn-based chamber/pop outfit led by Clare Muldaur Manchon and violin-toting hubby Olivier have been exploring intricately arranged and adventurous art/pop since launching with their sparkling, elegantly theatrical 2007 debut Movie...the pair holed up in a Berlin apartment for eight months last year writing and arranging the songs that would become their third album // Release: KR-51 (July 10, Frogstand) // Sounds like: modern cabaret music draws on pop, classical, jazz, folk and a shot of bohemian gypsy flair while the latest production elbows in with a sharp, angular punch now and then just to keep things on edge...Clare's wistful voice, a mix of cooing, quavering seduction (think Kate Bush singing Lotte Lenya), is remains a focal point of the The Reasons' sophisticated and witty songcraft ...KR-51, they say, offers "a little more sorrow, a lot more distorted guitar, and a little more darkness of heart..."

Clare and The Reasons - "Make Them Laugh" (from KR-51)

Clare and the Reasons - "The Lake" (from KR-51) Free download

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Listen: Glen Hansard - "Love Don't Leave Me Waiting" (Live)

This week begins the first of what will be a great series of special audio streams of performances from New York's legendary Lower East Side venue The Living Room. On May 8, Irish troubadour Glen Hansard (Once, The Swell Season, The Frames) appeared at the club in support of his recently released album Rhythm and Repose. As is usually expected at a Hansard performance, the music was spirited, intimate and impassioned. What wasn't expected was the appearance of Hansard chum Bono, who ambled up on stage to join in on "The Auld Triangle" (video and pic below). But this was clearly Hansard's night where songs like "Love Don't Keep Me Waiting" proved to be mesmerizing, goose-bump enducing moments. The entire performance was recorded for the XM/Sirius station The Loft in the series From The Living Room to The Loft which premieres a new hour-long show each Sunday evening at 7pm (EST).

Glen Hansard - "Love Don't Leave Me Waiting" (Live at the Living Room NYC)

Photo Credit: Patrick Glennon Photography

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Watch: Tanita Tikaram - "Dust On My Shoes"

Tanita Tikaram describes her subtly anthemic and soulful new track "Dust On My Shoes" as "a simple freedom song" and a song she says "encapsulates me. "It's also a promising peek at her upcoming -- and oh-so-overdue -- new album Can't Go Back (August 28, Edel), her first in seven years. Unlike the stripped and intimate 2005 Sentimental, the new project, recorded in L.A. with producer Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Grant Lee Phillips), promises a larger, more colorful creative canvas for the singer who sold five million copies of her 1988 debut album Ancient Heart. More on Can't Go Back next month -- for now it's time to simply revel in "that voice".

Tanita Tikaram - "Dust On My Shoes" (from Can't Go Back)

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Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

Tribute albums are tricky things. Paying homage without either doing note-for-note covers or hijacking a song for one's own narcissistic purposes of stylistic tics can be quite the tightrope walk. New Fleetwood Mac tribute Just Tell Me That You Want Me (August 14, Hear/Concord) strives mightily to aspire to the second more dangerous minefield, lining up an interesting array of "cutting edge" indie bands and solo artists to create "radical" interpretations of songs that were -- and remain -- adventurous in their own right. Is Best Coast's relatively straight read of "Rhiannon" as smart and invigorating as the 40-year-old original? Does Lykke Li's reverb-ose of "Silver Springs" do anything more than make you long for Stevie Nicks' celestial take? Comparisons are, of course, meaningless. We're guessing that MGMT fans are more interested in the band's inventive version of "Future Games" (now there's a prescient title!) than the aging Mac-ian worshippers looking to scold the young'uns. And they should be. This isn't an exercise in winking, ironic pandering of an iconic band, it's a welcome poke in the eye and a cold splash reminder that pop music is static snapshot of a particular time in history, whether that's 1975 or 2005. The originals are often im-mac-ulate visions of pop genius for that time. These remakes are often bold interpretations that may try a little too hard -- but isn't that the point?

Best Coast - "Rhiannon" (from Just Tell Me That You Want Me)

The New Pornographers - "Think About Me" (from Just Tell Me That You Want Me)

Stream more Just Tell Me Mac covers by Lykke Li and  Billy Gibbons...

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REDUX: The Dunwells

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Joseph Dunwell and his brother David are the namesakes of this Leeds, England band charging headlong down the "Mumford" path of spirited British pub-folk. You can also add in a couple of cousins to The Dunwells' roster for a band that calls themselves "5 best mates" and who have been touring non-stop over the past couple of years, slowing building up a sizable fan base. Debut album Blind Sighted Faith, helmed by veteran producer John Porter (Elvis Costello, Ryan Adams) was released digitally this past February but a new deal with Concord will yield a slightly expanded reissue August 28 and a new promotional push. The band recently worked with producer George Drakoulias (Tom Petty, The Jayhawks) on a new track "So Beautiful" which will debut on the updated version. Initial track "I Could Be King", a signature song for the band at radio, exemplifies the band's sound: tight, brisk and drenched in vocal harmonies and layers of chiming, busker-ish guitars. But unlike the more updated traditional folk slant of Mumford and Sons, The Dunwells deliver straight melodic folk/rock that could easily be wafting out of clubs on this side of the pond. “We're obviously huge fans of American music and its history, but we didn't set out with that in mind when we started playing together. It was an unexpected thing, really,” says David Dunwell.  “We’re all in it for the same reason. We just love making music.”

The Dunwells - "I Could Be A King" (from Blind Sighted Faith) Free Download

The Dunwells - Blind Sighted Faith Sampler (Excerpts)

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Communist Daughter - Lions & Lambs

Someday someone should write a song called "The Story of Johnny Solomon", telling the tale of a rising young songwriter and performer who hit the skids with the demons of addiction and mental problems only to rise again with the help and support of a good and supportive woman. The story, it turns out, is true. After reaching bottom (and jail), Solomon, a critical fave of The Twin Cities music scene, found the inspiration to change and ultimately enter rehab from singer, collaborator, muse -- and now fiancee -- Molly Moore. New July 10 EP Lions & Lambs from Solomon's wonderfully monikered Communist Daughter follows up 2010's debut Soundtrack to the End as yet another heavenly slice of shimmering indie alt-folk songcraft. Heartfelt and intensely personal but steering clear of cloying angst, songs like the briskly shuffling "Ghosts" find the cross-section of lush folk/rock and sweeping chamber pop melodies, delicately delivered harmonies bobbing atop a swirling, driving current of light and dark flashes. Brilliant. Mesmerizing. Watch the video for "Speed of Sound" below.


Communist Daughter - "Ghosts" (from Lions & Lambs)

Communist Daughter - "Speed of Sound" (from Lions & Lambs)

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DC June 26 New Release Recap

After our blathering on endlessly about Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons and Jesca Hoop over the past few years you might think that we're pretty much done. Not quite. Both have released rather amazing new albums this week and we're guessing that by the end of the year we'll probably be writing (and talking) about them again. They're that good. This week we also see the return of fine SoCal retro folk band Beachwood Sparks and the excellent third album from Boston-based songwriter Antje Duvekot (Aunt-yah Doo-va-kott, if you're reading aloud). You might also want to check out Floating Monk from Edmund II -- and you can peruse our full listing for releases from Blues Traveler, Cassandra Wilson, Cathering AD, Joe Jackson, Levellers, Little Feat and Mindy Smith. Links to read more and listen to streaming tracks below...

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