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Latest Additions:

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)
South Rail - Stars EP (5/6)
PHOX - S/T (6/24)
Sara Lowes - The Joy of Waiting (TBA)
Johnossi - Transitions (4/29)
Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean (5/20)
Birdy - Fire Within (6/3 U.S.)
The Milk Carton Kids - Live from Lincoln Theatre DVD (4/29)
Bebel Gilberto - Tudo! (7/29)
Sara Swenson - Runway Lights (Summer TBA)
Challenger - Back to Bellevue (5/27)
Jay Brannan - Always, Then, and Now (7/15)
The Shilohs - S/T (5/13)
Wilsen - Magnolia EP (5/19)
Amber States - Saratoga EP (4/28)
Mimicking Birds - Eons (5/13)
Mark Chadwick (Levellers) - Moment (6/16)
Mary Gauthier - Trouble & Love (6/10)
You Are Wolf - Hawk to the Hunting Gone (5/6 UK)
Blair Dunlop - House of Jacks (5/26)
Beverly Craven - Change of Heart (6/17 UK)
Lonely the Brave - The Day's War (6/3)
Eleanor McEvoy - Stuff (5/12)
Heather Peace - The Thin Line (6/9 UK)
George Ezra - TBA (6/23 UK)
James Taylor - TBA (8/19)
Rival Sons - Great Western Valkyrie (6/10)
Meshell Ndegeocello - Comet, Come to Me (6/3)
Paul Weller - More Modern Classics (6/3)

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


Allen Stone - TBA (Summer)
Annie Stela - Whiplash Blues (TBA)
As Animals - S/T
Bebel Gilberto - Tudo! (7/29)
Ben Ottewell (Gomez) - Rattlebag (TBA)
Big Wreck - Ghosts (7/15 US, 6/10 CAN)
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)
Fink - Hard Believer (7/15)
Haroula Rose - Here The Blue River (TBA)
Imelda May - Tribal (7/29)
James Taylor - TBA (8/19)
Jay Brannan - Always, Then, and Now (7/15)
Jonah Tolchin - Clover Road (Summer TBA)
Kite Club - Fresh Air for Humans (TBA)
Kris Delmhorst - Blood Test (Spring TBA)
Little Daylight - TBD (7/15)
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)
Puss N Boots (Norah Jones) - No Fools, No Fun (7/15)
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)
Slow Club - Complete Surrender (7/14)
Stu Larsen - Vagabond (7/15)
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) 
Woman's Hour - Conversations (7/15)

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


2013 Featured Releases
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Watch: Kat Edmonson - "I Don't Know (Reprise)"

If we ever needed a lesson in the failings of premature assumptions, the new video from Kat Edmonson is one that felt like a bracing splash of cold water after a long sleep. We've been fans of the Austin-based singer for a few years now, drawn to her cool, sometimes kittenish vocal interpretations of jazz standards (and the occasional curve ball, like her take on The Cure's "Just Like Heaven"). But nothing prepared us for "I Don't Know (Reprise)" from her new album Way Down Low, a slow, meandering and ultimately haunting folk/jazz ballad that plays out in the video like a dark, grim scene from the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple. Edmonson is a dramatic revelation here, not only in the perfect nuance found in her cooing, whisper-soft vocals but with the emotional wallop she delivers as the abused wife/lover who calmly, determinedly takes her revenge. The look on her face is going to stay with us for a long while.

Kat Edmonson - "I Don't Know (Reprise)" (from Way Down Low)

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Joe Pug - The Great Despiser

Joe Pug - Critically adored Chicago performing songwriter says he packed up and headed to Austin, Texas last year looking to find the roots of the legendary Lone Star songwriting mystique:"I had to go see where it was born"...Ironically, Pug headed back to Chicago for the recording of his new sophomore full-length, produced by Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine)...Pug has developed a remarkable word-of-mouth grass-roots fan base via free CD's and downloads along with heavy touring // Release: The Great Despiser (April 24, Lightning Rod) // Sounds like: Pug speaks of the "sharper color" used in Despiser's denser instrumental palette, adding "we finally created arrangements that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the lyrics"...It's hard to imagine a more gifted musical wordsmith working today but there's so much more going on here beyond the cerebral lyrical punch...a couple of songs, including the powerful title track, have a rougher rock edge but this is still primarily brilliant, fleshed-out acoustic music that effortlessly connects on a deeply personal, near spiritual level...

Joe Pug - "The Great Despiser" (from The Great Despiser)

Joe Pug - "Hymn #76" (from The Great Despiser)

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Watch: Paloma Faith - "Picking Up the Pieces"

And now for something completely different...yes, it's guilty pleasure time. But, still, when you're going for the big, over-the-top pop spectacle you might as well go with a great song. And, guess what -- Paloma Faith's powerpacked "Picking Up the Pieces" shares more than it's fair share of retro-60's pop sheen (we'll give her odds over Duffy any day) with just a bit more twinkling glitter sprinkled around the edges. Taken from her forthcoming album Fall to Grace (May 29, Sony UK), produced by the great Nellee Hooper (Bjork, Gwen Stefani, Soul II Soul),  the glam-pop anthemic splendor of "Pieces" sounds like an updated Phil Spector-ish classic -- and who could deny the delightfully cheese-a-rama video, too? No word on a U.S. release yet -- but we're thinking that with a little luck this might find it's way across the Atlantic just in time for summer.

Paloma Faith - "Picking Up the Pieces" (from Fall to Grace)

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RADAR: Quickbeam

Scottish art/folk ensemble Quickbeam cite Low Anthem, Sigur Ros and Bon Iver as influences and it's not difficult to distinguish those particularly somber and atmospheric elements in their music. Formed in 2009 by Monika Gromek, the band has expanded from the core of a trio --including Andrew Thomson and violinist Nichola Kerr -- to a live amalgam of six players but it remaines important, says Gromek, to keep the sound "sparse and minimalist" even with a richer tapestry of chamber pop instrumentation. We're particularly taken with the recently released "Seven Hundred Birds" single, a dramatic and mournful ode made even more effective with a gorgeous video (watch below). With a backdrop of strings atop an Indian Harmonium, Gromek's near softly sung vocals -- later joined in harmony -- turns the song into a lush, stately folk hymn.

Quickbeam - "Seven Hundred Birds"

Quickbeam - "Tide"

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Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts

Norah Jones may have named her breakout jazz/folk debut Come Away With Me but we're thinking that title may be even more appropriate -- at least stylistically -- when it comes to the more alt/pop edge of her new album Little Broken Hearts (May 1, Blue Note). Jones clearly wants to move beyond the sultry balladry that made her a platinum sensation a decade ago (prompting the inevitable "Snorah" backlash) with songs like "Don't Know Why", but will her fans decide to come away with her as well this time? Lyrically, Little Broken Hearts is often directed at the end of a romantic relationship but it's also about new beginnings and stepping beyond perceptions, whether they be from a lost lover or an expectant fan. Her 2009 album The Fall began her move toward the indie art/pop territory and Hearts, a collaboration in sound and style with noted producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, puts her more firmly in a more experimental, slightly edgy mood. It's not a daring, turn-the-tables kind of statement but it's certainly unlike anything she's done before. And maybe that, in itself, is a good thing...

Norah Jones - "Travelin' On" (from Little Broken Hearts)

Norah Jones - "All A Dream" (from Little Broken Hearts)

Stream the full Little Broken Hearts album at NPR

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Glen Hansard - Rhythm and Repose

Glen Hansard - Ireland's acclaimed singer and songwriter came to prominence with the platinum, award-winning success of the 2006 indie movie sensation Once -- then went on with his co-star Marketa Irglova to record the 2009 album Strict Joy under the moniker The Swell Season...long-awaited debut solo album was recorded in Hansard's latest home of New York with producer Thomas "Doveman" Bartlett (The National)  // Release: Rhythm and Repose (June 19, ANTI-) // Sounds like: After Hansard met up with Bartlett at a small club in New York and tried out a new song or two, he decided to expand the collaboration in the studio...that easy, one-off attitude -- and the subsequent songs -- became the core of the aptly titled Rhythm and Repose: the relaxed feel still has some vibrant energy throughout thanks to Hansard's loose, free-wheeling attitude and the stellar lineup of studio players including members of Bruce Springsteen's horn section and guitarists Javier Moss (Leonard Cohen) and David Mansfield (Bob Dylan)...

Glen Hansard - "Love Don't Leave Me Waiting" (from Rhythm and Repose)

Glen Hansard - "Philanderer" (from Rhythm and Repose)

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Watch: Lost In The Trees - "Golden Eyelids"

From the recently released Lost In The Trees album A Church That Fits Our Needs comes the video for "Golden Eyelids", a DC favorite track that finds frontman/founder Ari Picker submerged (literally) and doing his best not to float away as he "sings". Those who have dreams of drowning may want to steer clear of this one but we still love the whole feel of this song, with what we've described as a "ghostly doo-wop chorus and waltzing melody, cinematic strings adding an eerie dimension..." And if you missed the video for "Red" -- check it out below (it's a keeper).

Lost in the Trees - "Golden Eyelids" (from A Church That Fits Our Needs)

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RADAR: Delta Rae

Signed by the legendary Sire Records founder Seymour Stein, Durham, NC roots-'n-pop band Delta Rae are readying their debut album Carry the Fire for a June 19 release via Warner Brothers. Drawing on elements of folk, blues, rock, gospel and country, Delta Rae -- led by siblings Brittany, Ian & Eric Hölljes -- released their focus track (and video - watch below) "Bottom of the River" last fall as well as a free download of an energized concert recording. "I hate labels," says Stein, "but if forced I would have to call their music 'Original Americana,' not unlike what the English are sending over via Mumford & Sons and others." We hear nearly as much straight melodic pop and rock as we do the more rootsy elements -- particularly on songs like "Chains On Love" and "Morning Comes" -- but Delta Rae's soulfully entwined harmonies, soaring vocals and dramatic crescendos make for a promising and potent mix.

Delta Rae - "Bottom of the River" (from Carry the Fire)

Delta Rae - "Chains On Love" (Live)

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Watch: The Staves - "The Motherlode"

"The Motherlode" comes to us as the title track from the new EP released today in the U.K. by Brit sibling nu-folk trio The Staves -- Emily, Jessica and Camilla. What we have described as the sisters' "sublime harmony" is again front and center on the new tracks, the forerunners of a new fall full-length produced by the father and son team of producers Glyn and Ethan Johns. Look for The Staves this spring as they open for Bon Iver on their American tour. More DC on The Staves and The Motherlode EP here.

The Staves - "Motherlode" (from The Motherlode EP)

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DC April 17 New Release Recap

If it's Tuesday, it must be New Release Day, a day of joyous celebration, confession, redemption and exaltation. OK, maybe it's just a Tuesday with some new music. Like In the Time of Gods, the first album in a few years from Dar Williams...or maybe Shallow Bed, the fine debut from Brit pub/folk band Dry The River. There's also the latest from Justin Ringle and his Horse Feathers, So-Cal tunesmith Jason Mraz, Chicago psych-n'-power/popmeisters King of Prussia, Nashville-based Aussie alt-pop princess Butterfly Boucher and British folk/rockers Ellen and the Escapades. Also hitting the stores and cyber-shelves today: new tunes from Train, Jack Johnson, Eric Hutchinson, Loudon Wainwright III, Neon Trees, Rebecca Pidgeon, The Staves and Warren Haynes.  You can check 'em out (and find some helpful links to features and music) below...

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RADAR: Karima Francis

Blackpool, UK singer/songwriter Karima Francis, topped with a shock of unruly curls, has one of those voices shot through to the core with an aching vulnerability -- rough and a little ragged around the edges but both tender and telling all at once. Recalling the pulled-close acoustic alt/folk intimacy of Tracy Chapman and Tanita Tikaram, Francis finds that shadowy place between sharply drawn and forceful storytelling and the hushed drama of personal confession. On the surface, new single (and video below) "Wherever I Go", a first glimpse at her forthcoming summer full length, isn't all that striking. But the raw voice, pleading, emotional, impassioned, suddenly makes the melody sing with new meaning and depth and the effect is simply, quietly and devastatingly real. Picked a few years ago as one of those "new faces to watch" throughout the U.K. press, Francis makes good the promise of her '09 indie debut on August 6 with the major label The Remedy, produced by Flood (U2, PJ Harvey).  The Wherever I Go EP drops May 13 in the U.K.

Karima Francis - "Wherever I Go" (from the album The Remedy)

Karima Francis - "Forgiven"

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Irène Jacob - Je Sais Nager

You may know Irène Jacob as the enchanting, award-winning Swiss actress who starred in two of the best films of the past 20 years: Three Colours: Red and The Double Life of Veronique, both directed by the legendary Krzysztof Kieslowski (we highly recommend both). But you probably didn't know Irène is also a songwriter and naturally gifted singer, a fact that comes to brilliant light with Je Sais Nager ("I Know How to Swim") (May 8, Sunnyside), a new album she created with her New York-based brother, jazz composer and guitarist Francis Jacob. The music is airy but thoughtful, full of playful turns and colorful world beat rhythms, melodies that flit and sparkle with inspired arrangements backed by instrumentalists from Morocco, Brazil and Peru -- and all delightfully transcendent of language.

Irène Jacob & Francis Jacob - "Henri" (from Je Sais Nager)

 Irène Jacob & Francis Jacob - Je Sais Nager Sampler (Je Sais Nager, Sumatra, Mon Essence A Moi)

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Listen: Donavon Frankenreiter - "A.I."

Possessor of one of the greatest 'staches in music, surfin' folk/pop songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter is back with Start Livin', his fifth album -- and the successor to 2010's Glow -- arriving March 29. Lead track "A.I." is an exceptionally fine precursor to the full-length and heartwarming tribute to his late friend (and fellow surfer) Andy Irons. It's not surprising that the loss has had a emotional impact on Frankenreiter and theme of his new project: "Start Livin' means stop worrying about where you've been, where you're going—just start embracing what you have around you. Start loving what you have right now." And who can quibble with that? Watch the video below...

Donavon Frankenreiter - "A.I." (from the album Start Livin')

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Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word

Jason Mraz - SoCal songwriter says he wants his fans to "have sunshine but not get sunburned" on the highly anticipated ode to all things L-O-V-E and the follow up to his 2008 worldwide platinum album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things -- and the phenomenal, Grammy-nominated hit "I'm Yours" (with over 21 million sold to date) // Release: Love Is A Four Letter Word (April 17, Atlantic) // Sounds like: veteran producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, My Morning Jacket) and a dream team of L.A. studio players give Mraz some serious room to stretch out, providing a purring musical engine that's both efficient and nimble -- the laid back reggae and loose folk/pop feel still permeates but the touch is light and the mood is more gently, smoothly swinging than dude-inspired...where strum/pop troubadour John Mayer has shifted to a more progressive blues-tinged bent, Mraz has evolved to a sophisticated, if earnestly heartfelt, plateau of effortlessly melodic modern club-meets-cabaret songcraft...

Jason Mraz - "5/6" (from Love Is A Four Letter Word)

Jason Mraz - "Be Honest" (with Inara George) (from Love Is A Four Letter Word)

Stream the full album at Mraz's site...

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The definitely non-boy Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass are BOY, a Hamburg-based duo armed with a bundle of smart, often breezy alt-pop songs on their well-received debut album Mutual Friends, released last fall in Germany and Switzerland, makes its way to the U.K. and the rest of Europe on June 12 and then -- we're hoping -- to the U.S. later this year. After meeting up at music workshop in Hamburg, Steiner and Glass began writing and performing together and then, over a nearly two and half year period, laying down tracks in Berlin at the home studio of producer and multi-instrumentalist Philipp Steinke. "We made about 10 versions of most of the songs," says Sonja. "So they have evolved over the course of time. And some of them have ended up sounding completely different from the way they began." Mutual Friends alternates easily from brightly colored, uptempo tracks such as "Little Numbers (youtube video views: 3.5 million - watch below) to the thoughtful introspective "Drive Darling" and album closer "July".

BOY - "This Is the Beginning" (from Mutual Friends)

BOY - "Oh Boy" (from Mutual Friends)

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Listen: Jukebox the Ghost - "Somebody"

"Somebody" kicks off the forthcoming Jukebox the Ghost album with, well, a spirited kick all its own. The Washington, DC piano-pop trio has never shied away from we've described as "twisty hooks and insanely catchy, high-energy melodic turns" -- and the new Safe Travels (June 12, Yep Roc) from pianist Ben Thornewill, guitarist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin promises to be even bigger and bolder than ever. The beat-driven, delightfull unironic "Somebody" practically begs to be sung along to so roll down the windows, crank it up an let 'er rip. Get a free download of another Safe Travels track -- "Oh Emily" -- at the JTG website.

Jukebox the Ghost - "Somebody" (from Safe Travels)

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Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts In Snow

Admiral Fallow - Led by frontman and chief songwriter Louis Abbott, Scottish indie folk/pop band with a rough hewn edge returns with the eagerly anticipated follow up to 2010's breakout debut Boots Met My Face, an album we heralded as "quietly epic" and "a triumphant, visionary work" // Release: Tree Bursts In Snow (May 22 digital - June 26 CD, Nettwerk) // Sounds like: while there are elegant moments of ethereal harmonies and bedroom folk introspection to be had, the band seems to have honed their freewheeling sound and amped up the power playing over the din of ale-soaked clubs...the dramatic and artful approach to instrumentation and production sounds completely natural and unpretentious -- this is music grounded in basics yet as beautifully crafted as the most opulent chamber pop...

Admiral Fallow - "The Paper Trench" (from Tree Bursts In Snow)

Admiral Fallow - "Beetle in the Box" (from Tree Bursts In Snow)

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RADAR: Amy Holford

British songwriter and singer Amy Holford isn't about the knockout punch, the big, dramatic song with the obvious killer hook. But the more subtle and subdued approach can be equally effective as she's proven on a handful of demos that lead the way for an official EP release later this year. Those fine folks at Communion (the music collective/ label co-founded by Mumford and Son's Ben Lovett) have already paid notice via their Newcastle branch and we're expecting that the anticipated fleshed-out studio recordings might be something special, particularly when you discover the richness of her vocals on songs like "Sunflower." Watch the live video for "Sunflower" below...

Amy Holford - "Sunflower"

Amy Holford - "I Have Seen"

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Watch: Eight and a Half - "Go Ego"

We'll admit that there's not much going on in the video for "Go Ego" beyond the arty direction of Gaelle Jaunay-Desroches and, of course, the obvious eye candy of actress Jessica Stroup. The Canadian trio Eight and a Half -- Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff along with Dave Hamelin and Liam O'Neil of The Stills -- released their fine eponymous debut this week and we'll also readily admit that it took a few listens to really take to what we've described as "dense, dreamy alt-pop, cacophonous blips and bleeps joining in a musical conversation that manages to be both droningly ambient and slyly melodic." Whatever it is, we're now happily drinking the Kool-aid.

Eight and a Half - "Go Ego" (from the album Eight and a Half)

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Listen: Martha Wainwright - "All Your Clothes" (Live In Studio)

Martha Wainwright's been busy. In the midst of recording the follow up to her wonderful 2008 album I Know You’re Married but I Have Feelings Too -- and her 2010 recording of Edith Piaf tunes -- Wainwright has booked a June residency at City Winery in New York and even found time to stop by the Radio Free Song Club to lay down "two new, beautiful, sad, mad, songs about marriage and mothers": "All Your Clothes" and "Can You Believe It". The new studio project won't be arriving until the fall, but take a sneak peak below with "All Your Clothes" (and stream the full RFSC show here.)

Martha Wainwright - "All Your Clothes" (from the Radio Free Song Club performance)

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