Elvin Bishop has enjoyed a nearly 50-year career in music at every possible level — from apprentice to veteran Blues master Little Smoky Smothers and Blues groundbreaker as co-founder of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to crossover Pop success (with “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”) and various degrees of roadhouse fame and commercial obscurity.
Over the course of his four-decade career, Robin Trower has often found himself on the outs with critics. For his latest album, though, the guitarist offers his most subdued and quietly powerful work to date, featuring the most emotive songwriting and playing of his long career.
If the name Tom Caufield is familiar, you might know him from his recent releases or you might be among the lucky few to be aware of his brilliant 1987 Pop treatise, 'Long Distance Calling.' But it's a safe bet that if you know Caufield you also know that he began as Tom Toth and was keyboardist for the seminal version of Cincinnati music heroes The Raisins.
With The Raconteurs and Dead Weather on breaks, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler reconnected with Craig Fox, revived The Greenhornes and are finally able to release the 12 blazing tracks that comprise **** (just say "Four Stars"), the trio's first full-length of new material in nearly eight years, which they've been working on sporadically for close to three years.
Elvis Costello's greatest quality is his unerring ability to shift sonic directions like he's changing from a thrift store overcoat to a Saville Row dinner jacket without compromising his artistic vision or his core creative philosophy. 'National Ransom' comes just two years after the Jenny Lewis-inspired racket on the patently excellent 'Momofuku' and a year after the mesmerizing 'Secret, Profane & Sugarcane.'
In 1993, Liz Phair established a career's worth of Indie cred and bitch-slapped the often misogyny-streaked Rolling Stones with 'Exile in Guyville.' Her new album might be the most freewheeling and uninhibited set she's attempted since that high profile debut.
Johnny Clegg's mix of African Pop and western Rock provided the template for later genre-blenders like Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel with the formation of the world township band Juluka in the late '70s. The title of his new solo album tells you a lot about both his subject matter and his viewpoint: 'Human.'
Elton John honors fellow piano vet Leon Russell on this new album, not by performing his old songs in tribute but by bringing him in as full creative partner with longtime co-writer Bernie Taupin. Together, they return to their signature styles, which complement each other amazingly well, perhaps because of their mutual love of Gospel.
This album is ironclad evidence of The Sundresses' power as a live entity, as every track they present on stage is an adrenalized, bug-eyed evocation of the adrenalized, bug-eyed song they conceived in the studio. Half was recorded at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, N.J., and the other half at Northside Tavern.
Sufjan Stevens does the nearly impossible on his new CD: He finds his way back to his song structure while incorporating a good deal of the intricate and fascinating little bits and bobs that he's utilized over the years.
On his fifth full-length CD, Pete Yorn channels his inner Paul Westerberg, Ryan Adams and Pixies with wild abandon and a raggedly raw energy. He and producer Frank Black (Pixies) have stripped the songs to their lyrical and musical essentials, making them irresistible in their raucous simplicity.
On his first studio album in eight years, Ronnie Wood stacks the deck with guests like Z.Z. Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, ex-Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan and icons Kris Kristofferson and Bobby Womack, among many others. Coupled with some of the best songs Wood has penned or co-penned in a long time, it stands as a highlight in his solo catalog.
Two decades away from the seminal rock trio Sleater-Kinney and a veritable lifetime of experience have given Corin Tucker an informed and mature perspective on '1000 Years,' but it's still filtered through the sensibility that helped advance the Riot Grrl cause in the '90s.
Bad Religion has sustained their sonic energy and activist passion across three decades, maintaining their integrity, relevance and every-other-year release schedule while growing, maturing and holding the interest of their aging fan base and attracting the youth that comprised their original audience. That string of success continues with their 15th album.
This is the first Of Montreal album to benefit from the studio environment as well as outside perspective. Kevin Barnes wrote and recorded the songs on his own, then took them to L.A. to flesh them out with super Pop producer Jon Brion and provided Of Montreal with their first real sonic depth.