Fragrant World functions on many levels: It’s bound to inspire some bang-up dance remixes, in spite of (and, let’s face it, because of) the swirling, searching layers of gloom sewn into its margins. Inspired equally by R&B records and Blade Runner, it’s the sort of record that rewards a bit of exploration, but it never forgets to dole out fun, easy payoffs along the way.
Philly-born Santigold’s sophomore album, Master Of My Make-Believe, is set for release on May 1st (via Downtown and Atlantic Records). Earlier this month, she announced a series of tour dates in support of the release, including a performance at the Trocadero on Tuesday, May 8th. From NPR Music:
As uncompromising in her own way as M.I.A., whose music attacks more viscerally, Santigold seems ambivalent about most everything she touches on Master of My Make-Believe — especially success, if “Fame” is any indication. Even the profanity-laced “Look at These Hoes” seems to straddle the line between loathing material excess and embracing it; in that case, the result feels deadpan to the point of half-heartedness.
With its frequent nods to island rhythms — and the aid of collaborators from old standbys Diploand Switch to Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O — Master of My Make-Believe has a sprawl to it that belies its 38-minute run time. As a result, whether a given song comes out as a jolt (“Freak Like Me”) or a trot (“Pirate in the Water”), Master of My Make-Believe feels packed and filling. But fun has been edged out of the equation a bit, in favor of an emphasis on ferocity and artistry that’s increasingly hard to deny
You can read the full write-up and listen to the album in its entirety here.
From NPR Music:
Joan Osborne has just returned to the national stage with an album of her favorite blues and R&B songs, Bring It On Home. The collection, co-produced with guitarist Jack Petruzzelli, features tracks made famous by Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, Al Green andOtis Redding.
Osborne offered her interpretations of these classic cuts during a webcast from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Friday, April 6.
You can listen to the performance in its entirety here.
The members of Screaming Females have just released the leadoff single to the band’s upcoming album, Ugly (due April 3rd on Don Giovanni Records). You can listen to the track below (via Rolling Stone). Last month, the New Brunswick-based punk trio stopped by the NPR Music office to record a Tiny Desk Concert, which you can also check out below. Screaming Females performs at Long In The Tooth Records on Wednesday, February 15th.
The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn—who, as we mentioned earlier today, will headline a double-header of XPN Welcomes shows at Milkboy Philly on Friday, March 9th—recently recorded a Tiny Desk Concert, which has just been posted to the NPR Music site. From NPR Music:
[O]n his new solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, Finn kicks himself free from the crutches of rock. It’s a sad sort of breakup record, barren and broken and informed by the wisdom of age, but his instantly recognizable speak-singing ramble remains. Finn’s starker side is, of course, nicely conducive to stripped-down arrangements behind Bob Boilen’s desk at the NPR Music offices: All these mournful, inward-facing songs (including the unreleased “Jeremiah’s Blues”) really require is Finn, his acoustic guitar and the indispensable pedal steel of Ricky Ray Jackson.
You can watch the video below; you can also read the full write-up and download the audio over at NPR Music.
Dusdin Condren/Courtesy of the artist
From NPR Music:
Even when she’s conveying disappointment, hurt or longing, Van Etten sounds more assertive and complex these days, aided by the ever-knottier contributions of guest players from The National, Wye Oak, Beirut and The Walkmen. The feathery coos of “Much More Than That” have given way to a tensely argumentative and conflicted sneer in “Serpents,” the remarkable first single from Tramp, out Feb. 7. When she sings, “I had a thought that you would take me seriously,” her words are smeared with accusation instead of apologies. She says it herself in the song’s chorus: “Everyone changes in time.” By the time she gets to “All I Can” a few songs later, even her most defensive pronouncements — “I do all I can / We all make mistakes” — ring out with stormy grandiosity that sounds downright triumphant.
You can read the full write-up and listen to the album here. XPN Welcomes Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater to Johnny Brenda’s at 9:15 p.m. Friday, February 10th; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT.
Photo by Joe del Tufo
From NPR Music:
Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog has drawn glowing comparisons to legendary groups — The Beatles, Pavement, Guided by Voices — across the spectrum of rock. Formed in 1999 as a side project of another band, the group soon became a local favorite, eventually breaking out after touring with My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James in 2004.
Dr. Dog’s subsequent albums achieved critical success; on Fate, the group recalled elements of psychedelic pop, while on Shame, Shame it embraces the slacker rock of the early ’90s. The band’s next record, Be the Void, comes out on Feb. 7. Hear Dr. Dog preview its new record live in concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live.
You can listen to the performance here.
“That Old Black Hole”
“How Long Must I Wait”
“Over Here, Over There”
“Do The Trick”