Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:16 am
The Miami-based Latin alternative band Elastic Bond has a varied sound that's hard to pinpoint. Its debut album, Real, contains tropical elements well suited to its home state of Florida, but funky horns and retro-leaning samples help freshen that sound. The combination of genres goes well with the band's name, which references a chemical equation.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:39 pm
At the heart of Iron and Wine is a 38-year-old singer-songwriter from South Carolina named Sam Beam, but Beam's new sixth album, Ghost on Ghost, is his most lavish full-band production yet. Back in 2002, the first Iron and Wine album essentially consisted of stripped-down demos, released as-is. In the spareness of those early recordings, Beam used only what he had available to him: a guitar, a banjo and a 4-track tape recorder.
Judy Cantor-Navas, managing editor of Billboard En Español, joins Latin Roots to discuss the mysterious world of flamenco music. It's hard to pinpoint exactly where the style originated; though known for its close ties to Spain, it's suggested that the roots of flamenco actually begin in India. Whatever its origins may be, however, it's a style dominated by strong performers.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:15 pm
U.K. singer Laura Mvula has been well-served by her conservatory training, which helped her uncover her own unique sound: Mvula's first full-length album, Sing to the Moon, blends classic pop, jazz and soul.
With help from producer Steve Brown, Mvula's choral-like arrangements are wonderfully layered and complex. In this installment of World Cafe, the singer performs live with her band and talks to host David Dye about how she separates her roles as a songwriter and a performer.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:43 pm
He's best known as the tall, hat-wearing member of The Monkees, but Michael Nesmith has worn many other hats in the last few decades. Nesmith recently finished up his first solo tour in 21 years, playing songs from both his original country-rock group (The First National Band) and his solo albums.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:45 pm
An indie-rock quintet based in Portland, Ore., Houndstooth features singer Katie Bernstein and guitarist John Gnorski — both of whom are originally from Austin, Texas. The band's sound reflects both hometowns, with Gnorski's loping guitar riffs hinting at bluesy Southern influences.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:45 pm
In the spring of 2012, Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall traveled to Tucson, Ariz., to work on her sixth album, Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon. But before she could return to finish the record, a lot happened in her personal life: The death of her father, as well as the dissolution of her marriage to drummer Luke Bullen, left Tunstall in a standstill.
The Cuban music form known as timba developed in the 1980s, but exploded in popularity throughout the '90s. While training in jazz and classical conservatories, many Cuban musicians were looking for a new musical form that would challenge their skills. By combining rumba with funk and other dance music, timba became a new Cuban genre of synthesized styles.
Originally from Minneapolis, José James began chasing his dreams of jazz singing at 17. He found his way to London and New York, and eventually ended up at The New School to study jazz vocals. James was always interested in a musical place where jazz, R&B, hip-hop and more can all come together.