Music

The Shoot Dangs
The Shoot Dangs

First Listen: Faith No More, 'Sol Invictus'

May 10, 2015

From a music fan's point of view, was there any real need for Faith No More to get back together after nearly 20 years away? The band's cast of eclectic rock 'n' roll innovators had a good run, yielding six albums, several of which qualify as classics.

The Milk Carton Kids' Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan craft soft, timeless ballads in close harmony — and, as such, recall the reverently beautiful likes of Simon & Garfunkel. But, while the duo's first three albums are gorgeous throughout, the studio can have a way of making music just a little too impeccable.

First Listen: Daniel Bachman, 'River'

May 10, 2015

Guitarist Daniel Bachman opens River with long, slow strums, as if he's summoning energy for a daunting journey. Beginning that way is common in fingerpicked acoustic guitar — what John Fahey, a pioneer of the form, called "American Primitive." But Bachman's patient notes seem to carry extra weight, suggesting that River could be the definitive work toward which he's been building throughout his short but prolific career.

Sharon Van Etten could sing the instruction manual for a dishwasher and make it sound like lyrical poetry. Over the course of four full-lengths, her voice has only evolved and grown both bolder and more nuanced. Van Etten plays every word like an instrument, bending one note into the next with a woozy purr that's sometimes sensual, sometimes heartbreaking but always arresting.

Tuva Lodmark and Nella Daltrey, the pair of 22-year-old Swedes who together make up the minimalist-rock duo Pale Honey, have been making music together since elementary school. Their latest music is quite spare – they turn it up every now and then with some great distortion, but usually it's simple, propulsive synth lines paired with strummed guitar and an understated beat. They remind me of The xx with a slightly elevated pulse.

Singer Jeen O'Brien has been around for a while, making music with a number of artists. She and Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene are in a band together called Cookie Duster. Don't ask me what a cookie duster is — I have no idea.

Lady Lamb On World Cafe

May 6, 2015

Bring a nice camera if you're going to Iceland. That's the setting of the gorgeously shot video for "The Drive Home," the opening track to Bandit's debut album, Of Life.

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