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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Tons of new Newsom, Solo Strokes singer
Friday, April 3, 2010
It may have been four years in between albums, but Joanna Newsom is more than making up for lost time with three new discs of studio material throughout Have One On Me (Drag City). The singer/songwriter/piano player and harpist brings that sizeable new work to the stage, along with one of indie rock's most peculiar voices that either has fans swooning with delight or wishing she's stick to instrumentals. (Worth a shot - Saturday at Vic Theatre- Chicago, IL: www.ticketmaster.com).
Indie poppers Camera Obscura have released four albums since debuting in 1996 and last year's My Maudlin Career (4AD) was amongst its most critically acclaimed to date. Expect a career spanning set from the Glasgow-bred band in an intimate setting that's sure to highlight the fivesome's instantly attractive stylings akin to Belle & Sebastian or Peter Bjorn and John. (Worth a shot - Monday at Lincoln Hall- Chicago, IL: www.lincolnhallchicago.com).
Julian Casablancas sure is making the most of The Strokes' current hiatus, not only releasing the solo CD Phrazes for the Young (RCA), but hitting the road in support of the project. While the collection may not be as potent as the band's breakthrough disc Is This It, there's plenty of musical and lyrical evolution towards his current tastes, including insights inspired by Oscar Wilde's essay "Phrases And Philosophies For The Use Of The Young." (Worth a shot - Tuesday at Vic Theatre- Chicago, IL: www.jamusa.com).
Street Week: Usher gets personal, Barenaked down one
Monday, March 29, 2010
One of R&B's biggest bedroom crooners makes a shift from sexiness to bare his soul after a highly publicized divorce. Usher turns in his most personal collection to date on Raymond V Raymond (La Face), once again bursting with massive beats and smooth grooves. Expect a sea of all-star producers, including Polow Da Don, Jim Jonsin and Danja, plus Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
Anyone looking at the cover of Barenaked Ladies' latest CD All In Good Time (Raisin' Records) will notice Ed Robertson (guitar/vocals), Jim Creeggan (bass/vocals), Kevin Hearn (keyboard/guitar/vocals) and Tyler Stewart (drums/vocals). But conspicuous by his absence is founding member/co-singer Steven Page, who departed last year for a solo career. In any case, the quirky popstars press on with, though the group's signature harmonies and sardonic sense of humor seem ever so slightly truncated.
For her first official studio CD since 2003's Simple Things, singer/songwriter Amy Grant turns in a mixed bag on Somewhere Down the Road (EMI), which consists of six brand new songs, two previously unreleased tunes, three fan favorite narratives and a new recording of the classic "Arms of Love." The project reads like an incredibly intimate diary that finds the troubadour boldly expressing herself and continuing in the heartfelt tradition that's thus far sold over 30 million albums.
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