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  • Ben Watt's Second Act: Here's 'Hendra'

    July 25, 2014 12:25 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    In a world where the typical career cycle of most pop musicians includes a few singles, maybe an album or two, and then unavoidable oblivion, Ben Watt hasn’t been paying attention. He’s in it for the proverbial long haul. And when the gap between your first and second album is 31 years, that’s one hell of a haul. The delightful Hendra, Watt’s unexpected, just-released new album, further delivers on the promise offered by Watt’s earliest works. His initial single...  | More »

  • Slow Club's Soulful Surrender

    July 15, 2014 5:15 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    A creative and colorful duo from Sheffield, England who continue to evolve in unexpected and sophisticated directions, Britain’s Slow Club have managed to be cute, musically sophisticated and stripped-down soulful in the course of their comparatively brief career. Complete Surrender, the accomplished and subtle third album by Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson—who are indeed Slow Club—is graced by impeccable production courtesy of Colin Elliot and a sense of songs that, even...  | More »

  • Bootstraps: The Glory, The Grandeur & The Dandy Music

    June 30, 2014 10:25 AM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Though they don’t have a plethora of live gigs under their belt, or a frenzied following of manic fans trading performance tapes and videos, Bootstraps, still a very young band, are positioned enviably nonetheless. They are very good and only getting better. The L.A.-based group, who recently released their self-titled debut album on the revamped (and consistently tasteful) Harvest Records label, aren’t actually starting from scratch. Like many of today’s more interesting ...  | More »

  • Empires Are Feeling Very Good Indeed

    June 19, 2014 2:55 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Sharp, creative and bringing a commendable freshness to the sometimes drearily derivative world of contemporary rock, Empires are a remarkably good rock ‘n’ roll band. In a world full of faceless, regurgitated rhythms and emotion-by-numbers, the band’s music is strikingly compact, precise and non-excessive: There is a there there, and there are no wasted notes anywhere. In Yahoo’s neck of the woods shortly before the release of their new EP How Good Does It Feel&mdas...  | More »

  • Gabriel Kahane Gives Touring A New Meaning

    June 16, 2014 4:58 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    One of the year’s very best albums has arrived in a comparatively low-key, unheralded manner—as often happens—and this is something you really shouldn’t miss. The Ambassador, the latest work by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Kahane, aims to tell the story of Los Angeles. With a diverse array of songs bearing addresses in their titles, such as “Musso and Frank (6667 Hollywood Blvd),” and “Union Station (800 N. Alameda St.)," Kahan...  | More »

  • Video: The Lighthouse and the Whaler Make Waves

    June 13, 2014 4:50 PM ET

    Sometimes mild-mannered indie-rockers can get overlooked, but the Lighthouse and the Whaler are making some serious waves, winning over new fans and critics alike with their unique brand of orchestral pop. The Cleveland quartet's ridiculously catchy tune, "Venice," has amassed more than 1 million plays on Spotify and showcases their penchant for combining bright guitars and catchy melodies with fun, singalong moments replete with "whoa-wooh-oohs" and earnest declarations of love. When f...  | More »

  • The Best 'Young Ones' Musical Performances

    June 11, 2014 3:35 PM ET
     |  Lyndsey Parker

    On June 9, British comedian Rik Mayall died tragically and suddenly, at age 56. Although Mayall amassed an impressive résumé of comedic credits during his three-decade career, on this side of the pond he will probably always be best known and loved — at least by children of the 1980s — as the People's Poet, aka insufferable-but-lovable wannabe anarchist Rick, from the BBC's punk-rock comedy The Young Ones. In the mid-'80s, MTV ran episodes of this s...  | More »

  • A Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin

    June 4, 2014 2:05 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin (Deluxe CD Edition), Led Zeppelin II (Deluxe CD Edition), Led Zeppelin III(Deluxe CD Edition) (Atlantic/Swan Song) Certainly the week’s biggest music news must be the gala reissuing of the first three Led Zeppelin albums--remastered, filled to the brim with bonus tracks, and further proof that all great and progressive popular music reached its peak 45 years ago! Well, no, not really, but…if, like me, you return to the catalogs of a certain class of art...  | More »

  • Jessie J and Justin Timberlake Perform at Rock in Rio Lisbon

    June 2, 2014 12:35 PM ET
     |  Lyndsey Parker

    On the final night of the Rock in Rio Lisbon festival Sunday, British pop diva Jessie J invited headliner Justin Timberlake to duet with her on her new song, "Keep Us Together." That didn't happen… but later in the evening, her impromptu duet with another, less famous man turned out to be just as memorable, in its own way. [Photos: Rock in Rio Lisbon 2014] Jessie took the main stage at Lisbon's Parque da Bela Vista in front of 70,000 fans, looking like a fabulous Vegas show...  | More »

  • The Rolling Stones Jam With Springsteen at Rock in Rio Lisbon

    May 30, 2014 3:00 PM ET
     |  Lyndsey Parker

    Backstage gossip that Bill Clinton would join the Rolling Stones onstage Thursday at Rock in Rio's offshoot festival in Portugal turned out to be untrue. But the former U.S. president — sans his saxophone, but with a fleet of black-suited security guards in tow — enjoyed the big show with 80,000 or so other fans in Lisbon's majestically christened "City of Rock," as the iconic band jammed with another American icon: Bruce Springsteen. Reprising his "Tumbling Dice" due...  | More »

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