Fricke's Picks Radio: A Winter of Live Gems and New Discoveries

Billys Joel and Idol, Bob Dylan, Björk and more

Billy Joel onstage at MSG in New York City on December 18th, 2014. Credit: Brad Barket/Getty

Live and on record, winter has been a generous season. Onstage, there was a rapid succession of memorable evenings with Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, the British band Savages at the Mercury Lounge and the jazz pianist Fred Hersch at the Village Vanguard. Billy Idol fired a couple of vintage Generation X bullets at the Beacon Theater; Richard Thompson showed off his legacy in songs and family at City Winery; and Jack White turned the Garden every shade of superheated blues. We lost Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream at 70. But Bob Dylan, at 73, took on Frank Sinatra, and the Icelandic siren Björk documented her heartbreak in boldly scored strings and electronics. That album, Vulnicura, is not on Spotify, so you get the frosted surrealism of her breakthrough band, the Sugarcubes, instead.

New to me: the Australian band Kingswood and a forthcoming album on Nonesuch by the Italian-born, British-raised folk singer Olivia Chaney. Last September in Brooklyn, she opened for Robert Plant, charming an audience hungry for ye olde Zeppelin with even deeper tradition and an intimate vocal command. The radio performance here shows how she did it.