Tag: rock

Jorge Drexler puts his music in his listeners’ hands

Boston Globe, September 7, 2013 The singer Jorge Drexler is known for his skill at combinations. Like Caetano Veloso, one of his idols, he combines South American folk with the great modern songwriting tradition of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. He started as a doctor in his native Uruguay but is now, at 48, an […]

Multifaceted Mvula experiences a swift rise

Boston Globe, May 16, 2013 Laura Mvula is only just catching up to what she’s done. Twelve months ago the 26-year-old singer was basically unknown, except in a few corners of the Birmingham, England, music world: the gospel a cappella group with whom she first performed, the conservatory where she studied composition, and, if you […]

Book review: “I Would Die 4 U,” by Touré

Boston Globe, March 21, 2013 “A woman who was in a relationship with Prince years ago told me that when he gave women baths he took total control.” This nugget exemplifies what’s engaging about “I Would Die 4 U,” Touré’s study of the protean pop star’s meaning and appeal. It’s gossipy and a little prurient; […]

Nona Hendryx balances soul, conscience

Boston Globe, July 8, 2012 NEW YORK— Let’s say you formed your first band as a Trenton, N.J., teen in the ’50s. You helped invent funk in a trio, LaBelle, that found cult status in the ’70s. You pioneered sci-fi themes before George Clinton. Later, you forged ahead as a solo artist and in collaborations […]

Brazilian’s road album draws from touring, tradition

Boston Globe, June 25, 2012 The Brazilian singer Céu calls “Caravana Sereia Bloom” — her third CD, which came out earlier this year — a road album. It is meant to capture, she says, “many aspects of the road,” a topic she’s had ample time to reflect on as a touring artist. “Since my first […]

Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna finds a home away from home

Boston Globe, June 8, 2012 Yuna didn’t have to come to America. Things were going just fine for the young singer-songwriter back home in Malaysia three years ago, when a Los Angeles artist management company started courting her on the strength of the songs she’d posted online. She had parlayed MySpace popularity into a budding […]

Cut it up & eat it: the bloody soul of Le Butcherettes

MTV Iggy, January 10, 2012 If you came for the severed pig’s head, you’re too late. Ditto, possibly, for the blood-stained butcher’s apron — though Teri Gender Bender, the leader and frontwoman of the punk-inspired band Le Butcherettes, has not yet removed that trademark prop from her performance wardrobe. She may still, when she feels […]

Anders Trentemøller, Danish Electro Ringmaster

MTV Iggy, December 7, 2011 His American breakout moment came earlier this year when he tore up the 2011 Coachella festival, in a high-intensity electronic set backed by a full live rock band and a visual show that had breathless bloggers and reviewers proclaiming it the festival’s high point. But in Europe Anders Trentemøller has been a […]

Amália Hoje brings new life to fado’s strongest voice

Boston Globe, December 2, 2011 From the start, it doesn’t feel like fado. Nor does the players’ entrance fit the norm for Lisbon’s hallowed style of melancholy song. It is not the genteel Portuguese guitar but a sharp synthesizer beat that ushers the artists on stage. There are not one but three singers – a […]

Just A Kenyan Band of Superheroes

MTV Iggy, November 15, 2011 It took a superhero to bring Just A Band back from the future. His name: Makmende. His look: Blaxploitation chic—sharp tan jacket, flared trousers, broad-rimmed shades, Afro pick. His modus operandi: Appears in the streets of Nairobi to beat down miscreants, send robbers fleeing, fight off masked kidnappers, rescue a […]

Sweet predators: the cannibal courtship of Dengue Fever

MTV Iggy, September 9, 2011 There’s a poignant moment on Cannibal Courtship, the fifth album from the Cambodia-inspired, Los Angeles-based Dengue Fever, that encapsulates what is tragic and urgent in the message of this idiosyncratic band who just as often come off light-hearted. It comes on a track called “Sister In the Radio.” Singing in Khmer […]

Hanni El Khatib’s got a hot hot thing

MTV Iggy, August 4, 2011 Somewhere on a side street in the vestigial industrial precincts of Manhattan’s Far West side, the rocker Hanni El Khatib interrupts a photo shoot—he was getting portrayed roaming these blocks and checking out the High Line elevated park—and pulls out his camera phone to take a few snaps of his own. The sight […]

Her career is having a moment – again

Boston Globe, July 31, 2011 NEW YORK – As a pre-teen, Ximena Sarinana played willful child characters in telenovelas, Mexico’s ultra-popular soap operas. As a teenager she went on to complex roles in feature films. In her late teens she fronted a jazz and funk band, and she even spent a semester at Berklee College […]

Cuban singer gets a little help from a friend

Boston Globe, June 13, 2011 The story of Jackson Browne’s friendship with Carlos Varela – his Cuban singer-songwriter counterpart, locally acclaimed but little-known in the United States – begins, as do so many good Cuba stories, with a bottle of rum. It happened when Browne and Varela, who were being introduced by mutual friends, found […]

Straight outta Vladivostok

Boston Globe, August 13, 2010 Most bands on their way to success have to face typical obstacles like dodgy record deals or squabbles among bandmates. Far fewer must deal with collapse and transformation of the social order, a crippling economic crisis, suspicious authorities, and a music market where 9 out of 10 CDs are pirated […]

Taqwacore: Salat, angst and rock & roll

MTV Desi, August 12, 2010 On a warm evening last August in Oakland, California, a group of young men – relaxed, casually dressed, not all of them freshly showered – stand barefoot on flattened cardboard boxes in the yard behind a scruffy bar on Telegraph Avenue. They figure out which way is East: Mecca is […]

Haale’s sound stretches from New York to Iran

Boston Globe, May 6, 2008 Call her Persian. Call her a New Yorker. Call her a rocker. Call her a poet. Even call her a mystic, if you must. But please, don’t call Haale exotic. The Bronx-born, Iranian-American singer and guitarist, whose debut full-length effort, “No Ceiling,” is set to go down as one of […]

Surviving a rough patch: Drive-By Truckers

Boston Globe, March 21, 2008 Last year was a time of transition for the Drive-By Truckers, the Athens, Ga., band with the dual gift for high-octane rocking and magisterial front-porch storytelling. Personnel flux and a sense of fatigue led the group to pare down its sound, perform acoustic gigs, and take time out to serve […]

At 65, he increases range: Caetano Veloso

Boston Globe, November 2, 2007 Caetano Veloso has never been one to rest on his laurels. At 65, the great Brazilian singer, who plays the Orpheum Theatre tonight, still shows the restlessness that first earned him fame in the late 1960s, when, together with fellow Bahian Gilberto Gil, he helped forge the ebullient, edgy, multi-arts […]

He’ll keep trucking, but solo: Jason Isbell

Boston Globe, July 15, 2007 The Alabama band Drive-By Truckers has earned something of a cult following both for its fresh take on classic themes of Southern music and for its powerful three-guitar front line, made up most recently of Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell, all native sons of the musically distinguished Muscle […]

Nels Cline: Guitarist who straddles two worlds

Boston Globe, June 22, 2007 The intersection of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll brings to mind crossovers of the ’70s, from the Miles Davis of “Bitches Brew” or John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra to the refined session pop of Steely Dan, as well as the sprawling miasma known as fusion. But today, the atomization of music […]

Air: French mood setters still a band apart

Alarm Magazine, March 20, 2007 [Cover Story] AIR. It always was an ambitious name for a band, so brief and elemental. It posed from the start the question of substance, and when the French duo of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel turned up in 1998 with the, well, airy electronic sketches of Moon Safari, they achieved saturation in certain circles […]

Dengue Fever spreads Cambodian rock

Boston Globe, January 20, 2007 Dengue fever is a fairly nasty, mosquito-borne tropical disease. But the spread of an infectious new strain in the United States should be no cause for alarm. Dengue Fever, the Los Angeles band, transmits itself through music and results in nothing worse than 1970s surf-rock flashbacks and a sudden urge […]

An original sound keeps evolving

Boston Globe, June 23, 2006 Calexico is coming home. Since the late 1990s, the Tucson, Ariz., band has forged its own brand of music, a sometimes ramshackle, always exhilarating affair full of Mexican trumpets and plaintive country melodies. It has drawn inspiration, too, from traditional and pop music of Europe, where it frequently performs and […]

By way of Russia, art-rock for art’s sake

Boston Globe, March 24, 2006 Ever wonder where art-rock went? Ambitious, literary rock music with an appetite for genre experimentation and an extroverted, theatrical stage personality? If you’re stuck in a rut, replaying your old Roxy Music or Talking Heads records, then you probably haven’t been looking to the east Eastern Europe, that is. Art-rock […]

Mixing old songs and new, Fagen finds the groove

Boston Globe, March 13, 2006 No one has taken the place of Steely Dan. A generation ago, guitarist Walter Becker and singer-keyboardist Donald Fagen built an unmatched creative hub connecting rock, jazz, blues, and soul. Their taut sound, technical yet warm, and their lyrics, crucial vignettes of ’70s dystopia and Reagan-era dyspepsia, sped them into […]

Spirited rock, fastidious alt-folk make uneasy match

Boston Globe, December 10, 2005 Calexico is one of America’s best rock bands, a crew out of Tucson that makes exuberant, textured music steeped in the border sensibility yet never derivative. Iron & Wine is Sam Beam, an alt- folk hero with hushed voice and husky beard whose songs straddle the line between haunting and […]

Raging at injustice, he rocks the Casbah and beyond

Boston Globe, July 3, 2005 “Tekitoi?” Couched in the truncated urban French of text messages, police stops, and ghetto posturing, the title of singer Rachid Taha’s barnstorming new album poses an urgent existential challenge: “Who the hell are you?” In-your-face exhortation comes naturally to the Paris-based Taha, who brings his six-piece Arabic rock band to […]