On his new album The Third Hand, RJD2 completely reinvents his sound. He's no longer pure hip-hop. He's made a pop record. It was written, arranged, produced and performed entirely by RJD2, born Ramble John "RJ" Krohn. There's not a sample on an album from a man famed for his creative use of layered samples.
Bonde Do Role hail from Curitiba, Brazil. They play what is alternately known as baile funk, favela funk or funk carioca. Marina, the vocalist for the group, raps over a mish-mash of rapid beats and samples. It's basically dance music meant for blasting at parties and clubs. Their American debut is Gasolina.
Whistle once on an album and you may be doomed to be tagged as a whistler forever. Luckily for Andrew Bird, famed in the indie rock world for his whistling, might be able to pass the torch to whistlers-du-jour Peter Bjorn and John.
Nigerian musician Fela Kuti invented Afro-beat, the blend of jazz, funk and traditional African music that was the introduction to "world" music for many Americans. Antibalas, a Brooklyn-based collective of about 17 musicians, carry on Fela's legacy of making danceable, politically aware songs.
Sondre Lerche claims his latest album, Phantom Punch, is "an Orange Juice meets Fleetwood Mac & My Bloody Valentine meets Gilberto Gil & Os Mutantes meets early Elvis Costello & Prefab Sprout & XTC meets Thomas Dolby meets Steely Dan circa Katy Lied, kind of thing."