In 2012, the artist that is reminding us of what made early rock and roll great is JD McPherson. A former school teacher and punk rocker from Oklahoma, McPherson found his voice when he abandoned punk for the sound of 1958, recording "Signs and Signifiers" in glorious analog.
Brandi Carlile's greatest gift is that she is an exquisite singer. She can be tough and she can be tender with ease. Her vocals are never forced. She is always in her comfort zone, without all the vocal gymnastics of many of today's pop stars.
Coming from 14 years of hard work and dedication to their music and their fans, Metric has a career that stands out against their indie rock peers. Their new album "Synthetica" exposes a darker side of Metric's sound and lyrics.
For me, their talent jumps out of the radio no matter which song off this album that we play. But the true pleasure of this band is found in sitting with the whole album and giving it a deep listen. It rewards your presence -- it is real and authentic.
The collective is back with their sophomore release "Here," and many people will probably listen to it hoping to hear another "Home." There's no way of knowing yet, but what the album does give us is a more introspective Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros digging into their spiritual side.
The Only Place isn't just an improvement on Best Coast's debut; it's a harsh reminder that it's a steep fall from grace when you start out as a darling of the indie music blogs. Like Weezer's "Pinkerton," this album can't and won't be fully appreciated until fans and critics have their chance to deliver some initial hipster backlash.
I love this quote from the band regarding the sound and texture of the record: "We wanted the louder stuff to sound cranky." Oh, it does. Even the tiniest moments of silence have a buzz and a darkness about them.
He's been called his generation's Cole Porter, and that seems about right. After all, I've never felt there to be a sense of time in his compositions. To be able to make timeless music that's still as strong on melody as his is a wonderful (and uniquely Rufus) accomplishment.
Jack White is no stranger to making records. From The White Stripes to The Raconteurs, to The Dead Weather and producing records for Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson, he's become a music icon and an admired guitar player. Until now, we've experienced Jack White's trademark sound and vocal style through his various projects and bands. After all this time, he's finally made a record under his own name. It's his debut, solo full-length album "Blunderbuss."