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  • Monday, July 13, 2015

    Lianne La Havas made a brief trip to the US for a set at the Essence Festival and sold-out shows in LA and NYC last week. "[W]hat comes across first is the sheer grace of her voice," says the New York Times review of the NYC show. "It can be a breathy purr, a lilting tease, a liquid confession or a torchy declaration ... She was already distinctive on her 2012 debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, which fused neo-soul, folk and jazz in songs built around her briskly syncopated guitar playing, often juggling three-against-two patterns behind supple tunes ... Her music pushes further in the songs on [her new album,] Blood." La Havas returns to North America to tour this fall.

    Journal Topics: Artist News On Tour Reviews
  • Monday, July 13, 2015

    The Staves' new album, If I Was, "is perhaps the most achingly beautiful album released this year," exclaims New York NPR member station WFUV, which has named it New Dig of the week. "If I Was is a heavenly blend of soft, billowy folk and grand anthems of yearning, desire and heartbreak ... Discovering toughness and tenderness concurrently on this handsome release, The Staves are bright stars illuminating the pop music landscape." The trio will be at Justin Vernon's Eaux Claires Festival this weekend.

    Journal Topics: Artist News Radio Reviews
  • Monday, June 29, 2015

    Rhiannon Giddens's album Tomorrow Is My Turn is among NPR Music's 25 Favorite Albums of 2015 (So Far). "The first thought that takes over during a listen to Rhiannon Giddens' solo debut is: This woman can sing anything," exclaims NPR. "Stop marveling for a moment and this impeccably constructed, hotly executed collection reveals the brain and soul that feed the extraordinary voice." She kicks off a European tour in London on Tuesday. Also on the list is the debut album from Congolese band Mbongwana Star, From Kinshasa. The album, a World Circuit release distributed in North America by Nonesuch, "is at once earthy and totally futuristic," says NPR. "[Y]ou hear the band's metamorphic power throttling straight into the fringes of the great beyond."

    Journal Topics: Artist News Reviews
  • Friday, June 19, 2015

    Songlines magazine has posted its list of the Top 25 Mali Albums, originally from the July 2013 issue of the magazine, and included are several artists and albums familiar to readers of the Nonesuch Journal: Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabaté, Amadou & Mariam, Rokia Traoré, Oumou Sangare, and Fatoumata Diawara. "Mali remains a wellspring of great music and culture," says Songlines. "After much deliberation, we are proud to present the top 25 albums to come from Mali, reminding us that there is an endless amount to celebrate in its music."

    Journal Topics: Artist News Reviews
  • Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    The Staves' Nonesuch Records debut album, If I Was, has been named to Stereogum's list of the 50 Best Albums of 2015 So Far. "Some albums demand gushing, so here goes: Once I got past thinking of the Staveley-Taylor sisters as Justin Vernon's pet project or the English folk-rock Haim and immersed myself in If I Was, I scoffed at past-me for ever seeing them as anything but the Staves, one of the greatest bands in the universe," exclaims Stereogum's Chris DeVille. "These 12 elegies for a failed romance are brutally honest and unimaginably beautiful."

    Journal Topics: Artist News Reviews
  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    Rhiannon Giddens's debut solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn, has been named to Rolling Stone's list of the 45 Best Albums of 2015 So Far. "Over the past two years, Rhiannon Giddens has become one of the most promising voices in American roots music," exclaims Rolling Stone. On the album, she gives classic songs made famous by Nina Simone, Dolly Parton, Odetta, and more "a freshness and vitality that feel right at home in 2015." Also on the list is the debut album from Congolese band Mbongwana Star, From Kinshasa. The album, a World Circuit release distributed in North America by Nonesuch, is a "heady and high-energy Afrofuturist collaboration," says Rolling Stone.

    Journal Topics: Artist News Reviews
  • Thursday, April 16, 2015

    Rhiannon Giddens was the subject of a feature on PBS NewsHour, looking at her solo debut album, Tomorrow Is My Turn. "Her debut celebrates women who influenced her, some famous like Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline, others, like Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Libba Cotten, much less so," says NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown. "The album also showcases Giddens’ range through gospel, blues, country, and jazz." Watch the NewsHour piece here. Forbes, reviewing her recent NYC tour stop, exclaims: "Besides a thrilling voice, she comes at you with a barrage of sounds and sights and movements from an arsenal of talents that will positively floor you ... She’s a musician’s musician, and, moreover, a people’s musician, one of the best ever."

    Journal Topics: Artist News On Tour Reviews Television Video
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    The Staves' new Justin Vernon–produced album, If I Was, is out now on CD and digitally in the US on Nonesuch Records, with vinyl due April 21. The trio brings "angelic harmonies" to the "consistently daring" album, writes the New York Times' Jon Pareles. "[T]he songs are illuminated from within." "This entire record is essential listening," raves Stereogum. "The Staveley-Taylor sisters possess the kind of voices that make able-bodied writers lose control of their capacity to avoid terms like ethereal, angelic, and otherworldly." The album earns four stars from the GuardianSun, MusicOMH, and Daily Mirror, which calls it "ravishing and inspired ... with astonishing vocals ... an unfailingly tender touch, freshness and natural warmth."

    Journal Topics: Album Release Artist News Reviews
  • Monday, March 23, 2015

    Buena Vista Social Club’s Lost and Found is out now on CD and digitally from World Circuit Records; the vinyl is due April 21. Coming almost two decades after the release of the original Grammy-winning, self-titled LP, the new album is a collection of previously unreleased tracks—some of which were recorded during the original album’s sessions in Havana and others from the years that followed. Lost and Found also features live recordings from the world tours of Buena Vista’s legendary veterans. NPR calls it "a gorgeous reminder of what made [Buena Vista] so famous to begin with." The Guardian calls it "exquisite."

    Journal Topics: Album Release Artist News Reviews
  • Thursday, February 5, 2015

    Punch Brothers, the Evening Standard noted in a four-star review of their recent London show, "sounded as sharp as they looked." All the rarer then to find the band dressed casually in a new video that goes behind the scenes of the writing of their new album, The Phosphorescent Blues, which you can watch here. The band previews their forthcoming tour as musical guests on A Prairie Home Companion this weekend, guest-hosted by none other than Chris Thile. Following Rolling Stone's recent exclamation that "Punch Brothers are astoundingly skilled, non-show-offy, and pretty much pushing at the vanguard of really great music you need to listen to right now," PopMatters calls their new album "another triumph for the quintet." No Depression calls it "tremendous," explaining: "These are, after all, five of the most dexterous, creative, imaginative musicians working in any area of music today."

    Journal Topics: Artist News Reviews Video
  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Punch Brothers’ T Bone Burnett–produced new album, The Phosphorescent Blues. The album "shows off their eclectic sound," says NPR's Morning Edition. "The album mixes chamber-music intricacy, improvisational flash, lump-in-throat balladry, and a puckish Debussy cover," says the Boston Globe. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the new album features "some choral harmonies that are somewhere between the Beach Boys and heaven." The CBC calls the album "triumphant." "Listening to the Punch Brothers is an exercise in wonder," says the Irish Times. "The playing and harmonies are breathtaking. Enjoy." The Herald Scotland calls it "a quite masterly collection from a quintet of virtuosi."

    Journal Topics: Album Release Artist News Reviews
  • Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    In the "excellent" Nonesuch release of Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys, recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera, the piece “emerges quite wonderfully, confirming the arrival on the operatic scene of a mature and striking new compositional voice,” raves Opera magazine. “The opera is a work of great insight and compassion, with principal themes that loom large in the modern world,” says the magazine. “The eclectic score is deeply affecting … [Muhly’s] lyrical gifts glow brightly … The choral writing is marvelous; most memorably, the chorale that closes the opera leads the music onto an exquisitely rarefied plain.” The review concludes: “the CD is very strongly recommended.”

    Journal Topics: Artist News Reviews

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