Music Bank

 
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Jason Isbell

Posted on Mar 19, 2021 in Alt-country, COUNTRY/FOLK, Singer/Songwriter

After spending six years with Southern rock outfit Drive-By Truckers, singer/guitarist Jason Isbell left the group in 2007 to pursue a solo career. Isbell had already honed his songwriting skills during his tenure with the Truckers, and he funneled those talents into Sirens of the Ditch, a bluesy, punk-infused lesson in guitar tones and Southern swagger that marked his solo debut in summer 2007…

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The Associates

Posted on Mar 15, 2021 in 80s, New Wave, Post-punk, ROCK/POP

Formed in Edinburgh in 1979, the Associates comprised vocalist Billy Mackenzie and multi-instrumentalist Alan Rankine. Built on an eclectic mix of influences and interests ranging from art rock to glam and disco, the group debuted with a manic cover of David Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging,” which earned them a contract with Fiction Records. Their 1980 debut LP, The Affectionate Punch, was a critically acclaimed work which expanded the duo’s sound…

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The Apples in Stereo

Posted on Mar 11, 2021 in 90s, Indie, Power pop

Sunny pop band the Apples in Stereo were one of the leading lights of the Elephant 6 Recording Company collective, a coterie of likeminded lo-fi indie groups — including the Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Secret Square — who shared musicians, ideas, and sensibilities. They were led by singer/songwriter Robert Schneider, a native of the tiny town of Ruston, LA…

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Del Amitri

Posted on Mar 7, 2021 in 90s, ROCK/POP

Del Amitri’s easy blend of Beatlesque pop and country-rock has made them a worldwide road and radio staple since the mid-’80s. Formed in Scotland in 1982 by bassist/vocalist/songwriter Justin Currie and longtime guitarist and collaborator Ian Harvie, the duo released Sense Sickness on a small Glasgow indie label the following year…

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Roy Orbison

Posted on Mar 1, 2021 in 60s, Rock 'n' Roll, ROCK/POP

Although he shared the same rockabilly roots as Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison went on to pioneer an entirely different brand of country/pop-based rock & roll in the early ’60s. What he lacked in charisma and photogenic looks, Orbison made up for in spades with his quavering operatic voice and melodramatic narratives of unrequited love and yearning. In the process, he established rock & roll archetypes of the underdog and the hopelessly romantic loser…

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Jacques Brel

Posted on Feb 25, 2021 in 50s, Singer/Songwriter

Singer/songwriter Jacques Brel created and performed a catalog of literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that brought him a large, devoted following in France. His audience eventually extended internationally, making him a major influence on English-speaking writers and performers including Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, while translations of his songs were recorded by a wide range of performers from the Kingston Trio to Frank Sinatra…

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Sweet

Posted on Feb 21, 2021 in 70s, Glam Rock, ROCK/POP

In some ways, the Sweet epitomized all the tacky hubris and garish silliness of the early ’70s. Fusing bubblegum melodies with crunching, fuzzy guitars, the band looked like a heavy metal band, but were as tame as any pop group. It was a dichotomy that served them well, as they racked up a number of hits in both the U.K. and the U.S. Most of those songs were written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, a pair of British songwriters who had a way with silly, simple, and catchy hooks…

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The Watersons

Posted on Feb 17, 2021 in COUNTRY/FOLK, Traditional Folk

The Watersons were one of England’s premier singing families. Their early albums played an influential role in the revival of British folk music in the 1960s. British folklorist A.L. Lloyd recalled the group’s “hand-crafted harmonies, an immediately recognizable and uniquely distinctive group sound which is uninhibited, spontaneous seeming, and rich in texture” …

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Esther Phillips

Posted on Feb 12, 2021 in 50s, 60s, Atlantic/Stax, Northern Soul, Rhythm & Blues, SOUL

Esther Phillips was perhaps too versatile for her own good, at least commercially speaking; while she was adept at singing blues, early R&B, gritty soul, jazz, straight-up pop, disco, and even country, her record companies often lacked a clear idea of how to market her, which prevented her from reaching as wide an audience as she otherwise might have. An acquired taste for some, Phillips’ voice had an idiosyncratic, nasal quality that often earned comparisons to Nina Simone, although she herself counted Dinah Washington as a chief inspiration…

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Charles Aznavour

Posted on Feb 8, 2021 in ROCK/POP, Singer/Songwriter

A keystone in the modern chanson genre, French cabaret singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour entertained the world for close to 75 years. In the early ’50s, he often opened for Edith Piaf, and composed several songs for her, thus beginning a solid reputation as both a gifted writer and a unique song stylist. Aznavour had a special talent for writing and singing from unusual points of view, creating personal and compassionate character studies that expanded the emotional range of the typical pop ballad…

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