Brit Award-winning English folkie Laura Marling is only 22, but her rafter-rattling trill is on par with her genre’s grande dames, Sandy Denny or Norma Waterson. That talent is clearest on “Verses From the Union Chapel,” a limited-edition, London-church-tracked live album she released between her 2008 debut, “Alas, I Cannot Swim,” and the 2010 “I Speak Because I Can.” After whispering to the crowd, “Hello. I’m Laura Marling. It’s very nice to see you all here,” there’s no more chit-chat — just her crystalline voice, reverberating through the hall. Read More
It’s not easy being Keane. That’s according to Tim Rice-Oxley, keyboardist-composer for the British pop combo, whose new fourth recording “Strangeland” was trashed, without a full-length feature, in NME, the overseas journal of record. Read More
New Yorker Samantha Urbani, has her parents to thank for the Italian, Swedish and Native American features that earned her a photo shoot with designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Her folks also were responsible for the free-spirited way of thinking that led the 25-year-old to form Friends, a delightful alt-pop combo that recently released a dazzling debut, “Manifest!” Read More
A huge Oasis fan, British singer Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six was dumbfounded last year when he learned that ex-Oasis leader Noel Gallagher was tracking a secret solo album at L.A.’s Sound Factory, where his band was recording its new CD, “Sinners Never Sleep” with producer Garth Richardson. But he made a mistake. He tweeted about it, ruffling the feathers of the otherwise unflappable superstar. “I didn’t really think about it, I didn’t think that people didn’t know he was recording there,” says Franceschi, glad to have escaped unscathed. YM@6’s bratty brand of U.K. Read More
The experience may not rival that of a Disney princess being dressed every morning by fluttery cartoon animals, says Lisa Marie Presley. But residing in the English countryside in a little thatched-roof cottage she purchased two years ago comes pretty “Snow White” close. “It is so much like a fairy tale that it blows your mind,” says the singer, 44, who wound up relaunching her career from Britain with the folksy new T Bone Burnett-produced comeback “Storm & Grace.” Read More
Folk-rocker Emily Saliers has a few things to clarify.First, she’s truly happy to be touring again with Amy Ray, her singing-songwriting partner in the Indigo Girls. They play The City this week with a full band, backing their rootsy new 14th CD, “Beauty Queen Sister.” Read More
English all-sibling trio The Cribs — Ryan, Gary and Ross Jarman — may have produced the most confident record of their career with their new fifth assault, the garage-rocking “In the Belly of the Brazen Bull.” But guitarist Ryan had to endure a personal hell just to complete the Steve Albini-Dave Fridmann-assisted set. In succession, he broke up with his live-in London girlfriend, singer Kate Nash; moved home to his native Wakefield, and in with his brother, Cribs drummer Ross; and began losing weight at a rate that frightened his fans and family. Read More
As a kid growing up in Indonesia, Dougy Mandagi heard the adage that necessity is the mother of invention, but didn’t discover its truth until traveling in his late teens, visiting relatives living in countries around the world. Settling in Melbourne, Australia, he planned on working and enrolling in college. “But it all went horribly wrong, because I couldn’t get a job anywhere,” says the singer-guitarist, who went on to form the anthemic The Temper Trap, now based in London. “So I decided to make my own kind of work.” Read More
Chloe Chaidez, who fronts the hot new alt-rock combo Kitten, is just 17, so she has only a few regrets.Among them is the fact that she never witnessed a gig by Thee Undertakers. The black-suit-and-rosary-clad East L.A. punk band anchored by her dad, drummer Mike Chaidez, broke up in 1982, long before she was born. Read More
Polar Music, Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody’s label, was particularly pleased to sign Luke Temple’s quirky outfit Here We Go Magic, which the New Yorker gradually built around himself after a two-album solo career. “In the words of Tracy Jordan from ‘30 Rock,’ that band is ‘blowing up like a balloon with a grenade in it,’” Lighbody said, adding, “Everybody seems to be talking about them, so we’re very proud to be involved in our small way.” The group’s new recording “A Different Ship” — with acoustic-based tunes including “Made to Be Old” and “Alone But Moving” — is a bold step forward. Read More
Oklahoman JD McPherson didn’t think “Why me?” when he suddenly was terminated from his job as chair of a private middle school’s art department.The former open media and experimental film major knows exactly why he was let go from the adventurous gig. He was too edgy for Tulsa. “I started off teaching typing and word processing, while I elbowed my way into the art program because that was my real background,” he says. “But I, uh, didn’t stick to the curriculum, which was a big problem. My approach didn’t mesh well with that school’s philosophy.” Read More
Looking back, Duke Spirit frontwoman Liela Moss is still amazed at the remarkable chain of events set in motion by the fashion world’s word-of-mouth.
When stylist Sherry Lamden was wowed by the band’s set at Glastonbury a few years ago, she conveyed her enthusiasm to her boss, Alexander McQueen, the late visionary designer. Read More
Although scrappy Scottish chanteuse Shirley Manson has nothing against method actors, in her first role in the Fox TV show “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” she had no trouble becoming Catherine Weaver, a high-powered executive who also happened to be a shape-shifting cyborg. Read More
To construct her new reality-TV series, alterna-pop queen and gay-rights activist Cyndi Lauper has been committing her hectic schedule to celluloid. It isn’t easy: One day, she’ll be in Washington, D.C., lobbying on behalf of her LGBT-oriented True Colors Fund; the next, she’ll be at the Kentucky Derby in a flying-saucer-size bonnet (“I actually wanted that hat to be bigger!” she says). Saturday, the former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant appears at San Francisco Symphony’s Black & White Ball in a lineup also featuring Paul Simon. Read More
You don’t have to dig too deeply into “Every Kingdom,” the delicate debut from Ben Howard, to discover what floats this British minstrel’s boat.
The album cover photograph features the Devonshire-based lad, diving deep into the Mediterranean, near his parents’ coastal abode on Ibiza.
The gently-plucked album opener “Old Pine,” he says, “is a song about my first surf trip away from home, when I went to France and nearly got killed by a pine tree.” Read More