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Trombonist Jacob Garchik’s Ye Olde and drummer Gard Nilssen’s Acoustic Unity bring two disparate streams of improvised music

Trombonist Jacob Garchik has long been one of the more fascinating figures on New York’s improvised music scene, a terrific musician with a fertile imagination and unbridled curiosity. He’s become a trusted collaborator of the Kronos Quartet, creating dazzling arrangements of music from all around the world for the string quartet. For his 2012 recording […]

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The Chosen Few helped build house music’s foundation and keep the party going with their 27th annual picnic

Is experiencing music outdoors worthwhile if you can’t share it with those you love? Not to those guiding the Chosen Few Picnic, which began the way many great summertime activities should start—with a family barbecue. The original five members of south-side DJ collective the Chosen Few, who helped build the foundation for house music as […]

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Singular guitarist Bill Frisell presents a stunning duo with simpatico bassist Thomas Morgan

Despite forging one of the most recognizable sounds on electric guitar over the last three decades, Bill Frisell has emphasized an ensemble-oriented approach for much of his career, one where his improvisations tend to shoot out of airy but rich arrangements like ethereal, meticulously pruned tendrils of melody and clouds of ambience. He’s functioned more […]

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North Carolina singer Sarah Shook drowns her sorrows in booze but rages with punk fury

There’s not much out of the ordinary about Sidelong, the 2015 debut by North Carolina singer Sarah Shook—recently reissued by Bloodshot Records—but few things are more renewable than jacked-up twang fueled by heartbreak and loneliness. Her powerful voice may be punctuated a bit too often by goatlike trills and hiccups, but its intensity is undeniable. […]

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Deslondes submerge their spirited take on Americana in a humid atmosphere on Hurry Home

On their terrific second album, Hurry Home (New West), New Orleans quintet Deslondes settle into a sweet spot at the nexus of various threads of southern sounds, building on the low-key charms of their eponymous 2015 debut. That means honky-tonk, R&B, rockabilly, swamp pop, and other rootsy variations commingle in a deliciously humid atmosphere crafted […]

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On Goths, the Mountain Goats are as compassionate as ever toward their fatally human characters

What distinguishes the goths that Mountain Goats leader John Darnielle sings about on the band’s new album Goths (Merge) is neither fashion nor sound, but a desire to find community while separating oneself from society. Darnielle’s been writing about people who fumble the fundamentals of dealing with life ever since the early 90s, when he […]

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Chart-topping country songsmith Chris Stapleton finds his sweet spot on From a Room: Volume 1

Plenty of flourishing Nashville songwriters have failed to translate the success they’ve had penning hits for artists into onstage popularity in their own right, but Chris Stapleton has delivered gold—actually, double platinum. After topping the charts with songs for the likes of Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, and Dierks Bentley, he joined […]