Deeply influenced by the pop of The Beatles while also incorporating alt-country elements from his Texas background, Salim Nourallah found solace in music at an early age. He's released several albums as a solo artist, earning a reputation for the power of his words and the deftness of his melodies.
With simple melodies and sardonic lyrics, Archie Powell and the Exports' new album, Great Ideas in Action, may well be the soundtrack to this summer. The group released its first EP (Loose Change) in 2009, and its debut album, Skip Work, followed a year later. Skip Work was praised for its addictive hooks, lyrical wit and sophistication. Buried beneath catchy, raucous rock 'n' roll, the album's emotional content reflected the nervous energy and anxiety that the band members say they felt graduating college.
On the latest segment of the "Latin Roots" music series, Josh Norek, co-host and executive producer of The Latin Alternative (a one-hour radio show of Latin funk, hip-hop and electronica), stops by the studio. A musician, producer and journalist who works for the Latin indie label Nacional Records, Norek spends a good deal of his time exploring the history and direction of Latin hip-hop.
The Cincinnati band Heartless Bastards is led by Erika Wennerstrom, whose husky vocals have fueled the group's progression into a powerhouse rock force on its fourth studio album, Arrow. The new record marinates in all that is classic rock — catchy hooks, big riffs, a powerful voice — but also sets itself apart with Wennerstrom's distinct voice.
Nika Roza Danilova, known on stage as Zola Jesus, has crafted an experimental, genre-straddling sound which incorporates Gothic rock, lo-fi acoustic music, orchestral instrumentals, ambient electronic sounds and strong, diva-esque vocals. She's released three full-length studio albums in the span of three years, and each has sounded more purposeful and powerful than the last.
Jennifer Castle has been described more than once as one of Canadian folk's best kept secrets for her otherworldly and captivating style. She's collaborated with a diverse range of contemporaries — The Constantines, Doug Paisley and Ryan Driver, to name a few. Her three minimalist and delicate full-length albums incorporate her many inspirations — nature, space, planets and the simple things in life.