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Robyn Hitchcock is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist. While primarily a vocalist and guitarist, he also plays harmonica, piano and bass guitar. Hitchcock's musical and lyrical styles have been influenced by his appreciation of Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Syd Barrett. Hitchcock's lyrics are an essential component of his work and tend to include surrealism, comedic songs, characterisations of English eccentrics and melancholy depictions of everyday life. His themes include the eternal contingencies of existence — namely, death, sex and eating. Recognizing this theme, he released an EP in 2007 called Sex, Food, Death and Tarantulas.
By now, Black Prairie has clearly outgrown its roots as a casual side project, solidifying into a primary, creative focus for its members—a band with its own internal momentum, genuine character and style. Still, it's only become harder to describe what that style is. "I gave up a long time ago," guitarist Jon Neufeld says. When asked what kind of music Black Prairie plays, Neufeld usually just says "soft rock," and walks away.
As impressive as her list of recent collaborators, Shara Worden's voice and arresting live performances have left audiences thunderstruck from the Sydney Opera House to Lincoln Center to the House of Blues. She's performed under the experimental-pop moniker My Brightest Diamond for the last seven years, and counts Bryce Dessner (The National), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and each of The Decemberists among friends and fans. They are just a few of the many who've fallen in love with Worden's mystical voice and mythic storytelling.
Growing up outside of Detroit in a family of musical evangelists, Worden studied multiple instruments (her father is an acclaimed accordionist and mother an organist). She became equally passionate about classical and Motown, later pursuing a degree in Opera at the University of North Texas where she wrote and recorded original material for the first time. After moving to New York by way of Moscow, Worden recorded three albums before joining the ranks of Sufjan Stevens' Illinoisemakers. She then expanded her musical education further by studying composition under Padma Newsome (Clogs, The National), and turned out several scores for off-Broadway productions.
Worden's artistry seems to transcend music itself. On stage she evokes as much Martha Graham as Edith Piaf, and can be found collaborating with visual artists (Matthew Ritchie) and filmmakers (Matthew Barney, Murat Eyuboglu) alike. Where worlds are colliding, there is a Shara; a zeitgeist for a growing movement of experimental musicians eager to bend the borders of artistry and genre.
Having recently returned to Detroit, planted a garden and given birth to a son, Worden's latest offering, All Things Will Unwind, draws inspiration from the motor city itself. More folk inspired than much of her recent work the new album addresses the juxtaposition of life and death, class and race, pantries and politics—as heard through the mesmerizing lullaby of a new mother.
EMA continues to evoke a unique and ambitious sound that saw her rightfully recognised as one of the most singular artists to emerge in 2011, and is likely to send her back into the public consciousness once again in 2014.
Hailed by the UK's NME as '…gently majestic, gutsy, and evocative,' the album has been received with high praise – this being the first time Johns, best known for his production work for the likes of Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, and Laura Marling to name but a few, has sat on the other side of the mixing desk, and released his own collection of songs
Steve Gunn is a New York-based guitarist and songwriter. With a career spanning nearly fifteen years, Steve has produced volumes of critically acclaimed solo, duo, and ensemble recordings. His albums with GHQ and longtime collaborating drummer John Truscinski represent milestones of contemporary guitar-driven, forward music. A voracious schedule of international performances has cultivated a fervent fanbase for Gunn's music throughout the world.
Mining the catalogs of Basho, Bull, Chapman, and Sharrock, among other titans of stringed-things and record-session royalty, Steve has steadily processed these inspirations into a singular, virtuosic stream. Friendships and collaborations with Jack Rose, Tom Carter, Meg Baird, and Michael Chapman colored the disciplined evolution of the discursive, deconstructed blues sound, at once transcendent and methodical, that is now Gunn's signature. Close listening reveals the influence of Delta and Piedmont country blues, ecstatic free jazz, and psych, as well as Gnawa and Carnatic music, on the continually unfolding compositions.
Gunn's 2009 solo masterpiece, Boerum Palace, demonstrated a fully realized power for songcraft. Steve started to sing more and developed a commanding vocal style equal to his guitar practice. His acclaimed instrumental duo recordings with Truscinski, Sand City (2010) and Ocean Parkway (2012), cemented his place among the top of his peers, both present and past. These documents display Gunn's compositional penchant for charting musical travelogues that ramble through city and wilderness alike. Dispatches home are not merely descriptive but corporeal; the evocative, rhythmic power of his writing and phrasing carries the listener along bodily. Steve builds songs as exploratory vessels, opens them up for mechanical tinkering, and lives in them through ceaseless improvisatory permutations. Paradise of Bachelors is thrilled to release Time Off (2013), his first album as leader of a trio including longtime friends John Truscinski on drums and Justin Tripp on bass, and a record on which Steve's compelling singing features more prominently than ever before. The album features his oblique character sketches and story-songs about friends, acquaintances, and denizens of his Brooklyn neighborhood, using the trio band format to launch his compositions into new, luminous strata. This is Gunn at the top of his game, writing his most memorable tunes and lyrics, utterly unique but steeped in traditions both vernacular and avant-garde.