Kathleen Edwards isn't a flashy singer-songwriter, but her music sticks: Easygoing and accessible, her songs burrow in deep and then stay put. Edwards' new album, Voyageur, wears a lot of sonic flourishes well — it was co-produced by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who lends it a lot of his distinct shadings — but at its heart lies a sort of unshakable sturdiness.
As one of the most exciting and thought-provoking groups in the business, So Percussion's members (Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting) take composer, author and thinker John Cage as their guiding light.
First Aid Kit is two young Swedish sisters — that's Klara Soderberg on the left and Johanna Soderberg on the right — who make utterly charming, folk-infused pop music that lulls and enchants, with an obvious nod to late-'60s and early-'70s bands like Crosby, Stills & Nash. Their voices intertwine in that way sibling singers' sometimes do, with disarmingly lovely results, but the music remains distinctly alluring and adventurous.
For Persians, the New Year comes not in the dead of winter, but right at the vernal equinox. As spring renews the earth, people celebrate this fresh beginning as Nowruz, a joyous 12-day festival to celebrate beauty and abundance. We were lucky enough to have a master musician and composer from Iran, Kayhan Kalhor, visit us in time to celebrate with his gorgeous and deeply moving music.
Real Estate's music is a disarmingly delicate thing, crafted out of tenderly shimmering guitars and blurry images of a past that's both rose-colored and sepia-toned. But the songs are far from showy: Paced evenly and sung in a near-whisper, they could only be made by a band standing stock-still. Last year's album Days is a tiny wonder, meeting at the middle between beachy '60s pop and bittersweet '90s college radio, but it was made for the studio rather than the stage.