February 2012

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Only on Rdio: Preview People Under The Stairs’ Ambitious New Album, Highlighter

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Los Angeles hip-hop duo People Under The Stairs have been making music for over a decade, thrilling audiences at sold-out shows across the globe. Rappers Thes One and Double K’s smart lyrics and quick delivery, matched with laid-back, jazz-tinged beats was last on display in 2009's Carried Away.

The next step in their illustrious career is forthcoming double-album Highlighter, their most ambitious work to date. Recorded in several Los Angeles studios, Highlighter showcases a wide variety of musical styles, using instrumentation like full-string sections and vintage vibraphones to invoke a new style of hip hop that plays on older musical tropes.

Want a sneak preview? Starting today, six tracks from the album are available exclusively on Rdio, where you can share it and add it to playlists a week prior to its official release. Listen to Highlighter now.

Exclusives

Exclusive: Listen to Melanie Fiona’s New Single “This Time”

Melanie

Born-and-raised Torontonian R&B singer Melanie Fiona released The Bridge in 2009 to mass acclaim. The singer’s soulful style and smooth vocal delivery earned her comparisons to Amy Winehouse, Jill Scott, and Lauryn Hill — her breakthrough single, “Give It To Me Right,” charted all over the world. Fiona’s follow-up is the forthcoming The MF Life, due in late March.

The Grammy-winning singer is offering up a preview of her new album with the single “This Time”, exclusively on Rdio. Hear the track now, and share it with your friends and enjoy it a full two weeks before it’s officially released.

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday - February 28, 2012

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Tuesday means another heaping helping of new music. This week brings new albums from Toronto dream-pop duo Memoryhouse and 90s Irish quartet The Cranberries. A new live EP by Jason Mraz should thrill fans of the singer-songwriter, while Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, and Yim Yames created an album of songs around newfound lyrics by the late folk icon Woody Guthrie. Want more new music? Listen to our weekly New Music Tuesday playlist and be sure to read our accompanying Playlist Notes.

Playlist Notes

  • Chiddy Bang - Breakfast
    Electro hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang found inspiration in MGMT, Passion Pit, and Sufjan Stevens for their 2010 debut EP. Today, they fully establish their original, fun-loving sound by dropping a full-length album.

  • Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled With Light
    Swedish pop ensemble Fanfarlo’s second album is the follow-up to their breakthrough 2009 debut. Expect more of the band’s bright orchestration and snappy melodies on the aptly-titled Rooms Filled With Light.

  • Estelle - All Of Me
    UK pop diva Estelle returns this week, four years after her Kanye West-produced smash “American Boy.” Expect the smooth-voiced vixen to grab attention once more with her new album, featuring guest spots from Rick Ross, Janelle Monae, and Trey Songz.

  • School of Seven Bells - Ghostory
    New York dream pop trio School of Seven Bells’s ghostly sound is even more haunting on new album Ghostory, the band’s third to date.

  • WZRD - WZRD
    Kid Cudi’s no one-trick pony; behold his alt-rock duo, WZRD, with producer Dot da Genius. Hear Cudi rock on the outfit’s debut album, starting today.

An Rdio Exclusive: Listen to Xiu Xiu’s Always

Xiuxiu

Xiu Xiu is the avant-pop musical project of San Jose, California native Jamie Stewart. Now a decade into his career, the singer-songwriter traverses all kinds of sonic territory with his twisted synth- and drum machine-driven pop songs, on which Stewart’s hummable melodies are typically bathed in reverb. Stewart’s latest album, Always, is set for release next week.

Want to hear the latest work from this eccentric musical maestro right now? Rdio is pleased to share Always with you today. Listen to the new full-length, send it to your friends, and be sure to explore all of Xiu Xiu’s intriguing catalog.

This Week on Rdio

This Week on Rdio: February 20 - February 24, 2012

This Week on Rdio

To keep up with the latest musical happenings, like Rdio on Facebook, subscribe to the Rdio blog feed, and follow @Rdio on Twitter and on Rdio. Or, for the sake of convenience, you can drop by every Friday for our weekly blog round-up.

Here’s what happened on Rdio this week:

Follow this week’s newest Influencers:

Influencer SpotlightsLabel Spotlights

Follow Modular People on Rdio

Modular

Quick, name a few of Australia’s most critically-acclaimed, unique bands and artists from the last decade or so: Did The Avalanches, Wolfmother, Cut Copy, Tame Impala, The Presets, or Ladyhawke come to mind? Thank Modular Records.

The Australian independent label responsible for bringing us such remarkable and unique talent began in 1998, just “a few hours before the first release was due to go to press,” according to the label’s founder, Steve Pavlovic. More than a decade later, the label’s sophisticated taste in new music, especially in electronic and dance, made it a tastemaker in modern music. A look at some of the label’s other acts — Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Chromeo, The Rapture, and Robyn for example — conveys the label’s panache and style.

The label falls under the Modular People umbrella, which is responsible for Modular Touring, The Modular Agency, Modular Ideas, as well. Their Rdio profile is one worth following, especially if you’re a fan of unique dance and electronic artists.

Want more good music from Modular as they continue into the future? Listen to their playlist below and follow Modular on Rdio.

While you're at it, make sure to explore the Rdio accounts of these Modular bands for more great music:

Exclusives

An Rdio Exclusive: Hear Deer Tick’s Tim EP

Deertick

Rhode Island rockers Deer Tick are hard ones to pin down, given their penchant for switching up genres on each album. Their last release was 2011’s Divine Providence, which reflected the ramshackle, almost bluesy charm of the quintet’s live sound.

The band’s new EP, Tim, is easily their most catchy and melodic release to date — it is the perfect entry point to Deer Tick’s fascinating catalog. It’s out next week, but Rdio has the exclusive listen for you right here. Play Tim now, add it to your playlists and collections then share it with your favorite friend.

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Listen to Beirut Member Bright Moments’ Debut Album and Playlist

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You may not know it, but you’ve already heard the music of Kelly Pratt, aka Bright Moments. Not only is the Kentucky native an active member of Beirut, but he’s also made musical contributions to bands like Coldplay, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, the Maccabees, Harlem Shakes, and Alexi Murdoch.

This week, Pratt releases his debut album under the Bright Moments moniker. Natives was recorded over many years, and features a multitude of influences from many genres, all of which Pratt picked during his years as a musician.

Want to know what kind of music makes Pratt tick? Listen to Natives and the Bright Moments-curated playlist while reading his Playlist Notes below for a good idea.

Playlist Notes

  • Roland Kirk Quartet - “Serenade To A Cuckoo”
    The name of my band Bright Moments comes from the album of the same name by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He was one of jazz's most melodic improvisers and and an outrageous showman to boot.

  • Wu-Tang Clan - “Shame On A N*gga”
    I have probably listened to Enter The Wu-Tang more than any other album. This track features ODB (RIP) at his finest.

  • The Blow - “True Affection”
    So simple, and so gratifying. It's refreshing to hear a truly gifted singer who doesn't overdo it with the reverb.

  • Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane - "Nutty"
    Although short lived, the Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane yielded some very rich results. Coltrane thrived in this heady setting, developing his "sheets of sound" improvising style he would employ for several years to come.

  • Dolly Parton - “Little Sparrow”
    I had the great pleasure to see Dolly live last year and this song brought my friends and me to tears. Her voice has not faded a bit in the last 40 years.

  • Portishead - “Machine Gun”
    I saw Portishead over the summer and was blown away by their live performance. Beth Gibbons' vocals somehow managed to sound even better live than on record.

  • Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
    I'm a sucker for solo saxophone recordings (really!). Colin has managed to redefine how the instrument is played and recorded.

  • The Luyas - “Canary”
    Probably my favorite album of 2011. The Luyas have such a unique sound, anchored by Jessie Stein's ethereal vocals. And there's French horn!

  • Shafiq - “No Moor”
    A profoundly weird song that will stick in your head for weeks. It's a shame this record didn't make more of a splash.

  • Jay Reatard - “My Shadow”
    Punk rock lost a great songwriter with Jay Reatard's untimely death in 2010. Fortunately he left us a huge body of recorded work.

  • J.D. Crowe & The New South - “Old Home Place”
    Bluegrass giant Crowe is from my hometown of Lexington, KY. Don't let the bright tempo fool you, this is as tragic a song as you will ever hear.

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday - February 21, 2012

SleighbellsTygaFun

This week’s new music playlist is heavy on the new — not just new albums, but ones from artists who are just cementing their reputations. Montreal’s ethereal dance chanteuse Grimes debuts her first album on 4AD, Beirut performer Bright Moments releases his debut album, dance-rock outfit Young Empires drops a first EP, and Seattle singer-songwriter Perfume Genius issues his second album this week. Of course, some veterans are still stirring: indie folk collective Lambchop release another new album this week, and ZZ Top make their digital debut with the re-release of their 1971 debut. Hear this new music along with many other songs in this week’s New Music Tuesday playlist.

Playlist Notes

  • Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror
    The thrashing pop duo’s second album features even more walls of guitar sound, and even more sweet melodies from Alexis Krauss. Expect no sophomore slump here.

  • Tyga - Careless World: Rise of the Last King
    Young Money rapper Tyga releases his second album this week — it features guest spots from hip hop’s finest: Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Pharrell, T-Pain, Nas, and more.

  • Frankie Rose - Interstellar
    The former drummer from bands like Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls is now her own boss, and the result is this sky-gazing album of 80s-style pop.

  • fun. - Some Nights
    The fun-loving pop trio fun. releases their eclectic second album this week, complete with high tempos, group vocals, clapping, auto-tune, and their explosive single “We Are Young.”

Exclusives

Exclusive: Listen to Dreamend’s New Album Early on Rdio

Dreamend

After Dreamend released 2010’s So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite, the singer-songwriter relocated, bringing his Chicago life with him to Savannah, Georgia. Unfortunately, a large portion of his massive instrument collection — a cello, a bell set, an organ, a banjo, and a microphone — was wrecked in the move. Determined, he set out to record his follow-up. New full-length And the Tears Washed Me, Wave After Cowardly Wave was recorded using those same instruments, in the state they were in following their trek in a moving truck. The result is a record that conveys brokenness and raw emotion.

Though its official release is a week away, you can hear And the Tears Washed Me, Wave After Cowardly Wave right now, exclusively on Rdio.