Artist Spotlights

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Artist SpotlightsExclusives

World Exclusive: Celine Dion Shares Album Commentary

Celine Dion

Celine Dion is back with her first English language album in five years. Loved Me Back to Life features duets with Stevie Wonder and Ne-Yo and was produced by a team of top producers including Babyface and Tricky Stewart. It’s a very fresh feeling and new release for the timeless diva, and now she’s sharing a behind the scenes view of it with you. Listen to the Loved Me Back to Life - RDIO Exclusive Commentary Version to hear Celine discuss her thoughts, feelings and motivations behind her latest release.

Artist SpotlightsMusic

At Rdio Sessions: Missy Higgins

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Australian songstress Missy Higgins is hot off her tour with Gotye and back with her new single "Hello Hello" — she stopped by the Rdio HQ Penthouse for a performance last Friday. With the city of San Francisco as her backdrop, the Melbourne musician moved dexterously from the keyboards to guitar.

Ever wanted to know Missy’s favorite city to play and the song she can’t get out of her head? She indulged us and filled out an Rdio Survey. Find her answers below and view some fantastic photos of the event on Facebook.

Rdio Sessions - Missy Higgins

∞  July 5, 2012 — 1:00PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

At Rdio Sessions: Dent May

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Mississippi singer-songwriter Dent May may have very well become a yoga instructor had Paw Tracks failed to come across the budding musician — at least that’s what Dent claimed on the Rdio Survey.

Lucky for us, Dent May seems to have a long career of funky folk beats and falsetto wailing ahead of him if his new album Do Things is any indication. Last Friday Dent May stopped by Rdio HQ’s penthouse for a soulful jam session. Take a scroll through the pictures on our Facebook and get the 411 on Dent May with his handwritten Rdio Survey.

Rdio Sessions - Dent May

∞  July 5, 2012 — 12:00PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Listen to Rhett Miller’s Fave Songs Playlist on Rdio

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Old 97s frontman and solo singer-songwriter Rhett Miller’s popularity rose steadily thanks to his strong songwriting and singing — no gimmicks. His latest album, The Dreamer, is another solid set from Miller. To celebrate the occasion, he’s wrangled his favorite songs into the playlist found below.

Rock, folk, pop — play Rhett Miller’s Faves now, and read his well-written notes on why he picked each song.

  • The New Pornographers - “Mutiny, I Promise You”
    Carl Newman writes great songs. Thorny, dense things, devoid of obvious handles and hooks, but sticky and slippery in the best way. Oh yeah, and Neko Case as a vocal counterpoint? Pretty sweet.

  • Guster - “Do You Love Me”
    Do you love handclaps? Do you love bells? Do you love songs that will keep you awake at night out of sheer catchiness? Then you will love this song.

  • Guided By Voices - “Teenage FBI”
    Once upon a time, The Cars' Ric Ocasek produced a record for the kings of lo-fi indie rock and this song came into being. At less than two minutes, this song challenges you not to play it again.

  • Redd Kross - “Peach Kelli Pop”
    This ultimate rocker, off their historic Neurotica album, will start any day off right. I wanted to include "Stay Away From Downtown" off their upcoming album Researching The Blues, which features the classic Neurotica lineup, but that album doesn't drop until August. In the meantime, you should be researching Redd Kross.

  • The Head and The Heart - “Lost in My Mind”
    Seems these guys are blowing up these days. And rightly so. THATH are a great combination of the sweet little things I love about music (simple melodies, sparse moments), and the huge, fun things (mallet-wielding monster drummer, massive multi-part harmonies), and are, thus, one of my favorite new bands.

  • Carolina Chocolate Drops - “Cornbread and Butterbeans”
    I just love these guys. I hesitate to describe them too much. You should just find out for yourself. This song contains my new motto: “Eatin' beans and makin’ love as long as I am able".

  • Crowded House - “Fall At Your Feet”
    I toured with Neil Finn years ago and came away from the experience with a newfound respect for his enormous talent and admirable work ethic. Oh, and this new favorite song.

  • Sarah Jaffe - “Clementine”
    This track appears on her new record Suburban Nature. It's a sweetheart of a song and a perfect showcase for the husky beauty of her pipes. To have such a special voice and the ability to write a song like this? An embarrassment of riches for my young friend Sarah.

  • Dawes - “When My Time Comes”
    With songs like this, Dawes time should be coming... Right. About. Now.

  • The Pixies - “Wave of Mutilation”
    The greatest song of all time. That's all.

Yrs, Rhett

∞  June 15, 2012 — 9:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Hanging Out with The Drums

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Have you heard of The Drums? The Brooklyn indie guitar-pop group hit it big in 2010 with their ear-worm “Let’s Go Surfing,” which showcased their light-hearted side — their first LP garnered the kind of critical acclaim most bands can only hope for.

Their second album, Portamento, is out now, and it's convincing listeners that the band is here to stay: they're developing a signature sound that sees them seamlessly blending their New Wave and reverb-drenched influences. The Drums' lead singer, Jonathan Pierce, took a moment to curate a playlist of some of his favorite songs and answer our five questions.

Five Questions with The Drums

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Jonathan Pierce: Clara Rockmore. Jacob and I have a real soft spot for her. She mastered the Theremin and would often perform with a full orchestra with her in the center playing the instrument perfectly. She has some albums out that I would recommend trying to find.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    JP: I feel like we all have access to every record really, with the internet and all. But we can pretend there is no internet for a minute. I'd like to listen to a bootleg compilation of all the Big In Japan stuff.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    JP: Joy Electric - Melody. This album is brilliant. Most people hate the sounds, but if you can get past the sounds and listen to the songs, you will find something great.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    JP: Blissful and comforted.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    JP: Ourselves.

∞  June 6, 2012 — 11:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Listen to Kate Campbell’s New Album and Playlist

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After almost 20 years of recording songs on the acoustic guitar, folk singer Kate Campbell is returning to the instrument on which she was introduced to music: the piano. 1000 Pound Machine is a sparse and moody album, characterized by her subtle piano playing and Will Kimbrough’s elegant guitar. The album features guest spots from legends like Spooner Oldham, Emmylou Harris, and Sloan Wainwright — it is on Rdio now for your listening pleasure.

As an added bonus, Campbell selected a playlist of her Favorite Artists. Listen to 1000 Pound Machine and playlist, along with Campbell’s notes on her song choices, below.

Playlist Notes

  • The Allman Brothers Band - “Midnight Rider”
    I think “Midnight Rider” is a haunting song. I listen to it at least once a day when I'm on the road and even have it as a ring tone.

  • Will Kimbrough - “Interstate”
    Will Kimbrough is the producer of my new album and “Interstate” is another one of those life on the road songs I'm so partial to.

  • Jimmy Webb - “Galveston”
    I don't know if I need to say anything about “Galveston” and Jimmy Webb but the song usually makes me cry and I don't know why.

  • The Rolling Stones - “Moonlight Mile”
    I am currently re-listening to all of the Rolling Stones albums and working on collecting all of their re-releases.

  • Dolly Parton - “Down From Dover”

  • Emmylou Harris - “If You Were A Bluebird”

  • Shirley Horn - “If You Go Away”
    Like most of the tunes on my playlist, I always carry with me a CD by Dolly, Emmylou and Shirley Horn. These three tunes always stay at the top of my list. Dolly wrote “Down From Dover” and Emmylou and Shirley's interpretations of “If You Were A Bluebird” and “If You Go Away” are near perfect.

  • Marc Ribot - “Sous Le Ciel De Paris”
    I like so much of Marc Ribot's work, and “Sous Le Ciel De Paris” is what I call a landscape tune.

  • Glenn Gould - The Complete Goldberg Variations (1955 & 1981): A State Of Wonder
    I always carry some classical music on the road. In honor of my new piano CD, I'm listening to Glenn Gould's brilliant A State of Wonder. This is a set of Bach's Goldberg Variations containing Gould's 1955 recording and the later 1981 interpretation. Really almost beyond words.

Artist Spotlights

Listen to Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs on Rdio

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Beloved Montreal indie-rock troupe Arcade Fire won a Grammy, multiple Juno Award and a Polaris Music Prize for their sublime 2010 album, The Suburbs. The band’s sincerity, songwriting chops and knack for instrumental arrangements came to a head on their third album, and now you can listen to it, whenever you want, on Rdio. “We Used to Wait,” but no more.

Enjoy The Suburbs below, add it to your playlists, and share it with your friends.

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.

Artist SpotlightsExclusives

Exclusive: Listen to Dirty Ghosts’ Debut Album and “Pre-Show Jams”

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San Francisco trio Dirty Ghosts make the kind of edgy, street-smart rock that conveys attitude in its dirty riffs and singer Allyson Baker’s aching vocals. Their debut album, Metal Moon, drops next week but you can hear it today, exclusively on Rdio.

Get to know Dirty Ghosts better by listening to Baker’s “Pre-Show Jams” — she also answers our 5 Questions below. Listen to Metal Moon and be the first to tell your friends about this excellent album.

Five Questions with Dirty Ghosts

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Singer-songwriter Allyson Baker: Damon Edge.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    AB: The first Mothmen record - Pay Attention.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    AB: Duran Duran - Duran Duran and Platinum Blonde - Standing in the Dark.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    AB: PUMPED.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    AB: All musical phases I went through in my life, from when I was a kid up until right now.
Artist Spotlights

Five Questions with Ra Ra Riot

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Mathieu Santos is the bassist in Ra Ra Riot, an orchestral pop sextet based in Syracuse, New York. He plays a subtle role in the group but after contributing “Massachusetts” to The Orchard, the band’s sophomore album, he stepped into the spotlight with his own solo debut, also called Massachusetts 2010.

It's been a while since they released new music, but Ra Ra Riot are anything but dormant on Rdio. Follow the band to see what kind of music they’re into lately (hint: Danger Mouse, New Order, and elbow are favorites), and read our interview with Santos.

Five Questions with Ra Ra Riot

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Mathieu Santos: Delicate Steve! I've been a huge fan from the moment Milo (Bonacci, guitarist) first introduced me to his album. He's a pretty electrifying guitarist — very fun and idiosyncratic. Right now, we're actually on tour with him, and he and his band are quite a juggernaut live! They put on amazing performances every night, and it's a joy to be able to watch them. I'd also mention Sam Buck Rosen — we played a couple of shows with him a few years ago, and his drummer, Gabe, would eventually join our band. They recorded a great session for Daytrotter.com, you can download it there for free!
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    MS: Well, at this very moment I'd have to say either Miles Davis's Kind of Blue or Weather Report's Heavy Weather.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    MS: I don't know if there's one in particular — it's more of a mash-up of my parents' cassette collection, which for years was essentially me and my sister's sole source of music. I mostly remember a mix of The Beatles, The Romantics, The Dave Clark Five, Luther Vandross, Robert Palmer, The Power Station, Gary Morris, and The Manhattan Transfer! There were probably a few others, but that's basically the playlist of my childhood.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    MS: Really pumped.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    MS: Peaches.