Artist Spotlights

68 posts

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Listen to Kate Campbell’s New Album and Playlist

Pub shot

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 Whispertown’s Parallel on Rdio


Whispertown is the indie folk project of Los Angeles’ Morgan Nagler and a rotating cast of her friends. Formerly dubbed The Whispertown 2000, Nagler perfected her indie folk sound on tours with The Breeders, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, and She & Him, among others. Her full-length discography includes was 2008’s Swim, and Parallel, which updated her sound with touches of Postal Service-style electronica.

Parallel is now available on Rdio, courtesy of Gillian Welch’s record label, Acony. Listen to Parallel now, and catch Whispertown on their current tour with Margo & The Nuclear So and So’s.

∞  April 16, 2012 — 10:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Listen to Beirut Member Bright Moments’ Debut Album and Playlist


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”


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.
  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

Hear the Yo Gotti Favorite Cuts Playlist


This week, Memphis, Tennessee rapper Yo Gotti released his debut studio album — his first on a major label. Live From The Kitchen is the culmination of a decade of hard work, during which he sought inspiration from other great rappers. Yo Gotti compiled a playlist of some of his favorite cuts and shared commentary for each track, which you can read below.

Playlist Notes

  • Akon - “Sorry, Blame It On Me”
    This is a record I relate to everyday, from being on the road, to all of the mistakes that I’ve made in my life, I always get a chance to step back from my hectic life and reflect.

  • 50 Cent - “Wanksta”
    This is a classic right here!!! I remember hearing this joint about 8 years ago and it still gives me the same feeling I felt when I first heard it, thinking about all of these dudes pretending to be something they clearly can not and will not be.

  • Yo Gotti - “Women Lie, Men Lie”
    This joint is so hard and Weezy killed it! (Hold ya head, Weezy!) This record is so true because people can say what they want but numbers don’t have emotions, or feelings, just facts. Dope sound, dope meaning.

  • Alicia Keys - “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart”
    Ms. Keys killed this cut and the beat was so banging for an R&B record…I love it.

  • Nicki Minaj & Gucci Mane - “Freaky Girl”
    I remember when this song dropped, I attached to it immediately because of the hook. I still love it because of the hook.

  • Yo Gotti - “5 Star Remix”
    The remix helped make the original be bigger than it already was and Nicki…she ripped the track to shreds.

  • Soulja Boy - “Turn My Swag On”
    This is my joint!! It’s just a banging record that is very fun. Whenever I’m just hopping out the bed, I get my chain, my stack, turn my swag on.

  • Clipse - “Grindin’”
    I love this joint!!! There is one word to describe this cut, classic. This is probably the all time D-Boy Anthem.

  • T.I. - “Rubber Band Man’”
    If “Grindin’” is the D-Boy anthem then this is the celebration of that lifetime. There is nothing like stacks in a rubber band.

  • T.I. - “What You Know”
    This record is so amazing. The beat was so beautiful and T.I. ripped it, straight classic.

  • T.I. - “You Don’t Know Me”
    This record was so catchy and so big, this is again a personal favorite of mine, especially when I don’t want to be bothered, like don’t mess wit me boy, cause you don’t know me!!!

  • T.I. - “Still Ain’t Forgave Myself”
    This is another retrospective joint that I love that shows that all men are equal, no matter how tough you portray yourself to be.

  • Young Jeezy - “Air Forces”
    Same as “Trap or die”, this is a classic Jeezy cut that’s one of my all time favorites from da Snowman.

  • Plies - “100 Years”
    This is such a real record that everybody gotta feel. I love how truthful Plies get especially on this record, a very touching cut.

  • Plies - “Sumbody”
    This is another favorite from my homie Plies. This record again hits home because of its touching subject matter. I love this cut.

  • Drake - “Forever”
    This joint was so hard, plus all four dudes, Drake, ‘Ye, Weezy, and Em all murdered a banging beat. This was one of my favorite joints from 2009.

  • Lil Wayne - “Money On My Mind”
    This joint was just Weezy at probably his finest, he was so hungry and so ill with the bars, this is one of my favorite joints from that era.

  • Rick Ross - “Hustlin’”
    This is what put Ross on the map and it’s simple and sweet; everyday I’m hustling to stay alive and live well. Whether in the dope game or in any type of hustle, this record speaks to all who are trying to be somebody. I love this song.

Artist Spotlights

Five Questions with Ra Ra Riot


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, 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.
Artist SpotlightsGiveaways

Win a James Durbin-Autographed Lithograph Poster

JD Litho

You don’t have to win American Idol to conquer it — rocker James Durbin is proof of that. His larger-than-life personality, and ability to channel his love of old-fashioned rock’n’roll with his booming voice, turned more than enough heads to make Durbin a winner in his own right.

Ready to put the competition behind him, last week Durbin released his debut full-length, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster — a showcase of his rock influences and raw talent. For a better look into where he gets his inspiration, Durbin constructed a playlist of his favorite tunes for us, Some of James Durbin's All Time Favorites.

Win an Autographed Lithograph Print

Rdio has a lithograph poster signed by James Durbin to give away to one lucky fan. Simply subscribe to the playlist to be entered for a chance to take the poster home. For more information, read the Official Rules, and see the Lithograph, pictured above.

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Angels & Airwaves’ Love Project and Dual Playlists


Though Blink-182 recently made their return to recorded music, Tom Delonge’s other band for the past five years remains quite active. Angels & Airwaves is his creative playground to explore grand, serious musical and lyrical themes.

Their latest endeavor is the Love Project, a pair of albums that provide the musical counterpart to a full-length science-fiction flick of the same name, directed by William Eubank. Love, Pt. 1 was released in 2010, and along with the release of Love, Pt. 2 last week, they also released a box set featuring both albums and the film.

To celebrate the completion of their project, Angels & Airwaves compiled two playlists they enjoy playing before and after gigs, among other "extracurricular" activities. Listen to the aptly-titled, “Foreplay” below, then dial up “Afterglow”. In their own words, "For us, playing a show is much like making love. This is our soundtrack for both."

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Songs Toby Keith Loves on Rdio


What do the years 1995, 1998, 2000, and 2004 have in common? They’re the only years Clinton, Oklahoma country music icon Toby Keith hasn’t released an album since he began recording in 1993. This week’s release of new album Clancy’s Tavern, which was named after his grandmother’s bar in Fort Smith, Arkansas, marks Keith’s 15th full-length to date.

To celebrate the release and its accompanying deluxe version, Keith has assembled a playlist of songs he loves, just for Rdio. Hear some of the inspiration for his prolific music career below.

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Chromeo: Five Questions and a Fresh Sax Playlist


Dance-funk outfit Chromeo are P-Thugg and Dave 1, two Montreal-bred musicians who bonded over a surprising love of Hall & Oates. Since 2004 the duo have been crafting sophisticated and sensuous dance tunes on albums like 2007’s breakout Fancy Footwork and last year’s follow-up, Business Casual.

Just for Rdio, both members of Chromeo created a playlist of Top Sax Solo Songs. Check out the playlist now and read the duo’s extensive and entertaining answers to our Five Questions below.

Five Questions with Chromeo

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    P-Thugg: For me it’s Roger Troutman. My whole career is based on copying him, whether it’s his guitar playing, his talk box, or playing his songs or his drum sounds. Everything. He is the one who created and produced all the music for Zapp.
    Dave 1: People know about him but not enough people know about him. They know him as the guy in the Tupac song, but they should know him for the real sort of obscure ’70s tragic genius that he is. And I guess another one for me would be Shuggie Otis; again, some people know him, but most people don't. He is still considered obscure. And he was kind of a predecessor to Prince. Somewhere in between Jimi Hendrix and Prince. He was like a virtuoso guitar player and a really young musical prodigy and he kind of sang like Prince. Apparently, at one point, The Rolling Stones asked him to join their band and he said no and he kept doing his own music and he did just a limited number of songs and he stopped. He just quit. And so I like him a lot.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    D1: The thing is that we have access to every record in the world. It’s called the internet. So it is not even like a remote possibility.
    P-T: You can go on the internet and listen to anything you want.
    D1: Nowadays, you can even listen to the separated tracks of every record. They have those for some classic records too.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    P-T: Michael Jackson - Bad.
    D1: Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction Actually, no... I've got earlier ones. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, but that was from my parents collection and my parents played that for me all the time when I was a baby. But then the first cassette I bought with my own money was Appetite for Destruction.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    D1: Smiling.
    P-T: Yeah, or having sex.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    D1: Sunsets.
    P-T: Each other.