Review: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy finds inspiration in Hawaii

Bonnie “Prince” Billy, “I Made a Place” (Drag City) Will Oldham, appearing here under his Bonnie “Prince” Billy alter ego, has made too much music in the past decade to list here, bu...

Deep cuts rule Juliana Hatfield's Police covers album

Juliana Hatfield, "Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police" (American Laundromat Records) One way to assess a covers record is whether its appeal stretches beyond fans of the re-interprete...

Review: Simply Red back to '70s basics on 'Blue Eyed Soul'

Simply Red, "Blue Eyed Soul" (BMG) "Blue Eyed Soul," Simply Red's 12th album, is not innovative, groundbreaking, cutting-edge, topical or extensive. But it's a lot of fun and its tit...

Review: Joanna Connor takes her blues guitar down new paths

Joanna Connor, "Rise" (M.C. Records) Joanna Connor takes her powerful guitar down new paths on "Rise," an album featuring some jazzier hues, her considerable acoustic skills and even...

Review: Jeff Lynne does it nearly all himself on new album

Jeff Lynne's ELO, "From Out of Nowhere" (Columbia Records) Jeff Lynne's ELO is an elastic band that alternates between being a one-man studio outfit and, nowadays, a 13-member tourin...

Review: Michael Kiwanuka's 3rd album is expressive wonder

Michael Kiwanuka, "Kiwanuka" (Interscope Records) Advice about letting your personality flourish, overcoming self-doubt, trusting your instincts and gaining the confidence to do your...

Review: Van Morrison shines on 'Three Chords and the Truth'

Van Morrison, "Three Chords and the Truth" (Exile/Caroline International) Don't judge a book by its cover, or, at least with Van Morrison, an album by its title. Ar...

Review: Ringo Starr's peace and love fills up new album

Ringo Starr, "What's My Name" (UMe) With enviable energy and the simple, persistent message of "peace and love," Ringo Starr has become one of humanity's quintessential goodwill amba...

Review: Mark Lanegan draws on 1980s to back singular vision

Mark Lanegan Band, "Somebody's Knocking" (Heavenly Recordings) Can Mark Lanegan lend credibility to the 1980s, that regularly disparaged but nevertheless exciting decade reduced by d...

Sex tapes, scandals in Hungary's local election campaign

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The campaign in Hungary for Sunday's nationwide municipal elections has been setting one outrageous precedent after another: Candidates caught on secret sex tapes or alleged t...

Review: Beth Hart vents in song, confirms the power of music

Beth Hart, "War In My Mind" (Provogue) Beth Hart reveals her innermost self on "War In My Mind," an intense, candid and moving album where the only filter is the one ensuring quality...

Review: Andrew Combs' 'Ideal Man' is tuneful and sensitive

Andres Combs, "Ideal Man" (New West Records) On "Ideal Man," Andrew Combs trades in some of the high-gloss finish of his previous work for a trebly kaleidoscope of sounds that unders...

Review: Belle & Sebastian make balmy songs for upcoming film

Belle & Sebastian, "Days of the Bangold Summer" (Matador) Ask some people if they've seen a certain film and they answer "No, but I read the book." For their part, Belle & Se...

Review: Gruff Rhys' songs in Welsh make 'Pang!' tuneful gem

Gruff Rhys, "Pang!" (Rough Trade Records) "Pang!" is another adventurous chapter in Gruff Rhys' fertile and eclectic and solo career, a collection based on mostly acoustic performanc...

Review: Bird and Bee cover Van Halen _ no guitars, much fun

The Bird and the Bee, "Interpreting the Masters, Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen" (No Expectations/Release Me Records) An album of Van Halen covers without guitars. Wait, what? ...