NPR's First Listen is the ability to "try before you buy." In the days before the fast internet, you either had to have access to a cool radio station that played more than the hit single, or take a risk on an unheard artists. Needless to say, I'm taking far more risks now. I have two new albums I want to showcase about this week: Laura Marling's I Speak Because I Can, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' I Learned The Hard Way. And both are fully streamable, here and here.
Alas, I Cannot Swim, nabbed her a nomination for the Mercury Prize and tons of critical acclaim to boot. Oh yeah, she's got some guitar chops, too. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings fourth full-length, I Learned The Hard Way continues where their breakout record's retro soul left off. Like 100 Days, 100 Nights, it's reminiscent of the old Stax sound: tons of power and warmth.