NPR

Fiona Apple, Genesis, Cream

An extraordinary new recording from Fiona Apple; Classic R&B singer Bettye LaVette; Reggae classics from Sinéad O'Connor; The quirky Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; A powerful and political CD from Elbow; Meditative, lo-fi rock from Portastatic; Modest Mouse cover tunes by Sun Kil Moon; Spare piano works from Mitchell Froom; Remembering the early work of Genesis; A new live recording from Cream.

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Please Please Please

Fiona Apple rode a wave of popularity in the late '90s with the enormous success of her debut CD Tidal -- a collection of piano-driven rock tunes with theatrical flourishes and sometimes haunting themes. The unexpected fame -- and backlash from a music video of Apple writhing in her underwear -- drove her to recede from the spotlight. She returns with a stunning collection of new songs her label was originally reluctant to release because it lacked a marketable single. After reworking some of the songs, Apple's new CD is finally out, with a title that's a testament to her perseverance.

Sleep to Dream

Bettye LaVette was a soul singer from the 1960s and '70s who never got much attention for her work. Anti Records owner Andy Kauklin, a fan of her music, hopes to change that on this new collection of cover tunes by some of the most accomplished female songwriters in the business.

We're Going Wrong

Earlier this past Spring, the classic rock group Cream got back together for a series of performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London, followed by shows at Madison Square Garden. This recording from the London performances shows the band has lost little from the nearly 40 years since they broke up.

The Carpet Crawlers

A new three-CD collection reexamines the work of Genesis from its earliest days as a highly conceptual, pregressive rock group, to the pop music that defined its later years. This track originally appeared on the 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

Whisperland

Mitchell Froom is known for producing the work of other artists like Paul McCartney, Cibo Matto and Suzanne Vega. But he's also regarded as a gifted keyboardist who's appeared on numerous albums as a session musician. For his third solo release in 20 years, Froom offers stripped-down, solo piano tunes.

Neverending Math Equation

Sun Kil Moon's debut release Ghosts of the Great Highway in 2003 featured Neil Young-inspired rock tunes. For this sophomore release, the band covers the work of Modest Mouse. Sun Kil Moon's first CD was featured on All Songs Considered episode 51.

Bright Ideas

Portastatic is a side project for Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan. For 13 years McCaughan has been producing his passionate, plaintive rock on a lo-fi, four-track recorder. He recorded this album at a studio with backup support from Superchunk drummer Jim Wilber and McCaughan's brother, Matt.

Station Approach

Elbow is from Manchester and has been making great art pop/rock for nearly 15 years. This is the band's third full-length CD. With a quirky hodgepodge of themes on everything from politics to excessive partying, Leaders of the Free World is a lush and expansive collection of smartly-crafted rock tunes.

The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a five-piece group with a sound probably better heard than described. But suffice to say their self-released debut is an exuberant if strange mix of artful rock songs.

War

Sinéad O'Connor puts her days as a pop/rock singer far behind her on this new collection of reggae tunes, recorded in Jamaica with reggae rhythm legends Sly and Robbie.
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