CD: Bonnie Prince Billy - Best Troubadour "Will Oldham remembers country legend Merle Haggard&q

From the Arts Desk Best Troubadour is Bonnie Prince Billy's musical tribute to his "forever hero", country singer Merle Haggard. Haggard was best known for his song "Okie from Muskogee", a wry homage to small-town Southern values. Students of country music, however, remember a different Merle – the armed robber turned musician and iconoclast. In his own bohemian way Bonnie Prince Billy, aka Will Oldham, is another sort of radical. And on Best Troubadour he interprets Haggard's artistic vision through 16 of his lesser-known songs. The album opens with "The Fugitive", whose lyrics evoke the dirt and desperation of life on the run. Such a visceral feel was pure Haggard. The other songs in the c

CD: Future Islands - The Far Field "Baltimore trio back with their post-breakthrough album&quot

From The Arts Desk The Far Field is the fifth album from Baltimore synth-poppers Future Islands, and the first since that performance on Letterman. In case you aren't familiar, a quick recap: the band were performing their single, "Seasons (Waiting on You)" when something mesmerising started to happen. Thumping his chest and screwing up his eyes, singer Samuel T. Herring suddenly became totally at one with the song. The performance soon went viral. It didn't just breathe new life into the band, though; it also put them under a new level of scrutiny. All credit, then, that the boys haven't buckled under pressure or attempted radical reinvention. The Far Field is essentially business-as-usual.

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