For those who've never tuned in, Santa Monica, Calif.-based KCRW is unquestionably and consistently one of the best and most culturally valuable stations in the U.S.
For those who've never tuned in, Santa Monica, Calif.-based KCRW is unquestionably and consistently one of the best and most culturally valuable stations in the U.S. For quality- and variety-hungry radio listeners in Southern California, the noncommercial station is a radio oasis, as this disc and the roughly half-dozen previous KCRW collections affirm. Thanks to the hiring of such hardcore music lovers as Nic Harcourt—the station's MD, host of Morning Becomes Eclectic (the morning show from which these performances are culled), and producer of this collection —KCRW is a place where fellow music fans can discover and learn more about music and artists that will stay with them a lifetime. And this collection is full of live performances that will no doubt prove enduring—partly because the versions of songs delivered on the show are usually stripped-down. The lead track, a solo, piano version of Coldplay's "Yellow" from frontman Chris Martin is such a cut, slowed and reinterpreted here beautifully. Zero 7 delivers a heart-tugging version of the aching "Distractions"; Nick Cave's "Into My Arms" is breathtaking. Also included are tracks from Norah Jones, R.E.M., Cousteau, and Air. As this disc further attests, Harcourt and company are doing a job for which we cannot thank them enough.—WO