Buckingham & Portishead in Vancouver

Given that we live in an age when many aspiring musicians have their eye firmly fixed on YouTube hits and dollar signs, artists who answer only to their wild muse have never seemed more remarkable. Lindsey Buckingham (Oct. 22) helped to reverse the fortunes of ailing British blues band Fleetwood Mac when he and then-paramour Stevie Nicks joined in 1975, transforming it into a sleek pop-rock band whose 1977 album Rumours perfectly captured the tenor of the times; it became the best-selling long-player in history to that point. Since then, Buckingham’s response to fame has been to do whatever the hell he wants, which includes occasional solo albums that tend toward spare, meditative singer-songwriter fare, music as long on virtuosic guitar-playing as it is short on commercial hooks. On tour, he clearly revels in the opportunity to perform away from the stadiums the freshly reunited Mac has routinely filled. Whereas Buckingham seems somewhat averse to doing the expected, Portishead (Oct. 24) seems averse to any public profile whatsoever. Pioneer of the genre known as trip-hop, the U.K. trio remains a staple soundtrack at the dinner parties of former club kids thanks to its 1994 debut, Dummy, all languid electronic beats and melancholy melodies. Only two studio albums have emerged since then, each more uncompromising than the last. Despite the music-for-nightmares collection that makes up 2008’s Third, affection for the ultra-reclusive band remains strong, so much so that it can sell out a North American tour without anything new to promote.