Music

Music

Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 3, which appears on his latest album, contains many levels of meaning. It's an homage to the Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev, whose Second Symphony serves as a structural model for the piece. It's an encoded musical portrait of Rouse's wife. And it's an engaging piece of music even for a listener who possesses none of this background knowledge.

Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath was one of the coolest records to come out in 2014, with Ozzy-era Black Sabbath songs recast as heavy Latin-funk jams. But it's not just some joke made after a night of tequila.

Swedish singer, organist and all-around bad-ass Anna von Hausswolff has released a monumental new video for her song "Come Wander With Me/Deliverance." Breathlessly beautiful and brooding, the film unfolds in the deep, dark woods where Hausswolff walks stone-faced among the trees, drinking in the majesty of nature and its indifference to the human experience.

When we featured Gallant's "Skipping Stones," the rising R&B singer's duet with professional guest vocalist Jhené Aiko, on the All Songs Considered SXSW preview back in March, we knew we'd found a new team favorite.

Named for a Drive Like Jehu song, Super Unison came out fully formed with a furious eight minutes of hip-shaking punk released last year. Featuring vocalist and bassist Meghan O'Neil Pennie (ex-Punch), drummer Justin Renniger (ex-Snowing) and guitarist Kevin DeFranco, Super Unison proves that melody can still leave a nasty bruise.

Jean Shepard, one of the first women to find success in country music as a solo act, died Sunday at age 82. Shepard was a feisty, straight-shooting singer who created a career in an industry where she had few female role models.

I met Isaiah Rashad late this summer, during a stop on the manic press run that comes with the release of a new album. Like most of his fans, I wanted to know where he had been and what to expect from his latest work, The Sun's Tirade. His debut album, Cilvia Demo, dropped in January 2014, and back then I heard an urgent young man from Chattanooga, Tenn., on the hunt for validation through his art.

When Conor Oberst started releasing music more than 20 years ago, first as a solo artist and later as Bright Eyes, he was just a teenager from Nebraska. Everyone marveled at how a kid could write and record at such a breathlessly prolific pace, producing inspired, sonically adventurous songs with a wisdom and world view beyond his years. Now just in his mid-30s, he's already a veteran, with dozens of albums and EPs behind him.

While Bob was gallivanting about Nashville last week for AmericanaFest, I was hiding under a pile of covers fighting a case of Hand-Foot-And-Mouth disease (it's as Medieval as it sounds). But show business never sleeps, which means Bob made it back home, I recovered and we're back in the studio this week to geek out over our favorite new music.

A new David Bowie box set released late last week includes a complete (and remastered) version of his long-lost album, The Gouster. Bowie originally recorded the album in 1974, but eventually shelved the project. Reworked versions of "Somebody Up There Likes Me" and "Can You Hear Me" wound up on 1975's Young Americans. Other tracks, like "It's Gonna Be Me" and "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)," trickled out in various forms in the years that followed. But this is the first time Gouster's full track list is available to hear as it was originally intended.

James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo are coming into gray hairs as gracefully and loudly as members of a metal band entering their 50s can.

Kyle Craft On World Cafe

Sep 26, 2016

Kyle Craft's music encompasses a diverse set of influences. Originally from Shreveport, La., his voice carries southern cadences and his songs revolve around distinct characters and situations that could only be from that town by the Mississippi. But you also hear the influences of David Bowie, under whose spell Craft fell at a young age, and of Craft's adopted hometown of Portland, Ore.

They came, they measured, and they returned to perform a show like no other. It was the great NPR Tiny Desk Takeover by Blue Man Group.

If you've not seen this performance ensemble and their production in New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, Boston, Chicago or Berlin, then you've missed a night of magical fun. These Blue Men may never say a word, but the performances make for poignant looks at who we are as humans. They also make unusual music on instruments of their own design.

The political endorsement song is a strange beast. It's something more than just a campaign anthem — the kind of track that pumps up rally audiences before a candidate's entrance onstage. Instead, this kind of tune is an odd hybrid: part commercial jingle, part aspirational anthem and, with nearly no exceptions, a soon-forgotten novelty. (One outlier: the sturdy Whig song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" from the 1840 presidential campaign, which was most recently resurrected by They Might Be Giants in 2004.)

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SONG, "BORN IN THE U.S.A.")

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The founder of Rolling Stone is selling a minority share of the fabled magazine to a Singapore-based social media entrepreneur, the first time an outside investor has been allowed to buy into the property.

Several media reports say Jann Wenner has decided to sell 49 percent of the magazine, as well as its digital assets, to BandLab Technologies, a social-networking site for musicians and fans.

It makes sense that Y La Bamba's latest album, Ojos Del Sol, is a bilingual journey through cultures and genres. After all, the project comes from frontwoman Luz Elena Mendoza, who carries her multiple identities with pride.

Mendoza's parents are both from Michoacan, Mexico. She was born in San Francisco, but her family soon relocated to southern Oregon, where both of her parents found jobs working at sawmills. Music was a large part of her childhood.

Like Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye, Anthony Hamilton began his path to soul stardom in the front of a church. Before his gold and platinum albums, before songs like "Charlene" and "The Point of it All" and this year's "Amen," Hamilton first sang in the choir of Charlotte, N.C.'s New Shiloh Baptist Church.

Bob Boilen, the host of NPR Music's All Songs Considered podcast, sits down with John Paul White, formerly half of the Civil Wars, to discuss songs that changed the songwriter's life. The conversation takes place at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and is part of AmericanaFest 2016.

Dirty Projectors' early career opened a virtual fire hydrant of ideas: albums overstuffed with sound and chaos, reined in by real artistry, released in rapid succession. But as bandleader David Longstreth honed his vision, the hydrant's flow has given way to a trickle. It's been more than four years since the last new Dirty Projectors album, Swing Lo Magellan, and Longstreth himself has stayed largely out of the public eye.

Most breakup songs are definitive post-mortems, allowing the performer to take a clear position on either side of the line between spurner and spurned — a final full stop that rarely mirrors real life. But in the songs of the Melbourne, Australia, band Jaala, different realities are allowed to coexist, the push-and-pull as evident in frontwoman and songwriter Cosima Jaala's textured voice as in the group's erratic style. On "Junior Spirit," an early taste of Jaala's in-progress second album, she attempts and fails to leave someone.

Hip-hop artist Amisho Baraka, who performs as Sho Baraka, is one African-American man who feels left out by both major political parties — and he says this will affect his vote come November.

Tomorrow, two final works from composer James Horner will reach American ears: a concert piece being released on CD, and his score for the remake of the Western adventure The Magnificent Seven. The composer died a little more than a year ago in a plane crash, after creating more than 100 film scores over nearly 40 years.

The long, hot summer comes to an end today — according to the calendar, at least — and here at World Cafe, we're beginning to get into the spirit of the changing seasons. Feeling the autumnal vibes, we've selected some of our favorite songs that reflect the transition to the cooler days of fall.

Listen below for season-appropriate songs by Joanna Newsom, Simon & Garfunkel, Yo La Tengo and more.

For Glass Animals, the concept of the "sophomore slump" doesn't apply — a point that becomes abundantly clear when listening to How To Be A Human Being. The new album was recorded in less than two months and based on stories that frontman Dave Bayley heard from people he'd met while touring the world. "Life Itself" is a standout.

SET LIST

  • "Life Itself"

American composer Julia Wolfe has won one of the biggest windfalls in the arts world. She is one of this year's MacArthur Fellows, recipients of the so-called "genius grants" given to a wide range of talented figures from the arts, humanities, sciences and social services. The 2016 class of fellows was announced early Thursday morning.

In 2009, musician and historian Elijah Wald published an overview of American pop from the 1890s to the 1960s he called How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll. The title was a bomb-throwing feint — as Wald told me in an interview, he knew that title would get much more attention than a drier one such as "American Pop From Sousa to Soul" — and as if on cue, one reviewer after another lined up to wave away its thesis.

In the music of Alcest, beauty reigns above all. Even in the French band's early days playing gauzy black-metal, attention was paid to the curves of song and sound. From 2014, Shelter departed completely from Alcest's metallic roots for shoegaze, a conscious move on mastermind Neige's part that, while pretty, was airy in its noticeable lack of heft.

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