Music

Music

Few singers can command an audience's attention quite like Albin Lee Meldau. When I first saw him perform, at a church in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest last March, it felt like the entire audience was on the edge of its seat, hanging on every twisted word. His voice is breathtaking, soulful, thunderous and impossible to ignore.

Chester Bennington, one of the lead singers for the band Linkin Park and a former singer for Stone Temple Pilots, has died. His death was confirmed to NPR Thursday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, which said that his body was discovered at a house in the 2800 block of Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles and that investigators are currently on the scene. The death is "being looked at as a possible suicide at this time," according to Brian Elias of the coroner's office. Bennington was 41 years old.

Beth Ditto is a force of nature. Her incredible voice and charming personality earned her dance-punk band Gossip an international following, and those same qualities now drive her solo career. We hosted her for a live KCRW session to celebrate the release of Fake Sugar, her full-length debut under her own name.

SET LIST

  • "Oo La La"

Photo: Mark Leibowitz/KCRW.

Who would doubt that Michael McDonald could still sound groovy and relevant while ushering the musical feel of 1978 into 2017? Only a fool.

By now, we've been living with the popular archetype of the singer-songwriter for half a century or so, and multiple generations have worn their grooves into it, accumulating familiar lexicons along gender lines. We learned to expect our troubadours to work with particular personas, settings and themes, depending on whether they were women or men. Depictions of self-discovery through restless rambling were often heard as expressions of masculinity, while femininity was more closely associated with craving a settled existence and valuing intimate attachments.

Pardoner can't stop saving us from 'blah' punk. That's what Uncontrollable Salvation means, right? Or maybe Pardoner's some kind of Judge Dredd, a combination of judge, jury and savior whenever a perp is making lame punk crossed with '90s alt-rock.

Carlos Santana turns 70 years old Thursday. It's difficult to wrap my head around that: To me, as to so many other fans, he'll forever be the just-turned-22-year-old grimacing and grooving at Woodstock in August 1969.

Seratones On Mountain Stage

18 hours ago

Shreveport, La., quartet Seratones makes its debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston, W.Va. Imagine if Yma Sumac's birdlike vocals carried Nirvana's guitar riffs in a run-down garage in Louisiana, and you'll get a sense of the psych-soul-rock produced by these musical hell-raisers. Given frontwoman A.J.

Think of this three-disc set as The Rise of Elvis Presley: The Granular Detail Version.

The fabled personal recordings young Presley paid Sun Records $3.98 to make are here. The very early singles are all represented as well – and they've been put through a magical audio scrubber and buffed to diamond clarity. The set includes every available studio outtake, and some choice banter between takes. Naturally there are live performances, among them a rousing (and previously unissued) "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" from a 1955 Louisiana Hayride radio broadcast.

When history ranks 2017 among hip-hop's wonder years — and from the sounds of the previous six months it certainly qualifies — Vic Mensa's long-awaited full-length debut will be a big part of the reason why. The Chi-town native has created a work in The Autobiography that's equal parts confessional and confrontational, gut-wrenching and uplifting. Steeped in a personal story arc that envelopes Mensa's hometown, it echoes with the pain of a generation.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And we're going to speak next with two new additions to the NPR family. Pioneering New York City hip-hop radio DJ Stretch Armstrong - hey there, Stretch.

ADRIAN BARTOS, BYLINE: Are we doing this right now?

It's hard to believe, but before the 1950s, guitars were rarely heard in British music. Billy Bragg says the first guitars to hit the British pop scene came as a part of skiffle, a musical movement inspired by African-American roots musicians.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Best Of The Best

Jul 19, 2017

From The Chieftains' vintage collection The Very Best Of The Claddagh Years to Dusk Till Dawn, which telescopes the long and successful career of Capercaillie, we explore some of Celtic-roots music's finest "best of" compilations.

"Despacito," the Spanish-language summer smash by Puerto Rican stars Luis Fonsi and "king of reggaetón" Daddy Yankee, is now the most-streamed song in history.

Coming to America to record her first official music seems so appropriate when you first hear to 19-year-old British singer Jade Bird. Her phrasing and accent feel as if they'd be as at home in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York as they would on Nashville radio.

Dominated by drive and momentum, heavy on percussion and bass, go-go music is all about the beat. Live, "songs" can continue on for half an hour, as the percussion continues to simmer and punctuate between and across different pieces. "That's why we call it go-go, because it goes on and goes on and goes on," as guitarist Andre Johnson put it in a documentary film.

Singer-songwriter BOSCO was born and raised in Savannah, Ga., eventually studying fashion design at Savannah College of Art and Design — but it was Atlanta that granted her serious-artist pedigree. The artist formerly known as Brittany Bosco glides through a variety of genres, though usually stays rooted in some version of experimental R&B. 2015's BOY EP is a hazy, sensual journey around a dark lounge, its title track drenched in black honey.

You'll want to listen to this week's show on a good pair of headphones, preferably in the dark and, if you take drummer Ian Chang's advice, while getting a massage. We open the program with a spine-tingling cut called "ASMR," from Chang's debut solo EP, an arresting instrumental piece inspired by the inexplicable chills that sometimes run down your back. It's just the first in a series of sonic delights on the show.

Roland Cazimero, a guitarist and singer who helped define the nobly mellifluous sound of contemporary Hawaiian music, primarily as one-half of The Brothers Cazimero, died in Honolulu on Sunday at 66 years old, his twin sister, Kanoe, confirmed. No cause of death was given, though the artist suffered in recent years from congestive heart issues, diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome.

So many songs have taken on new meaning over the past nine months or so. Ask Van William about his song "Revolution" and he'll tell you that it "started as a song about the anxieties of being in a relationship, where both people want to fix its broken parts, but disagree on the means," but "became something else during and after the 2016 election."

Pages