Music

Music

Every month, NPR Music hits up 10 hosts, music directors and writers from public radio stations across the country for the new songs that just won't let them go. It's always exciting to watch the picks pour in — both to hear the range of music represented and to learn why those songs have been on everyone's minds.

A week after opening to a tepid critical response and accusations of historical inaccuracies from actress Jada Pinkett Smith — as well as a misinterpreted Internet joke that had many searching in vain for the appearance of an iPhone in the film — the Tupac Shakur biopic All

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

Jun 23, 2017

A two-time Grammy winner, bassist Eddie Gomez has been on the cutting edge of music for more than four decades. He has held down rhythm sections and set the groove for some of the heavyweights of jazz — from Bill Evans to Miles Davis to Chick Corea.

Oh sure, you could argue there are other, more important things happening in the world. And frankly, you'd be right. (For those things, by the way — which some people, in somber tones, might call newsplease see here.)

But sometimes, you just need to watch a big gorilla dance in a small pool.

Rev. Sekou is a preacher, pastor and social activist with music in his blood. In this session Sekou is joined by the North Mississippi Allstars — whose members Luther and Cody Dickinson produced his new album, In Times Like These — for a performance recorded onstage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

This post was updated on Sunday, June 25 at 3:50 PM.

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

If you've ever wondered what the soundtrack to a film set in Detroit, Havana and Mexico City might sound like, Jessica Hernandez has an answer for you. With a dusky-to-piercing voice and Amy Winehouse's way of hang-gliding on phrases, Hernandez — along with her band, The Deltas — has been a powerhouse act on the Detroit scene for some time.

When you're a group that's performed together for more than seven decades, it might be a daunting task to keep crafting music that feels fresh. No doubt that hill is even harder to climb when you're working within a tradition like gospel, with its well-loved, and well-worn, harmonic and lyrical conventions. Yet the singers who make up Blind Boys of Alabama have always risen to the challenge with utter grace — and the group's forthcoming album, Almost Home, places a capstone on that history.

In the summer of 1997, when All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer sat down with Colin Greenwood and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead to talk about the band's new album OK Computer, it sounds (in retrospect) like none of them – not our host nor the guys in the band – entirely knew what they were sitting on. O'Brien and Greenwood cracked jokes, gently brushed off questions they didn't care to get into and attempted to explain why this album was so different from the band's previous two releases.

Ah, the feelgood aura of The Beach Boys. We know it so well we just sorta melt into it – drifting into the idyllic reveries of "In My Room" and "God Only Knows," hardly focusing when one of those hot-wired surfing songs erupts from the radio. It's like a direct circuit to the brain: Hear those harmonies and in 3-2-1, there comes the little dopamine squirt affirming all is right with the world.

Holly Macve's voice seems to hover from era to era, coming to rest somewhere between the lonesome twang of Patsy Cline and the moodily modern slur of Lana Del Rey. Macve's songs lope and shimmer at a lazy pace, but they never lack drama, even as she holds herself motionless.

Prodigy And The America That Raised Him

Jun 23, 2017

"I wanna go home not sing this song
but I'm forced to perform speech napalm"

—PRODIGY, "Genesis"

It's now officially summer, which means it's time to kick back, pour out a glass of rosé and listen to the ever-timeless Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, by composer Felix Mendelssohn. The German composer wrote the Overture (Op. 21) when he was only 17, but by then he was a seasoned composer with numerous operas and string symphonies under his belt.

Earlier this month, the New York Philharmonic's outgoing music director Alan Gilbert said goodbye to his orchestra in a series of concerts. Today, he is saying hello to a brand new job in Hamburg, Germany.

Algiers new album The Underside Of Power is one of 2017's most ambitious and intense records. I love it — but sometimes I have to just have to hit pause. There's a fierceness both in subject and sound and source, including speeches from Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers, bold and dark lyrical imagery of death and rage, sounds of people weeping, drones, chimes and what at times feels like the entire history of rock, gospel and R&B wrapped into fifty-one minutes. There's a lot to unpack here.

Jade Jackson, who released her debut album, Gilded, on Anti- Records in May, grew up in a small town in central California. Her parents played music constantly and shunned the internet — and if you want to raise an original songwriter, that is a great start.

Jackson's debut, produced by Mike Ness of Social Distortion, is filled with songs that make you stop and shake your head every time she drops another line that rings true. I almost want to keep her a secret — but word is getting out, so hear the complete session in the player above.

Kansas City native Kevin Morby relocated to Los Angeles a few years ago, but his latest album, City Music, is a dedication to another former home: New York City. Morby has a voice and perspective well beyond his 29 years, and we thoroughly enjoyed his live session.

SET LIST

  • "Crybaby"

Photo: Davis Bell/Winter LaMaster Photography.

Pages