Music

Music

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."

At one point or another, we've all wondered what we'd be doing if we had made different choices. For most people, life rarely goes in a straight line; rather, it's made up of detours and false starts that help us collect experiences or lead to unforeseen opportunities. Take Madeline Kenney, who took a fascinatingly circuitous path before arriving at making music: She earned a degree in neuroscience, she initially moved from Seattle to the Bay Area to pursue a career as a professional baker, she painted and practiced modern dance — all while nannying to pay the bills.

A four-part, nearly five-hour documentary film that began airing on HBO earlier this month, The Defiant Ones functions as a quintessentially modern-American bildungsroman. Its broadcaster describes it as "a master class in how to work your way up from the bottom to beyond your wildest dreams." But stories like these — here, of the hip-hop legend Dr. Dre, born Andrew Young, and the record producer and music executive Jimmy Iovine — never are. If one possesses the talent and drive, they don't need to take notes.

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STEVE INSKEEP: We have an inside glimpse now at the life of a rock star.

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"Here is musical sterility at its pinnacle. A band that has absolutely no soul, no feeling in the music," critic Lester Bangs declared in 1975. The target of his derision? The British progressive-rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Bangs disdained the band's objective, as he saw it, "to play pre-set solos as fast as you possibly can, [at] breakneck speed, and do it for about five hours."

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So what do you do if you're a recently crowned head of state and you're already facing opposition — even from within your own family? One answer is optics. Make a big, public splash; throw a lavish party with A-list musical entertainment. That's just what happened in London — 300 years ago Monday.

"I'm working on the SoundCloud thing," Chance the Rapper tweeted last Thursday, sounding like an angel tasked with yet another miracle after rumors — later denied by the company — that SoundCloud's collapse was imminent. After having what he called "a fruitful call" with SoundCloud cofounder Alex Ljung, Chance tweeted "SoundCloud is here to stay," a day later.

Last night the penultimate season of Game of Thrones (the gravestone-final piece of monoculture we'll share until Star Wars returns at the end of the year) began, bringing fans wary of ceaseless political imbroglios and the impending threa

Imagine waking up in someone else's life. One day, you're a singer in a punky band, the next a tutu-wearing ballerina. This quick video featuring Alex Toth — aka Alexander F, the trumpeter and Energizer Bunny behind the band Rubblebucket — explores exactly this sort of humorous, Kafkaesque switcheroo.

"I know it's wrong, but I can't stop," Katie Von Schleicher groans in "Midsummer." Her album S***** Hits is full of such self-deprecating admissions; it's an album about looking out from inside your own delusions and bad habits, begging yourself to do better.

True to its name, Wolves In The Throne Room has always painted between the lines of barbaric and regal. For over a decade it has been this between-space that has driven WITTR's power; burning black-metal riffs communing with mystical folk and ambient music.

The pairing of Tuxedo is a natural feel in person, but highly unlikely on paper. Seattle-based producer Jake One has a who's-who client list, from Rick Ross to 21 Savage — while DJ, singer-songwriter and producer Mayer Hawthorne is a renaissance soul man from Ann Arbor, Michigan. They stealthily debuted three tracks on SoundCloud in 2013 with only a black square stamped "Tuxedo" as the cover art, leaving fans wondering where this new funk was coming from.

When Josh Ritter began to write new songs, he felt an absolute impending storm. And this singer, songwriter, painter and author, with almost twenty years of songwriting behind him, began looking for a new way to approach his muse.

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hear Josh Ritter talk about the creative process for his soon-to-be-released album Gathering, along with a premiere of his new song "Showboat," or read his essay below. — Bob Boilen

This week, World Cafe digs into the archives for some of its best sessions from the last several months — conversations and performances that were so good we decided to bring them back for a second listen. You'll hear sessions with Father John Misty, Alison Krauss, David Crosby and more.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


It might be easy to dismiss Declan McKenna as a young kid who writes catchy pop songs, but he's so much more than that. The 18-year-old Brit's debut album, What Do You Think About The Car?, proves that this young man has a tall talent for mixing politics, poetry and melody.

Earlier this year, rapper A.D. Carson completed a 34-song album he called Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics Of Rhymes & Revolutions. If that sounds like an unusual title for a hip-hop record, keep in mind that the album also served as Carson's doctoral dissertation.

To the uninitiated, it's the French horn — though that's a bit of a misnomer. To its players and students, it's simply a horn, an instrument that has featured in orchestras for centuries.

The horn's sound is easily recognizable thanks to the prominent role it's played in some of the most epic classical songs and movie themes. But it's still an uncommon instrument, and not the easiest one to build community around. To that end, dozens of horn players head into the woods in the White Mountains every summer to celebrate and learn more about their instrument.

The Floating Symphony

Jul 15, 2017

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Hey, buddy, want to buy a barge? The Point Counterpoint II is looking for a new owner. And he or she should prepare to be noticed.

ROBERT BOUDREAU: The SS Point Counterpoint II looks like a figment of Captain Nemo's imagination or a leftover prop from "Star Wars" (laughter).

Bands Prep For The Big Stage At Berklee

Jul 15, 2017

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Fleet Foxes' lead singer, Robin Pecknold, says the band's new album, Crack-Up, is the kind of record he's always wanted to make. But it took a minute — six years, actually. The last Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues, came out in 2011 and was a huge success. But after touring that record, at a point where bands traditionally head back to the studio to try and keep the momentum going, Fleet Foxes took a break. And that led to a few changes.

Brennen Leigh On Mountain Stage

Jul 14, 2017

Texan singer and guitar-slinger Brennen Leigh makes her debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va.

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