Music

Music

Around the NPR Music office we all swear like a twee version of Veep — but on-air and on-website we receive a tiny electric shock every time we try to spell out our favorite dirty words. (That's not true, but it's funny to think about.)

Everyone in the East Nashville band Cordovas is a lead vocalist. The country-rock group is committed to the sound of brotherhood — a few voices sharing a feeling. Nowhere is that clearer than on the tender ballad "I'm The One Who Needs You Tonight," off the band's upcoming record That Santa Fe Channel.

Maybe contemporary country music will make sense again, now that Shania Twain is back to set the record straight.

We're not quite to the halfway point of 2017 and we've already discovered dozens of new artists who've gone on to become a permanent part of our musical lives, from Diet Cig and Charly Bliss to Overcoats, Vagabon, This Is The Kit and many more. We'll define a "new" artist as someone who released their debut full-length in 2017. (If they haven't released a full album, an EP or single can count).

Yoko Ono will, legalities willing, be added as a songwriter to one of the most famous pop songs in the world — and John Lennon's biggest solo hit — "Imagine."

The critically-acclaimed duo (and married couple) of Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn returns to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston, W.Va. Although his name is synonymous with premier banjo music, Fleck has mastered a wide swath of music and genres, having been nominated in more music categories than any other musician in the Grammys' 59-year history.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Three days before the Dallas Street Choir leaves for New York, its traveling members are assembled and listening intently to choir director Jonathan Palant. He makes an announcement about yet one more phase of preparation: haircuts at 12:45 for anybody who wants one.

In the fall of 1974, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali met in the country of Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the legendary boxing match known as "The Rumble in the Jungle." Although the Rumble had to be postponed until later that autumn, a related promotional event went on as scheduled and turned out to be similarly momentous: Zaire 74, a music festival where some of America's greatest black artists played alongside Africa's leading talent to an audience of tens of thousands.

The Thistle & Shamrock: New For Summer

Jun 14, 2017

Tune into the great new sounds that are kicking off this year's music-festival season on both sides of the Atlantic. In this show, you'll hear new music from Beoga, Galen Fraser, Moya Brennan and more.

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

Brisbane, Australia is sometimes derided as "Brisvegas," a crack at the city's supposed lack of sophistication. But Australian musician Harriette Pilbeam might disagree that her home city lacks culture: She has spent the past few years honing her power-pop chops in the bands Babaganouj and Go Violets, part of Brisbane's not-insubstantial indie-rock scene.

There are very few artists who can bring the past into the present in a way that captures both the nuance of history and the immediacy of now. But Rhiannon Giddens has done it, beautifully, on her second solo album, Freedom Highway.

"Despacito" isn't the only catchy song of the summer that has people singing in Spanish. The Mexico City-based Chilean vocalist Mon Laferte has teamed up with Colombian superstar Juanes for the steamy single "Amárrame," whose video has lured nearly 60 million views on YouTube.

Conservative critics are attacking a production of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” that’s running in New York. The basics of the play are the same as they’ve been since 1599 — the title character is deemed “ambitious” and is murdered in the Roman Senate on the Ides of March. But that’s not what has drawn controversy to the latest production.

Last month, PWR BTTM's Ben Hopkins was accused of sexual assault. Following widespread reporting of those allegations, the two-piece band, whose other member is Liv Bruce, was dropped from its record labels, Father/Daughter and Polyvinyl. Today, the group is publicly detailing its efforts to gain control of its music.

It's not often that re-releases from a band's back catalog prompt a public statement saying that it isn't "announcing s***."

We get right down to business this week with the fantastic, frenetic pop of Guerilla Toss. The New York band has a new album on the way and recently released "Betty Dreams Of Green Men," a cut inspired by alien abduction, addiction and the obsessions that can consume a person's life.

It's hard to know what's real in the latest video from English musician and actor Johnny Flynn. The short film, for his song "In The Deepest," opens with Flynn casually strolling down the street on a sunny day while shooting a selfie. "The thing about Glasgow is you don't know what you're gonna get," he says, staring into the camera. Just then he notices a brilliant light streaking across the sky behind him. It seems a massive meteor is headed straight for earth.

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