Music

Music

Jason Heller is a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the forthcoming book Strange Stars (Melville House). Twitter: @jason_m_heller

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.

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.

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.


This may seem like an odd thing to say of a band fronted by one of the more successful songwriters in Nashville, but there's actually something that contributes even more to the distinctive identity of Cadillac Three albums than the songs themselves, and that's feel.

Most of us know Chuck Berry as a pioneer, if not the pioneer, who defined rock 'n' roll. My guest today knew him as dad.

Charles Berry Jr. is here to share memories of growing up watching the elder Berry on TV, joining him on tour in his later years and contributing to what would be his final record, an album called Chuck that was released in June.

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

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Tens of thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil in Memphis, Tenn., last night. But it wasn't an entirely somber event.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVED")

Until last year, few Greeks had heard of Marina Satti.

LCD Soundsystem's new disco-boogie song is about songs inspired, he tells Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show, by the hit singles James Murphy kept hearing in taxis set upon the same theme, that "we only have tonight."

Jo Walker-Meador, one of the most important behind-the-scenes advocates of country music, has died. Walker-Meador, who led the Country Music Association as its executive director from 1962 to 1991, died Tuesday night in Nashville at age 93 after suffering a stroke. Her death was announced by the Country Music Association and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Manchester Arena will reopen next month just three-and-a-half months after a bomb attack in the venue's foyer killed 22 people at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.

As with the best Van Morrison songs, "Transformation" billows out from its oft-repeated refrain. The lead single off Morrison's upcoming Roll With The Punches (out Sept. 22) consists largely of the 71-year-old Irish singer belting "gonna be a transformation" over a triumphant soul progression. But if there's been a transformation in Morrison over his long career, it isn't evident here. This is a soaring bit of classic Morrison roots-soul — and his best outing in recent years.

On the same night that torch-bearing white nationalists wound up staging a rally at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Van Jones stood at a podium, in the nation's capital, telling a theater full of supporters why they should let love rule in the face of racial hatred.

When MF DOOM emerged from the ether just before the last millennium's end, with a metal faceplate masking his grill, a raspy voice and a vicious internal rhyme scheme, he quickly amassed a cult-like following.

His villainous persona, an amalgamation of comic book characters ranging from Dr. Doom to G.I. Joe's Destro, masked his true identity as he exacted revenge on an industry which had metaphorically disfigured him.

This July, on a beautiful summer day just after the sun set, Chile's Javiera Mena took the outdoor stage to perform her first show in the city of Philadelphia. Mena is a Latin Grammy and MTV Europe Award nominee whose been cranking out indie electro-pop for the past decade.

In the French Quarter of New Orleans, there's a tiny venue with old wooden floors where on a good night you can cram in around a hundred people. The audience sits right up in front of the band and it's so intimate that the musicians don't need microphones. It's a truly magical place, where the spirit of New Orleans jazz is not only alive but evolving. It's called Preservation Hall. And it's home to our guests – the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Forebears: The Endearing Grace Of Lena Horne

Aug 16, 2017

This essay is one in a series celebrating women whose major contributions in recording occurred before the time frame of NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

It's only rolled out a few songs so far, but the Brooklyn band Frances Cone has already carved out a distinct sound — a sweet slow burn in which songs build gradually and carefully into something truly grand. The gorgeous "Unraveling," from a forthcoming album called Late Riser, really gets at what works about Frances Cone's music: Each cooed "ooooh" is in the exact right place, weaving together to form a warm and hypnotic tapestry.

Guest DJ Week: Björk

Aug 16, 2017

Note: Our week of Guest DJs continues with Björk. The Icelandic singer recently announced she'll be releasing a new album, possibly before the end of the year.

Good Booty

Aug 15, 2017

Here’s a game: Complete this lyric …

A-wop-bop-alu-bop-a-wop-bam-boom

Tutti Frutti, ______

“Aw rooty” is on the record of Little Richard’s seminal hit, but the original rhyme was “good booty.” And that’s where NPR music critic Ann Powers gets the title of her new book.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Jamila Woods and Chance The Rapper have a new video to counter Chicago's image as a hotbed of guns and gang violence. The two homegrown artists challenge this one-dimensional caricature of the city with innocent scenes of children, families and loving communities.

Wilco has released a new song against ignorance and violence in the wake of last weekend's unrest in Charlottesville, VA. The track, called "All Lives, You Say?" is a short country shuffle that takes aim at the slogan "All Lives Matter," designed as a counter-protest to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many a singer has sung of mustering the strength to overcome hardship; it's the stuff of blustery power ballads, irrepressible empowerment anthems and aggressively aggrieved rock sing-alongs. But it's a simpler thing to narrate that act through lyrics than it is to embody that experience through a vivid performance.

A Bootstrapped British Invasion

Aug 15, 2017

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

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There are a lot of artists, singers and writers who make us see the world a little bit differently, but not many who inspire a brand new color.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PURPLE RAIN")

PRINCE: (Singing) Purple rain, purple rain.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Guest DJ Randy Newman

Aug 15, 2017

Note: This week we're featuring select episodes from our Guest DJ archives. Today we've got a conversation with Randy Newman. The singer, composer and pianist recently released his 11th solo album. It's called Dark Matter. Bob Boilen originally spoke with Newman back in 2008 when Newman released his previous record, Harps And Angels.

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