Music

Music

Dave Hause On World Cafe

Feb 28, 2017

Dave Hause comes from the place where punk and classic rock collide. On his new album, Bury Me In Philly, he's found the sweet spot between his hardcore background and his innate love of Led Zeppelin and the Stones.

Don't Bother Big Sean — He's Working

Feb 28, 2017

Real life will tell you different, but to let rap lists tell it an artist peaks in his late teens or early 20s. Most MC's debut albums are praised as their classics, even retroactively, while fans spend the rest of their careers pleading for them to return to their glory days. Nas has had a phenomenal career, but he still hasn't topped Illmatic. Jay Z wasn't popular until 1998, but his 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt is seen as his undisputed best. And no matter how much he pushes the boundaries of hip-hop, many fans want "the old Kanye."

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Editor's note: The authors of this post, Peter Kolovos and Steve Lowenthal, worked closely with Hideo Ikeezumi in his final years, with Kolovos purchasing most of the impressive catalog of music he had released and reissuing that catalog through his U.S.-based Black Editions. Below, they share a remembrance of the man as well as a cross-sectional playlist, complete with "liner notes," compiled from the vast catalog of strange, lovely sounds that Mr. Ikeezumi dedicated himself to.

Electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso is back with a much-anticipated followup to it's self-titled 2014 debut. The new album is called What Now and includes the jagged new single "Die Young."

In September 2012, a high-school rock band from Lititz, Pennsylvania, called The Districts took to the stage at World Cafe Live in Wilmington, Delaware, as part of a local battle of the bands competition.

The band took first place in the competition, and John Vettese, editor of WXPN's local music website The Key, described their set.

They're simply an abundance of euphoria. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band blasted the Tiny Desk with a Sousaphone, trumpets, saxophones, guitar and drums, at stunning volume, for a joyful celebration.

This band has been mixing be-bop and funk for 40 years. Around this time of year, when Mardi Gras revelry is fueled by New Orleans jazz, it was so good to feel their sounds in the office. Since today is Fat Tuesday — just before Lent and its fasts begin for some — we are sharing the party we hosted, filled with brass and sass from this fixture of great American music. Enjoy.

We watched more than 6,000 videos. Ten judges weighed in. Now, the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest has a winner.

It's become an annual tradition for NPR to host a live band in our studios for a full day. This year, we upped the ante and invited around 70 musicians from Washington, D.C.'s National Symphony Orchestra to play the musical interludes between stories on All Things Considered.

When you hear that a band is from Detroit, you might expect clever, loose and melodic pop. But Bonny Doon, built around the songwriting duo of Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo, isn't descended either from The Stooges' hard rock or from Motown. Instead, the band boasts a mix of hazy pop gems that gather strength from Lennox's sharp lyrics. Bonny Doon released some demos as an EP in 2015 and has a self-titled debut LP coming next month. Hear two songs in the downloadable segment above.

For someone whose music evokes a nighttime Nick Drake drenched in blue, Leif Vollebekk has a surprisingly light sense of humor. It's on full display in this World Cafe session, and so are his warm bath of a voice, his fluid command of synths and guitar and his thoughtful poetry. Here, Vollebekk performs songs from his third full-length album, Twin Solitude, the follow-up to 2013's North Americana.

Robert Randolph has built an entire life and career on the gospel that music is religion. His musical education began in Orange, N.J., at the Pentecostal House of God church, where the walls ring out with a lively, powerful style of music called sacred steel. It's based around the pedal steel guitar — a 13-string instrument that found its way into African-American churches in the 1930s, and has since become an integral part of praise.

Hip-hop took off its cool over the weekend — and lit itself ablaze in the process.

Two seemingly unrelated threads this past weekend served as raucous, yin-and-yang reminders that hip-hop is not just a genre measured by charts, award show accolades and platinum plaques, but an organic culture unbound by industry rules.

Iron & Wine, 'We Two Are A Moon' (Live)

Feb 27, 2017

Considering his past life as a professor of film, it would only make sense for singer-songwriter Sam Beam to produce such cinematic neo-folk music as Iron & Wine. That stripped-down, emotionally compelling work continues on his latest release, Love Letter For Fire, a collaborative record with the California-born, Manchester-dwelling artist Jesca Hoop. With "We Two Are A Moon," a cut from that release, Iron & Wine joined us live in Charleston, W.Va.

Last night, after all was said and done — you might've heard about a late-in-the-evening mix-upMoonlight was deservingly crowned last year's best film by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

To mark the end of Black History Month, it is only fitting to feature a song by an ultramodern band called Harriet Tubman, named after the celebrated abolitionist and activist who led hundreds of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Tubman's birth name, Araminta, provides a suitable title for the band's latest album, which dropped Friday.

Well, excuse me while I throw away my first draft, won't you?

Seven Fun Facts About 'Arab Idol'

Feb 26, 2017

The Arab world has crowned a winner.

Jonathan Rado and Sam France were in eighth grade when they first met and began making music together. Their tastes were simple at first — straight-ahead rock songs banged out on drums and guitars in a garage. But a dramatic shift happened when they decided to take a less linear approach to recording their work.

"I got really into buying cheap, cheap instruments on eBay — lots of xylophones and melodicas and kind of useless junk — and that was kind of everywhere," Rado says. "We'd just kind of play for like 30 minutes, and then chop the best bits down to a three-minute song."

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GIVE ME A REASON")

IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE: (Singing in Ibibio).

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Bill Evans was a genius: The jazz world, which can be roiled by factions and jealousies, usually agrees on that. He was a composer and pianist with a light, lyrical touch that was once described as what you might hear at the gates of heaven. But like many geniuses, Evans died too young — in 1980, at the age of just 51, after years of cocaine and heroin addiction.

A new documentary by filmmaker Bruce Spiegel helps capture that genius with interviews of musicians, family members, and archival footage of Bill Evans himself.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Listening to Curtis McMurtry's new album can make you feel like you're overhearing an intimate conversation that maybe you shouldn't.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WRONG INFLECTION")

Doug Wamble On Piano Jazz

Feb 24, 2017

Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Doug Wamble grew up listening to the Southern gospel, country and blues traditions of his Tennessee home.

There are 10 films nominated for Best Picture at this Sunday's Academy Awards. Only one is a musical — and it has a good chance of winning. If La La Land does take home the honors, Justin Hurwitz, who wrote the music that is so central to the film, will probably take to the stage alongside director Damien Chazelle, his friend since their college days at Harvard. (Hurwitz is also nominated for three Oscars himself: for Best Original Score and twice for Best Original Song.)

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