Music

Music

The Code Switch team was sitting in our daily team meeting when our editor looked up from Twitter and broke the news that Prince was gone.

Julia Holter's music exists in tiny universes, colliding in torch songs and bits of cosmic cabaret that are as reverent as they are perverse. The most minute details and the plainest words suddenly form a grandiose spectacle.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Somewhere in the back of my closet is a torn photograph from a party in Seattle in 1982. Dig if you will the picture: It's me, in a second-hand chiffon dress that (though the photo is black and white) I'm sure is violet. My hair is a two-toned mass of strawberries and cream, my neck's draped in my mom's big costume pearls; a bracelet of pretend diamonds dangles from my wrist. This is an ordinary look for a college girl with a nightlife obsession in 1982. I'm gazing into a mirror; behind me is my friend Pete, holding the camera, laughing his head off.

When Owen Husney first met Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician was barely old enough to vote — and still going by his government name. "When you meet someone before they became the unapproachable icon, you tend to have a different relationship with them," he says.

Recently, two new jazz recordings came my way. One, titled Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest, is an album of never-before-released studio recordings from Germany in 1968.

Fair warning: Wicker Man-inspired costumes, grisly occult dealings and static-flickering VHS tapes lie ahead. For some of us (read: me), director Torin Langen's video for Crosss' "Golden Hearth" is the stuff of nightmares, but the heavy weirdness is definitely worth your time.

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Earlier this week, we were happy to share the news that The Avett Brothers have a new album, called True Sadness, coming out in June. This will be the group's ninth album, and just one of many that we have loved talking about and listening to here at All Songs.

Soul singer Mayer Hawthorne knows how to put on a show. He hits many high notes — literally and figuratively — on his new record Man About Town. Here's "Fancy Clothes."

SET LIST

  • "Fancy Clothes"

Watch Mayer Hawthorne's full Morning Becomes Electric performance on KCRW.com.

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

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The music of The Black Lillies has an Americana sound that blends country, rock and folk with the mountain music of their home: Knoxville, Tennessee. Frontman Cruz Contreras says that when the band first began playing shows, it found the most fervent audiences in regions like eastern Tennessee, easter Kentucky and southwestern Virginia.

Kanye West sometimes gets himself in trouble with what he says on Twitter. Now, one of his tweets may get used against him in court.

Back in February, he tweeted that his new album, The Life Of Pablo, would only be available on Tidal, the streaming music service in which he owns a stake, and "never never never" on Apple.

Judy Collins, the endlessly prolific singer, songwriter, author and activist, recently released 'Strangers Again,' her first studio album in four years.  KSUT will feature the CD Friday, April 22, at noon, the day before her sold-out Durango concert.

Whether he's playing in bands like Superchunk (or his former solo project, Portastatic) or co-heading Merge Records, Mac McCaughan keeps plenty busy. Last year, he released his first solo album under his own name, Non-Believers.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The music of T-Rextasy is an impeccable combination of sarcastic, swaggering humor and timeless pop-punk grooves. Throughout the band's upcoming debut album, Jurassic Punk, singer Lyris Faron scolds misogynists, plans for punk-rock domination and praises both a cafeteria woman and a one-night-stand-loving lady. The last track on Jurassic Punk, "Gap Yr Boiz," crystallizes the band's formula of punchy lyrics and catchy hooks.

Josh Ritter On Mountain Stage

Apr 19, 2016

Josh Ritter returns to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Since the release of his critically acclaimed album Golden Age Of Radio, the Idaho-born singer-songwriter has been splitting his time between the U.S. and Ireland. He's been selling out clubs and theaters on both sides of the Atlantic, and earning rave reviews from publications such as The Washington Post and The Irish Times.

For more than 10 years, Diana Panton has been quietly building her jazz career. She's also a high-school French teacher by day, which means she mostly records and tours while her students are on vacation. But on her latest album, she's aiming for a new audience.

Singer-songwriter David Childers was new to World Cafe when the show took its Sense Of Place visit to North Carolina, even though his recordings date back almost 20 years. Childers' folk-rock/country songs often have religious themes that reflect his personal journey — especially on his latest album, Serpents Of Reformation, which was recorded by his son, Robert.

Music is only one part of that journey; Childers is also a painter and a practicing lawyer who shepherds clients through mazes of bureaucracy.

A swing-revival band formed in 1993, Squirrel Nut Zippers got together in Chapel Hill, N.C. Best known for its breakthrough single, "Hell," the group visited the World Cafe studio in 1996 to perform four songs, discuss how Squirrel Nut Zippers formed, and explain how they took a different approach to recording Hot, their latest record at the time.

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