Music

Music

As the shorter half of the sketch-comedy duo Key & Peele, Jordan Peele was ever on the lookout for distinctive ways to tackle ethnic stereotyping, so it makes sense that he'd leaven his film directing debut with more than just a dash of social satire.

Get Out, billed in its opening credits as "from the mind of Jordan Peele," is a horror-flick with a decidedly Peelean take on genre and on race — one that subverts familiar horror tropes while encouraging audiences to simultaneously react to them, and step back to look at them more closely.

The Associated Press is reporting that Beyoncé will not make it to Indio, California in April for her planned headlining performance at Coachella, one of the world's most successful and highest-grossing music festivals.

When STRFKR's Josh Hodges and Keil Corcoran wrote the synth-pop romper "In The End," they say they imagined it as "a cross-dresser, alien-abduction-type thing." Their new video for the cut came close — it's a drag queen heist film.

Gabriel Garzón-Montano is one of the most promising new artists of 2017. His full-length debut on Los Angeles label Stones Throw, Jardín, is a solid listen from front to back, and his sexy, soulful songs have been a favorite on KCRW's airwaves. He and his drummer performed our current favorite, "Crawl," live in our studio.

SET LIST

  • "Crawl"

Photo: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW.

It may be easy, as you focus in on the sharp synths, rolling bass and snapping drums (one can hardly be blamed) driving "Meticulous Bird" to miss the remarkable message being sung by Thao Nguyen, leader of Thao And The Get Down Stay Down.

Whatever else you might say about the themes of La La Land — that it's a film about the ins and outs of young romance, or the pros and cons of creative ambition, or the movie musical as a renewable art form, or the culture of Hollywood, or the state of jazz (more on that in a sec) — you'd have to acknowledge the line it draws between illusion and disillusion.

On Wednesday, as protesters near the Dakota Access Pipeline began to break down their shelters and leave the area, Brooklyn singer Holly Miranda released a song, a cover of an obscure late-'70s science-fictional folk song, that she'd been working on for two months in support of those leaving.

From its very beginnings, country music has scarcely lacked for songs about Jesus — you could fill several box sets with them and barely scratch the surface. But thanks to rising Texan alt-country songsmith Jason Eady's "Barabbas," the shadowy figure whose presence is crucial to Christ's tale is getting a rare shot at the spotlight.

Buried somewhere in the fathoms of YouTube is a recent clip of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, apparently filmed with a smartphone in Santiago de Cuba. The band, synonymous with the ebullient spirit of New Orleans, is playing a staple of its book, Professor Longhair's "Go to the Mardi Gras." What's notable about this version of the song, from December of 2015, is the punchy assist provided by some Cuban percussionists, who fall right into step with its second-line groove.

For nearly 20 years, Little Big Town's members have plugged away through label troubles, divorces and the death of loved ones, but they've never endured a lineup change.

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.

Review: Blanck Mass, 'World Eater'

Feb 22, 2017

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.

Review: Ibibio Sound Machine, 'Uyai'

Feb 22, 2017

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.

The 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which takes place every four years, begins later this spring in Fort Worth, Texas. For the past six weeks, judges have been traveling the world to hear potential competitors audition. One notable stop is Moscow — where the American pianist for whom the contest is named stunned the world 59 years ago, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition at the height of the Cold War.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Danish songwriter Agnes Obel's session might give you the shivers for more than one reason. Her latest album, Citizen Of Glass, was named for a pretty eerie concept. "I got the idea from the German term gläserner mensch, which is the term you use when an individual in a state has lost all his or her privacy," she says.

The Brit Awards — the looser, goofier, British-er cousin of the Grammys — are currently underway from the O2 Arena in London. You can see the full list of nominees and winners below.



MasterCard British Album of the Year
WINNER: David Bowie -- Blackstar
The 1975 — I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It
Kano — Made in the Manor
Michael Kiwanuka — Love & Hate
Skepta — Konnichiwa

I Draw Slow On Mountain Stage

Feb 22, 2017

The Dublin roots band I Draw Slow makes its debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Ireland's answer to Americana, the five-piece string band (led by siblings Dave and Louise Holden) follows the same musical path as Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss in finding new, folky grooves in old-time Appalachian song.

The last Scottish monarch died more than 300 years ago, but if England's departure from the European Union goes through, a wary Scotland just might be in the business for a new king. And as luck would have it for scotophilic aesthetes, Alasdair Roberts appears up for the job.

Here's your "Awwww" and "Whoa!!" moment for today: a demonstration of a teeny-tiny, working pipe organ. It's an instrument made out of nothing but paper and cardboard (with one side covered by translucent plastic so that you can see its inner workings), and it's powered by nothing but an inflated balloon.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame, with some assistance from Nile Rodgers and CBS This Morning, has announced its 2017 inductees, which include a first for the 38-year-old organization: rap.

Jay Z will be the first rapper inducted into the Hall and will be joined this year by one-man Swedish hit factory Max Martin; Motown founder Berry Gordy (who deferred his induction last year); Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of The Time; Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera of Chicago; and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.

Here's a simple truism: Relationships aren't easy. Each one has its own complications and challenges and, as Texas native Robert Ellis sings in his song "Elephant," each relationship inspires its own questions and speculations. What if we could do things differently? Would we? Should we?

Hear some of the classic tracks that form the bedrock of the playlist for ThistleRadio, The Thistle & Shamrock's popular 'round-the-clock Celtic roots-music channel. The list includes music by Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac, Kris Drever, Dervish and Enya, among others.

Dirty Projectors frontman David Longstreth decided he couldn't wait any longer.

More than 40 years after penning his biggest hit, Don Bryant is back in the game. Bryant — who sang in a gospel quartet before linking up with R&B bandleader Willie Mitchell and becoming a go-to songwriter at Memphis' Hi Records — might be best known for writing the 1973 slow-cooker "I Can't Stand The Rain" with singer Ann Peebles, whom he married shortly afterward. Now, at 74, he's preparing to release a new album of original songs, Don't Give Up On Love.

The Polish-born conductor and composer Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who led the Minnesota Orchestra for nearly two decades and worked with that symphony for well over 50 years in total, died Tuesday at age 93.

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