Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 1:33 pm
Tony Joe White pretty much invented the swamp-rock genre in 1969 with his first album, Black and White; Elvis Presley often covered White's huge hit "Polk Salad Annie." (As White sings in his song, Polk salad is a food synonymous with the rural poor South.)
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:28 pm
The sound of Deleted Scenes, a D.C.-based quartet formed in 2005, is potent, angular and distinct. The lyrics of Dan Scheuerman, who sings and plays guitar, can be simultaneously poetic and direct. The best part of Deleted Scenes is the unexpected, the unpredictable, and "Stutter" is a perfect example of their hard-to-label style. It mixes grating vocals with sporadic bursts of guitar, those abrasive sounds morphing into a likable, memorable track.
Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:58 am
One in 10 people in Iceland own singer-songwriter Ásgeir's first album — the fastest-selling debut in the country's history. Its lyrics are all in Icelandic, and written by Ásgeir's father. But for the U.S. release, singer-songwriter John Grant fashioned English lyrics to go with Ásgeir's melodies.
Here, Ásgeir sings live in the World Cafe studios, a performance we originally aired on Feb. 4, 2014.
With the fate of Sonic Youth up in the air, founding guitarist Lee Ranaldo has found steady ground with his group The Dust, featuring fellow SY orphan Steve Shelley on drums, along with guitarist Alan Licht and bassist Tim Lüntzel.
The windowsills were lined with people standing, as every nook between every office desk filled to capacity with NPR employees and their assorted guests. Pixies, after getting misplaced for a time in our parking garage during a moment worthy of This Is Spinal Tap, showed up in time to encounter the largest crowd we've ever assembled for a Tiny Desk Concert. (Our new office space allows for more guests than the old one did, but it's still a mark of this band's significance for so many youthful grownups.)
We made 20 stellar World Cafe in-studio performances available for download during February, but they're all coming down Feb. 28 at midnight. Grab music from Neko Case, Parquet Courts, Jason Isbell and more today, before they're gone tomorrow.
To download each song, click the title in the SoundCloud playlist (the song will begin playing), and then click "download" arrow to the right of the title.
Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:18 am
Galore, the first album by the London duo Thumpers, is rooted resolutely in the first-person plural: Temperamentally as well as lyrically, it reaches out as a piecemeal missive both to and from you and me and everyone we know, assembling a steadfast vision of the whole world as a sprawling family in a tiny neighborhood. These are songs whose collective narrative engine is a belief in the power of a passionate few to forge meaningful connections, to keep life's ills at bay or, as "Unkinder (A Tougher Love)" would have it, to move the earth.
Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:15 am
It makes cosmic sense that Sun Structures, the debut album from Temples, arrives at the height of the current nostalgia wave associated with the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania and the British Invasion.