Music

Music

As a math-loving parent of a math-loving tween girl, I'm worried that women are significantly underrepresented in science and engineering fields. A new benefit album of kids music called Science Fair gathers musicians together to take on that disparity both by raising awareness and firing up the imagination.

KCRW Presents: thenewno2

Aug 15, 2012

Dhani Harrison formed thenewno2 as an arts collective during a very dark period. With the passing of his father, George Harrison, and the September 11 attacks fresh in our collective consciousness, he needed a fresh direction to help bring some clarity to the swirling chaos of emotions. Channeling these complicated feelings, and with the support of some enduring friendships, Dhani has delivered thefearofmissingout, a layered and confident album that brings his individual voice to the fore.

Few bands make music as strangely captivating - or make it as as fearlessly - as Dirty Projectors. The group's always unpredictable songs crisscross a mind-bending mix of genres and styles, with disjointed rhythms and structures, unusual melodies and harmonies that make it one of the most creative but polarizing groups of the past decade. For some it's an inspired form of high art, while others think it's just plain weird.

I guess it's not that big of a surprise, but according to last week's poll, 67 percent of you haven't heard Big Star's #1 Record. One of the nice side benefits of doing this series is that it gives people a chance to discover great albums they've never heard before, so if you're part of the 67 percent that hasn't heard Big Star, take some time to listen. You'll love it.

Lyle Lovett In Concert

Aug 15, 2012

Seeing a concert at the Prospect Park Bandshell is a surefire way to spend a summer night. Seeing Lyle Lovett close out the 2012 Celebrate Brooklyn season was something special — and we were there to record the Aug. 11 show.

Aimee Mann's eighth studio record, Charmer, comes out in a month. Charmer is also the title — and subject — of the album's first video, which features a robot double of Mann played by three-time Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Linney of The Truman Show, The Squid and the Whale and The Big C.

The video, directed by Tom Scharpling, deals lightheartedly with the idea of fame and persona with Mann playing herself and Linney playing her robot double.

Song Premiere: Title Fight, 'Sympathy'

Aug 14, 2012

As much as its music pervaded my high school existence, I never attended Warped Tour — the sneaker-sponsored touring festival that has dipped into rap, Top 40 pop music and metalcore, but for the most part has stuck to its skater-friendly punk roots. On a recent mid-week day-off in late July, however, I was extremely tempted to hitch a ride to Merriweather Post Pavillion for the largely teenage-populated festival to see one band: Title Fight.

On this week's show hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share some of their favorite new discoveries, including the Kate Bush-inspired Swedish duo Niki And The Dove, German experimental pianist Nils Frahm, and a surprising new album from singer Amanda Palmer.

Also on the show: the best new music in a decade from the Chicago-based band Sea And Cake; the inimitable storytelling of Swedish pop singer Jens Lekman; and an epic new album from post-punk veterans Swans.

Little Feat's Rooster Rag

Aug 13, 2012

Rooster Rag, the new record sounds like the Feat of old. Core members Payne, Barrere Gradney, and Clayton are still onboard, along with Fred Tackett, a long time contributor (composer of “Fool Yourself “ for Dixie Chicken) and member since '88, and Robben Ford's son Gabe, former drum tech who replaced Richie Hayward in '09 when Hayward became too ill too continue.  Rooster Rag is available as a thank you gift for supporting KSUT Public Radio during the fall friend raiserPledge today.

Traveler, the new album from world-renowned musician Jerry Douglas, is his first first solo release since his acclaimed 2009 Christmas album "Jerry Christmas". 

The project features special guest vocals from Eric Clapton, Mumford & Sons, Paul Simon, Keb’ Mo’, Marc Cohn and Alison Krauss and Union Station. The 11-track album also features legendary musicians Dr. John (piano), Béla Fleck (banjo), Del McCoury (harmony vocals), Sam Bush (harmony vocals and mandolin) Omar Hakim (drums) and Viktor Krauss (bass), among others.

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

The Zombies: Reaching Across Decades

Aug 12, 2012

The Zombies' third studio album, Odessey and Oracle, spawned what may be the band's best-known song, "Time of the Season." But the record wasn't a big success when it first came out in 1968. In fact, The Zombies' original lineup disbanded before Odessey and Oracle even came out.

Best Coast On World Cafe

Aug 10, 2012

Best Coast is known for simple, beachy pop songs, but the L.A. duo's new album The Only Place steps up the production quality significantly. Singer Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno are driven by shared appreciation: Crazy For You and the new record both showcase the pair's infectious love of California.

This week's quiz comes from Sean Carey, the drummer for Bon Iver and a fantastic solo artist (who records and performs as S. Carey). We featured his stunningly beautiful debut album, All We Grow in our First Listen series back in 2010. Earlier this summer he released the EP Hoyas.

Though the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is treating the official lineup of artists at this weekend's closing ceremony as a state secret, the band Muse is widely expected to perform their "official" Olympic song "Survival."

Song Premiere: Dysrhythmia, 'In Secrecy'

Aug 10, 2012

Dysrhythmia makes the kind of highly charged, neck-breaking instrumental metal that fuels late nights spent glued to a glowing screen. Besides inadvertently creating an alternate soundtrack to Contra, Dysrhythmia inspires gape-jawed awe: These musicians are ridiculously adept at their instruments, but have also embraced an otherworldly melodicism that keeps listeners hooked — especially throughout "In Secrecy," the opening cut from the band's forthcoming sixth album, Test of Submission.

I'm trying to imagine Amanda Palmer, in Amsterdam, working on this show-stopping rocker on a ukulele. But she did, and she'll tell you the tale below. This song is from the about-to-be-released album Theatre Is Evil, billed as Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra. The record was produced by John Congleton and is out on September 11.

Alejandro Escovedo On World Cafe

Aug 9, 2012

Alejandro Escovedo has played virtually every kind of rock 'n' roll there is to play, from punk to orchestral to country, during a career dating back to the 1970s.

For the L.A. band Lord Huron, there's far more to music than merely playing sweetly summery, rhythmically inventive pop. There's also an air of mystery: a desire to tell stories, play with identities and craft visuals to complement its sounds. The bouncy "Time to Run" is a tremendously ingratiating song, but the band's video piles on new dimensions to make it that much richer.

We started this series of polls, like so many of the things we write and think about, with a simple water cooler conversation. After learning that the entire NPR music team loved Paul Simon's Graceland, we began to wonder whether it's possible to make a top ten list of albums everyone can agree on.

KCRW Presents: Delta Rae

Aug 8, 2012

The North Carolina sextet Delta Rae first caught my attention with its swampy track "Bottom of the River." The group came to our studios with a setup unlike any other band we've hosted at KCRW: a metal trashcan, a large chain and many pairs of drumsticks. Four members of Delta Rae sing lead, while everyone in the band joins in to create a cacophony of bluesy, gospel-tinged pop music, complete with stomping feet.

Wolf Larsen's life is a complicated mix of mysterious and nearly debilitating health issues and desire to dig deep in art for meaning and hope. Wolf Larsen is the stage name (and pen name) of the singer and writer Sarah Ramey. In 2008, Ramey served as the personal blogger for Obama's presidential campaign and is currently writing a book — The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness — due out in 2013 under her own name. Her new record as Wolf Larsen, Quiet at the Kitchen Door, is a bedroom recording, a project that began as a way to deal with her illness and solitude.

Lisa Marie Presley On World Cafe

Aug 8, 2012

Being the only child of rock 'n' roll's king has kept Lisa Marie Presley under a long shadow, but she's found ways to make her music stand out that don't involve her lineage or occasionally stormy personal life.

Now, Now At Graffiti Park

Aug 8, 2012

The "Graffiti Park" in Austin, Texas, is stunning from any angle: Essentially a giant public canvas, the staggered façade on Baylor Street is constantly refreshed with new eye-popping murals by aerosol artists. When the members of Now, Now met us there, they were good enough sports to haul their guitars and amplifiers all the way to the top.

In its 21-year career, Enslaved has stayed ahead of the curve. While defenders of the orthodox black-metal sound have a field day hating modern-day mold-breakers like Wolves in the Throne Room and Deafheaven, Enslaved was tearing down Valhalla with Pink Floyd-ian psychedelia and '70s prog-rock back around 2000's Mardraum.

Nothing about the wounded confessionalism of Sharon Van Etten's early work even begins to portend rock stardom: All raw nerves and whispered coos, 2009's Because I Was in Love explores tiny, tentative moments with a sort of graceful vulnerability. Ever since, Van Etten has kept adding layers of sinew to her sound, to the point where she's become a bona fide blood-and-guts rock 'n' roll frontwoman.

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