Music

Music

"Experimental" is a pretty broad term when used to describe music, but it's rarely meant in the scientific sense. You don't often imagine an experimental band sitting in an actual laboratory, building machines and tinkering with gadgetry from 9 to 5. But that's the actual life that Raymond Scott led, which is why he's considered a pioneer of electronic experimentalism.

Michael Cerveris On Mountain Stage

Jun 20, 2017

Two-time Tony Award-winner and accomplished singer-songwriter Michael Cerveris returns to Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. A native of Huntington, W.Va., Cerveris grew up in a very artistic family with a professional dancer for a mother and a professor of music and community-theater performer for a father.

Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle has always been more comfortable with machines than people. It's a dynamic he's well-documented, and even romanticized, in his work, with tales of misfit characters and their troubled relationships with everything from robots to appliances. Perhaps it's because mechanical friendships don't require much of an emotional investment — they're not built on a lot of open and earnest discussions.

It took a few songs for them to lock in. "We'd like to dedicate this entire set to the memory of John Spalding," guitarist and primary vocalist Doug Lorig said, referencing a Seattle guitarist who died of cancer in 2008 and played in punk bands like Ninety Pound Wuss and the wildly destructive Raft Of Dead Monkeys, all of whom shared members (at one point or another) with Roadside Monument.

Members of the Asian-American rock band The Slants have the right to call themselves by a disparaging name, the Supreme Court says, in a ruling that could have broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied in other trademark cases.

The Slants' frontman, Simon Tam, filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office kept the band from registering its name and rejected its appeal, citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits any trademark that could "disparage ... or bring ... into contemp[t] or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead," as the court states.

On the heels of his historic induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (and amid unconfirmed rumors of new arrivals to his family), Jay Z has announced his thirteenth solo studio album, 4:44, to be released on June 30.

Ever get the nagging feeling that catastrophic danger is looming and the world could end at any minute? Sure you do, it's 2017! Unsettling as it may be, some would say the only way to get through it is by sticking together. In ODESZA's new, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi music video, that's exactly the takeaway.

After releasing two new songs, playing them on Saturday Night Live, and not being totally stoked on a set of vinyl reissues, LCD Soundsystem has annou

The new album from Tigers Jaw, spin, revels in quiet pleasures, even as its rich production pulls power from the band's open wounds. It's the major-label debut from a band that, at one point, made yelping and earnest pop-punk before finding its way to intricate, and melancholy, pop.

A Band Apart

Jun 19, 2017

The CMA Music Festival, put on annually by the Country Music Association, took place June 8-11 this year. For those who weren't lucky enough to be in Nashville to experience it, World Cafe's Nashville correspondents — Ann Powers and Jewly Hight — were there in person to take it all in.

Trumpet virtuoso Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is stretching modern jazz music to include the flavors of hip-hop, trap and West African percussion. His latest release, Ruler Rebel, is his first in series of three albums marking the 100th anniversary of the first commercially recorded jazz music. As Adjuah tells it, that recording, made by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in New Orleans in 1917, was originally conceived as satire with a racially-charged subtext.

For the past several years, Beth Ditto was known as the dynamic frontwoman of the dance-punk band Gossip. She established herself as a singer with a helluva voice who embraced being queer, feminist and fat.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

How does a scientist become a principal timpanist at the Met?

Jason Haaheim gets that question all the time. The 38-year-old is a former nanotechnology researcher, with a master's degree in electrical engineering. But four years ago, he made a major life pivot: to play professionally with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Nate Kramer was a tall, quiet college swimmer when he was diagnosed with leukemia. His dad, Vince, says it was the beginning of four difficult years.

Nate battled through chemotherapy, a fungal infection of the sinuses, 30 operations, bone marrow transplants, a lung infection and the removal of his spleen. Vince says his son kept rallying back.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And now to music news. For the past 48 hours, one topic has dominated social media. And I mean, it's not technically news. It's kind of about waiting for news. NPR music senior editor Jacob Ganz is here to bring us up to speed. What's going on, Jacob?

Jay Z: The Fresh Air Interview

Jun 16, 2017

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The music of Penguin Cafe is like no other. Its origins date back to the early '70s, within fever dreams Simon Jeffes had that were brought on by food poisoning. In those dreams he imagined a dispassionate world "where everyone lived in big concrete blocks and spent their lives looking into screens. In one room, there was a couple making love lovelessly. In another there was a musician sat at a vast array of equipment, but with headphones on, so there was no actual music in the room." Eerily accurate.

LeeAnn Ledgerwood On Piano Jazz

Jun 16, 2017

Pianist LeeAnn Ledgerwood studied at the Berklee College of Music alongside Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. She became a protégée of Marian McPartland, who encouraged her to pursue a career in jazz. She was McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz in 1990.

"[Bob] Seger's absence from digital services, combined with the gradual disappearance of even physical copies of half his catalog, suggest a rare level of indifference to his legacy," Tim Quirk wrote for NPR Music in late March in his feature, "Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?"

The French indie-pop band Phoenix joined us on the release date for Ti Amo, which has been described as its most romantic record yet. The band sings in four languages, and many of the songs were inspired by a fantasized version of Italy. Its live performances are as engaging as ever, as you'll see in this studio performance of "Fior Di Latte."

SET LIST

  • "Fior Di Latte"

Photo: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So 30 years ago this summer, video games made their orchestral debut. It was a performance in Tokyo. It was the first time that music from a videogame was performed live, was from the Japanese game "Dragon Quest." And this trend has carried on ever since.

You're in a New York apartment, alone on a warm night, hearing the sounds of the city drift up from the streets. Or you're in Paris and part of the noise, moving through the crowded streets and sidewalks, both feeling the weight of the world and a being a part of that weight. Or maybe you've never even seen a large city, and mistake the glowing lights from afar for a mysterious fire.

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