Music

Music

A Bootstrapped British Invasion

Aug 15, 2017

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There are a lot of artists, singers and writers who make us see the world a little bit differently, but not many who inspire a brand new color.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PURPLE RAIN")

PRINCE: (Singing) Purple rain, purple rain.

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Guest DJ Randy Newman

Aug 15, 2017

Note: This week we're featuring select episodes from our Guest DJ archives. Today we've got a conversation with Randy Newman. The singer, composer and pianist recently released his 11th solo album. It's called Dark Matter. Bob Boilen originally spoke with Newman back in 2008 when Newman released his previous record, Harps And Angels.

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A Denver jury found fully in pop singer Taylor Swift's favor Monday, delivering a unanimous verdict in a trial over whether she was groped by a former radio host during a Denver meet-and-greet. Wanting the trial to serve as an "example to other women," the star had sought a single dollar in damages, which she was granted.

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Before the Grand Ole Opry was the longest-running radio broadcast in US history and a country music institution, it was a humble Nashville program called the WSM Barn Dance. Its first ever guest performer, in November 1925, was Uncle Jimmy Thompson, a septuagenarian fiddler from Tennessee who once said he wanted to "throw his music out all over the Amerikee."

Prince was multi-chromatic; a comedian who said as few words as possible, an androgynous sex symbol, a devout mischief-maker, an artist who fused disparate styles — soul and rhythm and blues and rock solos and reedy electronics — into one squarely his own, painted with a palette no one had even noticed.

Regardless, we call him The Purple One for good reason. And now, thanks to a deal between his increasingly license-happy estate and the Pantone Color Institute, he has his own, specific, kingly shade.

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Over 12,000 creepy-crawlies do their creepy-crawliest all over Hundred Waters' Nicole Miglis in this video for "Fingers," so consider this your warning... or invitation. We don't judge.

The moment you get a look at ALA.NI behind the Tiny Desk, you'll notice it in the foreground: The singer asked us to record her set using her vintage RCA Ribbon microphone, which she carries around in a small briefcase between shows. It's a security blanket, a bit of visual branding, a statement of stylistic intent — and, not for nothing, a big reason ALA.NI's voice carries with such warmth and intimacy.

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

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(SOUNDBITE OF TOTO SONG, "AFRICA")

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(SOUNDBITE OF BOJAN RISTIC BRASS BAND PERFORMANCE)

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Sometimes, all you have to hear is a few notes, and you know that a voice has been lived in; you can hear a long life of ups and downs, a rich and weathered sound.

The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra will have a guest conductor this week: Dennis Prager. He'll conduct Haydn's Symphony No. 51 at an orchestra fundraiser.

Michael Angelakos founded the musical project Passion Pit as a college student in his dorm room at Emerson College. A decade and four albums later, Angelakos is more than just a musician: He has become an advocate for mental health, too.

The latest stunner from La Santa Cecilia's visual album, Amar y Vivir, is "Ingrata," an interpretation of Café Tacvba, featuring Chilean pop star Mon Laferte.

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by former radio host David Mueller against singer Taylor Swift, ruling that Mueller hadn't proved that she set out to get him fired.

Mueller's claims against Swift's mother and her radio representative continue. The singer's countersuit accusing Mueller of groping her during a photo op also remains.

The ruling came one week into the trial in Denver. Swift had requested both dismissal and summary judgment. Closing arguments are set for Monday.

For those who haven't had the good fortune to attend a jazz festival this summer, Jazz Night has a ticket just for you — section A, row 1 for The Robert Glasper Experiment.

Hip-hop turns 44 today, and Google is giving mad props with a Doodle that drops science on the birth of the breakbeat. In addition to detailing the legendary 1973 party at 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the Bronx, where DJ Kool Herc originated the style of playing two versions of the same record on different turntables to extend the break, users get an interactive tutorial in the art of crossfading and scratching.

The Ghana-born, L.A.-based Moses Sumney has released a second track from his first full-length record, Aromanticism, featuring a stellar line-up and stunning, soulful meditations.

SoundCloud and the uploads of its many rappers, producers, noise bands and nascent podcasts are safe, for now. The company announced the "largest financing round in the history of SoundCloud" in a blog post this morning; a source with direct knowledge who requested anonymity in discussing the private business transaction confirmed to NPR Music that the amount was around $170 million.

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About eight years ago, in a small club in Copenhagen, a then-unknown band named Bomba Estéreo grabbed us by the musical jugular. Singer Liliana Saumet strode across the stage as the group wrapped her incendiary vocals in a startlingly fresh mix of Colombian roots, propelled by a punk-psychedelic sensibility.

These days, Bomba Estéreo occupies a privileged space in the Latinx musical universe — it composed one of the most iconic anthems of Latinx identity, "Soy Yo." (Its video now has over 23 million views.)

When three-time Grammy-winning singer Angelique Kidjo was a 12-year-old schoolgirl in her native Benin, her best friend suddenly disappeared from school. Kidjo went to her friend's house and asked her father what had happened. The reason shocked Kidjo: Her friend Awaawou had become a child bride, and that meant that her friend's education — and her girlhood — were at an end.

In addition to being rugged, ragged-mouthed and extinct, Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister and a prehistoric crocodile now also share a name.

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