Music

Music

In 1970, a young business school grad — and failed opera singer — named David Gockley landed a job as business manager of the Houston Grand Opera. After two years, at age 27, he moved up to general director.

Over the next 30 years, Gockley transformed the company into a hothouse for new and revived American opera. During his tenure in Houston, Gockley presented 35 world premieres, including John Adams' Nixon in China, Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk, Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Mark Adamo's Little Women and three operas by Carlisle Floyd.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Last Shadow Puppets On World Cafe

Jun 15, 2016

The Last Shadow Puppets is the work of two British rock stars, Alex Turner and Miles Kane, who met when Kane's band The Little Flames toured with Turner's Arctic Monkeys. In 2008, Turner and Kane released The Age Of The Understatement, their first album as The Last Shadow Puppets, to a very appreciative response — but they didn't find time to make another until Arctic Monkeys went on hiatus in 2014.

Before Deafheaven's Sunbather ended up in iPhone ads, another rose-colored metal album crossed over in surprising and significant ways. Ten years ago, Boris released Pink -- a wild and stunning amalgamation of the Japanese trio's previous decade — to U.S. audiences. Pink was prescient in how metal would rethink what it meant to be heavy, with metallic shoegaze butting up against feedback-sick drone and glittery punk.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

For the last decade and change, American metalcore has been the sound of suburban teenage angst. Eyes will roll from metal's elders, but the number of stage-diving, arm-swinging maniacs at shows proves the genre's staying power, particularly capturing an age group for which heavier, more caustic music provides a new means of cathartic release. Norma Jean wasn't there at the beginning, but was among those bands in the early 2000s that innovated, gave this extreme music shape and smartly grew along with its fan base.

On this week's All Songs Considered mix, we play songs about longing, loss, and healing, with premieres from The Tallest Man On Earth, pop singer LP and more.

Dâm-Funk's Time Machine Boogie

Jun 14, 2016

DJs can be a cagey bunch, protective of their knowledge, reluctant to reveal favorite digging spots to even their closest friends or, in the case of Afrika Bambaataa, peeling center labels off in the shower so that only he knew the groove, all so as to keep their secret weapons, well, a secret. But not Damon Riddick.

Nashville may be famous as the country music capital, but it's also a great rock 'n' roll town. In recent years, the city's spawned a new generation of joyfully ragged garage-punk purveyors, currently represented on the national scene by enduring bands like Jeff the Brotherhood and newer ones like Bully. Thelma and the Sleaze's Lauren Gilbert, who goes by the initials LG, has been part of that community since moving to Nashville from Iowa to study audio engineering.

World Cafe Next: Psychic Ills

Jun 13, 2016

At its heart, Psychic Ills is the duo of singer and guitarist Tres Warren and bassist Elizabeth Hart. The New York City band has covered a lot of musical ground in its career, which is certainly evident in its fine new album Inner Journey Out. Country, blues, gospel and jazz are all handled extremely well on this album. In this segment, hear "I Don't Mind," featuring Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval on vocals, along with the gospel-inflected song "Another Change."

Sometimes big-name artists need special attention. But in this case, it wasn't because they've been jazz pioneers and innovators since the 1960s and are considered to be founding fathers of jazz fusion, not to mention two of the most important jazz figures performing today. It's not because they've collectively recorded more than 100 albums and won 29 Grammy Awards. The agitation was because both of their instruments couldn't fit behind Bob Boilen's Tiny Desk.

Sara Watkins returns to the Four Corners for the 43rd Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival this weekend. KSUT will feature her latest solo project, Young In All The Wrong Ways, due out July 1, this Friday (6/17) at noon.

This video is a mix of horror, heavy metal and a dose of Pee Wee Herman humor. "The Life And Times Of A Teenage Rock God" is over-the-top — in the best of ways — bookended by the devil himself. Musician, film director and producer Rob Zombie emailed his description of his new music video to me. He wrote:

Haley Bonar's songs marry fizzy arrangements to cuttingly quotable observations about love, disappointment, identity and the curdling of youth. Her new album, Impossible Dream, finds the underrated Minnesotan in top form, mixing darkness and light with a deft touch.

When Chaz Van Queen decided to take on the stage name Chazmere, he had a certain kind of duality in mind. "It felt direct, it felt strong, it felt confident — but it also was smooth at times," he says. "Cashmere is very durable and strong, but it's also smooth to touch and feels nice on the skin."

That spirit carries over into his latest album, simply called Chazmere, on which tales of skateboarding in project hallways as a kid show two sides of his upbringing in the Bronx.

Alt.Latino Takes On Classical Composers

Jun 12, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Salman Rushdie's 'Shalimar The Clown' Is Now An Opera

Jun 11, 2016

Shalimar the Clown is Salman Rushdie's eighth novel. Published in 2005, it tells the story of a young man who seeks revenge after he's jilted by the love of his life. There's intrigue, violence, and conflict between tradition and modern society — the sort of stuff that makes for grand opera.

Now, Shalimar the Clown is just that. Adapted by composer Jack Perla and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Rajiv Joseph, the opera premieres tonight at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Rushdie says the novel sprang from one tragic image.

White Denim On World Cafe

Jun 10, 2016

White Denim's new album, Stiff, takes the Austin band back to the frenetic guitar-rock sound of its earlier days. World Cafe last caught up with the band after it released its 2013 album Corsicana Lemonade, which was partially recorded with producer Jeff Tweedy in Wilco's studio space in Chicago.

It's been a while since we've heard from Lorde. Now, a new song the singer co-wrote with her fellow New Zealanders in Broods, has just come out. "Heartlines" is a bubbly, revelatory dance track with references to "jumping state lines" and midnight car rides. The artists not only share a country, but also a producer, Joel Little, who helps shape the sound of both Lorde and Broods.

Since it was founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma 16 years ago, the Silk Road Ensemble — an artistic collective comprised of master musicians and other artists from more than 20 countries, spanning the globe — has become an incubator for inspiring cross-cultural collaborations.

Director Morgan Neville made one of the most memorable music documentaries in recent times. His 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom, for which he won an Oscar and a Grammy, chronicled the paths of five undersung rock heroes: the backup singers who enlivened some of popular music's biggest hits.

For a particular sect of people, notice of a new Dinosaur Jr. record means a misty pang in the chest or throat. Where — or who, or what — were we when we loved them last? This sort of reflex wistfulness seems to be the general response toward new albums by bands mythologized in the early '90s, but Dinosaur Jr.'s spell is uniquely strong.

At this point, it feels borderline-disrespectful to discuss the rocky road that Dawn Richard has journeyed to the present. But the hype around her isn't nearly lofty enough just yet, so it only makes sense to start at the beginning.

There's something nearly unhinged about Weaves' music. Some of that is in the frenetic guitar of Morgan Waters and the way it contrasts with the swaying-in-the-breeze feel of singer Jasmyn Burke. But then it can all turn upside-down in a hurry — the guitar becomes almost lyrical as Burke sings:

A portion of popcorn that's popping and shopping for fresh hands

Distortion is motion that's ridden forbidden

Don't you dare, don't you dare

You're so coo coo I'm so coo coo

You'd figure Paul McCartney, the most well-known songwriter on planet Earth, would, by now, have confidence in his ability to write a song. But as he tells us in this week's All Songs +1 podcast, "You never get it down. I don't know how to do this. You'd think I do, but it's not one of these things you ever really know how to do."

There is a scandal rocking the financial industry — or we should say, a small but important part of that industry: online lending.

Ahead of the 2016 Tony Awards, it seems fair to make a few educated guesses. First: This stands to be the most widely watched Tonys in recent memory, thanks to a little show called Hamilton and its record-breaking 16 nominations. Second: Even fans of that beloved musical are going to be a little on edge — since, in a few of those categories, the show's stars are up against one another.

Pages