Music

Music

Keane On World Cafe

Aug 3, 2012

The English piano-rock band Keane formed back in 1997, but it wasn't until 2004 that the group's album Hopes and Fears took off on the strength of the smash single "Somewhere Only We Know." A Best New Artist Grammy nomination followed, and in the years since, the group has released three more albums: 2006's Under the Iron Sea, 2008's Perfect Symmetry and this year's Strangeland.

New Jersey has a proud heritage in rock music, from punk legends like Misfits to the Boss himself. The sonic imprint of the Garden State is unmistakable in the music of The Gaslight Anthem, which carries on in Jersey's proud rock 'n' roll tradition.

Like many artists performing under the broad umbrella of "folk music" at this year's Newport Folk Festival, Gary Clark Jr. isn't settling inside any genre, let alone folk. Working off a template of bluesy rock, he infuses the gritty songs on his Bright Lights EP with elements of soul, pop and even reggae. Above all, he's a positively ferocious young guitarist, with a reputation as an up-and-comer poised for one of those 30-, 40-, even 50-year careers.

With Michael Kiwanuka, it’s all about the voice. A voice that he describes as “hitting straight through to the core” with direct, emotional songs about love, yearning, comfort and belonging. It’s a voice that built him a following via MySpace and small London gigs, and led Paul Butler from The Bees to invite him to the band’s Isle of Wight studio to lay down these introductory tracks from what promises to be a major new British singer/songwriter.

Justin Currie On Mountain Stage

Aug 2, 2012

Singer-songwriter Justin Currie appears on this archival episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live in West Virginia in December 2007. Currie was a teenager when he founded the Scottish rock band Del Amitri in Glasgow in 1983. Soon eclipsing its DIY beginnings, Del Amitri went on to score several international hits in the '90s — including "Kiss This Thing Goodbye," "Roll to Me" and "The Last to Know" — and its videos became a mainstay on MTV and VH1.

Blasphemy didn't always belong to dudes in corpse paint and spiked armbands. At one point in history, rock and blues were the devil's music, existing mainly for hip-shaking and corrupting the youth. Blues has a sinister past — the most obvious example being Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues" — but there's also Brownie McGhee's "Dealing With the Devil," Charley Patton's "Devil Sent the Rain Blues" and a long list of others.

Yesterday my husband and I had the same thought at the same time. It's not an uncommon occurrence for two writers who've spent decades arguing and enthusing about pop music. I mention it, in part, to stave off accusations that I'm plagiarizing from a nearby source, but also because I think what we reflected upon in light of the writer Jonah Lehrer's fatal mistake was probably in the minds of many music obsessives.

Everything I've ever written about Sam Phillips has been a cheat.

Sometimes there's just no room for subtlety. Sometimes you hate everyone and everything because that's the only way the world makes sense. Sometimes you wonder what the musical equivalent of a panther rattling a barbed-wire cage is. Well, maybe only Gaza has thought of that last one.

Liars: Laying Down An Ominous Groove

Jul 31, 2012

The career of the experimental rock trio Liars has been defined by nomadic wanderings, both geographically and sonically. Formed in L.A., the trio relocated to Brooklyn, then to rural New Jersey, and eventually to Berlin, before returning to L.A.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. That old expression came to mind when I read the headline of a recent press release:

'Grand Funk Railroad, Boston, Kansas at Aberdeen Proving Ground, August 11'

Matt Nathanson On Mountain Stage

Jul 31, 2012

Matt Nathanson performed this set for Mountain Stage, recorded live in West Virginia, back in December 2007. The singer, who was born in Massachusetts but now lives in San Francisco, began writing songs in high school, and made his first record while attending college in 1993. He's recorded seven studio albums since — the latest of which, Modern Love, came out last year.

Apart from Rubber Soul by The Beatles, there weren't any big winners in last week's poll, the latest in our summer-long attempt to identify the albums we can all agree on.

Highlights: The 2012 Newport Folk Festival In Photos

Jul 30, 2012

There's no hiding that the Newport Folk Festival has become a more musically diverse experience.

After more than five months in prison, some Russian dissidents are getting their day in court. The three young women are accused of being members of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band that staged a protest against then presidential-candidate Vladimir Putin in February.

Merrill Garbus, the mastermind behind tUnE-yArDs, often uses a minimal assortment of resources — a ukulele, some pedals, a bit of percussion here and there — to craft an explosive, unpredictable, worldly, beautiful and utterly inventive sound. On last year's widely beloved w h o k i l l, Garbus' music forms a cut-up collage of coos, howls and bold statements of purpose, but her live shows fan out into epic rave-ups, complete with a pair of saxophonists.

“Having fun with the songs of Allen Toussaint” is how Jon Cleary describes his new record, a celebration of great songs put through Cleary’s unique set of funky filters. Featuring Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, there are unexpected twists and turns on this journey through the Toussaint songbook that will keep surprising you till the last piano glissando fades away.  

Jon Cleary will perform at the Telluride Jazz Celebration. Tune-in to KSUT Friday at noon for a warm up when we feature his new CD Occapella. 

Telluride Jazz Celebration

Jul 30, 2012

August 3 - 5, 2012

Let there be no mistake, something extraordinary happens when you visit Telluride. More than a festival, the Telluride Jazz Festival is a lifestyle stepped in beauty, intimate in nature and alive with character. A place where music, food, people and culture are woven together in a seamless tapestry of laid back fun and pure enjoyment.
 

The L.A. band Dawes carries a serious torch for the greatest moments of rock's collision with folk and country: Buffalo Springfield, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Band.

Imagine being able to rock a piano so well that Aerosmith wants you as its touring keyboardist. That's what happened to Russ Irwin, and he's been sharing the stage with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry for 15 years.

"I'm staring at their backsides," he tells NPR's David Greene. "It's an interesting place to be."

For all the attention Alabama Shakes' music has attracted in 2012 — and its album Boys & Girls marked a huge breakthrough earlier this year — the live stage is where the soulful blues-rock band transcends mere "one to watch" status. Boys & Girls is the work of polished professionals at the top of their game, but in concert, Alabama Shakes' music reaches ecstatic, sprawling, rafter-shaking heights.

Do You Really Know What Live Is?

Jul 27, 2012

For a few minutes the other night, I thought I'd be going to see One Direction this Sunday. A dad I know sent me a text proposing that we bring our third-graders to Key Arena for the exceptionally mop-topped British boy band's Seattle show. He thought we could nab some tickets.

The selections in this week's drum fill quiz come from the amazing Michael Lerner, drummer for The Antlers. Somehow he found time to put this list together for us while the band was finishing up it's new EP, Undersea. I thought it was a pretty challenging quiz, but see what you think.

Drag the drum fill or intro to the album it's from. If you get it right, the song names will appear.

More Drum Fill Quizes

Bright Moments On World Cafe

Jul 26, 2012

Multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt has recorded and toured with bands like Coldplay, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and Beirut since 2006, but he's stepped into his own spotlight since forming the sunny pop band

All this summer, All Things Considered is digging into listeners' parents' record collections to hear about one song introduced by a parent that has stayed with you — for better or for worse.

Sigur Rós could be forgiven for sounding better on record than in concert. The Icelandic band's songs either billow out deliberately or stomp majestically, and in every case entail the building of layers upon intricate sonic layers. Plus, singer Jónsi — he of the otherworldly voice, singing mostly in a ghostly language of his own devising — is no Mick Jagger when it comes to calling attention to himself.

The Grateful Dead's eponymous live album started it all for Nicholas Meriwether.

It was 1985. He was studying history at Princeton and got hooked by psychedelic jams like "Wharf Rat." After his first concert, he knew: "I will spend the rest of my life thinking and studying this."

Brendan Benson On World Cafe

Jul 25, 2012

Brendan Benson has spent the past decade and a half curating a distinct and exciting sound, but his ascent hasn't been a smooth one. His debut album, 1996's One Mississippi, is considered a power-pop classic, but it sold poorly at the time of its release.

If last week's poll is any indication, most of you don't care much for Madonna, Dave Matthews, or Whitney Houston, at least not for the records of theirs we suggested.

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