Music

Music

Ian Svenonius doesn't like to sit still. The singer, bandleader, and author is always juggling multiple projects, and the one he's helmed longest — the garage-rock group Chain And The Gang — has gone through multiple configurations in its eight years of existence. In June, he released a sampling of their catalog re-recorded by recent members, and now, just a few months later, he's back with a completely original album, Experimental Music, made with a new set of co-conspirators.

This essay is one in a series celebrating women whose major contributions in recording occurred before the time frame of NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

When Rainer Maria first surfaced in the punk-rock basements of Madison, Wisconsin, 20 years ago, its sound was a tense and jagged jumble of youthful feelings: of confinement, of frustration and of having too many words rushing through your brain to capture and convey everything you want the world to hear.

Nashville gospel singers the McCrary Sisters know how to make a 500-strong crowd feel like they've been personally invited to the party.

There was a time, earlier in their careers, when Alabama-born sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer took care to give each other space. They seldom showed up on each other's recordings or offered on-the-record comments on each other's careers.

This week's show features music inspired by the rolling hills and moorland of the border country between Scotland and England, a landscape of forbidding beauty with a turbulent history of feuds, raids and conflict. Hear songs from Archie Fisher, Capercaillie, Kathryn Tickell and more.

Picture what would happen if Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin met Ali Farka Touré in a garage in West Africa, and you've got an idea of what my guests today sound like. The band is Songhoy Blues. They're from Mali, and their new album is titled Résistance.

I talked with the band's lead singer, Aliou Touré. He is originally from the northern Mali city of Gao, but fled south after Islamist militants and rebels took over parts of northern Mali in 2012, causing a massive political crisis and banning music.

Remembering Glen Campbell

Aug 9, 2017

With guest host John Donvan.

Earlier this year, I sang the praises of the debut full-length album by the group ÌFÉ, a dramatic meditation on traditional Afro-Cuban rumba and santeria music.

After seeing the band live in Philadelphia, I was even more convinced that its spirit of innovation is just as intense as its dedication to tradition.

Kelela is not here to play — she makes that clear from the outset of her new video for the hook-up single "LMK."

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.

The latest artist to be lured by the dazzling lights of Broadway: Bruce Springsteen, who will be doing a limited run beginning in mid-October.

Information about The Boss' Broadway debut was first leaked in June to the New York Post, which at the time quoted anonymous sources. Springsteen's team made the official announcement Wednesday morning.

We're (hopefully) far enough removed from "emo revival" trend pieces to let this music grow as it should. That's not a knock against the bands that mine disparate '90s sounds, or others that seek to evolve it, just that the continuum isn't a straight line, but a spiral. Over three albums and a scattering of EPs, Prawn is a sterling example of emo's possibility, even as it continues to outgrow the genre's parameters.

Wilco, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

Aug 9, 2017

At this stage, it feels like Wilco has headlined nearly every festival — including its own Solid Sound Festival. But the band's sunset Saturday Newport Folk Festival demonstrated why, year after year, Wilco gets top billing: Twenty years in, the Chicago band has staying power without sacrificing a sense of sonic exploration.

Kehlani Parrish's music isn't meant to be a secret.

Friends Remember Musician Glen Campbell

Aug 9, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GALVESTON")

GLEN CAMPBELL: (Singing) Galveston, oh, Galveston...

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That is the voice of singer and guitarist Glen Campbell, who passed away yesterday at the age of 81.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

At 24, Chance The Rapper has already had a career many artists could only dream of. In 2015, he became the first unsigned artist to perform on Saturday Night Live. This year, he won three Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album.

Qiet On Mountain Stage

Aug 8, 2017

West Virginia eclectic rock band Qiet makes its debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. What was once a solo project for self-taught bandleader Christopher Vincent turned into the musical troupe Qiet (pronounced "quiet"), an evolving cast of musical characters with 13 performers sharing the same stage one night and a totally different number the next. While this eventually settled into the Charleston-based band's current configuration, Qiet's high-energy performances continue to showcase the members' varied past and passions.

Folk music is a genre commonly associated with protest, and the performers at Newport this year lived up to that expectation.

"Folk festival" is a bit of a misnomer for the current form of the event where Bob Dylan shocked crowds by plugging in five decades ago; the Newport Folk Festival now warmly embraces talent that leans toward the louder, more electrified end of the folk-rock spectrum.

I heard more than one person at Newport marvel at the fact that Pinegrove had been booked for the smallest of the festival's three main stages. The day before its Newport set, the Montclair, N.J., band had played the main stage at the Panorama Music Festival, where headliner Frank Ocean would perform later that day. For a band that still practices in one member's parents' basement, Pinegrove has accumulated a huge, enthusiastic fan base over the year since it released its latest studio album, Cardinal.

Waxahatchee is the brainchild and band name of singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield. She visited World Cafe Live the day she released her new album, Out In The Storm, to perform four songs and chat about the record's origins.

The record was inspired by the end of a relationship, which makes talking about it in interviews a little tricky.

Tony Award-winning actress and singer Barbara Cook, an ingénue in Broadway's Golden Age — during the 1950s and '60s — who later transformed herself into a concert and cabaret star, has died. She was 89.

Cook died early Tuesday of respiratory failure, surrounded by friends and family at her home in Manhattan, according to her publicist.

This essay is one in a series celebrating women whose major contributions in recording occurred before the time frame of NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

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