Music

Music

The video for "Two Cousins," a breakout track from Slow Club's second album, 2011's Paradise, still induces a smile. With a pair of impeccably dressed gentlemen high-kicking and stutter-step dancing to the song's fractured drum beat, gliding along with plinking piano notes, the clip is a joyful introduction to the Sheffield, England duo's charm.

It's human nature to reinvent and romanticize the past. Memories fade and become distorted, reduced to proximate notions and imagined details. Maybe it's a matter of survival, or maybe just the innocent aging and inescapable fraying of synapses. Regardless, the golden age we celebrate was rarely as great as we remember.

Realness is one of the most malleable and fetishized concepts in 21st century popular music. And nothing's revered as realer in the country-punk scene that Lydia Loveless emerged from than the contrarian rawness listeners found in her first two albums, The Only Man and Indestructable Machine.

Annika Henderson is still just in her 20s, but there's history in her voice. She began her musical career as Anika, with one "n," recording covers of Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono and the Kinks' Ray Davies. Her new group, Exploded View, plays original songs, but past genres ­— post-punk, new wave, goth, industrial — echo through their dark music. Anika's chilly intonations in particular evoke moody singers like Siouxsie Sioux, Robert Smith and Debbie Harry, artists who can convey mystery and emotion in a single breath.

"They killed my mother in the doorway." How's that for an opening line?

We're talking opera — specifically, the aria "La mamma morta" from Umberto Giordano's 1896 French Revolution thriller Andrea Chénier. The soprano is Anna Netrebko.

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

Alex Ebert, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' lead singer, says that "Edward Sharpe" was originally a character that he made up to hide behind. In today's conversation, Ebert says that he and "Edward" have merged, to a certain extent. Still, he says, there's a tension between his invented persona and reality — which is why the cover of the band's latest album, PersonA, displays the name "Edward Sharpe" crossed out.

This week, we've got a surprise: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton both went on vacation and left the All Songs studio unlocked. Apparently neither one of them uses two-step verification, so it took only a very minor effort for a couple of highly skilled NPR Music team members, Daoud Tyler-Ameen and Saidah Blount, to hack into the elaborate system of tubes, funnels and hamster wheels that feed podcasts from our microphones into your earbuds for a very special takeover edition of All Songs Considered.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The central equation behind Slavic Soul Party! is self-explanatory: an American black-music spin on the Balkan brass band. The net product is akin to a New-Orleans-style brass band, but with different percussion timbres, horn trills and glissandi. (Also, accordion, because Europe.) It's the sort of multiculti collision you see forged in major population centers; you may be interested to know the band has a standing Tuesday night gig at a Brooklyn bar which specializes in international music.

World Cafe Next: Weaves

Aug 8, 2016

The Toronto four-piece Weaves seems poised to have a long career of pushing the boundaries while still letting audiences in. The band is fronted by singer Jasmyn Burke, whose energy you don't even have to witness live to appreciate.

Weaves' self-titled LP came out this past June. Take a listen to these two tracks, and you'll hear an art-rock quartet that might sound a little like a cross between PJ Harvey and Talking Heads.

Mitski On World Cafe

Aug 8, 2016

The indie-rock singer-songwriter Mitski released her fourth album, Puberty 2, this past June. She recorded her first two albums, which were rather orchestral, while a student at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. It wasn't until her third album that she added punkish guitars, and she describes Puberty 2 as an outgrowth of that album.

Congress is in the midst of a review of the copyright laws to make sure they're up to date. Some of the recording industry's biggest stars, among them Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Paul McCartney, recently signed a letter urging lawmakers to make reforms.

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

For his latest project, singer Will Downing decided to pay homage to some of R&B's greats. Female chart-toppers from the mid-'70s to early '90s — Phyllis Hyman, Deniece Williams, Cherelle and Chaka Khan, to name a few — are Downing's contemporaries and his inspiration, and hail from an era in which soulful love songs ruled pop culture.

David Bromberg is best known as a guitar virtuoso, who has collaborated with Bob Dylan and George Harrison and fronted his own band. But he's also a collector of American violins, and his collection is such that the Library of Congress has announced its intention to acquire it.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Summer is a time for music festivals around the world, with thousands of people gathering to enjoy their favorite bands and musicians. But a dark current underlies some of these events: In Sweden, police say there were more than 50 cases of rape and sexual assault at two major festivals there last month. Sexual violence has been reported for decades at large outdoor concerts, including here in the U.S. And now in the U.K., some county officials are trying to do something about it.

This summer marks my 25th and final season as music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, Calif. What an amazing adventure this has been, working with living composers and being at the center of so many new creations.

There have always been many fronts on which the battle to crown the song of the summer is fought. The biggest song on pop radio isn't always the song that sells the most. The lyric that lends itself to the season can sometimes be overwhelmed by a hook that sounds best coming out of a car window.

The new Soulrocker album features songs that infuse acoustic, electronic, reggae, dancehall and natural elements, all with the message of people coming together to support each other and the planet. KSUT will play it in its entirety, Friday at noon, as a warm up to our 40th Anniversary Celebration on 8/6! 

Let The Games Begin: A Playlist For Rio

Aug 5, 2016

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is essential, like air and water, for many classical musicians. Pianist András Schiff starts every day with Bach — sometimes before breakfast. "It's like taking care of your inner hygiene. There's something very pure about it," he says.

World Cafe #TBT: 1993

Aug 4, 2016

For Throwback Thursday, we're re-airing a 2011 Liz Phair session on today's episode of World Cafe. Phair's debut album, Exile In Guyville, came out in 1993 and was a huge success, topping Pitchfork's list that year.

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