In three albums as St. Vincent, plus the 2012 David Byrne collaboration Love This Giant, Annie Clark has proven adept at writing rock songs that flirt with the tense and uneasy. Her streak continues on St. Vincent, a new album replete with dissonances and distortions that make even its prettiest melodies read as disturbing.
A lot of obscure bands want to reach a national audience, and they send their records to NPR. Unfortunately, there's a lot of forgettable stuff in the mix, and recently the staff of All Things Considered received the kind of CD it would usually toss.
It's got a pair of singles by two bands — The Blue Jean Committee, which came out of the 1970s Massachusetts folk scene; and The Fingerlings, a British post-disco/synth band of art-school graduates. Both sound desperately tiresome.
Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:03 pm
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Beck single that keeps tricking us into thinking it's the new Beck album are a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when superfans sever their allegiances.
Today on World Cafe's Sense of Place we speak with John Timmons about the Louisville music he knows so much about, and he picks the five greatest all-time Louisville artists. Timmons moved to Louisville in 1975 and opened one of America's great record stores, Ear X–Tacy, in 1985. It had a good run until 2011.
John Timmons' 5 Greatest Louisville Bands Of All Time:
Laura Shine is the afternoon host and assistant program director at our World Cafe affiliate WFPK in Louisville, Ky., and she still finds time to devour that city's rich local music scene.
We asked her to pick five bands to showcase that vibrant scene. They range from Cabin, the work of Noah Hewett-Ball who's a visual artist-songwriter creating music as a soundtrack to his paintings, to the retro sounding Small Time Napolean. Shine also explains why Louisville is ripe for all this creativity.
For our Sense Of Place visit to Louisville, Ky., we have a chance to meet singer-songwriter Cheyenne Mize. After working with fellow Louisvillian Will Oldham in 2009 on a 10" recording of 19th-century Parlor music, she started making her own records. The latest, Among The Grey, was released last summer.
On the day its second full-length album (Voices) came out, Phantogram was on Morning Becomes Eclectic, performing in L.A.'s Village studios. The New York duo combines trip-hop beats, spaced-out keyboards and Sarah Barthel's airy vocals to create a sound big enough to fill some of L.A.'s largest venues. Only a few days old, the album already has a few songs on heavy rotation at KCRW — including this one, titled "Black Out Days."
The Missouri-based band Ha Ha Tonka's unusual name pays tribute to the Ozark region — it's the name of a state park. The four-piece visited our World Cafe studios to play music from its latest album, Lessons. During our chat, singer and songwriter Brian Roberts explained some of the many things that trigger his creativity, including this Fresh Air interview with Maurice Sendak.