Music

Music

The results are in and it turns out most of you who voted in our mid-year poll really love Jack White's explosive and eclectic Blunderbuss. But the race was close: White's album beat-out the Alabama Shakes record Boys & Girls by less than 25 votes. Beach House's Bloom, one of the most popular records ever in our First Listen series, came in at third. The Shins' Port Of Morrow and Of Monsters And Men's My Head Is An Animal round out the top five.

Back in March, former All Songs intern Dan Raby used this space to sing the praises of Montreal singer-songwriter JBM, a.k.a. Jesse B. Marchant, whose deliberately paced folk-pop hangs on the lingering empty spaces between notes.

There's more than one way to qualify as a "guitar band": You can shred, sure, or you can lay down layer upon layer of guitars to weave an intricate tapestry. For Diiv — yes, the group was once called "Dive," and yes, it's from Brooklyn — guitars dominate, but as warm, chiming mood-setters.

Guest DJ Patti Smith

Jun 19, 2012

On this edition of All Songs Considered, poet and singer Patti Smith joins host Bob Boilen to talk about her musical passions, including doing fancy dance steps with her siblings in South Jersey. She talks about meeting Jimi Hendrix as a young journalist and later recording in his dream studio Electric Lady Studios, where she and her band made their latest album, Banga.

Nils Lofgren On World Cafe

Jun 19, 2012

Nils Lofgren has built a stellar reputation as a masterful guitarist in both solo and collaborative endeavors, and his extensive discography showcases a unique brand of high-energy blues-rock.

There's no clear formula for why a new song catches fire at one of our partner radio stations. Sometimes it's a hook you can't get out of your head, and sometimes it's a tune's ability to distill a station's overall vibe into three sublime minutes.

We asked five stations to select a song currently blowing up on their airwaves and tell us why. For a limited time, you can download their answers — the results include new music from the smart Canadian pop band Metric, U.K. singer Lianne La Havas, folk newbie John Fullbright, funk collective Brownout and British pop group alt-J.

This April, roots-rock singer-guitarist Bonnie Raitt released her first album in seven years, Slipstream. It's classic Raitt, mixing bluesy slide-guitar riffs with her soulful voice and a pop-friendly sensibility.

The delivery system, however, is brand-new. After years of working with the majors, Raitt decided to start her own label, Redwing Records. Raitt runs Redwing with the help of a tiny staff; Slipstream is the first release in its catalog.

I Never Owned Any Music To Begin With

Jun 16, 2012

A few days before my internship at All Songs Considered started, Bob Boilen posted an article titled "I Just Deleted All My Music" on this blog. The post is about entrusting his huge personal music library to the cloud. Though this seemed like a bold step to many people who responded to the article, to me, it didn't seem so bold at all.

Man, talk about a dream team pairing. After some enticing rumors and teases of a potential collaboration between David Byrne and St.

With Leftover Salmon headlining Friday night at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, we thought it only fitting to feature their brand new CD, "Aquatic Hitchhiker", their first studio album in 8 years, and the first to debut all original compositions.

Featuring Patti Smith's former New York punk-era colleague Tom Verlaine on solo guitar, "April Fool" is one of the prettiest songs on Smith's new album, Banga. Verlaine sends out long, thin, delicate tendrils of sound as Smith's voice suffuses the melody with full-throated urgency. Although Smith has said, with typical art-democratic directness, that "almost everybody in the world can sing," a few songs on Banga make you aware of what a good voice she has.

Trailer Trash Tracys: A Shoegazer's Dream

Jun 14, 2012

"Candy Girl," from Trailer Trash Tracys' debut album Ester, sounds like a shoegazer's modern take on Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" — the song that soundtracked the makeout scene in Top Gun. Both tracks share a similar pace and constant beating snare, but Trailer Trash Tracys' members diverge from the '80s hit by throwing in a ton of fuzz, reverb and depression. "It's 7 o'clock and my heartbeat stops, my candy girl," Suzanne Aztoria sings, her voice detached to the point where she seems sedated.

Back in early May, I went to the Beacon Theatre in New York City to see The Beach Boys' 50th-anniversary tour. I expected a decent show, but it was so much more than that: It was breathtaking.

Two creative siblings — Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy and writer Maile Meloy — say a summer road trip they took with their mother in the early '80s was a memorable musical experience.

Maile, a fiction writer whose latest novel is The Apothecary, says repetition was partly responsible for lodging the sounds of the trip in her memory.

Live Friday: Michael Kiwanuka In Concert

Jun 13, 2012

Born in London to Ugandan parents, Michael Kiwanuka was brought up in a home from which music was largely absent. His first introduction to rock — Nirvana, Radiohead — arrived as he began to hang with the skater kids in his north London suburb during his early teenage years.

This week, World Cafe invites listeners to discover the music of New Orleans with the series Sense of Place.

When he was around 13, Robert Charles Guidry began singing with a band around his hometown of Abbeville, La., deep in the Cajun swamps. The group played Cajun and country music and, after he passed through town and played a show, Fats Domino's music. It was a life-changing experience for the young man, and he found himself with a new ambition: to write a song for Fats.

A Night Out In New Orleans' New Bohemia

Jun 13, 2012

I'm spending June in New Orleans, digging into the soft wet earth of American music. A week in, I feel like I've barely begun to explore. The minute I try to say what draws me to New Orleans music, I realize that the core of it is always changing. It's not just the variety, though I love that in the first few days here, I caught classic blues on Frenchmen Street, a wild bounce night downtown, my longtime favorite Susan Cowsill singing Dusty Springfield covers in the Garden District, and a brass band on the corner in the French Quarter.

Around this time each year I begin to marvel at how we've already reached the halfway point. I haven't even taken down my Christmas lights yet and already everyone's reflecting on all the great music we've had so far.

This story has been set to unpublished due to the NPR API updating this story earlier and now the NPR API is unavailable. If the NPR API has deleted or changed the access level of this story it will be deleted when the API becomes available. If the API has updated this story, the updated version will be made available when the NRP API becomes reachable again. There is no action required on your part. For more information contact Digital Services Client Support

The dB's: After A 25-Year Absence, A Vital Return

Jun 12, 2012

For even the most distinguished of bands, the phrase "first album in a quarter-century" is cause for concern. Who among us is anything close to what we were "back then"? By what means of dark magic could any group reunite after such a layoff and reproduce anything resembling its previous chemistry? Band reunions come and go, and most often the result is forgettable at best.

Next: Broncho

Jun 11, 2012

 

Grammy Award-winner Rodney Crowell and New York Times Best Selling author Mary Karr  have just released their CD KIN – songs by Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell on Vanguard Records. Produced by Joe Henry, Kin marks the first collaboration between the two writers and is Karr’s entry into the world of music.

Fiona Apple: 'I Don't Really Have A Plan'

Jun 10, 2012

It's been seven years since Fiona Apple has released a new album. The singer-songwriter, who broke out in 1996 with Tidal, says the delay is a quirk of her creative process.

The British ska-revival band The Selecter formed in the late 1970s, playing what can be described as rock fused with calypso and American jazz.

Much of what set the band apart was its charismatic lead singer, Pauline Black. As one of few women in a musical movement dominated by men, she was called "The Queen of British Ska."

That experience is one of many recounted in her new memoir, Black by Design, which has just been released in the U.S.

Kishi Bashi: Unique Performances In Time

Jun 8, 2012

Consider this name: Kishi Bashi. It has a pleasant, repetitive character with a nice — if unusual — little loop. It's an apt stage name for a musician who's creating something haunting, beautiful and maybe a little off-kilter through the technology of looping.

A band's sound is only as big as its members, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' music is huge. The 10 members are a whirl of roving horns, as well as whistles, claps, shouts, strummed string instruments and percussion involving drums, hands and anything else they can find. The group's communal folk sound blew up in 2009 with the heart-pounding, foot-stomping single "Home"; with its universal sentiment, the song includes a back-and-forth between frontman Alex Ebert and bandmate Jade Castrinos.

Spiritualized On World Cafe

Jun 7, 2012

Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the new album by the English space-rock band Spiritualized, was recorded while frontman Jason Pierce was undergoing chemotherapy for liver disease. Pierce set out to craft the record as a clear-cut pop record in between hospital stays, and though he says he isn't convinced he succeeded, most of the album is composed of could-be Top 10 radio hits from the early '70s.

Tim Fite has always been an odd bird, going back to his 2001 novelty hit "Shaniqua" as part of Little-T and One Track Mike. Since going solo in 2005, Fite has released 10 albums, many available for free download from his website. (The best, 2007's Over the Counter Culture, features the hilarious hip-hop send-up "I've Been Shot.")

Pages