On this week's episode of All Songs Considered, co-host Bob Boilen basks in the glory of his return by making fellow co-host Robin Hilton enjoy the musings of a box that when opened plays affirming statements with Bob's name that was gifted to him by a secret admirer.
Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 7:51 am
The greatest benefit to the current flood of anniversary tours and album reissues might not be the chance for fans to experience or relive shows of the past, or even the bands' second chances at recouping earnings beyond what they'd experienced before. Maybe more important is the chance for the artists in question to rekindle the spark of creativity and give it another go.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:17 pm
The wonderful half-garage, half-glam band Smith Westerns recently released its third album, Soft Will. In this installment of World Cafe, the group's members tell us that a lot of the record was written as a reaction to returning home to Chicago after touring for five years during their late teens and twenties. And, of course, they perform some of their songs live in the studio.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:33 pm
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the monthly bale of sunflower seeds we've decided to order from Amazon Prime via subscription is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for advice on when and where it's courteous to wear headphones in public.
Brian Bowen writes via Facebook: "When is it OK to wear headphones in public — in transit, at work, during events large or small, standing in line at the post office, etc.?"
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 9:27 am
When The National came through the Morning Becomes Eclectic studios, the band was in the midst of a sizable tour, including two sold-out shows in Los Angeles. Drummer Bryan Devendorf opted out of the morning session to nurse a bad back, so we ended up with a pared-down and intimate performance, with Matt Berninger's emotive voice guiding the way. The result was a chance to hear songs like "I Should Live In Salt" through different angles — a must for any fan.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 5:22 am
Singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg is one of the nicest guys ever to play Mountain Stage. Mere seconds before his performance began, a heavy writing desk that was anchored to the backstage wall came lose, and Stephen was there to catch it – and hold it, with his guitar in the other hand – until a pair of stagehands relieved him.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 6:42 pm
Windhand is one of those body-rattling bands whose decibels clobber the smoke-filled air. This is especially true in a live setting, in which masses of people are drawn to the riffs like moths. The Richmond stoner-metal band gets close to that desperately heavy live vibe on its second album, Soma, especially in "Orchard."
Did you want to hear how a song evolves? How a single spark of inspiration transforms into words and then melody and finally a fully produced complex production?
Jordon Gieger, known by the moniker Hospital Ships, has unveiled his journey as a songwriter for us. "Desolation Waltz" is a song Geiger began writing in Columbus, Ohio after "listening to a very fiery preacher on the radio, who would break into little melodies in the middle of his sermons. I decided to write songs a capella, in my car."