Music

Music

We're always happy to kick off the festival season with this gem. Tune-in this week for some special festival-related programming. We'll be playing music from performing artists throughout the Blends all week. And, join us for phone interviews scheduled with the following:

Monday 11:15 a.m.  Angela Oudean with Bearfoot

Monday 2:30 p.m. David Wilcox

Tuesday 10:15 a.m. Cahalen Morrison & Eli West

Wednesday 2:30 p.m. Daniel Rodriguez with Elephant Revival

 

 

The roots of Cahalen Morrison & Eli West are strong, their branches are shady, and the guitars, banjos, mandolins, and harmonies will carry you far off the beaten path to a place under open Western skies.

Pulling off horns in a rock song is always a challenge. Even two of the most notable successes, Chicago and Bruce Springsteen, have crossed the line into cheese at times. (Chicago spent the '80s nose-deep in it.)

Blunderbuss, Jack White's first solo album, is not just about him. It's about characters, he says.

"The 'hes' and 'shes' and 'Is' are sort of all arbitrary," White tellsGuy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. "Some of them fall in the blues context of just 'man versus the world' or 'man versus woman,' or something like that, but they don't really have anything to do with male or female."

The Beach Boys are in harmony again. The group is recording and performing together, after years of disputes and estrangement.

Brian Wilson and Mike Love tell Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, that they're not surprised at the reunion.

"We've had 50 years' practice," Wilson says, "not just in music but in being guys."

Love says once they got back in the studio and started writing again, it felt like they had never left.

"It was nuts," Wilson says. "It was a nutbuster."

In summer music festivals, as with TMZ news scoops and the vintage car market, exclusivity is the name of the game. The thinking goes like this: Festival attendees are looking for a good time and a good deal.

"I started singing in bars when I was still in high school," says Kelly Hogan. "It's not the easiest thing to do if you like to eat something besides ramen noodles and have insurance."

When an old musical "friend" puts out a record, I secretly pray for greatness, as if rooting for a favorite team. These later records often pale in comparison to their early predecessors, but still I listen and try to find something I love.

I just deleted over 25,000 songs from my iTunes library. I am going to trust in the cloud, where my library now lives. I'm a bit scared, but I backed everything up, took a deep breath and stepped into the future.

Abandoning the way I've come to listen to music over the last decade feels like a big experiment, but in some ways, the decision was a long time coming. I've been close to maxing out the hard drive space on my laptop for a while, and in a single day this week, I reclaimed nearly 200 gigabytes.

Lana Del Rey On World Cafe

Jun 1, 2012

Lana Del Rey got her start at 18, when she was still known as Lizzy Grant and moved from Lake Placid to New York City to write songs and perform in clubs. In 2008, under her given name, she produced and released the EP Kill Kill independently. In 2010, her first album — the doubly eponymous Lana Del Ray [sic] a.k.a. Lizzy Grant — came out and was quickly pulled from circulation, though it'll be reissued this summer.

Portraits Of An American Metal Festival

May 31, 2012

Last weekend I was among the legion of ecstatic metalheads that had descended upon Baltimore to attend Maryland Deathfest. In its 10th year, the Sonar compound was bursting at the seams with fans from across the spectrum and around the globe, stoking a community that stays connected long after the outdoor stages on East Saratoga Street are taken down.

The Magnetic Fields' music provides one of several outlets for frontman Stephin Merritt's inspired songwriting. The band began recording a string of eclectic albums in 1993, and finally found mainstream recognition with 1999's three-disc 69 Love Songs.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse have a new record coming out Tuesday. Americana is blistering guitar romp through the classic American songbook, from the 1800s to doo-wop and beyond. Well today we we have a 40 minute film created by Bernard Shakey (Young's alias) filled with the music from Americana.

Patrick Watson has a lovely, flexible voice and a gift for wringing evocative sounds out of everything from vintage keyboards to bicycle chains, but his real gift lies in his ability to maximize beauty at all times; to guide every noise in such a way that it coheres into something dramatic and graceful. When the Polaris Prize winner performs, he seems almost hypnotized by the sounds around him, yet every second and every unlikely component seems plotted to maximize its impact.

KCRW Presents: Father John Misty

May 30, 2012

In recent years, J. Tillman has moved from Seattle to Los Angeles, quit his gig as the drummer of Fleet Foxes and abandoned his real name, all to become Father John Misty. On his way into KCRW's studio for a live set, Tillman grabbed a photo of David Lynch off the walls in the hallway — a fitting gesture to his surreal musical alter ego. Here, he shimmies his way through a dedication of sorts to an L.A.

The Lumineers On World Cafe

May 29, 2012

This week's Vintage Cafe goes back to 2012, when good things were starting to happen for a trio of musicians from Denver. The Lumineers' original members, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, were high-school friends who moved to Denver thinking they'd have a better shot at getting noticed than they had in Brooklyn — plus, it was affordable. There, they met their third member, cellist Neyla Pekarek, through a Craigslist ad.

The L.A. indie-folk band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros has been described as looking like something of a hippie cult on stage. Of course, every cult should have a leader, and this one is led by a singer whose real name is Alex Ebert. He has a long beard and long, unkempt hair, and he often doesn't wear a shirt or even shoes. During shows, he dances around in circles shaking a tambourine.

K-Holes: A Grimy Smear Of Rock 'n' Roll

May 29, 2012

K-Holes' frayed, exhausted, grimy smear of rock 'n' roll is swaddled in the uneven patchwork of New York City's '80s no-wave scene. The band wields its own unique sort of holler — an earth-colored concrete mold of sax and group mantras and waves of ricocheting build. Within "Child," the opener from K-Holes' second full-length album Dismania, the group's sonic theory is made plain: malignant patience and a straightforward attack, with all five tongues in cheek and aching jaws set firm.

Storied musician and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John—Mac Rebennack—released Locked Down, a startling album that marks a significant departure from his recent efforts. The new album, produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, is an entirely new approach for the iconic Dr. John, featuring as it does his collaboration with Auerbach and a band of young musicians Auerbach hand-picked to make Locked Down at his Nashville studio.

John Mayer On World Cafe

May 25, 2012

Becoming a rock star has major implications — just ask John Mayer. The singer-songwriter's personal history and relationships are all public knowledge, thanks to the enormous media attention that the 34-year-old attracts. The attention in turn attracts trouble, but Mayer, who has just released his fifth solo studio album, tries to take it all in stride.

This week's quiz comes courtesy of Janet Weiss, drummer for the band Wild Flag (and former drummer for Sleater-Kinney). She's got some killer fills and intros here that (I thought) ranged from pretty easy to pretty hard. But see what you think.

Drag the intro or fill (or beat) to the album it's from. If you get it right, the song names will appear.

What were you doing when you were 16?

When he was 16, James Burton was inventing the American guitar. He'd been born in Dubberly, La., in 1939, and was apparently self-taught on his instrument. At 15, he cut a single backing local singer Carol Williams, and then one day he came up with a guitar riff that he liked. He took it to a singer from Shreveport he was touring with, and they worked out a song to use in his act. One thing led to another, and it wound up on a record called "Suzie Q," credited to Dale Hawkins, the singer.

Chuck Prophet: Tawdry, Tattered Glory

May 25, 2012

San Francisco has long been a refuge for people on society's fringes, from sailors and hookers to beatniks, hippies and non-conformists of every stripe. Chuck Prophet revels in their oddness as much as he revels in the retro coolness of shoo-be-doo-wop pop and the chime of a pedal-pushed guitar chord. On his latest album, Temple Beautiful, he injects healthy doses of both into sonic portraits of his city's most outrageous inhabitants.

Metalheads Are People, Too

May 24, 2012

For one long weekend at the end of May, nearly every hotel, hostel, B&B and flophouse in Baltimore is booked up. Traffic gets brutal, the sidewalks fill and locals are more than a little miffed by all the clueless tourists. Many of them are in town for Maryland's high school lacrosse state championships, but for plenty of others, a stay in Charm City promises the polar opposite of all the good clean fun going down at the stadium. These visitors are ready to sweat too, but they've come for something quite different: feedback, blood and distortion.

Turing Machine: End Of The Road

May 24, 2012

Seven years in the making, What Is the Meaning of What marks the end of a difficult road for Turing Machine, the often-snarling instrumental trio. The group's prolific drummer, Jerry Fuchs, died suddenly in 2009, about a year into the recording of What Is the Meaning of What and left behind his last work within the still-fleshless new record.

The Ramones were there at the birth of punk rock.

None of the Ramones were actually related, but they all changed their last names to Ramone. They wore matching skinny jeans and leather jackets, and their songs were short and to the point, with hooks that are still impossibly catchy. The band's first album stunned listeners and critics. Joey Ramone described its influence in a 1991 interview in Finland that's posted on YouTube.

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