Music

Music

Neko Case On 'Hell-On'

Jun 9, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Every new album from Neko Case brings something interesting, unexpected, clever, maybe just a little odd. That continues with "Hell-on," her first solo album in five years.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAST LION OF ALBION")

Hip hop's feud of the moment reached a white-hot peak last week — and for once, Twitter wasn't the first place to hear about it.

Anthony Bourdain's Twitter bio simply reads "enthusiast" which may be why the news of his death by his own hand has hit many fans so bluntly today. He was a truth-telling enthusiast you could trust. He explored the world for us with open heart, eyes and certainly appetite. Who among us didn't want to join him at a meal or on an adventure?

"Who the f*** is Awkwafina?" That's not just the premise of the opening skit to the actress, rapper and comedian's new EP. It's a legitimate question given the healthy dose of media attention Awkwafina (born Nora Lum) is receiving for her roles in summer blockbusters Ocean's 8 (out Friday), and Crazy Rich Asians, the first major movie in 25 years with an all-Asian cast (out August 15). The hype started long ago; she became an online sensation in 2013 thanks to viral YouTube hits that combined her comedic prowess and skillful rhyming.

Vivid images of hospitals, funerals and death are not uncommon in Dan Campbell's lyrics as of late. The frontman of the long-running Philadelphia punk six-piece The Wonder Years has always had a writerly sense of detail, even going back to the days of The Upsides when his biggest concerns were drowning his late-college feelings of alienation in Lucky Charms and soy milk.

Described by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys as the "greatest soul singer alive," Robert Finley joined us for a live session. His story is a quintessential American one of perseverance. He's loved music and performing his whole life, and now finally released his first album in his early 60s.

M. Ward surprise released the album What A Wonderful Industry today, taking on a subtler shade of music industry beef, writing about the heroes and villains he's encountered over 20 years.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lyndsey McKenna, and Sidney Madden to talk about June 8's standout albums. Highlights include the candid, introspective rock of Snail Mail, the jazzy, laid-back R&B of British singer Jorja Smith, the sultry pop of Lykke Li, and more.

Featured Albums

  1. River Whyless: Kindness, A Rebel
    Featured Song: "The Feeling Of Freedom"
  2. Serpentwithfeet: Soil
    Featured Song: "Whisper"

We had wanted to get MILCK (aka Connie Lim) to the Tiny Desk ever since she captured the hearts of so many by performing her song "Quiet" during the Women's March On Washington last year. Before the concert, we talked a lot with her and her production team about how to best share her deeply affecting, anthemic pop songs. Should we have a choir? Maybe a string quartet?

Goat Yoga Helps Brent Cowles Be 'Okay Alone'

Jun 8, 2018

Brent Cowles is a fixture on the Colorado music scene. He's been drawing local attention since his days in the Americana band You Me & Apollo. Since leaving the group he founded while still in his teens, Cowles has been grinding out a solo career and will release his first full-length album, How To Be Okay Alone, on June 15th.

On Tuesday evening, the family of Jalal Mansur Nurridin, 74, released a statement describing his death, writing that "Jalal slipped quietly away this evening into the arms of Allah," and asked that we use the last ten days of Ramadan to make dua for him. Nurridin lead the best-known iteration of the legendary Last Poets, a spoken word and percussionist collective formed on Malcolm X's birthday and that, at its best, embodied the spirit of Malcom as street hustler, soldier for the people and revolutionary sage — none more so than the Brooklyn-born Jalal, the Godfather of Rap.

The Band's Visit is a Broadway musical that tells the story of human connection and commonality between cultures. When an Egyptian police band gets stranded in a tiny Israeli town, the musicians wait in a cafe — and get to talking with the locals.

The plot is simple and the set modest, but since its debut on Broadway in late 2017, the show has become the surprise smash hit of the season. Now, the musical is nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, ahead of Sunday's award ceremony.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

If you're a band in 2018, you can't just tell the world you're putting out an album. You have to hire skywriters, or etch your new cover art onto the side of a mountain, or fly journalists out to Wyoming for a live-stream or something. You have to make it an event!

Today, what would have been his 60th birthday, the people in charge of Prince's storied vault of unreleased recordings have announced a forthcoming album taken from a cassette he recorded at his home studio (Paisley Park did not yet exist), simply titled Piano & A Microphone 1983. The record includes a cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" and prototype sessions of "Purple Rain" and "Strange Relationship."

There's more to quiet music than diminutive volume. It's an intent laid bare in arrangement and emotion with space for sound and feeling to grow outward to the listener. For the last five years or so, Katie Bennett has quickly — and quietly, of course — become one of indie pop's most thoughtful songwriters as Free Cake For Every Creature.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


The first recorded collaboration between singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and guitarist Peter Buck of R.E.M. fame isn't a concept album in the strictest sense. But many of its songs do revolve around a central theme: The messy metaphysical process of getting "woke."

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Hear music from the acclaimed National Theatre of Scotland production The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart, that celebrates traditional poetry, storytelling and music woven through a supernatural tale. Fiona Ritchie gets to the heart of the tale and explores the music that moves it along, inspired by Border Ballads and Robert Burns.

What do you go to Facebook for? Given how many of us use it — 68 percent of Americans, according to the Pew Research Center, with 74 percent of them visiting the site at least once a day — it's striking that, anecdotally at least, using the site evokes a sort of dissociative muscle memory, the ritual of dutifully giving posts from family and close-enough friends a thumbs-up.

Bon Iver may take its time between albums, but bandleader Justin Vernon remains a geyser of ideas in his off hours. On Wednesday, he and a pair of fellow idea-geysers — The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner — launched a new platform for listening, called PEOPLE, and populated it with a trove of music. That trove includes songs by the duo of Aaron Dessner and Vernon, recording under the name Big Red Machine.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Pages