Music

Music

It's not hyperbole to suggest that Wolfgang Voigt's album POP, under the pseudonym GAS, is one of the greatest — if not the best — ambient albums of the past 20 years. Released in 2000, POP is a masterpiece of symphonic bliss that set a new standard for beatless electronic music.

Public radio hosts from around the country, along with thousands of other music lovers, descended on Austin, Texas, this week to stand in long lines and eat breakfast tacos. And when they're not complaining about the former or posting Instagrams of the latter, they attend an ungodly number of concerts in the hopes of stumbling upon the next big band. Each day this week, All Songs Considered and hosts from our partner stations will report back on the best thing they saw the day prior.

But that's just the beginning of our SXSW coverage. Here's what else we have in store:

The Thistle & Shamrock: ThistleRadio New

Mar 15, 2017

Hear some of the recently added tracks that have grown our playlist to more than 1,000 tracks on ThistleRadio, The Thistle & Shamrock's popular round-the-clock music channel. The list includes music by Goitse, Gerda Stevenson, Sharlene Wallace and Lilt, among others.

Culture Wars

Mar 15, 2017

Frank Turner On Mountain Stage

Mar 15, 2017

Hardcore troubadour Frank Turner makes his debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. Crowned "the people's prince of punk poetry," Turner began as a member of post-hardcore bands Kneejerk and Million Dead before going solo and creating roaring anti-folk.

In a new video for the slinky, jazz-rooted BADBADNOTGOOD song "Lavender," a character named "Ronald Klump," a satirical Donald Trump stand-in, is the victim of a Looney Tunes-ian "BANG," fired by Snoop Dogg. (The video is also heavy on Snoop's favorite subject, the continuous ingestion of pot.)

We started a tradition a couple years back where we invite musicians in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW music festival to sing us a lullaby.

Sometimes the hard-working, completely badass punks win. Downtown Boys signed to Sub Pop recently, an open invitation for a wider world to hear the Rhode Island natives' wild, bilingual, no-filler, can-still-throw-down punk rock.

"How does the scar forgive the knife?" So begins the heart-wrenching lament of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tift Merritt. This is just one of many beautiful, Americana-drenched, self-penned sighs from her sixth studio release, Stitch Of The World, recorded over the course of four days in Los Angeles and co-produced by Iron & Wine's Sam Beam.

Feist has been known to take her time between albums, but it has been a long stretch since 2011's Metals.

Metropolis: 3/11/17

Mar 14, 2017

This Week's Playlist

  • Fenech Soler, "Night Time TV" (SBMC Inc. - So Recordings)
  • Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still" (Atlantic Records)
  • Gavin Turek & Tokimonsta, "Surrender [Stranger Remix]" (Young Art)
  • Siege, "Play Me" (Nothing Else Matters/ RCA)
  • Mason, "Everybody" (Animal Language)
  • Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam, "In A Black Out [Cassius Remix]" (Glassnote Recordings)
  • Geotic, "Vaulted Ceiling, Painted Sky" (Ghostly International)

This is some nasty, nasty jazz. Featuring saxophonist Matt Nelson (Battle Trance), bassist Tim Dahl (Child Abuse), and drummer Nick Podgurski (New Firmament, Feast Of The Epiphany), GRID's debut album bubbles up from the East River like a toxic monster amalgamated from New York's improvised and extreme music scenes.

Merchandise is, colloquially anyways, the engine that drives the boat, the rocket fuel that propels careers toward the stars!

Actually, according to Martin Atkins, author of Welcome To The Music Business, You're F****d!, merchandise is more like "the small hand-cranked trolley that inches up the funicular railway, inch by rusted, mangled inch, up the hill." Merchandise, particularly t-shirts, are the subject of this fun-filled Martin Atkins Minute (actually six fun-filled minutes).

In music, a coda is a passage that brings a musical composition to an end. This is the coda to a musical saga — the story of the Stradivarius violin that was stolen 37 years ago from my late father, violinist Roman Totenberg, and recovered in 2015.

That violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1734, was my father's "musical partner" for 38 years as he toured the world.

Singer Alynda Segarra has tried on a lot of identities. She grew up in the Bronx in a Puerto Rican family, and her aunt and uncle raised her in what almost sounds like a time capsule.

Stephen Bruner is a bass player, singer and songwriter who's as well known for his own music as for his collaborations. But when he released his latest solo single as Thundercat few weeks ago, those who know his work with Kendrick Lamar were scratching their heads. Here was a fiery visionary collaborating with two icons of easygoing '70s pop: Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald.

For tens of millions in the Northeast, the name of the hour is "Stella" — as in Winter Storm Stella, the Weather Channel-branded nor'easter poised to bring heavy snowfall to a number of cities along the I-95 corridor. I'm among those who will soon be hunkering down (and later, shoveling out), but my first involuntary response is to start humming a familiar melody.

This story was updated on March 14 at 4:35 PM.

Last Friday afternoon, a controversy erupted about the Italian post-punk band Soviet Soviet, who were denied entrance to the United States on Wednesday and detained overnight before being deported back to Italy.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The 1970s may be the baby-boomer generation's musical sweet spot, at least according to the principle that you'll always love the music you first heard when you were 17. But there is also a pretty good argument that a lot of musical innovation and stylistic coming-of-age happened in those 10 years.

That's why World Cafe has put together our first "That '70s Week." All the music we'll play on air this week comes from that golden decade, and we've dug into the archives for these sessions with artists whose work in the '70s still stands out.

Red Baraat's fusion of bhangra, go-go, hip-hop and jazz is driven by frontman Sunny Jain's percolating playing of the dhol, a double-sided drum which forms the rhythmic lattice of support for their boisterous horns and guitar. And though Red Baraat graced the Tiny Desk five years ago, we had to have Jain's band back to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of color, of good over evil, and the coming of spring.

Joni Sledge of the group Sister Sledge, best known for the iconic disco 1979 anthem We Are Family, has died at 60.

The group's publicist, Biff Warren, said Sledge was found at home in Arizona and they have yet to determine a cause of death. She had not been ill, he said.

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