Music

Music

Two songs into his Tiny Desk concert, Jack Antonoff revealed a bit of stagecraft behind his performances with Bleachers.

Last Friday, a federal judge in Manhattan ordered that the first and most famous verse of the Civil Rights era anthem "We Shall Overcome" belongs in the public domain.

Plaintiffs in the case had asked the judge to negate a half-century-old copyright by four songwriters, including the late Pete Seeger.

Esperanza Spalding — the multiple Grammy-winning bassist, singer-songwriter, bandleader and composer — maintains a fierce commitment to the unfolding moment. Spontaneity is her watchword and her discipline, the condition to which she aspires.

Starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding will spend 77 hours creating her new album, “Exposure.” The entire session will be streamed on Facebook Live for all her fans to see.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with Spalding (@EspeSpalding) about the experiment.

Though my faith is shaky/I got to keep on hoping, keep on hoping/It all feels broken/Got to keep your hope alive.

-“Hoping” by the X Ambassadors

The Mexican Institute of Sound's (MIS) name conjures images of white lab coats and clip boards, well-trained scientists primed to collate information and disseminate it unto the Mexican Republic.

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums By Women.

Bryant Taylorr eyes the glass of milky-looking kombucha that his sister has placed on the table in front of him in an East Nashville tea shop. "I don't know what this is," he says, before taking a tiny sip, pushing the cup away and wryly expressing his skepticism: "Is it doing something to my soul? Is it cleansing it?"

After hearing the music of Jimi Hendrix as a kid, Selwyn Birchwood was drawn to the blues. Later, he was literally drawn to the blues' doorstep after one of Birchwood's high school friends in Florida introduced him to a neighbor: none other than bluesman Sonny Rhodes.

If you're looking for Chad Matheny — the Floridian singer-songwriter who performs as Emperor X — when he rolls through your town, a good place to start would be your local public transit hub.

The band Arcade Fire may have been formed in Montreal, but founder Win Butler isn't even Canadian — he was raised in Texas. So the next time you hear choral harmonies, ethereal instruments and angsty lyrics about feelings, remember: That's the Texas sound.

We've invited Butler to play a game called "I've got Pac-Man fever!" Three questions about surprising arcade games.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

Don Williams, who began a long career in country music as a Nashville songwriter in the early 1970s and who entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, died today at his home in Alabama following a short illness, a publicist confirmed to NPR. He was 78.

You might remember the band Alvvays for its hooky song "Archie, Marry Me," the breakout single off its 2014 self-titled debut album. The strength of that song turned the unknown band from Toronto into instant indie darlings.

Alvvays didn't try to change its sound too much with its new, second album. As lead singer Molly Rankin and guitarist Alec O'Hanley told me in our chat, they kept the same spirit of jangly jams with dark lyrical undertones, filtered through a summer's haze.

Only Young Thug could fail to show up for his own video, unknowingly have that video win an award at the MTV VMAs, then make a post on Twitter the next day that encapsulates how oblivious he was to it all.

Ernie Andrews On Piano Jazz

Sep 8, 2017

Vocalist Ernie Andrews is a musician known for his tremendous vitality and ability to communicate, which stems from his gospel roots. Influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine and Johnny Mercer, Andrews' own special style is a mix of energy, drama and humor.

Sometimes there's nothing better than dancing away your heartbreak. Novelty Daughter — or Brooklyn-based jazz-electronic-pop musician Faith Harding — knows as much. "U Want What I Want," the first single from her forthcoming, self-released album Inertia, is a plaintive piece of forlorn dance-pop.

At face value, Ravenna, Italy's Havah makes dark rock with a soul of stone, a melancholic coming-to-terms with the fight against historic evils, which rise and threaten once more. Ostensibly a concept album about resistance fighters — some barely in their teens — in the mountains and countryside around Ravenna, who fought back for their own survival against Nazis and brownshirts alike during WWII, Contravveleno's songs are based on the tales passed down from that generation onward.

Okovi, the latest full-length from Zola Jesus, is a monstrously tortured album, built with densely layered grief and pain. Nika Roza Danilova, who's been writing and recording as Zola Jesus since releasing her debut in 2009, bares her most vulnerable thoughts and feelings as she sings about serial killers, suicide, crushing depression and fear. At times, even Danilova admits the songs are hard to hear.

When I listened blindly to nearly a thousand songs while attempting to make my schedule of bands to see at this year's SXSW music festival, one of the few tracks that leapt to the top was "Arizona" by Frances Cone. I wasn't alone. NPR Music's Stephen Thompson also singled out this now Brooklyn-based band for the way it wraps its storytelling in a catchy, pop parcel.

In a rap game dominated by trap and mumble, Rapsody provides a different energy. An adept lyricist the likes of Lauryn Hill, she isn't fixated on summer anthems or hooks that loom over the words. Instead, Rapsody is a throwback to late-'80s /'90s hip-hop, when gritty beats and intricate wordplay were held in higher regard.

In this World Cafe Nashville session, we welcome Ashley McBryde. McBryde has one of those voices that might belong to your sister or your best friend – if your sister or your best friend could belt like Loretta Lynn and croon like Reba McEntire.

Amber Mark is a young singer with a tremendous amount of promise. The New York-based musician wrote and self-produced her excellent debut EP, 3:33am, released earlier this year. "Lose My Cool" was a highlight of her Morning Becomes Eclectic session.

SET LIST

  • "Lose My Cool"

Photo: Brian Feinzimer/KCRW.

Watch Amber Mark's full Morning Becomes Eclectic performance at KCRW.com.

You can find the name of Len Blavatnik, the Ukraine-born, Russia-raised billionaire and owner of the world's third-largest record label Warner Music Group (WMG), on several of the world's most prestigious buildings: London's Tate Modern and V&A Museum, New York's

Kelly Clarkson has long been a force in pop music, from 2004's "Breakaway" to her most recent smash, 2015's "Heartbeat Song," and now she's poised to release her eighth album, Meaning of Life, on October 27, led by the sensual single she released today, "Love So Soft."

Going The Distance

Sep 7, 2017

I first stumbled onto a music festival-sponsored 5K race by accident. On a humid June morning in 2013 at Manchester, Tenn.'s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, I went out for a run, rounded a corner and came upon a group of festival goers safety-pinning paper race numbers to their clothes, very possibly hungover or sleep-deprived , but nonetheless motivated enough to rouse themselves from sleep and run 3.1 miles at 9 am, several hours before the day's first performances were scheduled to start. Glad to have found company, I slipped into the herd just before someone shouted, "Go!"

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