The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle spent the 1990s recording his songs — just a voice, an acoustic guitar and bracingly articulate lyrics about catastrophe and survival — on low-fidelity equipment like boom boxes. It got to the point where the tape hiss felt like another instrument, but in the last decade, the Mountain Goats' music has become ever more polished.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:46 pm
Rose Windows' debut album, The Sun Dogs, is steeped in '60s classic rock, recalling the heavy organ sounds of The Doors and the folk-infused flutes of Traffic. Formed in 2010 by songwriter Chris Cheveyo, the Seattle septet signed a label deal earlier this year, then put together an album that's layered with Middle Eastern influences.
Hear two songs from The Sun Dogs, a mellow combination of psychedelic folk and blues-rock instrumentation.
Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 6:31 pm
The Lumineers may have on the pop scene out of nowhere — scoring a worldwide hit with the band's self-titled 2012 debut album and its multimillion-selling single "Ho Hey" — but the Denver group had tooled around in obscurity for quite a few years before its breakthrough. These days, though, it's one of the biggest folk-rock outfits in the business, joining a suspenders-clad Mount Rushmore with the likes of Mumford & Sons.
When Big Country founder and lead singer Stuart Adamson died in 2001, most would have assumed that the Scottish band was finished. But in 2007, the group reunited for a 25th-anniversary tour with a new lead singer in its lineup. Though Adamson was a hard man to replace, Big Country found comfort in recording and playing with Mike Peters, formerly of The Alarm.
Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 1:59 pm
Hearing the controlled intensity of Savages' music is one thing, but watching the band perform live is another altogether. When we welcomed the U.K. post-punk group to KCRW's studios, its members brought with them powerful energy and a moody aesthetic that they've been carefully cultivating throughout a short but successful career. In a whirlwind set, Savages ripped through an assortment of its songs, including the single "She Will."
Try as I might, I could never skateboard. It's as if gravity didn't know what to make of my body and would send me flying face-first into the concrete at every opportunity. That never stopped me from watching skate videos on late-night cable-access TV — pinhole cameras, bloody wipeouts and punk rock. Way before it was the mind-mangling noise band that once turned an unsuspecting Sub Pop audience on its head with bangers like 2004's "Stabbed in the Face," Wolf Eyes was just a bunch of punks from Detroit.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:59 pm
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the helpful $40-a-pop reminders not to speed on North Capitol Street is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This week: a discussion of cellphone recordings at concerts.