Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 3:51 pm
Our guests today are The Strypes from the small town of Cavan, Ireland, and they are still in their teens. They formed in 2008, in love with the R&B of Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry as translated by the British blues rock bands of the '60s, like The Animals and The Stones.
If you ever form a band, you'll be very lucky to find a collaborator like Benmont Tench. You may know him as the consummate sideman, keyboardist and co-founder of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Or as a renowned session musician who has played with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and dozens of other artists.
On this week's All Songs Considered, we've got two premieres: A beauty called "Alexandra" by The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser, and a shred-fest called "Interference Fits" by raucous Syracuse punk band Perfect Pussy.
But host Bob Boilen kicks off the mix with the Omaha-based rock group The Faint. "Help in the Head," from Doom Abuse, the band's first new album in six years, is a heart-pounding thrill ride.
Seattle singer-songwriter Damien Jurado has made some changes in what he does, including making more music with a band. His last two albums — Maraquopa from 2012 and the new Brothers and Sisters of The Eternal Son — are his best work yet. Both were inspired by an elaborate dream Jurado explains today. Credit also goes to producer Richard Swift for turning this latest set of songs into a mesmerizing listen.
The members of Vertical Scratchers don't have to pretend: They are free spirits, making music that is at once tightly composed, whimsical and anarchic.
The vocals on a Vertical Scratchers song tend to be high-pitched and yearning. John Schmersal creates harmonies from his vocal tracks that have a keening romanticism. His guitar lines are a series of slashed chords — vertical scratching, and thus the band's name. At the same time, there's a compressed intensity to the tunes, which uncoil with a snap, again and again.
It wasn't an easy road to the Tiny Desk for the four guys from Louisiana who make up Brass Bed. Their tour, for the band's debut album The Secret Will Keep You, was plagued from the start: Singer Christiaan Mader had the flu, there was a death in the family and multiple dates had to be canceled. Their van was broken into and their instruments stolen. So when they heard that a big snowstorm was headed for D.C. at the same time they were to play the Tiny Desk, it felt like yet another bad omen.
Our Vintage Cafe this week is with Beck, whose new album, Morning Phase, will be released nationally on Feb. 25.
This interview from 2007 was conducted in the wake of the deluxe edition of his album The Information. The studio session contains some fine performances, including "I Think I'm In Love," and a wide-ranging discussion touching on the hip-hop and indie music scenes. Also, Beck looks back on dropping out of high school and traveling the world before ultimately settling in Southern California.