Music

Music

SOAR, a Bay Area band composed of musicians who had previously sang and performed in their own bands, was born of a desire to make something more collaborative. Featuring members of Joyride, Watercolor Paintings, Void Boys and Dreamspoiler, SOAR's sound collects the best elements of each.

Composer Michael Andrews started writing music for movies back in 2001, when he scored the now-cult-classic film Donnie Darko (which included Andrews' haunting arrangement of the Tears For Fears song "Mad World"). His simple, brilliantly rendered songs perfectly reflected the movie's surreal narrative with moments that were both comical and creepy.

Zachary Cale is a helluva guitar player, his understated picking patterns interweave like latticework, thrust through dusky production, whispering and lush strings and a Dylan-esque voice (which you won't find here).

Songs We Love: Kinky, 'Charro Negro'

Jul 11, 2017

The song "Charro Negro" starts with a deep, dark, slow bounce that sounds like the beginnings of an atmospheric EDM track. Then spurting out of the shadowy synths come a series of triumphant mariachi gritos, chopped into bits and reverberating amid the chorus like echoes ricocheting from the walls of a nightclub.

New York City-based sibling duo The Lords of Liechtenstein makes its debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Brothers Noah and Dan Rauchwerk have been performing under the same roof for quite some time, but it wasn't until a decade ago that they decided to become "Lords," after discovering Liechtenstein was the only country that could be rented out for corporate functions.

Jay Som is the project of 23-year-old Melina Duterte, who has been creating music for the past 10 years or so on a multitude of instruments, from guitar to trumpet. Though she played every instrument on her newest record Everybody Works, her touring band here at the Tiny Desk gave a rougher edge to some of the more premeditated sounds on her wonderful album.

Of the three songs they chose to bring to the Tiny Desk, one was a personal favorite from Everybody Works: "The Bus Song," which is a perfect swirl of stream-of-consciousness:

Reese McHenry's got a voice like a preacher turning a standard sermon into a cathartic epiphany. Sometimes her croon has a country twang; at other times, she melds bluesy growl with smooth melodic hums. Whatever mode she's in, her voice is always an attention-grabber.

Like to party? Meet Sweet Spirit, a punchy, powerful party band that features up to nine members onstage at any given time. The group's infectious live shows caught the eye of fellow Austinite Britt Daniel from Spoon, who invited Sweet Spirit to open at a bunch of his concerts and championed its full-length debut album, Cokomo, in 2015.

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.

Last week, Beyonce broke a year-long hiatus from tweeting by announcing a new initiative, BeyGood4Burundi — a partnership between her charitable foundation and UNICEF.

"Mothers in Burundi want to provide clean, safe water for their children. Let's help them, together," she wrote on June 30.

Vocalist Sandy Stewart first emerged as a star of the cabaret scene during the 1960s, and her marriage to Broadway composer Moose Charlap kept her plugged into a vibrant music community. In 2005, Stewart and her son, pianist Bill Charlap, collaborated on their first album together, Love Is Here to Stay.

Pixies On World Cafe

Jul 7, 2017

When a band whose biggest hits came out in the mid- to late '80s shows up to play a concert in 2017, the first question you have to ask is: Are they going to sound like the band you know and love? When alt-rock icons Pixies played a show at World Cafe Live in May, the answer was: Absolutely.

When you're born with a musical bloodline and the perfect rap moniker to match, dropping dope lines on your daddy's critically-acclaimed album is almost inevitable. Just ask Blue Ivy.

After a week of Tidal/Sprint exclusivity, three additional bonus tracks from Jay-Z's 4:44 leaked last night — including one featuring freestyle bars from the first daughter of music's royal couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

Haim's sophomore full-length, Something To Tell You, is a straight-up relationship record at its core, with all the angst, heartache and defiance that can erupt when lives coalesce and collide — with the added complication of being in a full-time, touring and very successful band. It's an exploration through the various stages of grief, from the denial in "Nothing's Wrong" to the bargaining of "Ready For You," or the anger of "Found In Silence."

Starting this Sunday, HBO will devote five hours over four nights to perhaps the unlikeliest and most influential partnership in the modern music industry: rap producer and entrepreneur Dr. Dre and rock producer and music executive Jimmy Iovine. Directed by Allen Hughes, The Defiant Ones charts the duo's influence over music from the '70s on, and begins with a $3 billion deal jeopardized by — of all things — a Facebook post.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two hugely popular live entertainment companies are joining forces. Cirque du Soleil announced yesterday it is acquiring Blue Man Productions. NPR's Rose Friedman reports.

Rhye hasn't released an album since its seductive and stellar 2013 debut Woman, but its new single doesn't delay the gratification any further. In fact, it takes all of 10 seconds for Mike Milosh to elicit his first new swoon in "Please," as a gentle stomp-and-clap gives way to the skeletal beginnings of a piano hook, which suddenly disappears from the mix before popping dramatically back into place after a second or two.

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