Music

Music

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.

The Shins released their first critically acclaimed album, Oh, Inverted World, way back in 2001 — and were catapulted into the public ear when a song from that album appeared as a plot line in the 2004 movie Garden State. The world has changed in the years since the group rose to be recognized as one of the biggest indie rock acts of the 21st century.

During his Blonded radio show on Apple's digital radio stream last night, Frank Ocean dropped his first new music since the release of Blonde last August with the gauzy, contemplative "Chanel." Also, "Chanel." And "Chanel." An hour of "Chanel."

The Velvet Underground and Nico, released 50 years ago tomorrow (there is actually some disagreement on the exact date), is the definitive way-ahead-of-its-time album. With a near-peerless collection of songs — nearly all written by frontman Lou Reed — and an iconic, banana-sticker cover designed by band benefactor Andy Warhol, this jarring and innovative collection was initially a cult success at best, with no hit singles and a "peak" of No. 171 on Billboard's albums chart in December 1967.

Japandroids, the two-piece Canadian rock duo known for its epic sound, just released its third album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Singer/guitarist Brian King heard that phrase years ago and traced its origin to a line in James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

This story was updated on March 12 at 12:01 PM.

Friday afternoon, the Italian trio Soviet Soviet posted a lengthy statement on Facebook explaining why it would not be keeping its U.S. tour dates this week and next: It had been deported.

Valerie June releases her new album, The Order Of Time, Friday. It's the follow-up to her 2013 breakout album, Pushin' Against A Stone, which was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. June was influenced by the church, family members and the music of Memphis, where she grew up and first began performing.

Today, Hurray for the Riff Raff unleashes The Navigator. Laura Marling unravels Semper Femina. Valerie June contemplates The Order Of Time.

While we patiently await the follow-up to 2014's brash and bubbly pop smash Sucker — "Boom Clap" is still bedazzled on our hearts — Charli XCX has released a mixtape ahead of her as-yet-untitled third album. Over 10 tracks, Number 1 Angel plays out like a pop diary of the London songwriter's past few years, indulging in the margins of slinky R&B, hip-hop and bizzaro electro-pop. But it's also just a really stellar group of songs, tossed out like she hasn't written more pop hits.

This year's winner of the Australian Music Prize marks an important milestone in Australia's musical history. The winning album — Reclaim Australia, by the hip-hop duo A.B. Original — is the first in the prize's 12 years to have been made by indigenous artists.

"Heathen," the new single from London band Colouring, is about believing. Specifically, it's about believing in love — or, more accurately, romanticism, following your heart even when the odds are stacked against you. But it's also about believing in each other, even when it feels like we've lost ourselves. Frontman Jack Kenworthy wrote it last fall in a state of Brexit-Trump shock, and says he felt paralyzed, powerless and frustrated by a lack of control.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of what many consider Elliott Smith's best album, Either/Or. To mark the occasion, Kill Rock Stars is releasing an expanded version of the late singer's record, with remastered versions of the original songs, live recordings and previously unreleased bonus tracks.

Few records this year, so far, are as wondrous, pointed and odd as Mary Ocher's The West Against The People. Produced with Faust's Hans Joachim Irmler, there is a dreamy motorik groove that guides some tracks — especially those with percussion duo Your Government — but the album reaches across synth-pop, psych-rock, folk and ambient music with an obsidian glaze.

Joey DeFrancesco On Piano Jazz

Mar 10, 2017

Joey DeFrancesco was only 20 years old when he was Marian McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz. Hailed as the new hero of the organ, his stint with Miles Davis brought the classically trained keyboardist national attention. He has since gone on to release more than 30 albums and has earned multiple Grammy nominations.

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