Music

Music

The starting point for "Moonshine Freeze," the lead single from Bristol-Paris folk band This Is The Kit's forthcoming Rough Trade debut of the same name, was a children's clapping game that got stuck in lead songwriter Kate Stables' head. The rules are simple; repeat the word "moonshine" three times, then freeze.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Bridges

May 10, 2017

Music commemorates the landmarks that span our landscapes — and is its own bridge across time and place. Cross all forms of bridges this week with music from Altan, Kim Robertson, Eileen Ivers and more.

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

"Sounded." That's a rough translation of Lød from Danish and one way to think about the ominous, electric shadows cast by this new post-punk band. Formed in Copenhagen by classmates, Lød first took its cues from Iceage and the surrounding scene before ditching the noise and locking into a motorik groove. The band's self-titled EP comes out mid-summer, and will send you into a trance.

In this session, we welcome Nancy And Beth — but those aren't their real names. It's the moniker for the punky vaudeville singing act fronted by two actresses: Stephanie Hunt, who got her start on NBC's hit show Friday Night Lights, and Megan Mullally of Will and Grace. Mullally played the memorable Karen Walker, a high-strung, alcoholic, conservative socialite.

The members of Los Angeles' Las Cafeteras are experts at navigating the two culturas of immigrant children. In the band's latest video, "If I Was President," they share visions of what our land could be under a president for all people.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

It seems like it was only yesterday that my friends here on the show said goodbye to "American Idol."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Fifteen years of bad tryouts.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AMERICAN IDOL")

On Monday, the Internet radio pioneer Pandora, one of the oldest music tech companies still humming, announced its first-quarter financial results. Like most of its brethren, the company both makes and loses a lot of money — it reported $132 million in net losses this quarter alone, but also announced a new $150 million round of financing and a shakeup of its board. Oh, and that financing requires the company explore all feasible avenues to sell itself off before receiving the cash.

At this moment in the music industry, the regular model for releasing a record has been pretty much blown apart. Artists can release singles or EPs online at any time, in whatever format. That can have some pretty interesting results, as it did for Hanni El Khatib.

If you've ever attended a gigantic music festival, you've seen them: row upon row of portable toilets collecting untold oceans of human waste. They help create a piquant bouquet that also includes steaming asphalt, deep-fried corn-dog batter, a slurry of mud and torn-up grass, and the sundry odors that can only emanate from a broad cross-section of humanity assembled in one place.

What you probably haven't done — although who's to say, really? — is pondered the collection of 50,000 liters (minimum) of human urine and thought, "What a waste."

There's a musical asterisk on French president-elect Emmanuel Macron's bio: He is an avid amateur pianist. It's a facet of his life occasionally noted in passing, as in this piece from the French radio network Europe 1 titled "The Things You Don't Yet Know About Emmanuel Macron." Along with mentioning his abiding fondness for karaoke, Europe 1 reported that he studied piano for 10 years at the music conservatory in Amiens, where he won third prize.

We've known for a few months now that the Recording Academy was probably planning a return to New York for next year's Grammy Awards. Now we know for sure.

Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" hit the top of Billboard's singles chart in early March 1979, displacing Rod Stewart's disco spoof "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." After a decade dominated by disco, Gaynor's song (released the previous October on the album Love Tracks) provided a capstone and also served as one of the final mile markers in a cultural phenomenon that was dominant for much of the preceding decade.

Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, the sweetly synchronized guitarist and bassist for Girlpool, aren't really feeling it in a new video for their song, "Powerplant." The singers, along with newly added drummer Miles Vintner, half-heartedly perform the track on a tiny stage at the worst possible location: a bowling alley.

The archetype of the wanderer, that alluringly elusive figure who chases whims and sidesteps attachments, is an implicitly masculine one in the '60s and '70s bohemian folk, country and pop singer-songwriter fare that informs Azniv Korkejian's music. But she performs as Bedouine, a name that signals she's staked her own claim on the spirit of wanderlust.

A rock star makes it big, gets hooked on substances and lands in rehab. The rest of the artist's career is viewed as a comeback. Recognize this pattern? Well, Mike Hadreas, the heart of the band Perfume Genius, is a rock star in reverse — because his career started in rehab.

Twenty-five years ago Tuesday, a career-defining single was born — and with it, endless sitcom jokes and rap homages. It was referenced in Sing, the 2016 animated children's movie, and in Shrek years before that. But when it debuted in 1992, there were those who took it to heart as an anthem of body positivity.

Another day, another study undercutting the myth surrounding the 18th-century Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari.

Since the early 20th century, musicians and instrument experts have been trying to figure out what, if anything, makes the violins he made sound better.

The psychedelic rock outfit Chris Robinson Brotherhood performs on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. After officially breaking off from The Black Crowes in 2015, frontman Chris Robinson devoted his time and "freak power" energy to the sun-drenched jam, blues and boogie of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. In this new musical configuration, Robinson stands as conductor over a more soulful, groove-heavy revelry that would make any Deadhead stop and sway.

Hundred Waters' music tugs like a loose thread, every shifting emotion illuminated by synths and beats that tug just a little harder. The electronic trio has always been on curiosity on OWSLA, the label founded by Skrillex, but a tempering presence.

"This song is called 'You Never Loved Me' — it's another cheery, optimistic number," says Aimee Mann, introducing the second of four songs in this Tiny Desk Concert. She has been writing songs on the human condition — more often than not with a strong sense of humor to underpin the inevitable melancholy — as far back as the '80s, when she was the singer and bassist in Boston's The Young Snakes. Mann's newest solo record, the first in five years, is baldly called Mental Illness — clearly, there's a deep honesty within these songs.

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