Music

Music

We already knew Nick Grant was a sick lyricist. Then he arrived at NPR headquarters with a mild case of the flu and quickly demonstrated why the title of his debut — Return of the Cool — should be taken quite literally.

Hailing from a region where rap's young guns and lil innovators tend to defy tradition, the South Carolina-by-way-of-Atlanta native proves being a purist is not just for the old heads.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So if you're here on the West Coast and you are, say, up in the middle of the night, you have probably heard this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

After having two heavy-hitters (Dave Cobb and Dan Auerbach) produce her first two records, Nashville country singer Nikki Lane decided to take things into her own hands for her third, Highway Queen. With her rebellious spirit, keen fashion sense and incredible voice, it's always a treat to host her for a live session.

alt-J's art-rock weaves dark, seductive and otherworldly tales that lean heavily on folk traditions — their version of "House of the Rising Sun," their inclusion of lines from the Irish tune "The Auld Triangle" in "Adeline" and the Shakespearean references in "3WW" come first to mind.

"Oh, these three worn words
Oh, that we whisper


Like the rubbing hands
Of tourists in Verona
I just want to love you in my own language"

Harry Styles cut his hair last year.

Join KSUT for an in-depth listen and look at the Beatles classic album. Saturday evening at 8:00.

Reyna Gordon was an aspiring opera singer fresh out of college when she began contemplating the questions that would eventually define her career.

"I moved to Italy when I finished my bachelor of music, and I started to take more linguistic classes and to think about language in the brain, and music in the brain," she says. "What was happening in our brains when we were listening to music, when we were singing? What was happening in my brain when I was singing?"

Those questions led her to a graduate program in neuroscience in Marseilles, France.

Moments ago, Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and renegotiate U.S. participation in the accord, making good on a campaign promise.

I can see it now: Late summer, half-tipsy in the back of a cab at the end of a humid night, awkwardly making eye contact with other passengers in similar or more alcoholically dire situations. (What's that, half-price frosé all night? Better you than me.) Then a droning beat lulls me into that half-awake space? OK, whatever, another pop song on the radio.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Spotify has agreed to put $43.45 million on the table (and an additional $5 million for attorneys' fees) in order to settle a class action suit brought against it by songwriters who accused the company of not licensing or paying them for use of their music.

Our 2017 Tiny Desk Contest has come to an end.

It's been 50 years since The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Perhaps the most influential rock album of all time, it was released in what many music lovers consider one of the greatest years in music.

Sometimes life confronts us with the very things we're attempting to flee. That's the raw inspiration behind the first video from Philly-based artist Ivy Sole's sophomore EP East. The visual for "Life," premiering on NPR today, depicts the story of a protagonist battling his own demons.

We don't tend to give much thought to how aesthetic choices shape the sounds and self-presentations of artists working in the country tradition. Countrified musicians strike us as guileless and natural, as though they're simply living out their cultural and musical birthrights. It's easier to wrap our heads around the flaunted elasticity of pop performers, who always seem to be fashioning and refashioning themselves into timely, new incarnations.

Rainer Maria's story began in Wisconsin and, at least for a time, ended in New York. In the interim, a span stretching from the mid-'90s to the mid-aughts, the band found and refined the sound it was born to play: a tense, wordy, emotionally wound-up bundle of jagged guitars, literary references and vocals that could harmonize beautifully or crash into each other discordantly. Rainer Maria's songs exuded raw, life-and-death drama befitting the group's youth, and every second felt unabashedly sincere.

The Thistle & Shamrock: New Writing

Jun 1, 2017

From instrumental commissions to new works by singer-songwriters, hear a wealth of recently composed gems by Maggie MacInnes, Wendy Weatherby, Bill Whelan and more.

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

The War On Drugs will release A Deeper Understanding, its fourth full-length, late this summer, coming three years after the band's previous album, Lost In The Dream.

The Black Lillies On Mountain Stage

Jun 1, 2017

Knoxville roots-rock band The Black Lillies makes its third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. The band's mix of red-dirt country, Motown blues and Americana charm has led it to a number of accomplishments over the years, not least of which was being one of the first independent bands to play the Grand Ole Opry. (The band has returned to the Opry over a dozen times since.) As host Larry Groce predicts, "I know you're going to love them, whether you've heard them before or not."

'Over There' At 100

Jun 1, 2017

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to mark an anniversary now. Exactly 100 years ago today, one of America's greatest patriotic anthems was first published.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OVER THERE")

BILLY MURRAY: (Singing) Over there, over there, send the word, send the word over there.

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.

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.

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.

Trying to make out what someone is saying in a noisy environment is a problem most people can relate to, and one that gets worse with age.

At 77, Linda White hears all right in one-on-one settings but has problems in noisier situations. "Mostly in an informal gathering where people are all talking at once," she says. "The person could be right beside you, but you still don't hear them."

For a 20-something, Colter Wall has a startlingly deep voice. His songwriting is full of hard-won wisdom — there are tales of wandering and working, of murder and mystery, that tap into the old, weird lore of North America. And although he's based in Kentucky and spends a lot of time in Nashville, Wall was actually raised in Swift Creek, Saskatchewan.

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