Music

Music

This week, Phil Collins released a memoir called Not Dead Yet . As if to prove the title's truth, he also announced new tour dates. Collins isn't dead yet, nor are many of his pioneering contemporaries — in fact, boomer musicians seem to be having a bit of a pop-culture moment. The fall of 2016 has seen a renewed interest in some of rock radio's pioneers. And the thrilling part? That interest isn't because they're legends whose work elicits a nostalgic fondness no matter what — it's because...

Four years ago, the world learned the name Pussy Riot , a politically active Russian art collective whose members were all women. Members of that group staged a punk rock demonstration in a church in protest of Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian church's support of his presidential campaign. Some members of the group, including founding Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova, were arrested and charged with "hooliganism." They spent two years in prison, and during that time, Pussy...

On this week's +1 podcast, NPR Music contributor Timmhotep Aku talks with singer and rapper Anderson .Paak and producer Knxwledge about their new collaboration under the name NxWorries. The music the LA-based duo makes exists at the intersection of soul and raw, sample-based hip-hop ballads over beats. Anderson .Paak lends his inimitable voice, songwriting and slick tongue to NxWorries, while Knxwledge is the quieter half with a talent for finding and flipping samples into transfixing loops....

In the middle of a sold-out three-night run at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, Wilco recorded a very special session for KCRW. The band was in top form, playing some fan favorites alongside songs from its latest release, Schmilco. Here's the excellent "Someone To Lose." SET LIST "Someone To Lose" Photo: Dustin Downing/KCRW. Watch Wilco's full Morning Becomes Eclectic set at KCRW.com . Copyright 2016 KCRW-FM. To see more, visit KCRW-FM .

This week we present the first episode from the 2016-2017 Pickathon Woods Series. These videos are hand-picked by opbmusic to showcase some of the most exciting performances captured at the Woods Stage during Pickathon, a three-day festival held each summer just outside Portland, Ore. On the second day of the 2016 Pickathon festival, Hurray for the Riff Raff played to an appreciative crowd among the trees on Pendarvis Farm. Frontwoman Alynda Lee Segarra led the folk-rock band in a memorable...

As Bon Iver 's Justin Vernon prepped the release for his latest mind-bender, 22, A Million , he knew he didn't want to talk too much about the album or grant a lot of interviews. So he held a single press conference in Eau Claire, Wisc., on Sept. 2, just a few weeks after performing the entire album live at Vernon's own Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival . The entire press conference, which took nearly two hours, was filmed but not available for public consumption, until now. Bon Iver has...

It's hard to imagine a more desolate, soul-crushing landscape than the great salt flats in Bolivia. The Salar de Uyuni stretch as far as the eye can see for thousands of square miles, with nothing to disturb the horizon but a vast layer of salt several feet thick. It's like a surreal, alien planet completely incapable of supporting any life. This is the unimaginable backdrop for a breathtaking new video for Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie's drifting ambient piece "The Few Of Us Left." Wiltzie, best...

What are you doing for the next 10 days? That's how long it would take, without sleep, to listen to the new Mozart edition. The mammoth set, which some are touting as the biggest box set ever, claims to hold every note of Mozart's music and then some. Released to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the Austrian composer's death, the box is dubbed Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition. Inside the 22-pound box are 240 hours of music (on 200 CDs, 30 of which feature alternate performances), two...

Review: Jim James, 'Eternally Even'

Oct 27, 2016

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page. "You can't build love out of guns and blood and sorrow," sings Jim James in "Same Old Lie." It's one of the standout tracks on the My Morning Jacket frontman's latest solo album, Eternally Even — an album that's not afraid to steep itself in the dark side. Where his last solo outing, 2013's Regions Of Light And Sound Of God , was suffused...

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page. Even if you've never heard Hope Sandoval 's music, you'll know her M.O. well before the end of Until The Hunter 's first song: This is an artist who takes her time. For the nine minutes "Into The Trees" takes to unfold, the singer coos a few words in a drowsily longing whisper — "I miss you" — over a bed of organs. The song doesn't aim for...

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. In the book that serves as a companion piece and reciprocal guide to her mazy, incandescent new collection of songs, the singer-songwriter, author and punk mystic Kristin Hersh shares the harrowing story of an accident that took place on a mountain road between two club shows. Her tour bus caught on fire; she had to pull one of her children from the flames. Deeply shaken, she told her bandmates and family that she'd cancel...

Review: Lambchop, 'FLOTUS'

Oct 27, 2016

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page. It isn't always easy for an established group to pivot toward a new sound — but it might be a little easier for Kurt Wagner. The mastermind of the Nashville indie group Lambchop has long employed his project as an ever-changing entity rather than a fixed ensemble. Moreover, he's been restlessly reimagining the country-folk idiom since the...

Heart Like A Levee , the new album from Hiss Golden Messenger , soulfully weaves together all the musical styles we have come to expect from the North Carolina band. Led by M.C. Taylor, the band marries airy country, Van Morrison -style soul and dusty rock 'n' roll with lyrics that feel both universal and surprisingly personal. It's a road album about needing to get back home — a conflict between music and family that every band in a van feels, but that few can express like Taylor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GtzB8cfkh0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1YipLB-rQQ When I tell people that I recently talked to Charles Aznavour, I tend to get two questions. First, from people of a certain age, those who remember where they were when JFK was shot: "Charles Aznavour is still performing?" Second, from younger people, a more basic question: "Charles who?" To answer the second question, Charles Aznavour is a French-born singer-songwriter who has written hundreds of songs,...

Tall Heights formed in 2010, when guitarist Tim Harrington and cellist Paul Wright were performing mainly on the streets of Boston. That origin story helps account for the duo's minimal instrumentation. Harrington and Wright included only what they felt was essential to their pensive, classically-informed folk: guitar, cello and their two voices. Flickering guitar lines and an underscoring of cello have dominated Tall Heights' sound ever since, and Wright and Harrington felt comfortable in...

Kula Shaker On World Cafe

Oct 25, 2016

Kula Shaker had a huge hit with its 1996 debut album, K , which went double platinum in the U.K. The band's music was profoundly affected by frontman Crispian Mills' travels in India. Kula Shaker's second album, Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts , was not as successful, and the band went on hiatus from 1999 to 2004. Now, 20 years after K, comes a companion album, K 2.0 , filled with the psychedelic spirituality of the still-evolving band. In this session, hear the band's performance and David Dye's...

This intimate, completely unadorned cover of Lou Reed 's "Perfect Day" will warm your heart. Andrew Bird and The National 's Matt Berninger recorded the song together in Bird's living room; Bird provided the instrumentation, his trademark whistling and violin gracefully looping together, and Berninger reads the lyrics from a sheet of paper on the floor. "What do you think happens at the end of the [perfect] day," Berninger asks Bird at the end of the song. Bird says, "I think they go back to...

In this week's All Songs Considered, we feature three solo projects by some of our favorite bandleaders, a solo artist's duets record, and new music from some familiar faces, or more accurately put, some familiar Lips. The Flaming Lips are back with a new album, Oczy Młody, inspired by a Polish book that Wayne Coyne owns and finds phonetically fascinating (even if he doesn't understand any of the words). We've also got Run the Jewels, a duo that's all about the words and whose new single...

Kero Kero Bonito is a glitter cannon to the heart, a highly caffeinated mix of '90s house-pop, '80s synth-pop and J-pop, with English and Japanese singing and rapping from Sarah Midori Perry. With its video for "Trampoline," the U.K. trio is here to make the world a little less drab. Director Theo Davies acknowledges that while Kero Kero Bonito's M.O. is joy, there is always a tinge of melancholy leading to the Technicolor hook and message. Perry, plus producers Gus Lobban (a.k.a. Kane West)...

In the "Raincoats" episode of Seinfeld , when Jerry describes his pal Elaine's new boyfriend as " a bit of a close talker ," he doesn't mean it as a compliment. Jerry describes the ultimate social sinner who has no concept of personal space, who is so invasive that when he speaks he forces everyone around him to lean back lest they find themselves on a first-name basis with his pores. Through that Seinfeldian lens, the Saskatoon band Close Talker couldn't be less appropriately named. This is...

My adoration for Bellows continues. In 2014 Blue Breath became one of my top albums of the year . The band played a wonderful Tiny Desk concert in 2015, and this past summer I played the song "Thick Skin" from Bellows' new album, Fist & Palm , on All Songs Considered. It's that eerie pop that first endeared me to Oliver Kalb's project, and now, with the song's new video, you can see the pop blossom. This is the first video Oliver Kalb has ever made. He told me in an email that the video,...

World Cafe Next: Walker Lukens

Oct 24, 2016

Is indie-rock singer-songwriter Walker Lukens ready to break out of his Austin bubble? Lukens' 2013 album Devoted was well received locally. Now, he's back with a new EP produced and recorded by Spoon drummer Jim Eno. (Lukens and Eno connected in a typically Austin manner: by striking up a conversation in a bar.) The four songs on Never Understood are wonderfully inventive and convey Lukens' refreshing attitude. Hear two of them in this week's World Cafe Next segment. Copyright 2016 WXPN-FM....

In music, we can escape the cruelties of the world or face them. There's no wrong way about it, but recently the members of Drive-By Truckers , a band that's long toed the line between a good time and a hard look at life, found they could no longer work purely in metaphor. American Band holds a direct mirror to a set of realities in this country with the same grace and rough-hewn wisdom that's guided the band all along. But in this compulsion to speak to the right now , there is an anger...

Lil Wayne 's prison memoir, Gone Til November , is — like his two Sorry 4 The Wait mixtapes — framed as a stopgap offering to quell fan's appetites during an unexpectedly prolonged wait between official projects. There's no reason not to believe that the book was, as advertised, transcribed directly from the journal Wayne kept during the eight months he spent incarcerated at Rikers Island in 2010, largely because the entries are pretty mundane: He eats a lot of sugar, watches sports and...

Whitney On World Cafe

Oct 24, 2016

Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek were feeling pretty low in the winter of 2014. They had each gone through a romantic breakup; the band they used to play in, Smith Westerns , had broken up, too. Things were looking pretty grim until the day Kakacek brought home a tape machine, and an impromptu recording session made way for a new songwriting outlet. They called their new band Whitney . Barely two years later, Whitney's warm and woozy debut record, Light Upon The Lake , has wooed critics, music...

Run The Jewels has always been heavy as hell, a hip-hop duo that can hang with leather-clad metalheads as much as the club. Killer Mike and El-P just dropped "Talk To Me," the first single from RTJ3 via the Adult Swim Singles program, which has also featured tracks from VHÖL , D∆WN , Earl Sweatshirt , Jenny Hval and others. With spooky production from El-P (and help from Little Shalimar and Wilder Zoby), low-end piano and John Bonham-size drum fills, "Talk To Me" sounds like John Carpenter...

Drake has released three new songs. The Canadian rapper and singer debuted "Two Birds, One Stone," "Sneakin'" and "Fake Love" Sunday night on his Beats 1 radio program. The latter two tracks are out now via Spotify. The tracks are being released as part of a new project that Drake's calling More Life . It's a compilation album that will feature Drake's songs and new music from other artists on his OVO Sound label. More Life is due out sometime in December and follows the April release of his...

Few in the roots scene had heard of Yola Carter before she made her first appearance at Nashville's Americana Fest in September, which might've suggested that she was some sort of musical rookie. In fact, the 33-year-old black, British singer-songwriter is a seasoned studio and stage pro. She's acutely aware, though, that her musical background might be illegible to many Americana types, given that she spent a dozen years amassing credits under her given name, Yolanda Quartey, as a lyric and...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: The Raveonettes are a Danish rock duo, and they're doing things a little unconventionally this year. Rather than releasing an entire album all at once, they're releasing one song on the last Friday of each month. And they're calling the project Rave of the Month. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS WORLD IS EMPTY (WITHOUT YOU)") THE RAVEONETTES: (Singing) This world is empty without you. Tonight, tonight, tonight. MARTIN:...

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