Music

Music

Patience is tricky: there's power in being slow to anger until you're perceived as a pushover. Illuminati Hotties, the self-described "tenderpunk" project of L.A. producer-engineer Sarah Tudzin, recognizes the predicament. "Often I have wished that I was a little less patient and a little more aggressive about being heard," Tudzin tells NPR Music.

Mexico's musical output cuts such a wide swath across contemporary music on both sides of the border, it's often difficult to keep up. While pop music dominates, everything from mariachi to corridos to cumbia to mashups of any of the above make the country one of the most musically influential in Latin America.

Doubt comes out from under the woodwork at the most inconvenient times. When you're Lindsey Jordan — the 19-year-old guitarist and songwriter whose second album as Snail Mail, Lush, comes out June 8 — that worry manifests as four burly hockey players.

With three solo albums to her credit, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Lera Lynn is returning with a new release that more than speaks to the power of collaboration. She's collaborated before on songwriting with T-Bone Burnett and Rosanne Cash, and on her new album, Plays Well With Others, Lynn has taken the collaboration to the nth degree.

I fell in love recently — with Mel Brooks. It was my almost-next-to-last day in Los Angeles, and I'd gone with my producer, Danny Hajek, to interview the great writer-director-producer-composer-lyricist-mensch, whose movies include Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (my favorite film title ever), Blazing Saddles and other knee-slapping hilarities.

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.


So many 1990s alt-rock hit-makers have reunited over the years, it's hard to keep track of who's coming back, who's never left, and who's already returned to the shadows. Most have attempted a comeback at least once — Jesus Jones released an album just last week — so it's rarely a surprise to encounter a press announcement from a reconstituted Deep Blue Something or Crash Test Dummies.

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 Bandcamp playlist at the bottom of the page.

DJ Koze doesn't do anything like anybody else, including growing more conventional. It's tempting to call knock knock — his first album of original material since 2013's woozy knockout Amygdala — the Frankfurt dance producer's soul album, or his disco album, or his vocal album. Like most things about Koze, it's got large elements of all those categories, but none of them stick definitively.

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.

The Thistle & Shamrock: From Vinyl To MP3

Apr 25, 2018

Hear a handpicked classic collection of recordings with Fiona Ritchie this week. She presents a timeless hour of music spanning the decades, from vinyl masterpieces to pioneering MP3s with artists including Liz Carroll, Gordon Duncan and Alan Stivell.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Rock critic Ken Tucker has a roundup of some current hip-hop hits he's enjoying. They're songs that range from upbeat dance music to a rap ballad with a moody sound.

Harrison Smith is at the forefront of a new generation of young rock musicians who've never known anything other than limitless possibilities. Smith's project, Turtlenecked, has been steadily fulfilling that potential since 2015. Although he often performs as a drummer, Smith plays every instrument in the band and largely produces and writes his own material, which has grown leaps and bounds in just a few years.

In 2013, roots musician Ben Harper teamed up with legendary harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite for a blues record called Get Up! The album went on to win a Grammy for best blues album — not a bad way to start a partnership.

This month, the German music industry has been forced to reckon with accusations of anti-Semitism after a controversial rap duo, Kollegah (Felix Blume) and Farid Bang (Farid El Abellaoui), won the best hip-hop album award at the Echo prizes, the country's top music award, on April 12.

I went from really loving the music of Superorganism to being a transformed super-fan the moment they sent me an email ahead of their Tiny Desk performance asking, "is it okay if we [bring] inflatable whales when we play?" Now I feel like the kind of fan I was when I wore a yellow radiation suit to a Devo concert in 1978.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

Meek made his first public appearance after being released on bail as the special guest of Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin at Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs. Meek rang the 76ers customary bell to start the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat.

Original post:

After months of searching, the fourth annual Tiny Desk Contest winner has been announced!

Cumbia has become the lingua franca of Latin American music. A 2/4 beat that started in colonial Colombia, it has spread throughout Latin America, varying funkily throughout the continent.

So it makes sense that the artist who calls himself El Hijo de la Cumbia ("The Son of the Cumbia") lives in... Malmö, Sweden?

This morning in New York City, the streaming giant Spotify -- which began publicly trading earlier this month and has a current valuation of $28 billion -- held a press conference to announce changes to the free version of its mobile app for both iOS and Android.

Emo has plenty of genre-wide classics, the kind of songs that, while never actually topping the charts, have become inescapable within that scene. And while it's a fairly crowded field, one listen to "Passion Fruit Tea" proves that Retirement Party deserve a place in the canon.

I think one of the best things you can say about an artist is that you hear a song and you know it's them. That is true in spades for the band Hop Along, thanks in large part to the unique voice of lead singer Frances Quinlan, both in the way it sounds and what she says with it.

Prince's heirs have filed a wrongful death suit against the drugstore chain Walgreens and an Illinois hospital where the singer was treated, then released, the week before his fatal overdose in 2016.

Minnesota Public Radio's Matt Sepic reports that attorneys representing Prince's estate allege that Trinity Medical Center, in Moline, Ill., where Prince's plane made an emergency landing on April 15, 2016, failed to appropriately diagnose and treat his overdose.

The singer was given two doses of Naloxone, a drug designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

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