Several dozen music festivals and conferences held around the world have pledged to bring gender parity to their stages and panel discussions, the U.K.-based PRS Foundation announced yesterday as part of an ongoing project called Keychange. These events join eight other festivals who promised their participation when the project, described by PRS as "a pioneering European initiative which is empowering women to transform the future of the music industry," first launched.

Skating Polly's music has skittered back and forth along the genre spectrum between alt-rock and what it calls "ugly pop." The band's lead single for The Make It All Show, "Queen for a Day," skews towards rock as it drips with punk sensibilities: from Kelli Mayo's snarling vocal performance to the simple and stripped down verses leading into the thrashing of guitars on the chorus.

The lack of women engineers and producers in music is not news. Historically, the recording studio has rarely seen women outside of the reception area or, in the case of a performance venue, in the box office. And as a 2012 report in The Journal on the Art of Record Production shows, these same conversations about gender imbalance in music production have been happening over and over for decades — with little progress being made.

We're one week into the 2018 contest and love what we're seeing. Submissions have already come in from all over the country featuring music and desks ofall varieties. With that, we'd like to take a moment to celebrate the first entry we received: Ian Bamberger's "A Privateer's Eyes."

Colombian vocalist J Balvin is still riding the huge wave created by last year's Latin music explosion.

If there ever was a perfect soundtrack for a California road-trip, Bang Data's latest album, LOCO, would totally fit the bill. Bay area singer-rapper-songwriter Deuce Eclipse and multi-instrumentalist Juan Manuel Caipo have been making music together since 2008. Their music is deeply atmospheric, so it's not surprising that it can often be heard in commercials and TV shows (they've been featured on Breaking Bad, Lucha Underground, and Criminal Minds Beyond Borders, to mention just a few).

First, he forgot about owning millions of dollars' worth of bitcoin. Then he bragged about it. Now, 50 Cent, who is filing for bankruptcy, says he never owned any of the digital currency after all.

Lee Ann Womack occupies rare terrain in country music. Though massively popular singles led to commercial success and widespread recognition, these days, she's working on the fringes of the genre. Her 2017 record, The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone, evokes the country music of Womack's Texas upbringing as the daughter of a country radio DJ, name-checking Hank Williams and covering George Jones.

It takes a long time to fly from Australia to the U.S. Depending on how many stops you have and what your final destination is, you're probably looking at 24 hours plus. And similarly, it can take a long time for Australia's finest musicians to fly across the airwaves in the U.S.

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METALLICA: (Singing) Master of puppets, I'm pulling your strings.


Lots of kids dream of growing up to be rock stars. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood was no different — though his interest was less in the glory and more in the intricacies of craft.

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.

Pedro the Lion is known for its sometimes dreamy lyrics that take on internal conflict, often filled with religious angst.

Even as many of their songs tackled faith, the Seattle-based band, formed in 1995, quickly gathered a wide indie rock following.

A decade later, the band and its frontman David Bazan reached a tipping point — as Bazan questioned his religious beliefs, the band dissolved when he embarked on a solo career.

It's Monday afternoon and Désiré Mulumeoderwa is alone in his workshop, an oasis of quiet and creativity from the parade of motorbikes and perpetual hustle outside on Kigali's streets. The mud floor is littered with planks of wood in all shapes and sizes, scraps of plastic and other discarded materials Mulumeoderwa uses in his carpentry work.

Chairs, cupboards and bed frames are in various stages of construction around the dimly-lit shop. Off in a corner by the door is a project unlike any other.

Mulumeoderwa is building an upright piano.

Frank Kimbrough On Piano Jazz

Feb 23, 2018

When pianist Frank Kimbrough was Marian McPartland's guest in 1997, he was performing regularly with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra at Visiones Jazz Club in New York, where he has been active on the jazz scene for nearly four decades. An educator and recording artist, Kimbrough was a founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective.

Ever since he released his 2009 solo debut Pink Strat, I've always thought of Afie Jurvanen, better known as Bahamas, as a captain of cool breeze sound — easy, inviting and a little sideways. But this time around, Bahamas recruited the rhythm section featured on the album Black Messiah by D'Angelo and the results on his latest album, Earthtones, rest firmly in a funky pocket of groove.

With a little help, Kacey Musgraves has spent the past five years building a new musical world in Nashville. Now, with two new songs from her upcoming album Golden Hour, she's showing the world that she is fully living in it.

Ashley Monroe was barely old enough for a driver's permit when she first began making the rounds on Music Row, trying to get her country career going and envisioning the inevitable progression it would follow.

Vagabon: Tiny Desk

Feb 23, 2018

Laetitia Tamko, the artist known as Vagabon, is a 25-year-old, Cameroon-born musician with a big, tenor voice just bursting with new musical ideas. I've seen her as a solo artist, with a band and, here at the Tiny Desk, both solo and with a bassist.