With his distinctive baritone voice and his art-rock spin on contemporary country music, Daughn Gibson didn't have a hard time grabbing our attention. Clad in a ripped-up Garth Brooks shirt he'd acquired the night before, this one-time truck driver took us along for the ride with songs like "You Don't Fade" from his new album, Me Moan.
I suppose it would be natural, if you grew up relatively isolated in a Wisconsin forest, to find yourself fascinated by cities. And so it is for the 24-year-old Russian-American singer Nika Roza Danilova, best known as Zola Jesus. In the video for her song "Fall Back," from the new album Versions, we see Nika in two settings: the vast coldness of urban concrete and the nature of the forest. "Shooting in the forest was very important," Nika writes. "The forest is raw and naked, which is in line for my intent for Versions.
Join us at 12:30 p.m. ET this Thursday, August 29, for a live listening party with Neko Case. We'll play her new, epically titled album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, in its entirety. Afterward, Case will join All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton and NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson to discuss the record and take questions from listeners. You can post your questions in a chat room we'll open during the webcast. Or you can tweet your questions: #askneko
I grew up in a town of about 6,000 people in rural Kansas back in the '70s and '80s. I've never romanticized it much, though it was certainly a simpler time and, for better or worse, it's where I learned to make some sense of my life. The world you inhabit when you come of age in your teen years has a way of digging its claws in you. As the years pass, no matter how far you try to get away from it, it stays with you. The people, the places, the sounds and even the smells become a part of your DNA.
On this week's episode of All Songs Considered, co-host Bob Boilen basks in the glory of his return by making fellow co-host Robin Hilton enjoy the musings of a box that when opened plays affirming statements with Bob's name that was gifted to him by a secret admirer.
The greatest benefit to the current flood of anniversary tours and album reissues might not be the chance for fans to experience or relive shows of the past, or even the bands' second chances at recouping earnings beyond what they'd experienced before. Maybe more important is the chance for the artists in question to rekindle the spark of creativity and give it another go.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:17 pm
The wonderful half-garage, half-glam band Smith Westerns recently released its third album, Soft Will. In this installment of World Cafe, the group's members tell us that a lot of the record was written as a reaction to returning home to Chicago after touring for five years during their late teens and twenties. And, of course, they perform some of their songs live in the studio.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:33 pm
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the monthly bale of sunflower seeds we've decided to order from Amazon Prime via subscription is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for advice on when and where it's courteous to wear headphones in public.
Brian Bowen writes via Facebook: "When is it OK to wear headphones in public — in transit, at work, during events large or small, standing in line at the post office, etc.?"
When The National came through the Morning Becomes Eclectic studios, the band was in the midst of a sizable tour, including two sold-out shows in Los Angeles. Drummer Bryan Devendorf opted out of the morning session to nurse a bad back, so we ended up with a pared-down and intimate performance, with Matt Berninger's emotive voice guiding the way. The result was a chance to hear songs like "I Should Live In Salt" through different angles — a must for any fan.