Dean Wareham is one of independent music's most consistent ambassadors, from his early days as a member of Galaxie 500 through Luna and on to his newly formed solo career. Sprinkle in forays into film composition, writing and even acting, and it's clear that the New Zealand native never lacks inspiration. Now, he's settled in Los Angeles, where we get to watch his new chapter unfold up close. Watch Dean Wareham perform "The Dancer Disappears" live on KCRW.
"There's zero symbolism, and that's the scary thing," Timothy Showalter says. "Every single lyric is either a direct thought or a direct event. It's exactly my life."
The Philly musician who performs under the name Strand of Oaks is talking about his new album, HEAL, which in a way functions as a memoir. Fueled by a string of tragic personal incidents, from infidelity to a near-fatal auto accident, the album brings these events to life, from the teenage isolation of "Goshen 97" (a track featuring J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.) to the bittersweet romance of "Plymouth."
San Francisco's frenetic rock group Cold Beat pummels the senses in this strobe-lit new video for the song "UV." Directed by frontwoman Hannah Lew, the candles, chains and band members flicker behind a throbbing, multi-colored strobe light as drummer Bianca Sparta, deadpan behind a pair of sunglasses, slingshots the band through a three-minute burst of post-punk fury.
This week's Feature CD, "Songs," is the sophomore effort by Oklahoma singer-songwriter John Fullbright. "Songs" is Fullbright's follow-up to his Grammy-nominated debut, "From The Ground Up." Many KSUT listeners saw him live in concert last Labor Day at the Four Corners Folk Festival. Hear the new CD in its entirety at noon this Friday. If you correctly answer our trivia question at around 12:30 p.m. Friday, you could win lunch at Zia Taqueria!
Today we'll hear a live set from The Felice Brothers, recorded on stage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. James Felice, who leads the band with his brother Ian, also talks with World Cafe's Michaela Majoun.
On this week's show, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson to recount their favorite music from the first six months of 2014. They spin the ferocious punk energy of Perfect Pussy, the magnetic vocals of Broken Twin, absurdly catchy electro-pop from Sylvan Esso and much more.
Conor Oberst's new album has fast become my favorite of the Bright Eyes singer's solo projects, so having him come to NPR and perform a few of these songs at the Tiny Desk was especially exciting. The new music on Upside Down Mountain contains the sort of personal songwriting that got me loving him in the first place.