Music

Music

Kero Kero Bonito's Bonito Generation was not only the cheeriest pop record of 2016 but also one of the year's best. Spend 10 minutes with the trio's hyper-caffeinated, but no less thoughtful electro-pop and your day is automatically brighter.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

After a six-year hiatus, Canadian singer Feist is back. She's out with her fifth album. It's called "Pleasure," but that's a bit of a misdirection. Reviewer Tom Moon says the album explores the quest for inner-strength in the painful aftermath of romance.

If the Fyre Festival had played out according to the immaculate hype of its marketing materials, attendees would be flying home from the Bahamas right about now, sunburned and hungover from the greatest weekend of their young lives, cellphones full of models' phone numbers, #latergramming their way to legend status.

Instead, at least one of those once bright-eyed festivalgoers has filed a lawsuit and ticket buyers are receiving apologies from event organizers, who now admit that the Fyre Festival "fell dramatically short of even the most modest expectations."

How has this not been done before? Even Metallica itself has covered "Enter Sandman" with classroom instruments.

Brother Ali is a prophet, plain and simple. Even if you're unmoved by his life story — being a legally-blind albino rejected by society who found identity through hip-hop and the Muslim faith — his music most certainly will move you.

For a band that used to write silly, self-deprecating punk songs, Sorority Noise has embraced its vulnerability with the wisdom that it knows nothing.

The 2015 Sufjan Stevens tour for his crushingly sad and beautiful album Carrie & Lowell produced some of the best live shows of that year, if not this decade. Now the singer is sharing a full video of one of those performances. The video, which includes the entire Carrie & Lowell album and a seven-song encore, was shot Nov. 9, 2015 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

John Mellencamp On World Cafe

May 1, 2017

John Mellencamp just released his 23rd album — and it's really good. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies features songs written by Mellencamp and singer Carlene Carter — the daughter of June Carter Cash.

As a composer, I entered a profession in which I knew I could actively alter our fractious present using the incomparable tools of art. After all, the intellectually curious and essentially progressive landscapes of our concert halls and opera houses seem like the perfect arenas in which to harness momentum for change and, through the aspirational craft of music, feel the resurrection of hope in the midst of despair and apathy.

Review: Ásgeir, 'Afterglow'

May 1, 2017

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.

Gear Stolen From Metallica Cover Band

May 1, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLISTERED EARTH SONG)

The world is still mourning Prince's death last April, and fans paying tribute often return to one monumental work: Purple Rain. The album and the film won three Grammys and an Oscar, influenced countless musicians and made Prince a superstar. A critical ingredient in that success was his band at the time: The Revolution.

Every month, we at NPR Music convene a panel of hosts and music directors from the public-radio family across the country. Their objective: to share the new songs they simply can't get enough of. Some of our panelists delight in the surprise of a well-established band's latest offering; others shine a spotlight on a younger, local artist on the verge of breaking out nationally. Either way, it's a singular opportunity to discover something new.

Perhaps you're a person who buys festival wear but finds Coachella too plebian. Perhaps you find other music festivals off-putting because you can't bring your own yacht. Or maybe you just think it sounds awesome to hang out on an island in the Bahamas and you have a few thousand dollars to blow.

Sheryl Crow's brand-new album, out Friday, is inspired by the spirit of her big hits from the '90s. Be Myself is a return to her roots in rock 'n' roll, after she made a big change and went country in 2013. She says she found a different set of rules apply to promoting a country record:

Last week brought a flurry of news about a new batch of unreleased Prince songs — six, to be exact, culled from sessions the late star had recorded between 2006 and 2008 — most of which remain unreleased after Prince's estate obtained an injunction blocking their distribution.

The musical mastermind and human frontman of Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, started writing Humanz more than a year ago, before Donald Trump was the Republican nominee for President.

In 2009 PBS aired a documentary series with the ambitious goal of chronicling the various styles of music made by Latino musicians here in the U.S.

It was a daunting task for sure and they largely pulled it off. I mean, they had four hours to cover everything from accordions along the Texas-Mexican border to Afro Caribbean drums in New York. It was a fascinating experience watching it back then, even inspiring because of the music and the stories behind the music.

Rufus Wainwright has always been keen to tackle the classics — this is, after all, a guy whose most recent album, 2016's Take All My Loves, reinterprets Shakespeare sonnets — and his stylistic palette has remained broad enough to encompass, among many other things, an opera.

The target that New York's Endless Boogie aims to hit with its music is about an inch wide and 10,000 feet deep. That the band threads the needle every time speaks not to the message implicit in its name (yes, this is fried electric-blues boogie; yes, its songs tend to roll on for considerable lengths), but to the satisfaction that message suggests.

Regina Carter On Piano Jazz

Apr 28, 2017

Jazz violinist Regina Carter is one of today's most original and daring musicians. Classically trained, Carter grew up in Detroit, where she absorbed all the music that Motown had to offer. While in high school, Carter became inspired when she discovered jazz violinists such as Noel Pointer, Ray Nance and Eddie South.

In many ways, the traditions of flamenco and jazz could not be further apart, but in the hands of a few Spanish jazz musicians, these two worlds commingle and find common ground. Antonio Lizana is one such musician, both a saxophonist and vocalist with one foot firmly planted in each tradition. As a vocalist he has mastered the Moorish, note-bending improvisations that make flamenco singing so beguiling, while the fluidity of ideas he expresses as a saxophonist place him in the time-honored tradition of composing while playing.

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