Music

Music

Since his 1996 album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, launched him to stardom and helped define the 1990s school known as "neo soul," Maxwell has spent two decades faithfully crafting his own unique brand of R&B that explores emotional and spiritual needs alongside sensual ones. Followers have come to depend on his flawless falsetto, his skill for draping a song in perfectly-fitted production and that velvet voice's ability to sound so intimate it makes everything else drop away.

Obama Releases His Summer Music Playlist

Aug 15, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Alt.Latino Shares New Favorites

Aug 14, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Yesterday in New York, something very big happened outside Lincoln Center: One thousand people gathered to sing a new piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Entitled the public domain, it was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Mostly Mozart festival.

Right now, the world's focus is on Rio for the 2016 Olympics. Brazil is on our minds, too, so we've made a weekend playlist filled with international collaborations between Brazilian artists and other musicians from around the globe. These are some extraordinary duets, from bossa nova to tropicalia and beyond. No Olympic competition here — just collaboration!

The O'Connor Band, the family band led by acclaimed musician and composer Mark O'Connor, has just released their new album Coming Home, on Rounder Records. KSUT will be featuring the full CD, Friday, 8/12 at noon as a preview to the band's performance at the Four Corners Folk Festival over Labor Day weekend.
 

Florence and the Machine dropped an EP today with three new songs. The tracks, "Too Much Is Never Enough," "I Will Be" and a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," were recorded for the Final Fantasy XV video game.

Chicago's Brett Sova spent the better part of this decade working through a haze of rhythms, psychedelic notions and loosely connected processes as Axis: Sova, releasing two albums and a handful of singles as a solo project. Relying on a drum machine and a barrage of effects pedals, the project staked out its own amorphous claim on select minds, occupying a liminal territory where genres and concepts didn't bleed into one another so much as force themselves out of separate dimensions to claim the same space.

The Colorado River — better known for running through majestic National Parks and powering hydroelectric dams — forms an unlikely backdrop for the creation of a jazz song. But René Marie was answering phones at Denver's jazz radio station KUVO when she sat down across from a fellow volunteer fundraiser. He would soon invite her on a canoeing trip and, without yet having seen the eponymous river, she wrote the giddy "Colorado River Song" on the way there.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

For today's Throwback Thursday, World Cafe is re-airing a 2011 session with Gregg Allman. Explore some of the musical connections in Allman's life — from a musician who influenced him early on, to one who took his brother's place in The Allman Brothers Band.

Miles Salerni, a 25-year-old percussionist, is one of this year's elite instrumental Fellows at Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. But it took him a while to get there — five tries, to be exact.

Many audition for this prestigious training program, but few are selected. When Salerni got rejected for the third time, he knew he had to find another way to get to Tanglewood.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Local Natives' much-anticipated third full-length album, Sunlit Youth, is set for release in September. The band, a hometown favorite here in Los Angeles, performed a stirring set of all-new songs for Morning Becomes Eclectic. This one, "Villainy," is a love letter to L.A.

SET LIST

  • "Villainy"

Photo by Brian Lowe for KCRW.

The video for "Two Cousins," a breakout track from Slow Club's second album, 2011's Paradise, still induces a smile. With a pair of impeccably dressed gentlemen high-kicking and stutter-step dancing to the song's fractured drum beat, gliding along with plinking piano notes, the clip is a joyful introduction to the Sheffield, England duo's charm.

Realness is one of the most malleable and fetishized concepts in 21st century popular music. And nothing's revered as realer in the country-punk scene that Lydia Loveless emerged from than the contrarian rawness listeners found in her first two albums, The Only Man and Indestructable Machine.

Annika Henderson is still just in her 20s, but there's history in her voice. She began her musical career as Anika, with one "n," recording covers of Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono and the Kinks' Ray Davies. Her new group, Exploded View, plays original songs, but past genres ­— post-punk, new wave, goth, industrial — echo through their dark music. Anika's chilly intonations in particular evoke moody singers like Siouxsie Sioux, Robert Smith and Debbie Harry, artists who can convey mystery and emotion in a single breath.

It's human nature to reinvent and romanticize the past. Memories fade and become distorted, reduced to proximate notions and imagined details. Maybe it's a matter of survival, or maybe just the innocent aging and inescapable fraying of synapses. Regardless, the golden age we celebrate was rarely as great as we remember.

"They killed my mother in the doorway." How's that for an opening line?

We're talking opera — specifically, the aria "La mamma morta" from Umberto Giordano's 1896 French Revolution thriller Andrea Chénier. The soprano is Anna Netrebko.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Alex Ebert, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' lead singer, says that "Edward Sharpe" was originally a character that he made up to hide behind. In today's conversation, Ebert says that he and "Edward" have merged, to a certain extent. Still, he says, there's a tension between his invented persona and reality — which is why the cover of the band's latest album, PersonA, displays the name "Edward Sharpe" crossed out.

This week, we've got a surprise: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton both went on vacation and left the All Songs studio unlocked. Apparently neither one of them uses two-step verification, so it took only a very minor effort for a couple of highly skilled NPR Music team members, Daoud Tyler-Ameen and Saidah Blount, to hack into the elaborate system of tubes, funnels and hamster wheels that feed podcasts from our microphones into your earbuds for a very special takeover edition of All Songs Considered.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The central equation behind Slavic Soul Party! is self-explanatory: an American black-music spin on the Balkan brass band. The net product is akin to a New-Orleans-style brass band, but with different percussion timbres, horn trills and glissandi. (Also, accordion, because Europe.) It's the sort of multiculti collision you see forged in major population centers; you may be interested to know the band has a standing Tuesday night gig at a Brooklyn bar which specializes in international music.

World Cafe Next: Weaves

Aug 8, 2016

The Toronto four-piece Weaves seems poised to have a long career of pushing the boundaries while still letting audiences in. The band is fronted by singer Jasmyn Burke, whose energy you don't even have to witness live to appreciate.

Weaves' self-titled LP came out this past June. Take a listen to these two tracks, and you'll hear an art-rock quartet that might sound a little like a cross between PJ Harvey and Talking Heads.

Mitski On World Cafe

Aug 8, 2016

The indie-rock singer-songwriter Mitski released her fourth album, Puberty 2, this past June. She recorded her first two albums, which were rather orchestral, while a student at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. It wasn't until her third album that she added punkish guitars, and she describes Puberty 2 as an outgrowth of that album.

Pages