Music

Music

The first few seconds of Field Mouse's upcoming album, Episodic, might fool you. The opening track, "The Mirror," begins with gentle, atmospheric guitar strums and a building drumbeat; then, suddenly, it explodes into a melodic, scuzzy rock song with skittering guitars and a demanding rhythm. "What a way to say 'f*** off,'" sings Rachel Browne. What a way to kick off an album.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

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

For some, summer means swimming pools and drinks with tiny umbrellas. For others, summer means tallboys and sweaty bodies engaged in what can only be called a crusty display of full-contact Bacchanalia. "Dispatch" is the meanest and bloodiest VHÖL track to date, from a metal band that normally liquefies thrash into T-1000 badassery.

It's been nearly five years since the charming Portland folk-pop band Blind Pilot released its second and most recent album, We Are The Tide, and that record's roiling title track has only recently begun popping up in beer commercials. Given that the band used to tour up and down the West Coast via bicycle, it should come as no surprise that Blind Pilot is accustomed to taking its time.

A Homecoming For Luna — And Its Devoted Following

May 31, 2016

I was 12 years old when my older brother came home from college with a couple of Luna CDs, and they became my first favorite band. Ever since, Luna's bittersweet tunes have become the soundtrack for all of our reunions. Recently, the band announced its own reunion — including performing shows again and releasing a box set of vinyl reissues. For most people, that won't mean too much; the '90s rock group has long been, as Rolling Stone magazine put it, "the best band you've never heard of." But for me, it felt like another homecoming.

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

It's been a joy to hear the music of Andrew Bird shift and change. Bird's early music, from the late '90s, was steeped in hot jazz and blues music from the early days of the phonograph, then later shifted to new technologies using loop pedals to layer voice, whistling and violin. His lyrics often have a calculated quality, filled with abundant wordplay and observations.

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

While writing for Rolling Stone in the mid-'90s, Rich Cohen got an enviable assignment: basically, to embed himself with The Rolling Stones during their tour behind Voodoo Lounge. It was the start of a relationship that's given Cohen a unique vantage point to write his new Stones history, The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones. Cohen's perspective is also shaped — favorably — by the fact that he didn't grow up with The Rolling Stones' music in the '60s and '70s.

Leyla McCalla has built her songwriting style around the cello, an instrument that's rarely central in folk and pop styles — and one she began her study of by accident. Growing up in New Jersey, she was required to participate in her school's music program, and in fourth grade she decided she'd play what she thought was a member of the woodwind family — something like the piccolo.

Beth Orton feels a certain amount of pressure when it comes to her music. The British singer songwriter had huge success with her first album, Trailer Park, back in 1999, and for a while she was on a roll: more album sales, more touring, more fame. It wasn't, she says, altogether comfortable for her.

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

Savannah Buist and Katie Larson are two members of a band called The Accidentals. The band's most recent single is called "Michigan and Again," and — if you couldn't tell — it's a love song for their home state.

Dena DeRose On Piano Jazz

May 27, 2016

Singer and pianist Dena DeRose has performed at some of the most renowned venues in the world, from The Blue Note in New York to Swing Hall in Japan. She has shared the stage with artists including Clark Terry, Ray Brown and Ingrid Jensen. She teaches at the Jazz Institute of the University for Music and Performing Arts in Austria, and continues to perform worldwide.

DeRose was Marian McPartland's guest in this 2001 session. She opens the show with "If I Should Lose You," and McPartland joins for "I'm Old Fashioned."

A Tribute To Artie Shaw On Piano Jazz

May 27, 2016

Cornetist and jazz historian Richard "Dick" Sudhalter (1938 – 2008) joined Marian McPartland on several occasions to provide historical perspective on great performers and songs from the golden era of jazz. In 2002, Sudhalter sat down with McPartland to talk about clarinetist Artie Shaw (1910 – 2004). Shaw was known for his unparalleled virtuosity and as a successful bandleader with a limitless imagination.

Piano Jazz honors Shaw with selections including "Love of My Life" and "Any Old Time."

Originally broadcast Spring 2002.

So, this is happening: Some white supremacists have anointed Taylor Swift an "Aryan goddess," claiming that she secretly espouses far-right beliefs and is waiting for Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency to make her true views known.

Carrie Rodriguez has been many things: a classically trained violinist turned American fiddler, a duet partner to veteran songwriter Chip Taylor, a successful and popular solo artist in her own right. On occasion, those roles have allowed her Mexican-American roots to bubble to the surface — perhaps in a line sung in Spanish, or through a reference to a classic mariachi song.

Copyright 2016 WWNO-FM. To see more, visit WWNO-FM.

Quilt On World Cafe

May 26, 2016

The Brooklyn-based band Quilt has really solidified its sound on its new album, Plaza. The band, which was often labeled "psychedelic" when it started in Boston, has written some more straightforward, hooky songs for Plaza.

Liverpool singer Lapsley is a rising star. The 19-year-old self-produced her debut album, and specializes in powerful, soulful vocals buoyed by minimalist electronica. KCRW's current favorite is the ballad "Love Is Blind."

SET LIST

  • "Love Is Blind"

Watch Lapsley's full Morning Becomes Eclectic set at KCRW.com.

Aoife O'Donovan returns to the KSUT listening area with a headlining performance at the Pagosa Folk & Bluegrass Festival next weekend (6/3-5). As a warm up, KSUT is featuring her new CD 'In the Magic Hour' on Friday 5/27 at noon. 

In the quiet moments found between touring her first solo album and collaborating with mainstay folk and bluegrass peers, Aoife O’Donovan found the inspiration to write her sophomore album “In the Magic Hour” recently released on Yep Roc Records.

When the New York City Opera (NYCO) announced its final performances and imminent bankruptcy in September 2013, opera lovers, not just in Manhattan, were shocked.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

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