Music

Music

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.

When you listen to Sylvan Esso singer and lyricist Amelia Meath talk about the band's new album, What Now, you quickly learn how profoundly she's motivated by love. There's the love of magical sounds and the euphoria she feels when music "lifts you off the earth." There's the love for the audience, of connecting with and freeing them through song. And, especially for Meath, there's the love of dance and of feeling the body (literally) become the music.

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn each spent time in bands that never made it big. But when the two of them joined up to create Sylvan Esso, everything changed. They started filling up high-profile music venues, became famous internationally and almost immediately started to feel pressure to make magic a second time. Now, three years after the band's debut, Sylvan Esso has a sophomore album, out Friday. The name of the record, What Now, offers some insight into how Meath and Sanborn felt making it.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Little Dragon followed up its Grammy-nominated 2014 release Nabuma Rubberband with its most upbeat album yet. Season High radiates positivity and is guaranteed to get you dancing — particularly the track "Sweet."

SET LIST

  • "Sweet"

Photo credit: Brian Feinzimer/KCRW.

Country artist Jessi Colter has written a new book called An Outlaw And A Lady: A Memoir Of Music, Life With Waylon And The Faith That Brought Me Home. The Waylon in the title?

The strange creatures that chase after a young girl in Fall Out Boy's new video, for the song "Young And Menace," are like demented versions of the beasts from Where the Wild Things Are. And like that beloved children's story, the whole tale that unfolds is like a surreal dream, though decidedly much, much darker.

Ritual and pop aren't usually words that are associated with each other, but "ritual pop" is how Francine Thirteen describes her music and message. "Lust Heals, Give Me My Sin Again" is a meditative take on the Bible's creation story, mastered by the legendary Dave Cooley (J Dilla, M83, Madlib).

Warren Zevon On Mountain Stage

Apr 27, 2017

From the Mountain Stage archives: a little-heard performance from gifted singer-songwriter-rocker Warren Zevon, recorded live Nov. 17, 1991, at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Zevon was a beloved cult hero in the world of rock music.

When Dee Dee Bridgewater learned that she would become a 2017 NEA Jazz Master, a succession of thoughts and feelings flooded her mind. The news came as a total shock, as she tells it: "It was so far out of my orbit and just my whole sphere of thinking," she said in a conversation at NPR this spring, hours before she formally received her award.

Gorillaz Are Human After All

Apr 27, 2017

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, the firebrand trumpeter from New Orleans, doesn't go in for small gestures. His current project is The Centennial Trilogy, a three-album series intended to confront a range of societal issues, especially as they relate to the African-American population. The style of this new work carries a no less ambitious agenda, blending aspects of post-bop, trap and electronics, according to the non-idiomatic designation that Adjuah likes to call "Stretch Music."

Algiers Shows Us 'The Underside Of Power'

Apr 27, 2017

"I heard someone say once that you don't know what real power is until you're on the wrong side of it," Algiers' frontman, Franklin James Fisher tells NPR. The concept underpins Algiers' newest record and its title track, "The Underside of Power," the video for which we're premiering today.

As the 50th anniversary of the greatest rock album of all time rapidly nears, Capitol Records is sharing a previously unreleased outtake from the Sgt. Pepper's recording sessions. The clip, premiered at The Guardian, is a stripped-down version of the album's opening title cut and includes some fantastic chatter between John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

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.


How long has it been since you heard something that was unmistakably the blues, and at the same time undeniably new?

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.

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


Multi-instrumentalist, composer, spiritual leader and the wife of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (1937-2007) long stood in her husband's shadow. Some certain number of more casual jazz fans, if they have known her name at all, only know it from sidewoman credits on some of his albums, and not for her own performances and recordings.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Spring Sounds

Apr 26, 2017

The new spring shoots of music from Celtic roots are ready for broadcast. Hear new songs from Eamon Friel, Molly's Revenge, Runa and more.

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

Jonathan Demme may be best remembered for directing The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, but in the following breath Stop Making Sense will no doubt follow.

The concert film, which documents the surrealistic live show of Talking Heads in the band's prime, became one of the most celebrated documents of live music we have; frontman David Byrne's oversized cream suit, the beautiful choreography, its whimsy and touching humanity.

Aimee Mann On World Cafe

Apr 26, 2017

Aimee Mann joins World Cafe for an interview and to perform songs from her new album, Mental Illness, her first solo record since she took time to collaborate with indie rocker Ted

Forget the fava beans.

The main reason Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs gets its hooks in you — and leaves you feeling vaguely distracted and discomfited long after it's over — isn't anything Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter says.

It's how he says it. And to whom.

In the reality of the film, of course, he's directing his consummate, artisanal brand of creepiness at Jodie Foster's FBI agent, Clarice Starling.

So is a gnarwhal a whale that shreds the gnar? And what does the whale shred? Does the whale shred with its tusk? These are hard-hitting questions for Gnarwhal, but the Nashville guitar-and-drums duo only responds with wild yelps, frantic guitar work and crashing drums.

"Light-Up City" comes from the band's third album, Crucial, and it's a raw and switchback-crazy seven minutes of chaotic math-rock. Drive Like Jehu's most emotionally wrought moments come to mind, but stripped down to the bare essentials.

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