Music

Music

Winterpills On World Cafe

May 3, 2016

Two distinct strains of music might come to mind when one thinks of the western Massachusetts hamlet of Northampton and the surrounding area. One is the singer-songwriter scene centered around the venue The Iron Horse and the Signature Sounds label. The other is the loud rock scene conjured by J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr.

Blood Visions was, for many, the first exposure to the jimmy-legging tunefulness and frantic musicianship of the late Jay Reatard, and it was the record that pushed him into a spotlight that at times seemed more like a moving target than like anything that might bring focus to the person behind the music. But there had been a path to that solo career, one that led from myriad earlier projects and one-offs which showcased a talent that couldn't be reined in.

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

World Cafe Next: Black Pistol Fire

May 2, 2016

Black Pistol Fire is the stomping, blues-inflected duo of Kevin McKeown on guitar and lead vocals and Eric Owen on drums. Originally from Toronto, the two now call Austin home. Black Pistol Fire's fourth album, Don't Wake The Riot, comes out later this month.

The Chicago new-music ensemble Eighth Blackbird is on a roll. Just after winning its fourth Grammy in February, the group received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions; the prize came with a $400,000 grant. Hand Eye — Eighth Blackbird's second album in seven months — just came out, and this season the group marks its 20th anniversary. The celebration includes an extensive tour, with world premieres of music by Bryce Dessner and David T.

Big Black Coat is the first album in nearly five years for KEXP favorite Junior Boys, and it revisits the duo's favorite pop sounds: house, techno, soul, disco, R&B. The Hamilton, Ontario, duo of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, joined by touring drummer Dale Butterfield, recently returned to KEXP to share the welcoming vibe of "So This Is Goodbye."

SET LIST

  • "So This Is Goodbye"

Late in 1968, it was astounding to me how one of the best-loved bands could create one of the least-liked songs. It was "Revolution 9," near the end of The Beatles' sprawling White Album.

But then, I was only 7 years old and, frankly, those eight minutes of chaotic sounds and mumbled words were positively frightening. And who was that guy who kept intoning "number nine?"

Charles Bradley cultivated his booming voice for years as a James Brown impersonator. It wasn't until he was 62 years old that he found mainstream success, singing his own music. Now, he's out with his third album, called Changes.

Parquet Courts On World Cafe

May 1, 2016

It turns out that Parquet Courts' most recent two albums were actually recorded at the same time. As guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Andrew Savage explains, the band's 2015 EP, Monastic Living, was a mostly instrumental "palate cleanser" that prepared him and songwriting partner Austin Brown to record this year's Human Performance.

Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' Still Has Us Talking

May 1, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Cyndi Lauper, that girl power icon of the eighties, has a new album. Her latest collection of songs takes a distinctly southern turn: It's an album of classic country covers.

"It could have spelled the end for us."

The San Francisco duo of Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud got together in 2011 after meeting via the songwriting circuit in the area. They've been touring together ever since, crisscrossing the country in their Volkswagen Golf. In 2014, Quiles & Cloud won the Duo Contest at the Freshgrass Festival at MassMoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts — a prize that included working on a record with Allison Brown at Compass Records in Nashville.

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

Last month, two seemingly unrelated tech music business announcements were made that have the potential to reshape the creative dance-music marketplace online. First, Apple Music announced its new partnership with digital distributor Dubset that would allow the streaming service to post DJ sets that contain certain copyrighted material, a practice that until now has faced many legal and financial hurdles.

This is body music, provided your body is a wet noodle blasted by an industrial fan. Horse Lords' members pull from Saharan desert blues, krautrock, jazz and the band Television for building blocks that simultaneously tumble and rebuild, with repeating patterns that demand movement.

Each month, we ask music curators at public radio stations across the country to introduce us to one new song they can't stop spinning. In April, these denizens of the left side of the dial loved songs by Brooklyn electric-folk band Big Thief, Philadelphia power-pop quintet Sheer Mag, Louisiana garage-rock outfit Seratones and more. Hear all 10 selections below.

In Florist, Emily Sprague and fellow Catskills friends sing quiet, delicate songs filled with vivid memories. "Vacation" is about growing up and learning about love.

Like when I used to ride roller coasters with my dad

When a swimming pool in a hotel

Was a gift from God

Like, love, we're like a family

I don't know how to be

"Cool And Refreshing" finds Sprague singing about the childhood memories that we lose one by one.

Andrew Bird On World Cafe

Apr 28, 2016

Andrew Bird is back with a new album called Are You Serious? — and he's once again approaching his music in a different way.

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

This Saturday, April 30, marks the fifth anniversary of International Jazz Day, a celebration organized by UNESCO to celebrate jazz across the globe. To do our part, we're highlighting some of our favorite jazz musicians to play behind Bob Boilen's desk. Rising stars, young virtuosos, NEA Jazz Masters and veteran ensembles alike have played in NPR's D.C. offices. Here are five standout jazz performances at the Tiny Desk.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The song "Shine" sounds like classic Ben Harper, and there's a good reason why: The Innocent Criminals. The group started out as Harper's backing band in 1993 and reunited, after an eight-year break, to record his latest album, Call It What It Is. Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals' live performance in our studio demonstrates how dynamic the band's presence remains.

SET LIST

  • "Shine"

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