Music

Music

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Rachel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STOP ME IF YOU THINK YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE")

THE SMITHS: (Singing) Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before. Stop me, oh, stop me.

In a career spanning nearly three decades, Ani DiFranco's music has evolved in countless ways, reflecting everything from a major relocation (from New York to New Orleans) to her acquisition of a funky, shimmery backing band. But she's also kept her core values intact, from her outspoken commitment to progressive social causes to her strenuously maintained independence from the machinery of the music industry.

Pendejo is one of my favorite words. In the Spanish-speaking world, it's usually used in the context of pointing out someone's challenges to grasp the obvious or is used to just express supreme knucklehead tendencies. The somewhat vulgar word been largely claimed by Mexicans, some of whom can make high art out of applying it to any number of circumstances.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Phoebe Bridgers has one of those voices that can make a rowdy arena crowd go silent and then leap to its feet. I saw it happen when she joined Conor Oberst on stage this past summer at the WXPN XPoNential Music Festival. I can't imagine many people in the crowd knew who she was before they heard Conor invite her on stage for a duet. By the time she was done — standing ovation.

It's always a little irritating when women in rock bands are dubbed "vulnerable." The word is often meant as a compliment, but one given without consideration to the fact that music always opens up its makers to a wide range of emotions. And as if women, in particular, bear some magical burden of openness, lacking the ability to rage and strut and cause trouble like guys do.

What does vulnerability sound like, anyway? Maybe it's just the willingness to occasionally sound awkward. To hit a bum note. To say the thing that makes you look a little dumb.

Did Sean Combs Change His Name Again?

Nov 7, 2017

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now to a news bulletin from Sean Combs, the rapper, entrepreneur and man of many names.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SEAN COMBS: Hey, yo. What's up, y'all? I have some very serious, serious news.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Just four days before the release of her newest album, a letter from Taylor Swift's attorney demanding that a website retract and delete an article critical of her has drawn a sharp (but also winking) rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Three years ago, British soul singer Sam Smith released his debut album "In The Lonely Hour."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAY WITH ME")

SAM SMITH: (Singing) Oh, won't you stay with me? 'Cause you're all I need.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The video for "Sorry" by San Francisco's The She's is the stuff dreams are made of. A beautiful duo frolics on the beach, the sun is shining, the sparks are flying, a sweet series of kisses are shared in the surf, and, as in so many dreams, the whole thing is tinged with a creeping sense of existential dread.

Haley Fohr meditates on existence with telescopic ears and eyes. In the decade since she began Circuit Des Yeux, Fohr has mapped herself onto a world alone, seeking connection through music that rumbles in tandem with her oaken baritone.

Shocking Omissions: Cat Power, 'Moon Pix'

Nov 6, 2017

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, Cale Tyson felt no love for his parents' taste in country — he was more of a screamo kind of a kid. His 14-year-old self was, as he puts, certain that there was "was no way in hell I will ever like, or play, country music."

In the end, Cale not only came around to his parents' tastes, he ended up moving to Nashville and making a couple honky tonk records. Those have been followed by his latest release, a straight-up country-soul offering he's named Careless Soul.

"We're here right now because no one ever really dies."

Coming from anyone other than the superproducer Pharrell Williams, that might've sounded like the opening incantation of some esoteric religious experience. But on Saturday night, Williams' pulpit was ComplexCon, where his genre-bending band N.E.R.D. made a surprise reveal.

Wyclef Jean doesn't get his just due. It was only after The Fugees had the world in their collective palms, and then disbanded, when we got to know his unadulterated abilities as a musician — his first solo album The Carnival was a project equal to (if not greater than) his greatest successes with The Fugees. From there, his focus shifted to discovering and producing stars, stretching all genres in his solo mission, and philanthropic work for his homeland of Haiti.

Imagine a dinner party that never ends. The guests can't leave. That's the premise for Luis Buñuel's classic 1962 surrealist film The Exterminating Angel. It might seem an unlikely subject for an opera, but that's just what London-born composer Thomas Adès has brought to New York's Metropolitan Opera.

The Hebrew Psalms have inspired composers for thousands of years.

Now, New York's Lincoln Center is presenting The Psalms Experience, a festival of choral settings of all 150 Psalms by 150 different composers. It includes nine U.S. premieres.

Teri Thornton On Piano Jazz

Nov 3, 2017

Piano Jazz remembers vocalist and pianist Teri Thornton (1934–2000), who lost her battle with cancer in the year after this 1999 session. Thornton first wowed audiences in 1963 with her hit recording of "Somewhere in the Night" from the television series Naked City. Her comeback to the jazz world was highlighted in 1998 when she won the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition.

As the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant has one of the most recognizable, and some have said, best voices in rock and roll.

If you stare into darkness long enough, your eyes adjust to the hidden corners, and begin to understand that whatever lurks was always there... waiting. Azar Swan's first two albums roamed in these corners of industrial-pop, inspired by Coil and Front Line Assembly, hypnotic in bleak and cutting electronics co-produced by Joshua Strawn and Zohra Atash, whose breathy-but-forceful vocals center the duo's music.

Louis Hayes spent his youth creating the pulse of hard-bop, as a top-shelf drummer with artists like Cannonball Adderley and Horace Silver. He turned 80 this year, marking the occasion with his own Blue Note Records debut as a leader, Serenade for Horace.

Rhythm is the foundation for many a musical experience. Its driving pulse yields a power that quite often demands movement - a toe to tap, a body to sway. But drummer Nate Smith provides more than just a beat. He intentionally weaves nuanced rhythmic counterpoint in and out of his catchy melodies and dulcet harmonies.

Just try to discern the multiple time signatures in the first tune, "Skip Step" Syncopated yet steady, its rhythmic motifs bolster Jon Cowherd's keyboard riff and the song's melodic statement, played in unison by saxophonist Jaleel Shaw and guitarist Jeremy Most.

After a year of touring, New York City's Sunflower Bean are back with "I Was a Fool," a glistening and gloomy love song that makes you feel a little bit happy, a little bit sad, and a little bit like you want to dance. Singer and bassist Julia Cumming, who plays in the trio with guitarist Nick Kivlen and drummer Jacob Faber, tells NPR they wanted to capture the heart-sickening dizziness of all-consuming love. "It's confusing," she says, "that's the point."

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