Music

Music

The Indiana band Houndmouth mixed breezy SoCal harmonies, gritty roots-rock, anthemic sing-alongs and swampland stomp to make the defiant, free-wheeling Little Neon Limelight a perfect summer soundtrack. Here, guitarist Matt Myers, keyboardist Katie Toupin, bassist Zak Appleby and drummer Shane Cody perform a raucous rendition of "Sedona" live in the KEXP studio.

SET LIST

  • "Sedona"

Punk is not typically where one turns for mature thoughts on self-care and ending relationships in a healthy manner. But Columbus, Ohio quartet All Dogs is not where one turns for typical punk. The band makes punk music, but calls its songs "loud pop songs," and that's exactly right, too. The vehicle is loud guitar, unpolished but affecting vocals and fuzzy garage drums, but the destination is upbeat, catchy anthems with lyrics that are destined to be memorized before the end of the song.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Usually when we have the hosts of NPR's Alt.Latino on this show, they bring music from every corner of Latin America, almost always with an alternative accent. But this week, Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd have brought something a little different.

When the first Palestinian uprising began in the late 1980s, the images from the intifada showed exploding tear gas canisters launched by Israelis, answered by Palestinian youngsters shooting slingshots and hurling rocks. A photographer snapped a photo of a boy with tears in his eyes, an 8-year-old named Ramzi Aburedwan. The image came to represent the rage and frustration of life in the refugee camps. But although his face was famously stuck in time, Ramzi's life changed dramatically when he was introduced to music at age 16.

Tame Impala's Kevin Parker is a relentless tinkerer: His songs have an impeccable, fussed-over quality, to the point where fussy impeccability could easily seem like the sum total of his mission. Sounding great and being great are two vastly different features in the ever-subjective world of rock 'n' roll, after all, and yet the Australian band's best songs have found ways to check both boxes.

It sounds like a dream: Two old friends, supporting each other from afar, both carve out stellar reputations in the music industry. Then, when they're established enough to call the shots, they band together. For two musicians, it's what really happened.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

There are a lot of bands out there trying to make it; musicians working day jobs, crashing on couches, hauling their amps into dark, cramped clubs. Few will make it big.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LETTERS")

That tight four-part harmony is unmistakable. And it's been around for a long time.

Barbershop quartets trace their roots back to the late 19th century, when African-Americans would gather in barbershops and on street corners to sing (it was called "cracking a chord"). The term "barbershop" was originally a put-down, but the 1910 song "Play That Barbershop Chord" put that to rest; by then, close-sung harmony was a national hit.

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