WUIS Xponential

Tiny Desk Concerts
1:48 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Pixies: Tiny Desk Concert

John W. Poole John W. Poole

The windowsills were lined with people standing, as every nook between every office desk filled to capacity with NPR employees and their assorted guests. Pixies, after getting misplaced for a time in our parking garage during a moment worthy of This Is Spinal Tap, showed up in time to encounter the largest crowd we've ever assembled for a Tiny Desk Concert. (Our new office space allows for more guests than the old one did, but it's still a mark of this band's significance for so many youthful grownups.)

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World Cafe
12:22 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

20 World Cafe Downloads To Get You Through February

Dr. Dog.
Nicky Devine Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:37 pm

We made 20 stellar World Cafe in-studio performances available for download during February, but they're all coming down Feb. 28 at midnight. Grab music from Neko Case, Parquet Courts, Jason Isbell and more today, before they're gone tomorrow.

To download each song, click the title in the SoundCloud playlist (the song will begin playing), and then click "download" arrow to the right of the title.

First Listen
11:03 am
Mon February 3, 2014

First Listen: 'Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997'

Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997 comes out Feb. 11.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:17 am

Dance Mania might have been Chicago house music's most popular 1990s label — not only in Chicago, but in the entire upper Midwest. To go to a rave between 1993 and '99 was to very likely encounter a handful of Dance Mania tracks per night. Odds were good you'd encounter one of its artists, too: DJ Funk, Paul Johnson, DJ Deeon and Robert Armani, to pick just a few artists on Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997, kept full schedules of one-nighters across the U.S.

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First Listen
10:02 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

First Listen: Thumpers, 'Galore'

Thumpers' new album, Galore, comes out Feb. 11.
Oliver Smith Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:18 am

Galore, the first album by the London duo Thumpers, is rooted resolutely in the first-person plural: Temperamentally as well as lyrically, it reaches out as a piecemeal missive both to and from you and me and everyone we know, assembling a steadfast vision of the whole world as a sprawling family in a tiny neighborhood. These are songs whose collective narrative engine is a belief in the power of a passionate few to forge meaningful connections, to keep life's ills at bay or, as "Unkinder (A Tougher Love)" would have it, to move the earth.

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First Listen
10:02 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

First Listen: Cibo Matto, 'Hotel Valentine'

Cibo Matto's new album, Hotel Valentine, comes out Feb. 14.
Sean Lennon Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:52 pm

For many bands who return after long hiatuses, the absences melt away quickly. My Bloody Valentine, gone 22 years, put out an album last year that jumped directly from the sound of 1991's Loveless.

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First Listen
10:02 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

First Listen: Tinariwen, 'Emmaar'

Tinariwen's new album, Emmaar, comes out Feb. 11.
Marie Planeille Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 2:35 pm

  • Hear All Songs Considered Hosts Bob Boilen And Robin Hilton On 'Emmaar'

How do you build on the reputation that has made your band the most visible ambassador of an entire people? For its seventh international album, Emmaar, Tinariwen has some striking ideas that were born out of both creativity and absolute necessity.

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First Listen
10:02 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

First Listen: Temples, 'Sun Structures'

Temples' new album, Sunstructures, is out Feb. 11.
Ed Miles Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:15 am

It makes cosmic sense that Sun Structures, the debut album from Temples, arrives at the height of the current nostalgia wave associated with the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania and the British Invasion.

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First Listen
10:02 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

First Listen: Hurray For The Riff Raff, 'Small Town Heroes'

Hurray for the Riff Raff's new album, Small Town Heroes, comes out Feb. 11.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 2:29 pm

New Orleans is a tricky place to put into song. To a degree matched only by California and New York City, the Big Easy makes and is made by the American geographical zeitgeist, and has captured the imaginations of songwriters since its founding. It seems massively daunting, if not impossible, to tell a story about Storyville that hasn't been told before.

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First Listen
10:02 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

First Listen: Eric Church, 'The Outsiders'

Eric Church's new album, The Outsiders, comes out Feb. 11.
John Peets Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 9:15 pm

Eric Church was surely aware that he was cribbing from one of America's most beloved young-adult novels when he called his fourth full-length album The Outsiders. The title song opens the record with lines that could have been ripped from the jacket copy of S.E. Hinton's classic heartland/gangland story: "They're the in-crowd, we're the other ones / It's a different kind of cloth that we're cut from." Electric power chords crest and crash as Church howls out declarations in a voice that's part preacher, part rapper, part metalhead and all alpha dog.

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Music News
5:42 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Duke Ellington's Lost Opera, Forever A Work In Progress

Karen Marie Richardson (right) plays the title role in the Long Beach Opera's staging of Queenie Pie, the jazz opera Duke Ellington left unfinished when he died in 1974.
Bryan Frank Long Beach Opera

Duke Ellington added more than 3,000 songs to the American music vault before his death in 1974. He also started composing what he hoped would be a great American street opera — which composers have spent 40 years adapting, trying to figure out what the Duke wanted for his unfinished opus.

But before you imagine soothing arias or boisterous trills and vibrato, let me stop you: Ellington's opera is very much a work of jazz.

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Music Interviews
6:53 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Music For Folks Who've Been Through A Few Things

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:57 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Shelby Earl always loved music, and straight out of college in Seattle, she went to work in the music industry. She worked as a booking agent, then at a record label, an eventually at Amazon's music department.

SHELBY EARL: So, all of those little blurbs you see all over the music page on Amazon - those are written by people. And I was one such person.

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Music Articles
11:48 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Sing Out: A Concert Celebration Of Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger in New York City. 2009.
Steve Mack FilmMagic

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 2:47 pm

Pete Seeger was a lanky banjo player who showed up at every rally, every singalong, every town meeting, for as long as anyone could remember. He came singing songs of dissent; songs that helped to find the courage to change.

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Pop Culture
9:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Major Oscar Dust-Up Over A Song From A Minor Movie

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:45 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the Oscar nominees for best song were announced earlier this month, there were, of course, several well-known titles, including Karen O's "The Moon Song," from the movie "Her"; and Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from "Despicable Me 2." Then there was this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE...YET NOT ALONE")

JONI EARECKSON TADA: (Singing) I will not be bent in fear. He's the refuge I know is near...

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Deceptive Cadence
9:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Holocaust Tale Unfolds On Two Levels

Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger tells the story of an Auschwitz prisoner and a Nazi guard, whose lives continue to interweave after the the war.
Lynn Lane Houston Grand Opera

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 11:00 pm

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich called it a perfect masterpiece without ever having seen it performed. The Passenger, an opera about the Holocaust, was written nearly half a century ago, but was only given its first full performance just three years ago.

Now it's getting its U.S. premiere at the Houston Grand Opera. The opera is based on a story by a Holocaust survivor, with music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a composer who lost his entire family in the Nazi death camps.

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Music
9:03 am
Sat February 1, 2014

The Jersey-Boardwalk Sound Of Nicole Atkins

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Nicole Atkins is a New Jersey artist with a voice that has been compared to Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin and Roy Orbison - that's quite a trio - all rolled into one.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NICOLE ATKINS: (Singing) I first saw you (unintelligible), from my (unintelligible) down for me...

SIMON: A voice that could melt the heart of a devil. Sense of humor dryer than a drought. Nicole Atkins's latest album is called "Slow Phaser." She joins us from our studios in New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

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Music Interviews
8:29 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Sam Cooke And The Song That 'Almost Scared Him'

Sam Cooke in 1964, performing on the ABC variety show Shindig! just a few months before his death that December.
ABC Photo Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 5:45 pm

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Favorite Sessions
7:02 am
Sat February 1, 2014

KCRW Presents: The Crystal Method

The Crystal Method performed live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.
KCRW

The Crystal Method has been instrumental in the evolution of dance music for more than 20 years now — and, on the occasion of its return to Morning Becomes Eclectic, the duo took another step by bringing along a full band. Having only played with this setup one other time (and never before on stage), Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland played new songs from their latest album in unexpected ways. Here, they work their way through "Over It," featuring Dia Frampton on vocals.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
3:37 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Herbie Hancock On Piano Jazz

Herbie Hancock.
Kwaku Alston

On this episode of Piano Jazz, composer and keyboardist Herbie Hancock stops by in a program recorded in 1987. The ever-inventive Hancock sticks with the acoustic piano for this set of solos and duets with host Marian McPartland. Hancock performs a mix of his originals — "Dolphin Dance" and "Still Time" — and standards including "Limehouse Blues," "It Never Entered My Mind" and "That Old Black Magic."

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Song Travels
1:53 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Elaine Stritch On 'Song Travels'

Elaine Stritch.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Three-time Emmy winner Elaine Stritch became a star on Broadway before going on to play a string of highly regarded film and television roles. She recently played Colleen, mother of Alec Baldwin's character Jack Donaghy, on the hit sitcom 30 Rock.

After more than 40 years in New York, Elaine Stritch moved home to Michigan not long ago. But before leaving town, she sat down with host Michael Feinstein for an episode of Song Travels full of hilarious music and candid talk about her life and career in the spotlight.

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World Cafe
12:22 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Bell X1 On World Cafe

Bell X1.
Rich Gilligan Courtesy of the artist

For its sixth album, last summer's Chop Chop, Bell X1 simplified its recording process and ended up with some of its strongest songs. The Dublin band formed out of another group led by Damien Rice, but when Rice went solo, Paul Noonan took over songwriting duties and Bell X1 was born — named after the first airplane, Bell X-1, to break the sound barrier. Hear a full live set from the band on World Cafe.

Music Reviews
11:56 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads

Jane Ira Bloom.
Johnny Moreno Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 3:08 pm

When soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom plays Kurt Weill's "My Ship" on her new album Sixteen Sunsets, a pale glow around her notes comes from a simple special effect: pointing her horn under the hood of a piano whose strings are free to resonate. Bloom has always been preoccupied with sound, and has one of the prettiest, clearest tones around on soprano.

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World Cafe
11:22 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Latin Roots: Songs In Two Languages

Carlos Santana.
Keystone Getty Images

Josh Norek from the Latin Alternative radio show returns to World Cafe with Latin music for Spanish speakers and English speakers alike. Hear a pair of bilingual songs, with a classic from Carlos Santana and another from Los Abandoned that speaks to the Mexican immigrant experience.

All Songs Considered
11:19 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Son Lux, 'Alternate World'

Scene from the Song Lux video "Alternate World."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 12:27 pm

Reality is nine-tenths perception, even in our most intimate relationships. Is it love? Infatuation? Is it real and lasting? All we have are the choices we make. In the latest video from electro-beat guru Son Lux, a torrid relationship plays out between two lovers, as frontman Ryan Lott reflects on the possibilities of an "Alternate World."

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All Songs Considered
9:46 am
Fri January 31, 2014

The Good Listener: Leave 'We Built This City' Alone!

Everyone piles on Starship's "We Built This City," at least in part, because it's too feeble to fight back.
George Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 1:47 pm

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Metropolis
10:00 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Metropolis: 1/25/14

Mary J. Blige's edition of Disclosure's "F for You" is part of this week's mix.
Courtesy of the artist

This week's edition of Metropolis includes Mary J. Blige's guest verse in Disclosure's "F for You," Damon Albarn's new single from his upcoming solo album, the return of Crystal Method and much more.

Playlist

  • Kraak & Smaak, "Don't Let People (Moods Remix)"
  • Blamma Blamma, "Zsa Zsa (feat. Kristina Train) (Andy Cato Remix)"
  • Jagwar Ma, "Uncertainty"
  • Andy Cato, "Sunrise Sant Agnes"
  • Tensnake, "Love Sublime (feat. Nile Rodgers & Fiora)"
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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
4:29 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Tootie Heath And Matt Wilson On JazzSet

Ethan Iverson, Ben Street and Tootie Heath perform at the Village Vanguard.
John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 2:13 pm

Tootie Heath says the drummer's responsibility is to be happy. There's no better believer in the happiness ethic than Matt Wilson — and we're happy, too, grooving first to Heath, then Wilson, in highlights of sets from August and September 2012.

Born in 1935 as the youngest of three brothers headed for great jazz careers, Albert "Tootie" Heath crosses two generations to join this trio with pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street.

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Alt.Latino
2:49 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Latin Metal, Uruguayan Hip-Hop And New Ana Tijoux

Kryone injects this week's episode of Alt.Latino with some killer Brazilian beats.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:19 am

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World Cafe
2:33 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Dumpstaphunk On World Cafe

Dumpstaphunk.
Silverback Music Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 3:42 pm

Dumpstaphunk has thrived in the New Orleans funk scene alongside some of the best in the business. The group's new album, Dirty Word, features a number of guest stars, including Ani DiFranco, who lives in New Orleans, and Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The record hints at gospel, blues, R&B and rock while still preserving Dumpstaphunk's funky musical heritage. Here, the band performs in the studio for World Cafe.

Music
1:41 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

'Spirit Of Family' Unites Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Darren Phillip Jones

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:58 am

For fans of world music, South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo needs no introduction.

The group has been singing a capella together for 50 years, brought together by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmhand turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith. He had a dream of tight vocal harmonies and messages of peace.

That dream developed, and the band came to the attention of Paul Simon, who had it record "Homeless" on his album Graceland. It introduced the group to the world.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:29 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

4 Ways To Hear More In Music

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 12:55 pm

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