WUIS Xponential

Deceptive Cadence
12:39 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Funk, Faust And Stone: Three Stunning Albums From 2013

Violinist Isabelle Faust.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:26 pm

Throughout this week, we at NPR Music are taking a look at the year in music with our friend Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered. I joined her to bring a closer ear to two very impressive classical albums and an international rarity that's been brought back to life. (I also provided Audie with a primer on pronouncing my last name. I hope you all pay close attention.)

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Music Reviews
12:19 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Ella Fitzgerald's Early Years Collected In A Chick Webb Box Set

Ella Fitzgerald sings with bandleader Chick Webb in Asbury Park, N.J., in 1938.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:44 am

Drummer Chick Webb's 1930s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. They could be similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Early on, they did have some hot Edgar Sampson arrangements that Benny Goodman would soon turn into hits, like "Blue Lou" and "Don't Be That Way." But the Webb band also had an old-school crooner, Charles Linton, with pre-jazz-age enunciation.

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Favorite Sessions
12:02 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

KCRW Presents: Of Montreal

Of Montreal performs live at KCRW on Nov. 11, 2013.
Gregg Lewis KCRW

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 11:52 am

Of Montreal was founded by singer Kevin Barnes back in 1996; ever since, the Athens, Ga., group has continued to explore new creative possibilities, as true artists do. The band recently returned to Morning Becomes Eclectic to showcase songs from its new album, including "Fugitive Air."

Watch the entire session with Of Montreal at KCRW.com.

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Best Music Of 2013
7:03 am
Wed December 11, 2013

NPR Music's 100 Favorite Songs Of 2013

A still from Machel Montano's video for "The Fog."
Courtesy of Precision Productions

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 4:31 pm

What do you have to do, as a song, to win our hearts? You have to sink in. You have to stop someone dead in her tracks. You need to cause that man to act a fool. Scrunch a nose, tense a shoulder, drop an ass.

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A Blog Supreme
3:58 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

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Music Interviews
3:58 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Venezuelan Hip-Hop Takes On Police Corruption

Rappers Apache and Canserbero.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

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Music
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Indie-Pop Albums That Make The Cut Are More Than Mere Collections

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.

CORNISH: OK. So...

(LAUGHTER)

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Mountain Stage
3:09 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Sarah Jarosz On Mountain Stage

Sarah Jarosz performing live on Mountain Stage.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Sarah Jarosz makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. Now 22 years old, Jarosz was signed to Sugar Hill Records when she was just 16. She shifted gears in 2009 to enter the New England Conservatory of Music, and graduated this year.

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World Cafe
2:19 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Bill Callahan On World Cafe

Bill Callahan.
Hanly Banks Courtesy of the artist

Those who love indie singer-songwriter Bill Callahan's music no doubt have their favorites among his solo albums, if not from records he previously made under the name Smog. Callahan's music has been remarkably consistent and deeply meaningful; as a writer, he's truly invested in making every word count. Callahan's latest album, Dream River, is a classic illustration of his artistry.

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Music Reviews
12:56 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

A Nostalgic — But Bumpy — Journey With The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys in 1964. Top row: Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson. Bottom row: Mike Love, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 4:44 pm

All it takes is two seconds of hearing "Round round get around / I get around" and you're there — in the sun, on the beach, in the '60s. The Beach Boys vaulted up the charts while branching out from surf music to psychedelia. This year the remaining band members released Made in California, a six-CD box set loaded with outtakes and other rarities. Critic Ed Ward examines the rise and long decline of a beloved group with a unique sound.

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A Blog Supreme
11:01 am
Tue December 10, 2013

O Brothers: Drummers Brian and Brady Blade

Brian (left) and Brady Blade.
Megan Holmes/Mary Ellen Matthews Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 1:04 pm

If the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, sometimes two apples will land on similar turf. Brian Blade has been Wayne Shorter's drummer for several years and leads his own project called The Fellowship Band. His older brother Brady Blade is perhaps best known for his drumming with Emmylou Harris and is an all-around music industry mover and shaker.

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Best Music Of 2013
7:32 am
Tue December 10, 2013

NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2013

Abigail Oldham NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:19 am

These are the albums we loved the most this year. In what we've written about each one below, you can see what we felt should be rewarded, what shook us up and what sucked us in over the 12 months of 2013.

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World Cafe
4:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

World Cafe Next: Dott

Dott.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:14 am

  • Hear Two Songs By Dott

This week's pick for World Cafe: Next is Dott, a young quartet from Galway, Ireland. The music on the band's debut album, Swoon, calls upon the sounds of garage-pop, with chugging, jangly guitars out front and the vocals of Anna McCarthy on top.

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Mountain Stage
4:26 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott On Mountain Stage

Tim O'Brien (left) and Darrell Scott perform live on Mountain Stage.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott perform together on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of East Tennessee State University. Recognized as two of roots music's most respected singers, songwriters and instrumentalists, O'Brien and Scott took a break from their busy solo careers in 2000 to record their first album as a duo, titled Real Time.

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World Cafe
3:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Andrew Bird On World Cafe

Andrew Bird.
Courtesy of the artist

This segment, from March 30, 2009, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances.

Wielding many instruments and a remarkable whistling ability, Andrew Bird has developed an offbeat marriage of classical and pop music over the course of his decade-long career. The musical polymath has never been one to limit his sound, incorporating traditional folk, swing, zydeco, rock, electronica and indie-pop into his work.

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Metropolis
2:39 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Metropolis: 12/7/13

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Phantogram's "Fall In Love" is featured on this week's edition of Metropolis.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:03 pm

This week's two-hour mix from Metropolis host Jason Bentley features a new song from Phantogram, music from London's Metronomy, a Photek remix of Bob Marley & The Wailers, back-to-back cuts from Kaskade and much more.

Playlist

  • Lifelike, "City Lights"
  • Phantogram, "Fall In Love"
  • Flume, "Sleepless (feat. Twin Shadow & Jezzabell Doran)"
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Favorite Sessions
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

KEXP Presents: The Waterboys

The Waterboys performed live at KEXP on Oct. 11.
Charina Pitzel KEXP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 11:53 am

It was a guest of honor DJ Cheryl Waters had been anticipating for 20 years: The Waterboys, a band currently celebrating its 30th anniversary despite frontman Mike Scott's insistence that he's only 24. The long-running group is on tour supporting its seven-CD collection, Fisherman's Box, which was inspired by the 1988 album Fisherman's Blues; the record marked Scott's relocation from Scotland to Ireland, and resulted in the most successful release of The Waterboys' long career.

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World Cafe
12:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

The Head And The Heart On World Cafe

The Head and the Heart.
Curtis Wayne Millard Courtesy of the artist

The Head and the Heart gives an enchanting performance, recorded in front of an enthusiastic audience at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live. The group's set features songs from its new record, Let's Be Still. The Seattle band recorded a successful, self-titled debut on its own in 2010; it was reissued the next year by Sub Pop during an indie-folk rampage led by Fleet Foxes, among others.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
12:19 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Dessa: Tiny Desk Concert

Dessa performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 24, 2013.
Abbey Oldham Abbey Oldham/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:20 pm

Part of the Twin Cities hip-hop collective Doomtree, rapper, singer, poet and songwriter Dessa divides her time between singing and rapping, often landing on a spoken-word splitting of the difference.

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Music
5:49 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Remembering The Singing 'Mayor Of MacDougal Street'

Dave Van Ronk performs onstage in 1970 in New York.
Sherry Rayn Barnett Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:18 am

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Music Interviews
4:06 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Why Would Nick Lowe Make A Christmas Album? Ask Nick Lowe

Nick Lowe's Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family is an album of original holiday songs and some reworked classics.
Zoran Orlic Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 5:12 pm

Not long ago, Nick Lowe was approached by his American record label about releasing a Christmas album. The esteemed UK songwriter, who gave the world "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Cruel to Be Kind," says the idea seemed laughable.

"But I was confused by how snooty I felt when they asked me about doing it," Lowe says. "I think it's a Brit thing, really: Making Christmas records is seen as a not very cool thing to do. And I thinkg it's all bound up with strange ideas from the 1960s, about selling out and things like that."

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Music Interviews
6:58 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Bad Religion Celebrates 'Christmas'

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ah, Christmastime, the season when you and your family gather around the tree, join together in a Christmas carol like this classic.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Hark, the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. Joyful...

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Music Interviews
7:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Layering Voices To Bring 'Good Cheer'

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 10:39 am

The a cappella group Groove For Thought has been electrifying classics and pop songs for 10 years. Tenor and baritone Kelly Kunz and soprano Amanda Taylor speak with host Scott Simon about their new holiday album, Songs of Good Cheer.

Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Sarah Jarosz: Tiny Desk Concert

Sarah Jarosz performs a Tiny Desk Concert in September 2013.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:25 pm

Bluegrass' most beloved pros often play well into their 80s and 90s, so it would surprise no one if our children's children's children turn up at a Sarah Jarosz concert 70 years from now. The singer and multi-instrumentalist first surfaced as an 18-year-old wunderkind with the release of 2009's Song Up In Her Head, which generated the first of what will likely be many Grammy nominations; now a grizzled 22, she's out performing songs from her fine new third album, Build Me Up From Bones.

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Music News
12:23 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Jay Z Tops Grammy Nominations

Jay Z easily led Grammy Award nominations announced Friday with nine, but left-of-center rappers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar were among a group of new stars who took many of the major nominations.

Macklemore and Lewis' gay marriage anthem "Same Love" was among song of the year nominees and the Seattle rap crew joined Los Angeles rapper Lamar with seven nominations apiece, including best album and best new artist of the year. Pharrell Williams had four major nominations among his seven and Justin Timberlake also had seven.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
3:12 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Ellen Seeling On Piano Jazz

Ellen Seeling.
Courtesy of the artist

For this 2006 episode of Piano Jazz, trumpeter Ellen Seeling brought her longtime collaborator and the assistant director of the Montclair Women's Big Band, saxophonist Jean Fineberg, as well as New York drummer Allison Miller.

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Mountain Stage
2:43 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

The Bobs On Mountain Stage

The Bobs performing live on Mountain Stage.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

The Bobs' members appear on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Zany a cappella groups have become a bit of a thing in recent years, and these guys were doing it way back in the early '80s. The group formed on the West Coast when two of its founders lost their jobs at a telegram company.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:30 am
Fri December 6, 2013

A Bumper Crop Of Classical Box Sets

It was a big year for extravagant classical box sets.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 12:05 pm

This wound up being a spectacular year for elaborate, lavishly packaged reissues. Given all the fabulous classical box sets that appeared this year, you'd think we were in some kind of boom era for music served up on compact discs. (2013? More like 1993.)

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The Record
4:03 am
Fri December 6, 2013

The Mandela Playlist: A Life And Legacy, Told In Music

South African President Nelson Mandela joins the choral group at the signing of the country's new constitution at Sharpeville stadium in 1996. Mandela lived a life filled with rich musical associations.
Walter Dhladhla AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 10:39 am

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Ecstatic Voices
4:31 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

For An Ex-Christian Rocker, Faith Lost Is A Following Gained

Taylor Muse (front), lead singer of the Austin indie-rock band Quiet Company, says the group is ready to be seen as more than just "the atheist band."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 10:57 am

Taylor Muse is the 31-year-old bandleader and songwriter of Quiet Company, an indie-rock band from Austin. A native of East Texas raised in a Southern Baptist church, he now reluctantly carries the banner of "that atheist rocker from Austin."

"Every band that I was in up until college was a Christian band," Muse says. "It was part of our identity as people, our identity as a community. It was everything."

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