WUIS Xponential

Music Reviews
3:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Album Review: 'English Oceans,' By Drive-By Truckers

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The band Drive-By Truckers are in their third decade playing alternative country music tinged with Southern pride. Critic Robert Christgau says they put out a great album in 2008 then hit a lull. But he says their latest album, out this week, is a true comeback.

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The Record
2:41 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Gazelle Amber Valentine: 'Gender Is Not A Genre'

Gazelle Amber Valentine (left) and Edgar Livengood of Jucifer.
F. Mullin Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 8:26 am

The two vagabonds behind distorted doom unit Jucifer have been peddling their decimating decibels across the globe since 1993. Famed for their towering wall of amplifiers and incendiary live performances, guitarist and vocalist Gazelle Amber Valentine and her partner in music and in life, drummer Edgar Livengood, are always on the move. The married couple live in an RV with a scattering of dogs and musical equipment and transverse the country 24/7.

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Shots - Health News
1:41 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Strange But True: Music Doesn't Make Some People Happy

Is there anyone who can resist dancing when Pharrell Williams sings "Happy"? Yes, if you're one of the rare few with specific musical anhedonia.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:08 am

Surely listening to Pharrell Williams' Oscar nominee "Happy" makes you bounce with joy. Nirvana still makes you want to wail. And old Beatles songs make you feel like everything's going to be all right. But maybe you don't feel anything at all.

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Music Reviews
1:38 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Pharrell Williams: Just Exhilaratingly Happy

Pharrell, sporting more conventional headwear.
Mimi Valdés Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 3:03 pm

Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album G I R L, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic and a shrewd deployment of those influences.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:03 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Lowland Hum: Tiny Desk Concert

Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

It's hard to convey the sound of two people in love, but Lowland Hum does that effortlessly. Daniel Levi Goans and Lauren Plank are now Daniel and Lauren Goans; they met a few years ago and spent much of their first married year on the road, singing together on small stages and at house concerts across the country. Daniel was a folksinger in North Carolina, while Lauren had aspirations to sing but mostly did it privately. She has a passion for making things with paper, and you'll see that in the little black book of lyrics she hands out at shows.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
12:57 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Mulgrew Miller Trio On JazzSet

Mulgrew Miller.
Jean Francois Laberine

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:49 am

When the pianist Mulgrew Miller died on May 29, 2013, following a cerebral hemorrhage, the jazz world grieved the loss of this "wonderful musician and great spirit," in the words of his fellow pianist Kenny Barron.

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The Salt
9:14 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Moo-d Music: Do Cows Really Prefer Slow Jams?

The Ingenues, an all-girl band and vaudeville act, serenade the cows in the University of Wisconsin, Madison's dairy barn in 1930. The show was apparently part of an experiment to see whether the soothing strains of music boosted the cows' milk production.
Angus B. McVicar/Wisconsin Historical Society

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:46 pm

When it's time to buckle down and focus, plenty of office workers will put on headphones to help them drown out distractions and be more productive. But can music also help dairy cows get down to business?

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All Songs Considered
7:06 am
Thu March 6, 2014

The Good Listener: Do I Come To SXSW If I Don't Have A Badge Or A Billion Dollars?

Whether you buy a $795 badge or show up with a little spare cash on hand, SXSW has something for you — and will expect you to stand in line at some point.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

[This story originally ran on Feb. 22, 2013, but still applies today.]

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Valentine's Day cards that got returned with no forwarding address is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how music fans could and should approach SXSW, the gigantic music festival held every March in Austin, Texas.

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Favorite Sessions
7:03 am
Thu March 6, 2014

KCRW Presents: KINS

KINS performs live on KCRW.
Rob LaFond KCRW

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:26 pm

The members of KINS come from different parts of Australia and the U.K., but now call Brighton home. They each bring different influences to the table, and clearly relish the idea of crafting a unique sound that defies categorization, much like their fellow Brits in Alt-J. KINS' members strive to explore new sonic boundaries, and they succeed mightily in their song "Mockasin's."

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Music Interviews
3:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Regina Carter's Jazz Genealogy

"The beauty was in the rawness," Regina Carter says of the field recordings that inspired her new album, Southern Comfort.
David Katzenstein Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 7:42 pm

Jazz violinist Regina Carter grew up in Detroit, but as a child she spent summers in Alabama, where her paternal grandmother lived. Her grandfather died before she was born, and recently she began researching his side of the family. One revelation that sparked her interest: Her dad's dad had been a coal miner.

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World Cafe
3:34 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Nicole Atkins On World Cafe

Nicole Atkins.
Courtesy of the artist

Nicole Atkins' New Jersey roots have made their way into her music throughout her career. Her 2007 album Neptune City was named for a community on the Jersey shore, and her latest, Slow Phaser, came into being in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's destruction of that very area.

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SXSW: Live From Austin
1:48 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

NPR Music Presents: Live From SXSW 2014

Lady Gaga donned luxurious plastic bags for her SXSW Keynote on Friday.
Michael Buckner Getty

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 10:04 am

The most controversial woman in pop will address the SXSW audience at noon ET/11 a.m. CT today, and you can watch it unfold live right here.

A Blog Supreme
12:55 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Possessed By Joy: A North American Drummer In Cuba

Eleggua shrines in Matanzas, Cuba.
Harris Eisenstadt for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:06 pm

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Music Interviews
2:06 am
Wed March 5, 2014

The Legend Of Linda Perhacs, 'A Most Unlikely Rock Star'

Linda Perhacs' second album, The Soul of All Natural Things, comes 44 years after an inauspicious debut that bloomed into a cult favorite.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:54 am

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The Record
3:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

In Rio, A Universe Of Samba

Sitting around what looks like a conference table with a small group of musicians, guitarist Moacyr Luz (center) leads his samba group.
Courtesy of QK

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 5:31 pm

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World Cafe
3:16 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Jonatha Brooke On World Cafe

Jonatha Brooke.
Sandrine Lee Courtesy of the artist

Jonatha Brooke is an artist who is always stretching — sometimes quite literally, like when she was a dancer at Amherst College. It was there Brooke met classmate Jennifer Kimball and formed The Story, her first band.

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All Songs Considered
12:09 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

New Mix: Damon Albarn, Sharon Van Etten, Beach House, More

Clockwise from upper left: Damon Albarn, Sharon Van Etten, Beach House, Slow Club
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 3:22 pm

On this week's All Songs Considered: A premiere from Beach House, the first-ever solo project from Damon Albarn, and a brand new song from singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:59 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83

Robert Ashley's operas for television redefined the genre.
Joanne Savio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Robert Ashley, a restlessly innovative American composer, died at his home in New York March 3 from complications of cirrhosis of the liver. NPR confirmed the composer's death through his wife and manager Mimi Johnson. Ashley was 83.

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Code Switch
9:56 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Where Did All The Female Rappers Go?

Nicki Minaj's commercial success over the last decade has stood as an exception to the unwritten rule that women rappers no longer have a place among elite artists.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 3:40 pm

This piece comes to us from Erik Nielson, an assistant professor at the University of Richmond. He teaches classes on hip-hop culture and African American literature.

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All Songs Considered
9:12 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Hundred Waters, 'Cavity'

The Gainsville, Fla. quartet Hundred Waters. The band's second album will be out on May 27.
Nicole Miglis Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 12:26 pm

Here's some great news: On May 27, the Gainesville, Fla. quartet Hundred Waters will release its second album (via OWSLA, the label run by Skrillex), and today the band has shared a brand new song, "Cavity," along with an eerily beautiful video.

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Metropolis
4:16 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Metropolis: 3/1/14

Tourist's new song, "I Can't Keep Up," was featured on this week's show.
Adam Kissick NPR

• Tycho, "See" (Ghostly International)


• Rufus Du Sol, "Modest Life" (Sweat It Out!)


• Sleight Of Hands, "Sometimes" (Smoke N'Mirrors)


• Shur-I-Kan, "Won't Love, Can't Love" (Lazy Days Recordings)


• Sleight Of Hands, "Seal The Deal" (Smoke N'Mirrors)


• Sharam Jey, Night Talk, "The Future" (Bunny Tiger)


• Tensnake, "Pressure" (Astralwerks)


• Chromeo, "Jealous (I Ain't With It)" (Big Beat / Atlantic)


• Tourist, "I Cant Keep Up" (Method)

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Music Reviews
12:04 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Chuck Mead: Gleefully Sinister Country Serenades

Chuck Mead.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 1:25 pm

In "Reno County Girl," Chuck Mead serenades us with a tale about a young woman with whom his narrator fell in love. It's a loping country song, Mead's version of cowboy music, but as its pretty melody unfurls, you realize that its scenario is bleak: Mead's character urged her to leave home despite the objections of her father, and it turns out Daddy was right — this guy leaves her all by her lonesome much of the time.

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Favorite Sessions
7:53 am
Mon March 3, 2014

KEXP Presents: Band Of Horses

Band of Horses performed live on KEXP.
Renata Steiner KEXP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:37 pm

"Are you digging our laid-back vibe?" Band of Horses band leader Ben Bridwell asked the audience during the group's recent concert at Seattle's Moore Theatre. Following their recently released live recording, Acoustic at the Ryman, Bridwell and company chose to perform very loose, rootsy interpretations of their most well-known songs, often gathering the core string players — Bridwell, Ryan Monroe and Tyler Ramsey — around a single microphone, old-timey style.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

First Listen: Tycho, 'Awake'

Tycho's new album, Awake, comes out March 18.
Reuben Wu Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:53 am

The instrumental music San Francisco's Scott Hansen makes as Tycho splits the difference between post-rock's melodic architecture and pop ambient's immersive, uplifting environments. Hansen's aims felt a little harder to grasp on the sprawling Dive, the 2011 predecessor of his fourth album as Tycho, Awake. The latter is a slickly constructed album that finds him streamlining both his setup and his aims — the sounds he uses and how he deploys them are more considered and purposeful.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

First Listen: Ambrose Akinmusire, 'the imagined savior is far easier to paint'

Ambrose Akinmusire's new album, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint, is out March 11.
Autumn de Wilde Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:08 pm

In early September, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire teased the new album he was recording:

@amBROSEire: Ohhh wait ... I think I was suppose to be making a killing melt your face off jazz album ---- opps !!!

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

First Listen: Augustin Hadelich, 'Sibelius, Adès: Violin Concertos'

Violinist Augustin Hadelich pairs a classic concerto with a contemporary one on this new album.
Rosalie O'Connor

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:54 am

Looking for a new violinist to fall in love with? Meet Augustin Hadelich, the 29-year-old Italian-born son of German parents. On his new album, to be released March 11, he pairs two searching, seemingly disparate violin concertos — one classic and one contemporary.

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First Listen
10:02 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

First Listen: Raz Simone, 'Cognitive Dissonance'

Raz Simone's album, Cognitive Dissonance, comes out March 6.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 10:42 am

Heavy psychological difficulty is a hot theme in chart-topping hip-hop these days, with artists like Eminem and Rihanna making Al-Anon worthy testimonies to codependency, and Macklemore vying for soberest man in all of pop. Joining them could be Seattle's Raz Simone — he's part of a scene within the local rap sphere there looking to do national numbers, a new ambition in the city, post-"Thrift Shop."

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Deceptive Cadence
4:12 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Philippe Jaroussky And The Impossibly High Male Voice

Philippe Jaroussky's new album is Farinelli: Porpora Arias.
Marc Ribes Erato/Warner Classics

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 6:09 pm

Philippe Jaroussky cuts a masculine figure on the cover of his new album, Farinelli: Porpora Arias, but you might do a double take upon hearing the music. The arias the French opera singer performs on this release were written in the 18th century for a castrato — a boy singer castrated to retain his high singing voice through adulthood.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:15 am
Sun March 2, 2014

Asaf Avidan: Tiny Desk Concert

Asaf Avidan performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 8:36 am

So I'm driving down the road when I hear this incredible voice coming out of my car speakers — part Janis Joplin, part Nina Simone — and I wonder, "Who is she?"

That day, I'd ripped a number of CDs onto my phone and didn't remember which record this was. Upon a quick glance at my phone during a traffic light, I discover the name Asaf Avidan. Next traffic light, I look it up and I see a picture of a skinny, handsome white male. I figure that's a mistake — that I must have typed the wrong name — so I wait to get home.

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Music News
6:20 am
Sun March 2, 2014

ABBA's 1970s Costumes Decidedly Worth The Tax Break

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 9:34 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

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