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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
The most romantic scene from any of this year's Oscar-nominated films begins with a deliciously idiosyncratic pickup line. At a swinger's pool party in 1978, a flabby yet still somehow alluring Christian Bale gently grabs the arm of Sydney Prosser, played by Amy Adams at her most wide-eyed and guileful. "Is that Duke Ellington on your bracelet?" he murmurs.
This week, one-fifth of the biggest boy band in the world made up one-eleventh of an English professional soccer team. In a charity game, the One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson turned out to play for his hometown club, the reserve team of Doncaster Rovers.
Professor Longhair's house has been saved. Now, last year we brought you a story about the piano legend and the nationwide effort to rebuild his home following Hurricane Katrina. Henry Roeland Byrd, better known as Professor Longhair, is widely considered to be the father of modern New Orleans music. He died in 1980, but at carnival time especially, it's evident that Professor Longhair's influence endures. Now, his house will too. Gwen Thompkins brings us this story of music and more.
Konrad Wert is a teacher by day, but when he plays his country-folk songs for fans in his home of Austin, Texas and elsewhere, he goes by the moniker Possessed By Paul James. In truth, "Paul James" is a fiction, a combination of the names of Wert's father and grandfather. Those who have seen him perform, however, would agree he seems possessed by something.
From a young age, Warren Wolf studied piano and drums, and you can still see him gig on those instruments. But the Baltimore native and resident has made his biggest mark as a vibraphone and marimba player — whether with Christian McBride's Inside Straight group, or with the SFJAZZ Collective, or, increasingly, as a bandleader himself. His 2013 album Wolfgang, his second LP, turns up the spotlight on his composing, and his Wolfpack band showcases his mallets up front.
The Grammy Award-winning Bobby McFerrin joins host Michael Feinstein to talk about his musical evolution. In addition to demonstrations of his a cappella style, McFerrin performs a number of songs from Porgy and Bess and shares a bluegrass track from his 2013 album Spirityouall.
It's Carnival this weekend in Brazil. While it costs hundreds of dollars just to get a bad seat in Rio de Janeiro, the northern city of Recife hosts the most unique and varied celebration in the country, with two million people expected to attend.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, pianist and composer Alice Coltrane shimmers on a set of her original tunes and honors the legacy of her husband, saxophonist John Coltrane. She also duets with host Marian McPartland in Trane's "Giant Steps" and "Miles' Mode."
Our guest today is songwriter and producer Butch Walker. After successful releases with the band The Marvelous 3 in the '90s, the Georgia native started getting recognized for his production skills. Since 2000, he has balanced producing people like Pink and Katy Perry with his own work.
Our very popular Latin Roots series continues today as Grammy Award-winning producer Aaron Levinson joins us to talk about what he says is often referred to as "Puerto Rican Hillbilly Music." It's called jibaro, and it is music that originated in the Puerto Rican countryside. Although the island is getting more and more urbanized, Aaron says jibaro still has its proponents. We will hear a couple of songs.
Hammond B3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith recently led his trio through a soulful set before a sold-out house at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club in Washington, D.C. The good doctor turns 70 this year, and he's still a leader and innovator on his instrument. He's also gaining a whole new audience, as young musicians and producers sample his deep, relentless grooves.