WUIS Xponential

Music Reviews
1:15 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Vertical Scratchers: Slashed Chords, Fractured Poetry

Vertical Scratchers.
Joseph Amario Courtesy of the artist

The members of Vertical Scratchers don't have to pretend: They are free spirits, making music that is at once tightly composed, whimsical and anarchic.

The vocals on a Vertical Scratchers song tend to be high-pitched and yearning. John Schmersal creates harmonies from his vocal tracks that have a keening romanticism. His guitar lines are a series of slashed chords — vertical scratching, and thus the band's name. At the same time, there's a compressed intensity to the tunes, which uncoil with a snap, again and again.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:03 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Brass Bed: Tiny Desk Concert

Brass Bed performs a Tiny Desk Concert in January 2014.
Jim Tuttle/NPR NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 2:12 pm

It wasn't an easy road to the Tiny Desk for the four guys from Louisiana who make up Brass Bed. Their tour, for the band's debut album The Secret Will Keep You, was plagued from the start: Singer Christiaan Mader had the flu, there was a death in the family and multiple dates had to be canceled. Their van was broken into and their instruments stolen. So when they heard that a big snowstorm was headed for D.C. at the same time they were to play the Tiny Desk, it felt like yet another bad omen.

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Metropolis
11:39 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Metropolis: 2/22/14

Duke Dumont's new single, "I Got U," gets the remix treatment from Tensnake on this week's episode of Metropolis.
Courtesy of the artist

Tensnake, "First Song" (Astralwerks)


Tomas Barfod, "Pulsing (feat. Nina Kinert)" (Secretly Canadian)


Shur-I-Kan, "Blue Giraffe" (Lazy Days Recordings)


Jonas Rathsman, "Hope I'm Wrong" (French Express)


Booka Shade, "Crossing Borders (Mihalis Safras Remix)" (Blaufield Music)


Duke Dumont, "I Got U (feat. Jax Jones) (Tensnake Remix)" (Blase Boys Club)

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World Cafe
11:22 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Beck On World Cafe

Beck.
Peter Hapak Courtesy of the artist

Our Vintage Cafe this week is with Beck, whose new album, Morning Phase, will be released nationally on Feb. 25.

This interview from 2007 was conducted in the wake of the deluxe edition of his album The Information. The studio session contains some fine performances, including "I Think I'm In Love," and a wide-ranging discussion touching on the hip-hop and indie music scenes. Also, Beck looks back on dropping out of high school and traveling the world before ultimately settling in Southern California.

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Favorite Sessions
7:43 am
Mon February 24, 2014

KEXP Present: Noah Gundersen

Noah Gundersen.
Dagmar Patterson KEXP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:36 pm

It's a family affair for Seattle artist Noah Gundersen. Accompanied by his sister, brother and friends, the soft-spoken singer-songwriter performed a dynamic, yet delicate Morning Show session featuring tracks from his debut full-length, Ledges.

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First Listen
10:12 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

First Listen: Diane Cluck, 'Boneset'

Diane Cluck's new album, Boneset, comes out March 4.
John Rogers Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:51 am

Diane Cluck has been under-appreciated for so long, it's hard not to try to make up for lost time. So, before you listen to Boneset for the first time, take a few minutes to listen to one of the best songs of the last 10 years: "All I Bring You Is Love," from Cluck's fourth album Oh Vanille / Ova Nil.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

First Listen: Linda Perhacs, 'The Soul Of All Natural Things'

Linda Perhacs first album in 44 years, The Soul of All Natural Things, comes out March 4.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 10:41 am

We're just now starting to recognize early-aughts downloads with the same nostalgic air that we do a lucky score at a record store. Slow modems, improperly tagged files, Sharpie-scrawled CDRs — well, at least some of us think of those times fondly. It's an odd relationship, clicking on a not-so-legal rip of an all-too-rare LP only previously known to record-store clerks and collectors, knowing that it's only a poor facsimile. But there's still the thrill of discovery, however removed from the source.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

First Listen: Nothing, 'Guilty Of Everything'

Nothing's debut album, Guilty of Everything, comes out March 4.
Shawn Brackbill Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:52 am

The story of how singer and guitarist Domenic Palermo came to form the noise-rock band Nothing sounds like a Behind the Music episode gone bad. Growing up in the crime-infested neighborhood of Kensington in Philadelphia, Palermo hung with a tough crowd that, in his own words, drove around with large amounts of cocaine and guns while listening to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.

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Music Interviews
4:12 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

St. Vincent's Eerie Musical Alchemy

St. Vincent is the fourth solo album from singer and guitarist Annie Clark.
Renata Raksha Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 6:00 pm

In three albums as St. Vincent, plus the 2012 David Byrne collaboration Love This Giant, Annie Clark has proven adept at writing rock songs that flirt with the tense and uneasy. Her streak continues on St. Vincent, a new album replete with dissonances and distortions that make even its prettiest melodies read as disturbing.

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Music Interviews
7:04 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Megaband Formed On Craigslist Becomes The Family Crest

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:12 pm

There are big bands and then there are really big bands, like The Family Crest, which features around 300 players. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with lead vocalist Liam McCormick about the band.

Music Interviews
7:04 am
Sun February 23, 2014

That Elusive Element Of Brazilian Bossa Nova

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:12 pm

Classic Brazilian bossa nova music has a familiar, slow, graceful pulse. NPR's Felix Contreras of Alt.Latino plays some songs for NPR's Rachel Martin.

The Two-Way
6:49 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Last Of The 'Sound Of Music' Von Trapps Dies At 99

Maria von Trapp in 2008 at the age of 93. The daughter of Austrian Baron Georg von Trapp points to her father on an old family picture. She died on Tuesday at her home in Vermont.
Kerstin Joensson AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 12:29 pm

Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the seven original Trapp Family Singers — the Austrian family that inspired the 1965 film The Sound of Music -- has died at 99 at her home in Vermont.

Von Trapp, whose family escaped Nazi Germany, died on Tuesday of natural causes, her brother Johannes von Trapp said, according to the New York Daily News.

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Music Interviews
4:41 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Fred Armisen's Fake Bands (And Their Real Songs)

Bryan Cranston and Fred Armisen in character as The Bjelland Brothers, a sibling soft rock duo dreamed up by Armisen for a 2010 sketch on Saturday Night Live.
NBC via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 1:57 pm

A lot of obscure bands want to reach a national audience, and they send their records to NPR. Unfortunately, there's a lot of forgettable stuff in the mix, and recently the staff of All Things Considered received the kind of CD it would usually toss.

It's got a pair of singles by two bands — The Blue Jean Committee, which came out of the 1970s Massachusetts folk scene; and The Fingerlings, a British post-disco/synth band of art-school graduates. Both sound desperately tiresome.

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Bob Boilen's Weekly Rainbows

Deafheaven's George Clarke on stage at Empire in Springfield, Va.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:43 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Sofia Rei: Tiny Desk Concert

John Poole NPR

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 10:11 pm

A drum from the Argentine Pampas fuels the music of Sofia Rei in this video: The way Franco Pinna has it incorporated into a traditional drum set serves as a musical metaphor for the music Rei performs alongside Pinna and guitarist/bassist JC Maillard.

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Code Switch
5:09 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Iconoclastic Musician Takes Measure Of His Life: 'I Became A Fighter'

Fred Ho practices his baritone saxophone in a dressing room before a performance.
Joseph Yoon Courtesy of Fred Ho

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 2:43 pm

When I first walked through the door of Fred Ho's apartment in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn, I asked, "How are you?" And he said, "Not good. I'm dying."

Ho has always been matter-of-fact and in-your-face. He painted himself green and posed naked for the cover his album, Celestial Green Monster. In the photo, he has a baritone saxophone placed strategically between his legs. He looks strong — like the Hulk.

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World Cafe
5:19 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Hurray For The Riff Raff On World Cafe

Alynda Lee Segara of Hurray For The Riff Raff.
Courtesy of the artist

Even before our Sense of Place visit to New Orleans, we had been hearing about the band Hurray for the Riff Raff, led by Alynda Lee Segara. The band rose from the streets of the French Quarter, where Alynda really learned how to be a musician. She is originally from the Bronx and left home to ride the rails all over the country before landing in New Orleans.

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All Songs Considered
1:23 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

The Good Listener: For Bands And Fans, The No-Fault Divorce

Elton John performs in 2013. Earlier that year, he put out his 31st studio album, The Diving Board.
Mike Lawrie Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:03 pm

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Beck single that keeps tricking us into thinking it's the new Beck album are a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when superfans sever their allegiances.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
12:48 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

John Dankworth On Piano Jazz

Piano Jazz remembers John Dankworth with a special session recorded before a live audience at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. A saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, arranger and bandleader, Dankworth and his wife and longtime musical partner, singer Cleo Laine, appeared on the program in 1998, along with host Marian McPartland and bassist Jeff Campbell. Dankworth enjoyed a long career as one of England's most celebrated jazz musicians.

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Alt.Latino
9:51 am
Fri February 21, 2014

How Hip-Hop Changed Latin Music Forever

Rapper Bocafloja is a pioneer of Mexican hip-hop.
Thomas De Los Santos Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:42 am

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The Record
2:39 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Hearing Devotion In Pop's Details

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons performs onstage at the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:08 am

This week, the rock band Imagine Dragons set a record for the longest run on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart — 77 weeks, since it debuted in August of 2012.

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World Cafe
5:00 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

The 5 Greatest Louisville Bands Of All Time

John Timmons.
Courtesy of the artist

Today on World Cafe's Sense of Place we speak with John Timmons about the Louisville music he knows so much about, and he picks the five greatest all-time Louisville artists. Timmons moved to Louisville in 1975 and opened one of America's great record stores, Ear X–Tacy, in 1985. It had a good run until 2011.

John Timmons' 5 Greatest Louisville Bands Of All Time:

  • My Morning Jacket
  • Slint
  • Tim Krekel
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World Cafe
4:48 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Louisville's 5 Best Local Acts

Laura Shine.
Courtesy of WFPK

Laura Shine is the afternoon host and assistant program director at our World Cafe affiliate WFPK in Louisville, Ky., and she still finds time to devour that city's rich local music scene.

We asked her to pick five bands to showcase that vibrant scene. They range from Cabin, the work of Noah Hewett-Ball who's a visual artist-songwriter creating music as a soundtrack to his paintings, to the retro sounding Small Time Napolean. Shine also explains why Louisville is ripe for all this creativity.

Download Laura Shine's Picks:

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World Cafe
4:45 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Cheyenne Mize On World Cafe

Cheyenne Mize.
Courtesy of the artist

For our Sense Of Place visit to Louisville, Ky., we have a chance to meet singer-songwriter Cheyenne Mize. After working with fellow Louisvillian Will Oldham in 2009 on a 10" recording of 19th-century Parlor music, she started making her own records. The latest, Among The Grey, was released last summer.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
2:41 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Eddie Palmieri's Latin Jazz Septet On JazzSet

Eddie Palmieri performs at the Kennedy Center.
Juan L. Cruz Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 3:11 pm

Eddie Palmieri has been a force for Latin jazz since the 1950s, when he hosted the legendary mambo shows at New York's Palladium Ballroom. His groups, including the renowned La Perfecta, revolutionized Latin music in the 1960s and '70s. His records number more than 30 as a leader, and he's won nine Grammy Awards. At 76, Palmieri is still a foremost ambassador for the music he loves.

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Music
12:58 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Latitudes: International Music You Must Hear Now

The artist from Belgium known as Stromae poses in Paris in July 2013.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 11:59 am

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The Record
12:34 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

A Phony Article Epitomizes Hip-Hop's Struggling Underclass

The rapper Shirt created a counterfeit article designed to look like it was written by the New York Times critic Jon Caramanica and published on the Times' website.
NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:32 pm

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Favorite Sessions
11:12 am
Thu February 20, 2014

KCRW Presents: Phantogram

Phantogram performs live on Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Rob LaFond KCRW

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 2:00 pm

On the day its second full-length album (Voices) came out, Phantogram was on Morning Becomes Eclectic, performing in L.A.'s Village studios. The New York duo combines trip-hop beats, spaced-out keyboards and Sarah Barthel's airy vocals to create a sound big enough to fill some of L.A.'s largest venues. Only a few days old, the album already has a few songs on heavy rotation at KCRW — including this one, titled "Black Out Days."

Music
2:44 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Flaco Jiménez And The Legacy Of Conjunto

Flaco Jiménez and Max Baca.
Tom Pich Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 6:38 am

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Metropolis
1:32 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Song Premiere: Jungle, 'Busy Earnin"

The sprawling London collective Jungle.
Oliver Hadlee Pearch Courtesy of the artist

The London electronic/funk/dance collective Jungle has popped up many times in our Metropolis mixes over the past six months. The group, led by the vaguely anonymous duo J and T, is releasing its debut album later this year, and is primed to catch on in America during stops in New York City and SXSW next month.

Metropolis host Jason Bentley premiered the record's first single, "Busy Earnin'," on KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., on Wednesday morning. If you weren't listening, we've got you covered — you can stream the radio edit right here.

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