WUIS Xponential

WUIS Xponential

Mackenzie Scott's quiet early music gave hints that she could get loud, but I still wasn't prepared for the ferocity of her new work. Recording as Torres, she spends her new album Sprinter unleashing as-yet-unheard intensity and power, all while performing with incredible prowess.

Sprinter is the album that taught me to love Torres' music: It channels clear influences like Patti Smith and PJ Harvey, while still hinting at further growth. (She's only 24.)

LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This song contains sexually explicit language.

Singer-songwriter Amy Bezunartea's latest single, "Oh The Things A Girl Must Do" is gently sung, but it's not an easy listen. Bezunartea's voice and her soft guitar play in stark contrast to her frank, razor-sharp lyrics about the pressures put on women. A shocking turn for the NSFW (not safe for work) reveals the simmering frustration undercutting this deceptively straightforward piece of acoustic folk rock.

Take A Sunset Cruise With Mac DeMarco

Aug 10, 2015

"I like living by the water. It's new and crazy for me," says Mac DeMarco, smoking and peering out at the bay in Far Rockaway, Queens. All around, nature blends with reminders of civilization: Behind him, sun-dappled waves are chopped up by freighter boats and the occasional jet ski passing by. Across the water sits JFK airport, with its distant engine hum of planes taking off and landing at a steady, rhythmic clip. The crisp, salty sea breeze mingles with wafts of stagnant water, decaying debris and dead horseshoe crabs that wash ashore.

I savor the moment of finding a band to love. I relish those first singles and EPs, and hearing their live sound take shape on record. And then they release their debut album.

Heavy metal is one music culture whose concerts can get pretty aggressive. Stage divers often try to climb up with the band then launch themselves into the awaiting arms of the audience — or that's the idea. In the city of Prague in 2010, one fan wasn't so lucky: At a particularly unruly show by the band Lamb of God, Daniel Nosek fell off the stage, hit his head and died weeks later.

Charlie McCoy has been a fixture in the Nashville studio scene for nearly half a century. He's best known as a country virtuoso on harmonica, but he's also done a whole lot else: rock 'n' roll, R&B, pop, even Celtic music. And he was part of a pivotal moment in the city's history, when the counter-cultural folk-rock of the late 1960s came to town.

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Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

James Bay has come a long way in short time. Just a couple years ago he was playing pubs in England; now Bay has been nominated for an MTV Video Music Award and won Critic's Choice at the UK's equivalent of the Grammys, an honor he shares with Adele and Sam Smith.

Though his presence is felt every time we see those ubiquitous Beats-branded headphones and hear stars he ushered into the mainstream, like Kendrick Lamar and Eminem, Dr. Dre the musician, the creator has recently been absent from the music world.

Think back to the 1990s — to movies like Boyz n the Hood or Menace II Society.

Now, imagine one of those movies shot in black and white, with prayer beads and scenes from a mosque. And imagine it all in French.

A machine with superhuman intelligence is a staple of science fiction. But what about a machine with just ordinary human intelligence? A machine that's so humanlike in its behavior that you can't tell if it's a computer acting like a human, or a real human?

Marilyn Maye On Song Travels

Aug 7, 2015

Actress and singer Marilyn Maye is a lifelong performer with a career spanning nearly eight decades. Her big break came in the 1950s, and she went on to become a staple of the New York and West Coast cabaret scenes.

On this edition of Song Travels, Maye discusses her ongoing performing and teaching career, her 76 appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and her many runs in Hello, Dolly! And she and host Michael Feinstein duet in a medley of "Big Time" and "Open A New Window."

Look, we all have work to do. But it's Friday, and this drum fill puzzler isn't going to quiz itself. So put down whatever you're doing, put on your headphones and see how many of these fills you can match to the right song. I'd give this week's Drum Fill Friday three out of five for difficulty.

Good luck, careful listeners, and as always, if you have a drummer or a fill you'd like to see featured in these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.

Brooklyn disco house group Escort always sounds like a party, and that's only partially because they have up to 17 musicians onstage at once. More vital to the vibe is the band's seamless blending of deep house beats and disco glitter, the product of co-founders and producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balis, plus buttery R&B singing by Adeline Michèle. This song, "Animal Nature," is sexy and fun — a perfect marriage of homage and invention.

London DJs Conrad McDonnell and Dan Tyler formed Idjut Boys in the early 1990s during a particularly exciting time in dance music history. Acid house and breakbeat had infiltrated the British mainstream, and new scenes were blossoming to fill the void in the underground. One London party that McDonnell and Tyler considered especially influential was Space, a Soho weekly co-founded by house fanatic Kenny Hawkes.

In the isolated regions of Central Appalachia, music was once the only form of entertainment. It's still alive today thanks to The Crooked Road, a driving trail that connects music venues in Southwest Virginia. It stretches from the Blue Ridge to the Cumberland Mountains for 333 miles, crossing some of the poorest areas in the country.

Making a living in those areas has never been easy, as guitarist Greg Ward knows. He's a native of Floyd, Va. — population: 432.

"You know, it was a rough life," he says. "It was a hard life."

Joss Stone On World Cafe

Aug 6, 2015

Joss Stone's new album, Water For Your Soul, covers a lot of stylistic ground. It started with reggae sessions partly inspired by her work in SuperHeavy with Damian Marley, who helped produce the record.

Boston's Guster has been together for almost 25 years, and released its seventh record in January. But it hasn't forgotten its roots as a college band playing parties at Tufts University, angling for opening slots when other, bigger bands came through town.

A cover song need not be a revolution. Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin approaches her latest single, a Tom Waits cover, with a light enough touch to please her fans and Waits followers alike.

First Watch: Girl Band, 'Paul'

Aug 6, 2015

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