Nightsounds was originally chartered in 1987 as a locally produced radio program that showcased artists loosely affiliated with New Age music, which became quite popular with the ascension of such labels as Windham Hill, Optimism, Higher Octave and Narada Records; all studios which featured artists loosely affiliated with acoustic and electronic instrumental music that did not pigeon hole into jazz or even soft record categories.
This week's two-hour Metropolis mix includes a brand-new Disclosure song, Rudimental remixed by Maya Jane Coles, an extended remix of Basement Jaxx's latest jam, MK remixing Sky Ferreira, and the U.K. chart-topping hit by Morgan Geist's Storm Queen alias.
Tiga vs. Audion, "Let's Go Dancing (Solomun Remix)"
Basement Jaxx, "Mermaid Of Salinas (Jaxx Extended Club Mix)"
For all the terrific live sessions Cheryl Waters witnesses in the KEXP live room, she's not often knocked speechless after a first song. Clearly, London Grammar has learned from the best: Thanks to the moody atmospherics of guitarist Dan Rothman and keyboardist Dot Major, as well as the soulfully smoky voice of Hannah Reid, the young U.K. trio has already attracted comparisons to Daughter, The xx and Florence Welch.
Nicholas Murphy chose his moniker to honor Chet Baker, the American jazz musician known both as a trumpeter and a fragile, intimate singer. The Australian electronic musician, producer and rising soul singer — a.k.a. Chet Faker — has teamed up with his countryman Flume, the 22-year-old electronic producer. Together, they're releasing this fabulous track, "Drop the Game." This isn't their first collaboration: Flume and Chet Faker worked on Flume's self-titled record, and that record is up for an Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) award.
John Legend has a way of writing songs that create a sense of intimacy. The Grammy-winning soul singer recently performed at one of NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts. The performances are exactly what they sound like: just a musician in a cubicle with an audience that's really, really close — no frills, no fuss.
The so-called "Great American Songbook" is made up of popular songs that made your grandparents and parents dance. They were written for movies and Broadway musicals by composers like Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, and others.
Working as a jazz musician in the 21st century is difficult enough, but hardly anybody tries to make a go of it with a big band anymore. Yet that's exactly what Ted Nash does on his latest album, Chakra.
At 34, John Legend has sold millions of records, won nine Grammys, collaborated with many of the biggest stars in music (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, The Roots, et al), and achieved the kind of statesmanlike musical-ambassador status usually afforded to artists twice his age.
Memphis' Stax Records was an international sensation, putting out hits like Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming," "Green Onions" by Booker T. and the MGs and Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." But behind the music, Stax's story features racial harmony in a city with a troubled history. There are tragedies, lost opportunities and legal disputes, but also some of the most soulful music you'll ever hear.
Born and raised in Houston, pianist Robert Glasper literally grew up in jazz clubs. His mother performed with a jazz band, and she preferred to bring her young son with her, rather than leave him with a sitter. Glasper and his mother were also active in music at their church — his mother sang and played piano, and by age 12, her son had assumed some of the piano duties.
World Cafe's Sense of Place: Toronto series continues, as Jian Ghomeshi welcomes us to the set of his popular CBC radio and TV show, Q. The program covers arts and culture daily through in-depth interviews.
Ghomeshi has a unique perspective on Toronto's music scene, having been a member of Moxy Früvous, a politically satirical a cappella band from the '90s. In conversation with host David Dye, the Iranian-Canadian musician talks about how immigration has shaped Toronto as a city and as a music hub.
Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 11:57 am
I've never seen anyone play guitar quite the way Marian McLaughlin does, or sing the patterns she sings. After catching her live a few years ago, I thought this could either be someone naively noodling or deliberately taking an adventure. I've come to the conclusion it's a bit of both. You can see and hear how McLaughlin pulls this off in a new video for her song "Before You Leave."
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the whale-sedatives we ordered to help us endure the Green Bay Packers' losing streak is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to handle the desire to take a break from music.
When your first full-length album draws fans like ?uestlove of The Roots and Gilles Peterson from the BBC, you've probably hit on something special. That's just what Melbourne, Australia's Hiatus Kaiyote did with Tawk Tomahawk, a record that blends jazz and soul with warm vocals and fuzzy effects.
It's hard to keep your eyes off singer Nai Palm: She's a true original, as you can see in this live performance of "Nakamarra" as part of Hiatus Kaiyote's Morning Becomes Eclectic debut.
Friday night at 1:45 a.m., at least a hundred people were on the main door line for Output, a dance club in Brooklyn that opened near the beginning of the year. They wouldn't be getting in for a while: the spot had reached capacity a half-hour before, shortly after the night's headliner, John Digweed, had begun his DJ set, and they were only letting in folks who'd bought tickets specifically for the show. "No wristbands," said the doorman. The wristbands were all-events passes for the sixth annual Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (BEMF) — the nominal reason for Digweed's appearance.
"I feel as though there's almost two streams going through my veins, two bloodstreams," says trumpeter and composer Amir ElSaffar, leader of Two Rivers. "A lot of my life has been about reconciling the two."
Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 3:25 pm
On this installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots series, music producer and singer-songwriter Rachel Faro discusses an Afro-Uruguayan style of Latin music called Candombe.
Separated by a river from Argentina and nestled next to southern Brazil, Uruguay experienced the same influx of African slaves as Brazil, which resulted in a similar but often overlooked musical impact. Played on sets of three drums, Candombe is highly rhythmic; it's been an integral part of carnival celebrations for centuries.
Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 3:26 pm
Today's Vintage Cafe is a studio performance from the Austin band Okkervil River. The music performed here, from 2013's The Silver Gymnasium, pays homage to singer Will Sheff's life as a boy in Meriden, N.H., during the late '80s.
Red Baraat appears on this special 800th episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, W.V. The Brooklyn band's eight members draw on North Indian rhythms, hip-hop, funk and New Orleans jazz to create undeniably singular party music. The band has performed during its own TED Talk, at the White House and at Google's Mountain View headquarters, and closed the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:58 am
World Cafe's Sense of Place visit to Toronto continues with a discussion between host David Dye and the co-creators of the Canadian label Arts & Crafts: Jeffrey Remedios, formerly of Virgin Records, and Kevin Drew, co-founder of Broken Social Scene.
Dawes appears on this special 800th episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, W.V. Founded by brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Dawes' breakthrough debut, North Hills,drew instant comparisons to work from iconic California rock acts like Jackson Browne and Buffalo Springfield.
This was a perfect night. The setting: A magnificently refurbished synagogue from the turn of the 20th century, with a stunning domed ceiling, menorah's flanking the sides of the stage. Add to it a minimal band of guitar, bass, drums and the beautiful, if deadpan, baritone of singer and guitarist Bill Callahan.
The growing Syrian diaspora streaming out of a country being torn apart includes one of its most popular singers: Omar Souleyman. The musician combines songs of love and desire with driving techno beats, performed on a synthesizer.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:07 pm
A while back (a long while back), Bob Boilen and I were sitting around the office, chatting like we do about music and life, and got to wondering: Is it possible to come up with a top ten list of albums that everyone can agree on?
12 Years a Slave is the most compelling film about music to be released this year, maybe this century. It's so many other things, too, as others have noted: a corrective to the weird cocktail of piety and cartoonishness that Hollywood usually supplies when depicting slavery; a gorgeous art film and an actor's hellish paradise; a cultural highlight of the Obama administration.