Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy is back with another covers project. This time its for music by The Kinks. Meloy began releasing Colin Meloy Sings cover EPs in 2005 to coincide with his various solo tours.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 9:18 am
The Motor City's own Dennis Coffey joins us for this installment of Sense of Place: Detroit. The veteran musician holds strong ties to the city's R&B and soul sound. As a guitarist and producer, Coffey spent a good amount of time in Motown's Studio A, which artists dubbed "the snake pit."
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 9:09 am
Continuing this week's feature Sense of Place: Detroit, we welcome The Hounds Below to the World Cafe. Even before the popular garage rock band The Von Bondies started to dissolve in 2009, lead singer Jason Stollsteimer was already writing the poppier songs that make up the repertoire of the Hounds. Stollsteimer committed to the new band in 2011; the group released its debut, You Light Me Up In The Dark, the following year.
From broadsheet ballads to music hall choruses, songs have documented true-life emigrant experiences through time. This week, Battlefield Band, Mick Moloney, Mary Black and others continue in that tradition.
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Cellist and singer-songwriter Ben Sollee performs on this episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. A classically trained musician with a deep technical command, Sollee has earned wide acclaim for incorporating elements of folk, bluegrass and R&B into his singular musical style.
The Flaming Lips have always had a fondness for science fiction and fantasy, with a vast catalog of songs about robots, spontaneous human combustion, telepathy, wizards, and UFOs. The band's latest source of inspiration is the sci-fi novel (and new movie) Ender's Game, which tells the story of Earth's futuristic battle with insect-like aliens called "Buggers." A new EP from The Flaming Lips, The Peace Sword includes six songs inspired by the story, including this dark, strange, synth-heavy jam "If They Move, Shoot 'Em."
This week's Sense of Place focus on Detroit calls for a resurrection of the very first installment of a World Cafe series called Producer Profiles. This archived session from 1992 features Don Was. In the profile, Was discusses the work he's done with a number of artists, including Bonnie Raitt (Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw).
Every fall, hundreds of bands flock to New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon, a large festival where independent, new and emerging musicians hope to be discovered. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen was among the countless journalists, bloggers, college radio DJs, record label reps and others who attempted to navigate the sea of live performances, hoping to find new music to love and share.
Songs by Lucy Wainwright Roche seems to be told with a shrug, a note of apology, or modesty. And, yet, her father is the witty and acerbic singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Her mother is Suzzy Roche — one third of the harmonious Roche sisters.
The 1975 has been on a meteoric rise in 2013. The pop-rock quartet's self-titled debut album landed at No. 1 in the U.K. Earlier this summer, the band opened for The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, London.
While the band is rooted in the present with its current success, its throwback influence goes beyond its name. Lead singer Matthew Healy says The 1975 was inspired by the 1980s — specifically, '80s teen movies.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:09 pm
How much does any musician's outtakes, sanctioned for release years after the fact, enlarge our understanding of their canonical work? Depends on the artist; depends on the work. Sometimes they serve a shadow function — unissued songs that, had they come out the first time around, would have fundamentally rewritten the artist's story. Sometimes they simply present alternate routes to the same basic end-point. And sometimes they should have stayed in the damn vault.
Linda Thompson is probably best known for the albums she recorded with her husband Richard Thompson in the '70s and early '80s. They divorced, and Thompson has maintained a sporadic solo career. Her new album is a family affair, featuring some accompaniment by her ex-husband, and some songs written with her son, the singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson.
Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 12:39 pm
Earlier this week we posted a poll asking whether you think concerts have gotten too loud, and whether you've started wearing earplugs at shows. After a week of voting, the results are in, and respondents have what seems to be a pretty clear message to clubs and concert venues: Turn it down!
"A Rational Conversation" is a column by writer Eric Ducker in which he gets on iChat or Gchat or the phone or whatever with a special guest to examine a music-related subject that's entered the pop culture consciousness. It previously appeared at The Daily Swarm.
Daughter first popped up on our radar when we heard the London band's song "Landfill" while preparing for SXSW early last year: Achingly pretty and melancholy, the track builds to an absolute gut-punch of a line — "I want you so much, but I hate your guts" — that conjures a pitch-perfect mix of gloom, desire and hostility.
With a voice as sweet as her name, English singer/songwriter Lucy Rose bloomed in the KEXP studios with an acoustic performance. Stateside listeners may not recognize her, but you might have heard her backing vocals on the most recent Bombay Bicycle Club albums. On her own, Rose composes tender, lovelorn ballads, performing with a worldliness that defies her young age of 24.
Anoushka Shankar began playing sitar with her famous father, the late Ravi Shankar, when she was 4. But until recently, she'd never entered a studio with her other famous relative, half-sister Norah Jones.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 9:08 am
The Slants, a six-member band from Portland, Ore., calls their sound "Chinatown Dance Rock" — a little bit New Order, a little bit Depeche Mode. They describe themselves as one of the first Asian-American rock bands. Their music caters to an Asian-American crowd, they've spoken at various Asian-American events, and they're proud of all of it.
If you were listening to NPR 10 years ago this week, you might have heard this enthusiastic proclamation: "The wait is finally over for architect Frank Gehry, for the musicians and staff of the LA Philharmonic, and for all of Los Angeles. Tonight, for the first time in public, the orchestra plays its magnificent new instrument: Walt Disney Concert Hall."