WUIS Xponential

WUIS Xponential

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Would You Like To Hear A Song, Dave?

Jun 2, 2015

Late one Saturday morning last December, after a couple months using my Aether Cone, the "thinking" speaker played David Bowie's "Changes." I pressed the soft button in the center of the sleek, chrome-plated player, and out came the swaggering piano and sharp blast of sax. "Oh yeah," cooed Bowie. "That'll do just fine," I thought, walking away from the wireless speaker sitting on the desk in my bedroom in order to do a few chores.

(Note: If you have photosensitive epilepsy, this video features strobe effects.)

Sam Amidon On Mountain Stage

Jun 1, 2015

Sam Amidon makes his first visit to Mountain Stage, recorded live on the grounds of West Virginia's state capitol. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, Amidon made a name for himself in his teens as a fiddler, issuing five albums with a band he called Popcorn Behavior.

Drew Holcomb On Mountain Stage

Jun 1, 2015

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors appear on Mountain Stage, recorded live at Charleston, W.Va.'s Culture Center Theater. Based in of East Nashville, Tenn., Holcomb writes earnest songs about love, joy, pain and tragedy that continue to find new audiences thanks in part to their placement in TV shows including Nashville, Parenthood and How I Met Your Mother. He and his band have maintained a rigorous touring schedule, crisscrossing the U.S. and U.K.

Metropolis: 5/30/2015

Jun 1, 2015

This Week's Playlist

  • Jamie xx, "Sleep Sound" (Young Turks)
  • Disclosure, "Holding On [feat. Gregory Porter]" (Cherry Tree/Interscope)
  • Hercules & Love Affair, "Blind [feat. Antony Hegarty] [Frankie Knuckles Remix]" (Defected)
  • Purple Disco Machine, "Magic" (Exploited)
  • DJ Dan & Mike Balance, "Ready To Ride" (InStereo)
  • SNBRN, "California [Chris Lake & Matroda Remix]" (Ultra)
  • KDA, "Rumble [Shadow Child Re-Edit]"

It's often true that the songs we wind up loving most are the ones that surprise us. I'm not a pop music lover, not a lover of songs with obvious hooks, so when I heard the big fat chorus that starts off Genevieve's "Colors," I thought, "uh-oh." What wound up drawing me in first was her voice — powerful with a tiny bit of rasp and a sweet smile in her phrasing. And then that perfectly positive message, worded in a way that gave me chills:

World Cafe Next: The Deslondes

Jun 1, 2015

Our World Cafe: Next artist this week is a roots band we happened upon during the first weekend at Jazz Fest in their hometown, New Orleans. The Deslondes, named after a local street, grew out of an earlier incarnation of Hurray for the Riff Raff and still sometimes tour with that band's Alynda Lee Segarra, a fellow New Orleanian.

Dawes On World Cafe

Jun 1, 2015

Maria Yanez might be the present-day music industry's ideal customer. The 36-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., owns roughly 1,000 vinyl records. Though she has sold "a lot" of her CDs and stopped buying digital music about three years ago, she's mostly content with her paid Spotify subscription.

Whether it's their surroundings, the air, the water, the isolation or a communal appreciation of the arts, something has given Icelanders a lock on creating otherworldly sonic landscapes. Sigur Rós and Björk are the most famous of them, but if you've been listening to KEXP's broadcasts from Iceland Airwaves over the past six years, you've no doubt encountered many other aural adventurers.

In just under three minutes, "Eclipses" will leave you breathless. It's as if the nine years since The Velvet Teen's last album, Cum Laude!, were packed into a single power-pop song that forgoes the formality of a chorus. Barely able to contain his heartbreak, Judah Nagler's verses bleed into one another as he sings "Your voice answers / But you are gone." "Eclipses" is layers of euphoric riffs upon sky-busting synth strings as Casey Dietz's drums expertly thunder and crash around it all.

Songs We Love: Beirut, 'No No No'

Jun 1, 2015

In the ADD-addled digital music ecosystem, four years could very well be four decades. Daily, on music blogs and websites around the world, bands become sacrificial page view counts, lost links to forgotten musical history.

There was a moment in the mid-2000s when it seemed like we might be collecting songs, one-by-one, into eternity. Internet connections were getting faster, hard drives stored more data in tinier spaces, songs were easier than ever to find and available for little or no money. Every year, the new version of Apple's iPod, first introduced in 2001 with a now-adorable 5GB of storage space, held thousands upon thousands more songs.

Sharon Van Etten's 2014 album, Are We There, was one of the more focused, devastating recordings of the year, an unflinching set of songs that trace the contours of a doomed relationship. The album doesn't spare either party — Van Etten is as critical of her own decisions as she is damning of her lover's minor cruelties and missteps. It's an uncut catharsis machine, and listening to it can wring you out.

Review: The Deslondes, 'The Deslondes'

May 31, 2015

Sam Doores and Riley Downing could've gone the troubadour route, singing solitary songs and traveling alone, unencumbered. The two singer-songwriters met at Woodyfest, after all, the annual celebration of Woody Guthrie. Doores had already taken to heart Guthrie's self-mythologizing in Bound For Glory and tried to retrace some of his hero's nomadic, train-hopping steps. But Downing and Doores, along with Cameron Snyder, Dan Cutler and John James Tourville, would rather do their rambling collectively, as The Deslondes.

Review: Arthur Russell, 'Corn'

May 31, 2015

To those who adore his work, Arthur Russell was a sort of musical saint whose flittings between styles — disco, pop, folk, rock, quasi-classical stirrings from solo electric cello — were evidence of a divine being on earth.

Next time you go see a concert with a famous singer hogging the spotlight, take a moment to consider all the other musicians playing behind that person. They may be incredibly talented with creative ideas of their own — and, for the most part, you may never know.

Nora Jane Struthers may never have become a singer-songwriter if her identity hadn't been stolen. Rebuilding her life allowed her to take a risk and do something she'd wanted to for years. It paid off: She has a new album out titled Wake.

Her story begins at a charter school in Brooklyn where Struthers worked as an English teacher.

"I started teaching sophomores and moved to teaching seniors in my last year," Struthers says. "I loved it."

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the weekly magazine that seems to show up at least four times per week is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts on the playlists at amusement parks.

A Band Of Their Own

May 30, 2015

Jeanette Baker got to know John Dolphin when she was an aspiring teenage singer in the 1950s.

"I can see him now walking around with that cigar," Baker says. "When he walked around, you knew he was somebody, OK, because he had that air ... which was kind of unusual in those days because being a black man with all that competence that he had, he was like a role model to us."

Latin Roots: Philly Edition

May 29, 2015

"Latin Roots" meets our "Sense of Place: Philly" series as Philadelphia-based reporter Aaron Levinson plays some local Latin music. First up is the "political and funky" El Malito & the 33rd Century, followed by El Caribefunk, a band that splits its time between Philadelphia and Colombia. We also salute Pupi Legarreta, an important figure in Afro-Cuban music who emigrated to the U.S.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

They came to the Tiny Desk a bit groggy, having been up late playing music in the hotel the night before. It's what Frank Fairfield and his friends Tom Marion and Zac Sokolow do when they're together. And the music they make is casual and mostly hand-me-down songs from well before Fairfield was born nearly 30 years ago.

DJ Quik X Spoon, 'Inside Out' Remix

May 29, 2015

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