When the down-and-dirty Austin rock band White Denim stopped by the KCRW studios on the day of its album release, its members had one goal in mind: Put as much pressure on our studio equipment as possible before total collapse. They nothing held back, even sweating through their shirts on a crisp fall morning. From blues to prog-rock, soul and psychedelia, there's plenty to like about White Denim's album Corsicana Lemonade — including this song, "Cheer Up/Blues Ending."
For this installment of Sense of Place: Toronto, host David Dye talks with NOW Magazine editor and publisher Michael Hollett. For 32 years, Hollett has guided the alternative news publication to reflect the music culture of Toronto.
If you love jazz and pop from the 1920s and '30s, you might already love the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City during Prohibition. The music played throughout the show is performed by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, and a second album of music from the series was recently released.
World Cafe revisits a 2005 studio session with Neil Young as Sense of Place: Toronto continues. At the time of this recording, Young — who was born in the city — had just released Prairie Wind. In a conversation with host David Dye, the musician reflects on two significant events that affected the album: his recovery from a brain aneurysm and the death of his father.
Join Fiona Ritchie at the Swannanoa Gathering in the mountains of North Carolina for a conversational, musical encounter with multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Brian McNeill. The musician chats about his globetrotting years with Battlefield Band, his song and novel writing, and his projects uncovering Scottish connections in North America and Europe. His travels always inspire new music, and McNeill shares songs and tunes with the audience.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:22 pm
Electro-pop band Poliça is known for its memorable live performances, propelled by the alluring voice and moves of lead singer Channy Leaneagh, not to mention two drummers with full kits. The group broke out of the Minneapolis music scene just a year ago with its 2012 debut, Give You The Ghost, a heady mix of beauty and power.
Originally from Martha's Vineyard, New England singer-songwriter Willy Mason has enjoyed much of his success in Europe, where albums such as 2004's Where the Humans Eat and 2007's If the Ocean Gets Rough were met with wide acclaim.
After a six-year hiatus, Mason put out his third album, Carry On, in the U.K. last year; a U.S. release recently followed. This session marks the first time he's performed with a band at the WXPN studio.
Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 2:21 pm
Singer-songwriter Matraca Berg appears on this episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. As one of Nashville's most respected and sought-after songwriters, Berg has seen her songs recorded by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Reba McEntire, Emmylou Harris and Martina McBride.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 1:39 pm
The American Primitive guitar record is the soundtrack to the open road. It breathes in dust and exhales smoke. Blues, country, rock, psych, drone, folk, ragtime, bluegrass — it encompasses all of them and none at all. But ultimately, it's evocative of a landscape that doesn't know its boundaries. That's why, in particular, 2013 has felt like a 6- and 12-string renaissance that both celebrates and extends this music, especially since the passing of the beloved Jack Rose four years ago.
"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.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 9:54 am
The music of Perera Elsewhere sounds like it was picked up from outer space, like a strange, haunting frequency drifting through the ether from god-knows-where. So it makes sense that the Berlin-based DJ and ambient trip-hop artist brings an otherworldly vibe to life on the video for her song "Giddy."
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 1:42 pm
When their busy schedules align, guitarist Peter Bernstein, keyboard player Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart play together as a trio. Their format isn't earth-shatteringly new — largely standards, a few original pieces, classic sonorities in which Hammond B3 organ meets electric guitar — but after nearly 25 years as a band, their rapport is. Theirs isn't an organ trio of greasy funk, but their cleaner language is plenty tasteful, overlaying smart choices atop plenty of swing.
Vancouver musician Jay Arner has played in all kinds of bands over the years, be they pop, punk or otherwise. When it came time to make his new self-titled record, he decided to take the DIY route: Arner moved into his studio and played everything on the album himself.
The result is a concise set of songs that highlight the multi-instrumentalist's arsenal of capabilities. Hear a pair of tracks from the album and download this week's World Cafe: Next podcast.
Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 12:56 pm
Last week's merciless onslaught of negative reviews for the new Arcade Fire record, Reflektor, sparked a conversation here in the All Songs Considered office about the weight of a writer's words, and whether those words have any real effect on a band's level of success (success in this case being album sales, or otherwise building a fan base).
Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar grew up near Chicago, playing jazz trumpet. In the early 2000s, while in his mid-20s, he began investigating the music of his Iraqi heritage, studying in Baghdad and with expatriate musicians in Europe. Then he began combining the two.
In country music, Ashley Monroe is still a new kid on the block — but the 27-year-old artist has already worked with the likes of Wanda Jackson, Jack White and Miranda Lambert, and has also found success writing for other artists, including Carrie Underwood. The singer says her tastes are eclectic, but country has always had an especially tight hold on her.
In the last few years, Ashley Monroe has cobbled together an impressive country-music pedigree by working alongside both upstarts (Pistol Annies with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley) and longtime Nashville veterans (Vince Gill produced Monroe's solo album Like a Rose), and even collaborating with Jack White every now
Among Betto Arcos' new music picks from Brazil is percussionist Wilson Das Neves, who has been an active and integral part of Rio De Janeiro's music scene since he began playing professionally in the 1950s.
SIMON: It may sound like Savion Glover tapping, or some kind of tin pan Buddy Rich, but this is digital music in the true sense. You're hearing the fingers and hands of Darren Drouin snapping and slapping out a percussive freestyle in a YouTube video that he uploaded this week.