Music

  • Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä has finally (and unusually for a conductor) spoken out about management's lockout of his players.

Patrick Watson In Concert

Nov 16, 2012

One of my favorite performers, Patrick Watson is dramatic but understated; deadly serious but unexpectedly candid and funny. And the music feels so warm, with melodies that haunt and enchant. The singer-pianist and his band put out a new record in 2012, Adventures in Your Own Backyard, and it's one of my favorites of the year.

During almost 30 years hosting The Thistle & Shamrock, I've been privileged to hear thousands of albums recorded on everything from vinyl to MP3. For my list of 100 Essential Celtic Songs, I hand-picked songs and instrumentals by passionate performers from across the decades who helped define the sound of my radio shows.

A Band Becomes Animation, With Amazing Results

Nov 16, 2012

Stop motion with live actors is nothing new in music videos. The Beatles did it nearly 50 years ago for the film A Hard Days Night. Peter Gabriel's 1986 "Sledgehammer" video is still mind-blowing. But few have done it as elegantly as Canadian rock duo The Zolas do for the band's mesmerizing, and amazing new video, "Knot In My Heart."

Every so often, people at an NPR station discover a song they can't get enough of. On those occasions, we ask them to share their obsession with the nation. Ben Famous is the music director at KCEP Power88 in Las Vegas. He spoke to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about a new cut from R&B heavyweight Avant. It's called "You and I," and it features Keke Wyatt. "The first time we played it," says Famous, "the phone lines lit up, and people were like, 'Who was that?' 'What was that?'"

Billy Childs Quartet On JazzSet

Nov 15, 2012

It's New Year's Eve at The Blue Whale, a "live jazz + art space" in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 2009 by singer Joon Lee, this is a listening room. There's food at the bar, poetry (Rumi!) on the ceiling, and wall-to-wall people. The Blue Whale has been sold out for days, and the phone keeps ringing off the hook because everybody wants to be on the air, cheering for Billy Childs live on NPR's Toast of the Nation.

First Watch: Miguel, 'The Thrill (Live)'

Nov 15, 2012

The Lost Brothers On Mountain Stage

Nov 15, 2012

The Irish indie-folk duo The Lost Brothers makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of Ohio University in Athens. Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland aren't actually brothers; they met nearly a decade ago, while they were both working with other bands in Liverpool. The two began writing songs together in their spare time, and liked the results so much that they decided to form a singing duo.

Titus Andronicus On World Cafe

Nov 15, 2012

The New Jersey band Titus Andronicus doesn't shy away from big ideas: It's named for Shakespeare's first tragedy, and its last record (2010's The Monitor) is a concept album drawing on the history of the Civil War. The group's big, shambling rock 'n' roll doesn't mess around with the everyday, opting instead for life-and-death urgency.

Dayna Stephens Quartet: Live At Berklee

Nov 15, 2012

The saxophonist Dayna Stephens, originally of the San Francisco Bay Area, has built up an impressive educational pedigree: Berkeley High, Berklee College of Music, the Thelonious Monk Institute's masters program. But he's really flourished by backing up greats like Kenny Barron and Idris Muhammad, and being a first-call player on both the East and West Coast. Blessed with a warm, enveloping tone, he's made two records as a bandleader, including this year's Today Is Tomorrow.

The Jazz Side Of Thrill Jockey Records

Nov 15, 2012

The Chicago-based record label Thrill Jockey, led by founder Bettina Richards, has been presenting music on its own terms since 1992. Like any great independent label, it's difficult to identify the core "sound" of its releases, but its fans can easily identify its curatorial spirit. This is by design. "The way I listen to music, there are no categorical limits," Richards says.

William Basinski has lived on both American coasts, but I know a Southern gentleman when I hear one. The ambient music composer, who grew up in Texas, is on vacation visiting the Celeste ranch of his partner James Elaine's family when I call him — "I just fed the horses apples," he mentions — and is just as sweet as I'd heard from colleagues. He pauses long between words, measuring each one because the weight of each word is just as important as its meaning.

Cuban Sounds: From Mambo To Pop, And Back Again

Nov 15, 2012

I saw Bruce Springsteen perform when I was 12. It was my first real concert, and I was there with my parents. (I have cool parents.) I remember it vividly — the giant screens surrounding the stage, the heady aroma of weed, that deep chant of "Bruuuuuce" that swelled through the stadium and kept going and going and going.

From Schubert To Hendrix: Guest DJ Matt Haimovitz

Nov 15, 2012

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First Watch: Night Beds, 'Even If We Try'

Nov 15, 2012

This is a languid gem of a song paired with very disturbing video. The music, "Even If We Try," is by Night Beds, the project of Winston Yellen. Yellen is a Colorado Springs musician now making his home in Nashville. In fact the songs on the debut album from Night Beds, Country Sleep, were written and partially recorded in Tennessee at the former Sycamore Homestead in Tennessee of Johnny Cash.

This week, All Things Considered is talking to The Rolling Stones one by one, in honor of the band's 50th anniversary. Each of the Stones was asked to pick one song from their archive to discuss. Drummer Charlie Watts — at 71, the eldest statesman in the bunch — chose the song that gave the group its first No. 1 hit in the U.S.

Bob Boilen has had a ban on seeing arena rock shows for more than 30 years, but it may ending. He recently saw The Who at a mega-dome concert, performing one of Bob's favorite albums in its entirety. On this edition of All Songs Considered, hear a cut from that record and why Bob loves it so much.

Lucero On Mountain Stage

Nov 14, 2012

The country-rock band Lucero makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of Ohio University in Athens. Road-tested for more than a decade now, Lucero's distinctive sound mixes soulful horns with pedal steel, keyboards and brash guitars.

John Cale On World Cafe

Nov 14, 2012

Legendary songwriter and producer John Cale is back with Shifty Adventures in Nookie World, his 15th solo album and first since 2005. Cale shape-shifts often throughout the record, channeling a discotheque in the Danger Mouse-produced "I Wanna Talk 2 U," picking an acoustic guitar throughout "Living With You" and venturing into folklore in "Sandman (Flying Dutchman)." Post-punk, hip-hop and everything in between comes into play at one point or another.

PERFORMERS:

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

Monteverdi Choir

John Eliot Gardiner, artistic director and conductor

Elisabeth Meister, soprano

Jennifer Johnston, mezzo-soprano

Michael Spyres, tenor

Jamey Johnson, one of the most popular country singers of recent years, has just released an album titled Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran.

The Good Listener: What To Enjoy And How To Enjoy It

Nov 14, 2012

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the press releases and urgent pleas from deposed Nigerian dictators is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, as discussed this week, our interactions with those around us.

Joanna Groom asks: "How do you maintain your dignity as a music snob without alienating others?"

KCRW Presents: Lost In The Trees

Nov 14, 2012

The sad, gorgeous chamber-pop of North Carolina's Lost in the Trees really caught my attention earlier this year: Inspired by classical music and heavy personal experiences, the band's music is dark and beautiful. Performing in the KCRW studios, Lost in the Trees also took the opportunity to introduce a new song its members have been playing on the road, titled "Glass Harp."

A&M Records: Independent, With Major Appeal

Nov 14, 2012

Dwight Yoakam On World Cafe

Oct 16, 2012

Country-music singer-songwriter and actor Dwight Yoakam blends several genres on his first album in five years, 3 Pears. Released last month, 3 Pears is full of surprises, jumping from Motown and soul to light pop and no-frills rock 'n' roll. Beck produced two of its tracks, while Kid Rock co-wrote the catchy lead single "Take Hold of My Hand."

In this World Cafe session, Yoakam performs four tracks from 3 Pears and sits down for a lengthy and at times emotional interview with host David Dye.

This installment of the Latin Roots series for World Cafe explores bossa nova music, guided by Latin-music expert Ernesto Lechner. Lechner grew up in Buenos Aires, where his parents' record collection consisted of classical records and a solitary bossa nova LP. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he was immersed in Latin music and subsequently became a music journalist, publishing several books on the subject. Lechner co-hosts the radio show Latin Alternative and works as a contributing writer for Rolling Stone, L.A.

Whitehorse On Mountain Stage

May 17, 2012

Will Hoge On Mountain Stage

Apr 6, 2012

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