Top row, left to right: Laura Marling, Lorde, Mike Milosh of Rhye; middle row: Ty Segall, James Blake, Valerie June; bottom row: Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne of The Blow, Earl Sweatshirt, Lou Reed.
It's Thanksgiving weekend, which means many of us will be sitting in a living room or around a dining table for hours on end with relatives we hardly know. Good times! In situations like this, the conversation is just as likely to flow like molasses as wine, so it's important to have great music playing at all times to ward off the awkward pauses.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:38 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the holiday gift baskets from which our interns will receive their only sustenance is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to meet your favorite musicians without feeling like a complete stooge.
Helen Okolicsanyi writes via Facebook: "How can you not be awkward when you get a chance to meet your favorite musician in person? I never know what to say besides 'Love your music' without sounding like a fangirl."
On this episode of All Songs Considered, hear Robin Hilton explain why he has a Yo Gabba Gabba! song stuck in his head every day, and how the best remedy this week has been the new Death Grips record, Government Plates.
It's been several months since longtime Pixies bassist Kim Deal left the band, and the remaining members are still figuring out how to play together. But the group's new sound seems to coalesce on its latest single and video, "What Goes Boom."
"Since the reunion, there are sounds that I've been coming up with," guitarist Joey Santiago tells us via email. "And a lot of them just got condensed into this one song, with me going sh*thouse on guitar."
We need some help putting together next week's show. Thanksgiving is coming up, and for a lot of you, this means you'll be spending some close time with family. Maybe it's more time with family than you want. Or maybe you can't get enough of it. Either way, it's an opportunity to reflect on the people in our lives and how they've shaped who we are.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 9:35 am
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.
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.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:07 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?
Bon Iver at the Wilbur Theatre (Boston, MA), Dec. 12, 2008. "Got it from the sound guy. Bri?" - @kevinmccaul
Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the House of Blues (Boston, MA), May 12, 2003.
"Waited years to see them, my favorite band, and had to fight off some drunk girl as she tried to grab it from me. Snagged some Y confetti as well just for fun." - ssophia
The Lone Bellow at Kean University's Enlow Hall (Union, NJ), Oct. 19, 2013.
"Got to meet them after the show and they signed the set list. Most people asked for [a] CD or Vinyl or poster to be signed, but when they saw I snagged a set list, they all lit up. Like they were thinking, 'Someone cared enough to take our set list, we made it.'" - M00nmaster
Credit Twitter: @kevinmccaul
Wolf Parade at The Warsaw (Brooklyn, NY), Aug. 19, 2007.
"Love the nicknames (for the songs)." - @kevinmccaul
Credit Twitter: @PerkinsS
Randy Newman at the Sheldon Concert Hall (St. Louis, MO), May 4, 2008.
Credit Travis B.
Ra Ra Riot at Funk 'n Waffles (Syracuse, NY), Mar. 4, 2008.
"They apparently recycled the setlist from their 3/2/08 show." - Travis B.
Sufjan Stevens at the Beachland Ballroom ("Surfjohn Stevens' Christmas Sing-A-Long Tour" - Cleveland, OH), Dec. 16, 2012.
Credit Dina Marie
Left: Morrissey at The Fillmore (San Francisco, CA), Sept. 26, 2007. Right: Johnny Marr at The Fillmore, Nov. 1, 2013.
"I'm very lucky. I work at a music venue, so I get setlists often (but only for bands I really love!)." -Dina Marie
Credit Twitter: @oh_starship
Devenda Banhart at the Bowery Ballroom (New York City, NY), Oct. 28, 2012.
"[He] opened for Swans on the eve of Hurricane Sandy." - @oh_starship
Dan Wilson at Joe's Pub (New York City, NY), Nov. 7, 2013.
"I'm usually going home with set lists to use as a reference for writing up concerts ... but I was recently impressed [that] Jagwar Ma had none (it was just in their heads!) Plus, now many bands are using laptops or iPads for this purpose ... I worry this is going to be a lost art/souvenir." - Anonymous
Credit Twitter: @cyrilwood
Derek Trucks Band at The Vogue (Indianapolis, IN), Sept. 8, 2008.
"Handwritten on a printer's test page." - @cyrilwood
Credit Twitter: @bob_davidson
The Avett Brothers at UIC Pavilion (Chicago, IL), Apr. 25, 2011.
Credit Twitter: @fangisland
Jason Bartell, a guitarist in Fang Island, collects set lists from bands the group tours with, and makes them into charcoal drawings. This is a drawing for a setlist from the band Like Pioneers.
Credit Derek Riley
Mazzy Star at Greenstreet's (Columbia, SC), 1990.
Credit Twitter: @andrewtabs
Neutral Milk Hotel's first live show in 15 years; at Space 2640 (Baltimore, Maryland), Oct. 11, 2013.
Credit Twitter: @kevfbrownn
Beach House at the Variety Playhouse (Atlanta, GA), Sept. 16, 2012.
"[The] setlist [was] split four ways, all of them signed [by the band]." -@kevfbrownn
Credit Facebook: Olf Spleen
City and Colour at Passionkirche (Berlin, Germany), Jan. 4, 2008.
Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 1:33 pm
Earlier this week we asked you to submit photos of the setlists you've collected over the years. We got a lot of amazing pics. Some, such as the Elliott Smith setlist from 1999, felt like rare treasures. We've added some of our favorites to the gallery below. Click the info icon or mouse over the images for captions and explanations for each one.
"I really wanted to stay away from anything too literal in favor of something bigger, more fantastical and ethereal." And with that concept, director Olivier Agostini completely drew me into a sweet story while turning me on to Butch Walker's new video for the song "Coming Home."
Butch Walker was a guitarist in a glam metal band (SouthGang), a singer and guitarist with Marvelous 3, and later-turned-producer for Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, and Pink. Go figure. He's also been making his own songs, and his latest is "Coming Home" from the EP Peachtree Battle.
Late this past month, the first-ever Mountain Oasis music festival popped up in Asheville, N.C. for three days and nights of glorious weirdness. Officially called the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, the event featured bands both big (Nine Inch Nails) and small (Adventure Club), thrilling audiences with thumping dance, mind-blowing electronic, fist-pounding rock and more.
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 11:07 am
Late last month I witnessed the most creative music festival I know, and I'm back with some astonishing new music discoveries. The first annual Mountain Oasis festival took place in a number of venues in Asheville, N.C. the weekend before Halloween. Asheville's a city that, much like Austin, Texas or Portland, Ore., lives up to that often-used slogan "Keep (insert city name here) Weird." As music pours into the streets, you'll see people dressed up as gnomes in illuminated hats, traveling in packs along with jellyfish, various monsters or even giant butterflies.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 12:39 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.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 8:54 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 Wed November 6, 2013 11:56 am
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).
Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 9:21 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the 500 pounds of generic Circus Peanuts we intend to melt down for home insulation is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for a unifying theory of concert length.
James Vincent McMorrow first popped on our radar back in 2010, when he released his breathtakingly beautiful debut Early In The Morning, a collection of acoustic folk notable, in part, for McMorrow's remarkable voice. But it turns out McMorrow never really wanted to be a folk singer. His latest album, Post-Tropical, is a sultry, slinky R&B album, with drum machines and soul-inspired harmonies. Now comes a dark, sometimes unnerving new video for the album's first single, "Cavalier."
On this week's edition of All Songs Considered, host Bob Boilen is caught in a funk, and the only cure is copious amounts of saxophones and surf rock. To soothe his ailments, Bob introduces Moon Hooch, a group that was banned from New York City's Bedford Avenue subway stop in Brooklyn due to its danceable squeaks and squawks.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 10:14 am
The latest video from Odd Future co-founder Tyler, The Creator isn't at all what you might expect. The Los Angeles rapper and producer, known for his dark, dystopian hip-hop, takes on a breezy pop ballad for the short and vividly beautiful film. Tyler didn't write the song and isn't saying who did. But he was so moved by it he agreed to write and direct the video.