The Grammy Awards are fun to complain about. That's fair. If you watched the telecast Sunday night, you probably care about music. People who care about music tend to have strong opinions about what's good and what's not. Strong opinions often lead to disappointment, especially since the pop-music sphere is increasingly consensus-free.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 12:04 pm
Well, this was a surprise. The boundaries between indie rock and electronic music have been dissolving for a while now, but who could have foreseen Ducktails' Matt Mondanile — also a guitarist in the straightforward indie-pop band Real Estate — seeking out cult icon DJ Sprinkles for a deep house remix of his new single "Letter of Intent"?
What is endless? The Universe (theoretically). Summer. Swimming pools. Shrimp. These are all well and good, but what of riffs? Is there is a band for which the riff cannot be confined to a single hook? A band for which three-minute songs are an insult to said riff? A band with riffs so repetitively, knuckle-draggingly dumb that it has to be some kind of genius? Yes, that band is Endless Boogie.
James Hunter has spent his life learning how to tell soul's stories in fresh and personal ways. Born in 1962 in Essex, England and mentored early on by Van Morrison, he embarked on a career with many ups and downs before breaking through in America in his forties. Now the Grammy-nominated Hunter has made his first album in the States, where the music he loves was born.
Veteran producer Joe Boyd says he'd long resisted putting together some sort of tribute album for his late friend, the legendary folksinger Nick Drake. But he finally decided to make one when Boyd realized that the recordings could be captured in a live concert. "In my opinion, the only way to make a tribute record work is to get everyone together in the same place so there's a unity of sound and spirit," he tells us in an email.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 6:41 pm
Joy can blindside you in the smallest, most unexpected moments. That's what happened when I watched this new video from Delaware's Spinto Band, for the song "What I Love." As a miniature paper cut-out of a gymnast dances and tumbles across a colorful breakfast table, I found myself filled with pure bliss.
A spiky, upright piano and bouncing rhythms from The Spinto Band propel the tiny dancer through her routine. Suddenly, something as mundane as drinking coffee and eating cereal seem like cause for celebration.
We had this show all wrapped up last Friday. It was totally in the can! Then My Bloody Valentine dropped its highly anticipated new album over the weekend and threw our previously recorded show into total chaos! But hey, it was worth it. We (and all the other My Bloody Valentine fans out there) have been waiting more than 20 years for this! Hear a new cut from the album and tell us what you think in the comments section.
Hear a song sung by Bob Boilen for the RPM Challege a few years ago
I love a deadline and every February I get one. Thanks to The Wire, a small New Hampshire magazine that started the tradition in 2006, I make an album every year. They call it the RPM Challenge, and the challenge is this: write and record an album in the time between the first and last days of February. To qualify as an album, it just needs to be 10 songs or 35 minutes of music.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:14 pm
When Jozef Van Wissem plays the lute, he doesn't sit. Instead, the New York-based Dutchman stands, looming over his low-hanging instrument like the "figure in black" character in "Black Sabbath" — that'd be the song "Black Sabbath," from the album Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath — that scares the living bejeezus out of everyone.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:45 am
The members of How To Destroy Angels, a collective featuring Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, his wife and singer Mariqueen Maandig, art director Rob Sheridan and the brilliant composer Atticus Ross, have an unambiguously grim view of where civilization is headed. In a new video for the song "How Long," from the band's upcoming album Welcome Oblivion, man hunts man in (surprise) a terrifying, dystopian future.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 8:50 am
On this week's episode, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are back with their latest mix, including a hard-to-find track from Thom Yorke's latest project, Atoms For Peace. The song "What The Eyeballs Did," doesn't appear on the band's upcoming album, Amok. But if you do some digging on the group's website, you'll find a hidden link to download it.
Nearly a decade after releasing its deeply moving and profoundly beautiful album Rabbit Songs, the Brooklyn-based band Hem was on the verge of falling apart. "I actually believed that Hem might never make music together again as a band," songwriter and pianist Dan Messe tells us in an email. "Everything about who we were, where we lived, and how we related to each other seemed beyond repair."
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:45 pm
It has happened over and over again in the past few years. Someone in their 20s tells me how much they love Fleetwood Mac, and in particular its monster-selling album Rumours. My reaction is always the same. Their reaction is invariably deep surprise. I could never stand that record.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 9:42 am
Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down wants you to know she really doesn't care what critics say about her music. But in a comical new video to spoof her band's latest album, We The Common, the singer decides that one writer has gone too far.
Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 3:02 am
Adam Green (The Moldy Peaches) and singer Binki Shapiro (Little Joy) were both going through breakups when they wrote "Just To Make Me Feel Good," a deceptively breezy cut from the duo's debut, self-titled collection of late '60s folk-pop. In their new video for the song, Green and Shapiro wander the city streets, lamenting a lost love and all the little things each of them took for granted.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:49 pm
I once made the mistake of listening to Portal with the lights off before bed. Other than the night following my near-victory at a fried-chicken-eating contest, I'd never had such messed-up dreams in my life.