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 â€” 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."
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 1:40 pm
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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.
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 â€” a.k.a. Chet Faker â€” 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 â€” 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?
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 August 19, 2014 12:12 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 â€” 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.
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 â€” and, this week, a request for a unifying theory of concert length.
Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:29 am
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.
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.
Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy is back with another covers project. This time its for music by The Kinks. Meloy began releasing Colin Meloy Sings cover EPs in 2005 to coincide with his various solo tours.
The Flaming Lips have always had a fondness for science fiction and fantasy, with a vast catalog of songs about robots, spontaneous human combustion, telepathy, wizards, and UFOs. The band's latest source of inspiration is the sci-fi novel (and new movie) Ender's Game, which tells the story of Earth's futuristic battle with insect-like aliens called "Buggers." A new EP from The Flaming Lips, The Peace Sword includes six songs inspired by the story, including this dark, strange, synth-heavy jam "If They Move, Shoot 'Em."
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 10:14 am
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Every fall, hundreds of bands flock to New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon, a large festival where independent, new and emerging musicians hope to be discovered. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen was among the countless journalists, bloggers, college radio DJs, record label reps and others who attempted to navigate the sea of live performances, hoping to find new music to love and share.
Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 11:39 am
Earlier this week we posted a poll asking whether you think concerts have gotten too loud, and whether you've started wearing earplugs at shows. After a week of voting, the results are in, and respondents have what seems to be a pretty clear message to clubs and concert venues: Turn it down!