Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:03 pm
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Beck single that keeps tricking us into thinking it's the new Beck album are a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives โ and, this week, thoughts on when superfans sever their allegiances.
Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton open this week's show by reminiscing about a recent Son Lux and San Fermin show that delivered epic sounds with bold, cinematic rock. Bob and Robin's shared love for walls of noise leads them directly to the orchestral opening track on this week's program, "Beneath The Brine" by The Family Crest.
Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 12:57 pm
Every week I hear something amazing, see something inspiring and want to pass it on. These events are sometimes fleeting, sometimes iconic, but they stop me in my tracks. Bob's Rainbows is the place where I'll highlight the very best of my weekly music intake. [Editor's note: Why rainbows? They're the only naturally occurring phenomenon that can make Bob take his headphones off.]
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Fun-Dip valentine cards we ordered strictly for the Fun-Dip is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives โ and, this week, just in time for Valentine's Day, thoughts on platonic mixtapes.
Stephanie Marten-Ellis writes via Facebook: "How do you share good music with someone without giving the impression that you're 'trying to say something'? You just like the song and want someone to know about it! Can you separate your music suggestions from how you perceive/think of your share-ee?"
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 1:00 pm
Unlikely collaborations can unnerve and unwind heavy and extreme music in ways we'd never before imagined. There's Painkiller, the guts-spilling grind-jazz band featuring saxophonist John Zorn, bassist Bill Laswell and Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris.
If you try to watch this video for its plot, good luck. There's a mermaid, a sandstorm, a dude, a chase, sea creatures, close-up lips ... I tried, but gave up and simply gave in to the flow of the song and the images.
When you listen to "North Street," a just-released song by the band Death, it's hard to believe it's more than 30 years old. The cut, with its urgent beat and relentlessly propulsive guitars, is part punk and part avant-garde rock. Death originally recorded the track in 1980, but it never saw the light of day โ until now.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Bachelor Bouquets we ordered ourselves in order to appear loved is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives โ and, this week, thoughts on music to play at a dance for nervous, flirtatious teenagers.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 3:23 pm
Every year around this time, the All Songs Considered team begins the process of listening to nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We acquire them from any number of sources, as bands willing to circulate their songs for consideration make them available online. But every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of bands, hundreds slip past our radar altogether.
If you remembered that John Paul White and Joy Williams had announced they were taking a hiatus last year, the news of a new digital EP from The Civil Wars might make you scratch your head. But this cover of Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars," which lends its name to the EP, was actually recorded a while back with producers Rick Rubin and Charlie Peacock.
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:28 pm
The sound of Deleted Scenes, a D.C.-based quartet formed in 2005, is potent, angular and distinct. The lyrics of Dan Scheuerman, who sings and plays guitar, can be simultaneously poetic and direct. The best part of Deleted Scenes is the unexpected, the unpredictable, and "Stutter" is a perfect example of their hard-to-label style. It mixes grating vocals with sporadic bursts of guitar, those abrasive sounds morphing into a likable, memorable track.
Once you cross wires with a modular synthesizer, it's like your bloodstream turns into sine waves. The documentary I Dream of Wires looks at the technological and philosophical genesis of the instrument, all the way to its demise and subsequent resurgence. Make no mistake, this movie is for the fanatics โ it clocks in at four hours (!) โ but with a shorter theatrical release set for Moogfest in April, maybe it'll inspire a new generation of synth wizards.
Tomorrow on All Songs Considered we'll post a conversation we taped recently with Beck, about his new album Morning Phase. (We'll also premiere a new song from that album called "Waking Light"). While prepping for the interview, I looked over Beck's body of work from the past 20 years, and realized I couldn't find a single song or project of his I disliked. Sure, there are plenty of recordings and songs I like more than others.
Reality is nine-tenths perception, even in our most intimate relationships. Is it love? Infatuation? Is it real and lasting? All we have are the choices we make. In the latest video from electro-beat guru Son Lux, a torrid relationship plays out between two lovers, as frontman Ryan Lott reflects on the possibilities of an "Alternate World."
When bassist and singer Lou Barlow first formed Sebadoh in 1986, he was an early-twentysomething who wrote sublime, brooding songs about youthful angst and heartache. Now in his late 40s, Barlow writes songs under the Sebadoh moniker that are no less introspective. But he's more agitated and inspired by the trappings of adulthood, from the pressures he feels to make money to life lessons he should have learned by now, to how best to care for his children.
Around this time last year, 21-year-old Elisa Lam went missing during a solo trip to Los Angeles. A month after her disappearance was reported, her body was found in a hotel's rooftop water tank. While it's unclear what happened, investigators ruled out foul play, leaving everyone to speculate wildly about her mental state and possible motivations.
On any given day, All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen bombards co-host Robin Hilton with a running list of new ideas for the show. Most of them never see the light of day. But on this week's program Bob explains his latest idea, one that everyone will want to see happen. It's called "The Sole Of A Band" and involves matching photos of the shoes worn by bands with their music. You can hear more about how it works at the top of this week's edition of All Songs Considered.