We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the shampoo samples we accidentally tossed into the fireplace is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, the etiquette surrounding the giving and receiving of mix CDs.
"This is just an awesome, inspiring place to make music." Those are the words of Jake Wachtel, who directed this music video for John Vanderslice. And the place he's talking about, well, it's John's heart and soul really: It's a recording studio called Tiny Telephone located in San Francisco's Mission District.
A few months ago, I reviewed a handful of new apps that show you which bands or artists are playing in your area. Some of those apps were hit-or-miss, and some have made some improvements since my initial review. This week All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton and I have pared the list of apps down to our two favorites. (You can hear us talk about it on the weekly series All Tech Considered.)
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the package of Omaha Steaks that sat on our front porch for the duration of a three-week vacation is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to incorporate music into romantic gestures.
Merriam-Webster defines parallel as, "extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant, and not meeting." The luscious and expansive song, "Parallel," from Morgan Nagler's indie project Whispertown and the accompanying music video both explore the term in magnificent ways. The video, made from creative commons videos on YouTube edited together by Morgan Nagler's brother (he wishes to go by "Morgan's Brother") illustrates the concept of parallel by showing a myriad of different scenarios that mimic each other. It's a bit of magic, really.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the flyers from reputable debt-consolidation companies is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a vexing piece of concert-going etiquette.
Chelsea Wolfe has a surreal voice that cuts through her foggy, soulful, often haunting rock and folk music. There's a thorny vision of yearning, heartbreak and death in Wolfe's songs that's striking, yet always brings us back to what makes these bleak themes so appealing, even beautiful. When I heard that Wolfe would "go electronic" for the forthcoming Pain Is Beauty, it was no shock; after all, synths and noise had been part of her textures all along. But with "The Warden," Wolfe has taken the fog to the club.
My first stereo had a built-in 8-track player, a turntable and a radio. My parents bought it at a local discount store for what probably seemed like a fortune to them at the time, and I used it for years. My mom eventually sold it at a garage sale. It wasn't that nice of course, but I'd love to have it back.
I won't lie to you. The new video from Majical Cloudz, for the Canadian electro-pop duo's song "Bugs Don't Buzz," is kinda gross. There are scenes so strange and slimy, I'm not even sure what's going on. But, set to what is an undeniably gorgeous, if plaintive love song, the imagery from director Gordon von Steiner is strangely transfixing. I couldn't stop watching.
Slow and steady wins the race, but sometimes, as in life, you need a moody sidekick to get you through it. (Or maybe that's just Daria.) Over the course of three mid-tempo albums, True Widow's stoner-rock and shoegaze mix (dubbed "stonegaze," of course) trudges with back-breaking heft. It's actually perfect music for hiking — tough and determined, yet as hypnotic as the rhythmic crunch of dead leaves beneath your feet.
I adore this song, and the video makes me love it all the more. "Green Blood" is from Sonny and the Sunsets' new album, Antenna to the Afterworld. It's a record filled with cinematic tales, told simply with guitars, bass and drums. And none of those tales are told as endearingly as they are in this song and video about love on a distant planet.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the American Girl catalogs we never ordered is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how first-time music-festival attendees can survive and thrive in an overwhelming setting.
Kendall Levinson writes: "Any advice for a young person going to his or her first music festival this summer? Any tips for preparation or survival would be appreciated."
"Plastic Cup," the moody opening cut to Low's latest album, The Invisible Way, recalls a friend's substance abuse, a lifetime of dependence on others and a soul-crushing future of pointless drug tests. But in a strange new video for the song, director Ryley Fogg takes those themes in a dark and curious direction. Creepy, hooded figures intercut with black-and-white images of the band performing in period costumes.
Guys, did you hear? The '90s are back! By all means, don't let go — you've got the music in you — but as the nostalgia gap gets shorter every year, there's a fine line between homage and theft. That's why recent rock bands like Milk Music, Speedy Ortiz and Roomrunner get it right, ingesting bands that made 120 Minutes and the left side of the dial vital, while still demonstrating that there are still plenty of raucous hooks to mine.
The latest video for the Canadian electro-pop band Young Galaxy is a study in stark, disturbing contrasts. "Here it comes again, the beautiful, warm weather," sings frontwoman Catherine McCandless, just as all hell breaks loose.
When singer-songwriter Grant Olney started working on his latest album, Hypnosis For Happiness, he never imagined it'd take six years to finish. But after laying down the first tracks in 2006, Olney left for the U.K. and the Netherlands to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics. After finishing a 300-page dissertation on something called "high dimensional geometry," Olney returned to music and found himself reflecting on identity, friendship and what it means to really know someone. It's a knotty mix of emotions and ideas he tackles in a touching new video for the song "Not From Body."