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."
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!
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the new Pokemon 3DS games that have zombified our once-expressive children is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, tips on how to name one's band.
Sometimes, friends of friends are the best way to discover new music. Or, at the very least, friends of artists you never want to miss live. This was the case with Ryley Walker, a close friend and frequent tour buddy of American Primitive guitarist Daniel Bachman. Walker would accompany Bachman in seriously raucous and psychedelic live sets only a couple years ago, and Bachman would tell me, "Just wait 'til you hear Ryley's stuff." Well, now it's here — and it's not at all what I expected.
Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:30 am
After five decades of singing, Linda Thompson is still one of the best voices in folk music. Her tone is alluring, sometimes mournful, and always passionate. Her story is unlike anyone else's, beginning in England during the 1960s, and continuing with her marriage to Richard Thompson, when she recorded my favorite British folk albums ever, including 1975's Pour Down Like Silver.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 1:54 pm
There's something blurrily manic about cable television at 3 in the morning. Ren & Stimpy reruns feel oddly prescient next to personal-hygiene infomercials, while the swimsuit models on Baywatch and horror B-movies start to bleed together. (Not that I spent four months after college graduation in that "OMG I don't know what to do with my life" catatonic state, flipping channels and making runs to Krystal's.) The production team behind Roomrunner's video for the oddly hooky thrasher "Wojtek" has been there, and makes our all channel-surfing nightmares come true.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the packages our kids discard in disgust for not including the new Pokemon 3DS games is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, tips on inter-generational bonding over music.
Jake Ibey writes via Facebook: "How do you introduce new music to a parent (mid-50s) who is stuck in late-'70s rock mode?"
Five years ago, a listener looking for a lonesome song anywhere near Arkansas might have heard a voice she still can't forget. Christopher Denny was 23 when he released Age Old Hunger, introducing the world to a high Southern warble that doesn't defy gravity so much as play with the tension that force creates – an androgynous, time-jumping instrument. Denny was learning to control his singing then, a process he says is more about instinct than craft. "I have to say...
Hear Volcano Choir Talk About The Band's Live Performances
Volcano Choir got its start in 2005 when Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and members of the band Collections Of Colonies Of Bees decided to make mysterious, multi-layered, adventurous music together. Their first album, 2009's Unmap, was dreamy, frequently abstract, and simply gorgeous.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 8:37 am
There's a moment in this rousing tune by the Brooklyn-based band Rubblebucket I think we can all connect with: singer Kalmia Traver screams "15 missed calls / can you blame me? / Charlie tell me, do you love me?" It's that exasperation, that moment in a relationship when one person finds themselves caring a whole lot more than the other, that makes this a fabulous pop song. I also love how much life this lyric video has; the color and style feel fresh and so perfect for the blasting horns and funk of the music.
It's been a dreary, rainy week in D.C. On this episode of All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are a little stir crazy after being stuck inside during the storms. But, with thunder rolling in the background, Robin kicks things off with an ethereal cut from the Berlin-based trip-hop artist Perera Elsewhere that perfectly captures the mood.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the flyers urging us to replace our nonexistent maid service is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a pair of queries about the importance of loving the right music.
Jennifer Yousfi writes via Facebook: "I have horrible taste in music. How do I fix this?"
Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:34 am
Musicians have a long history of turning tragedy into art. From Neil Young's stirring indictment against the shooting of Kent State students in the 1970 song "Ohio," to the countless tributes and musical memorials to 9-11, artists often feel a need to make sense of the senseless and offer comfort through song.
Somehow this young Dutch musician has managed to capture an aesthetic that happened 20 years before he was born. Jacco Gardner makes music in the spirit of early 1960s baroque pop bands, such as The Left Banke (a group that featured a harpsichord) or late '60s Kinks, and certainly The Zombies from their Odessey and Oracle period. Gardner channels these sounds on a new song and trippy video called "The End Of August."
On this edition of All Songs Considered, host Bob Boilen has a confession: everything in the world is actually a dream in his mind. (Just listen to the podcast, it will make sense.) If that's true, co-host Robin Hilton is grateful that Bob has at least imagined some great new music. You'll hear some of it on this edition of the program, including rapper Danny Brown, Swedish electronic duo Jonsson & Alter, and the beautiful voice of singer Tom Brosseau.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the online pharmacy's monthly supply of the pills that allow us to trudge productively through this waking life is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, an ethical query about online streaming services.
Andrea Sauceda writes via Facebook: "Does using Spotify (and/or other streaming services) make you a bad person?"
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 11:26 am
"What has Wooden Wand been up to lately?" It was a simple question that turned into an epic email thread with a friend a year ago; the kind where you find yourself a sudden apologist for a sprawling, decade-long discography. There was the noise jam-band phase, the bedroom acoustic recordings mistaken for "freak folk," the major-label "flop" that had more to do with the crumbling remains of the label than the artist...
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 10:10 am
I won't lie to you. I love anthropomorphizing dogs. Maybe it's because I like dogs more than people, but need to believe they're somewhat human in order to sustain the kind of long conversations about life and music I have with my own yellow lab, Cornflake (not her real name), without feeling insane.
All of which is to say that when I saw this new video for the song "Boomerang" by Los Angeles singer Lucy Schwartz, I immediately fell in love.
Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 7:24 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the gigantic packets of 401(k) information we chuck directly into the fireplace is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request from a reader who seeks cheerful music for the mopey, beardy indie-rock soul.
There's a new album coming from the band Midlake. The album, Antiphon, isn't out until later this fall, but fans of these modern day creators of classic and progressive rock can get a glimpse of the band's new sound right now with a new song called "Provider."
Lots of bands play bright, winsome folk-pop, but only one has the bold, sure drumming of The Dodos' Logan Kroeber; he infuses the duo's prettily propulsive songs with momentum and force. Four albums into The Dodos' career, the group is still making terrific records like the new Carrier — a tremendous sleeper for those who've been seeking a Blind Pilot-style left-field gem in 2013.