Can you hear the wedding bells? June has arrived. Theories vary on why this is the month for marriage. Old traditions like the timing of the harvest season (and pregnancies) might have had something to do with it, or more modern practicalities such as nicer weather and abundant fresh flowers. And then there's the name of the month itself, thought to be inspired by Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside Bob Boilen's 64-ounce tub of Kirkland-brand gong polish is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what separates a mere hit from an invasive irritant.
Chris Kiraly writes via Facebook: "When (if ever) does a song earn the distinction of being 'overplayed'?"
Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 10:49 am
Most of the time, I just pick songs with moments that get me air drumming, regardless of the genre or drummer — or the programmer behind the beats. But for this week's puzzler, I've selected works by undeniable legends in the business, from classic rock pioneers to jazz virtuosos. Good luck, heroes!
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Spoon's first album in four years is called They Want My Soul. It won't be released until Aug. 5, but frontman Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno recently joined All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton to play some of the record and share the stories behind it. You can hear the full interview using the link above, or read edited highlights below.
In certain corners of the record-collecting world, few rock songs are revered as much as The Chills' "Pink Frost." The tune turns 30 this year, and to celebrate, the band has re-recorded it and included it as the B-side to its first single since 1995.
Another month means another Recommended Dose from All Songs Considered. We listen to literally hundreds of new electronic music tracks each month, test the standouts on some very loud speakers and highlight the best of the best in a 30-minute mix.
You can stream this month's mix here or NPR Music's SoundCloud account. If you'd rather just hear each song individually, check out the playlist below.
Pop stars are the ideal companions of their fans' daydreams, speaking their most romantic hopes and defiant declarations through the songs on the Top 40. Miranda Lambert, however, is the kind of friend who's not going to take anybody's bull. As country's most lauded million-selling artist, beloved by everyday listeners and critics alike, Lambert has crafted a body of work grounded in the realism of muscle, flesh and heart.
Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 10:50 am
The warmer weather brings out the air-drummer in me, which means I'm remembering and rediscovering some of my favorite fills, including the ones in this week's puzzler. I think most of these will sound familiar to anyone who's had commercial FM rock blasting with the windows down. So turn it up, pay attention, and good luck!
As always, if you have a drummer or a fill you'd like to see featured in these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.
On this edition of All Songs Considered we roll the windows down with a wind-whipped, sun-dappled mix of rock and pop, starting with an epic jam from the musician Timothy Showalter, who writes and records as Strand Of Oaks. The song, "JM" — a tribute to the late Jason Molina — rumbles and roars, propelled by Showalter's scorched guitar and voice.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the six-pack of Hanson-branded beer that cost $25 to ship is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on disposing of music in a digital age.
Tami Anderson writes via Facebook: "How long do you keep songs in your collection when you rarely/never seem to listen to them?"
Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 10:50 am
Michael Benjamin Lerner is the drummer, lead singer and songwriter behind the Seattle-based band Telekinesis. There are times, while listening to his music, when I think it's just about the greatest pop band on the planet. Every song is perfectly realized and memorable.
Michael sits in as our guest Quizmaster for this week's puzzler, sharing fills and intros from some of his favorite drummers who've inspired his own work. Good luck, close-listeners!
Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.
Sometimes we like to turn things up really loud, especially in the summertime. So for this year's edition of Make Music New York, we commissioned Sunny Jain, founder of Red Baraat, to write a new song that would kick off the season in massive, marching-band style. He came back to us with "100+ BPM."
We're only five years away from Ridley Scott's 1982 vision of a retro-futuristic Los Angeles, when all that stands between human and biorobotic android is the Voight-Kampff machine. But the dark tones and moral ambiguity of Blade Runner never left the film's cult fans — particularly those beguiled by Vangelis' synth-driven soundtrack.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the bag of caramel-filled chocolates we're neglecting to share with our colleagues is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when hardcore fans hate their favorite artist's new project.
It's been almost five years since Phish had a new album of songs. Today, we're happy to announce that Fuego, the band's twelfth studio album, will be out on June 24. That's the album cover above. The album's ten songs were premiered live by the band on Halloween 2013 in Atlantic City, N.J.
Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton kick off this week's All Songs Considered with a song that's 160 years old but still resonates. Guitarist Marisa Anderson offers a transporting, solo electric version of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More," an ever-relevant tune about pausing to enjoy "life's pleasures and count its many tears."
In 1963, Alabama was culturally closer to Brooklyn than it is now. The Great Migration of African-Americans out of the South created enclaves in cities all over the country, and the Civil Rights movement trained the eyes of the North on cities like Birmingham. Alabama native Naomi Shelton came to Brooklyn that year with the gospel in her heart and soul music turning her head. She found a place to sing, a bar on Flatbush Avenue, and a musical partner in keyboardist Cliff Driver. Flatbush Avenue rang out with the sound of her Southern blend of grace and grit.
A new Bob Dylan recording popped up on his site just now. You have to go there to hear it — it's a version of the classic 1945 song, "Full Moon and Empty Arms." The tune is written by Buddy Kaye — known for writing hits for Sinatra, Ella and Elvis — and Ted Mossman, and based on Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
At the office, in the classroom, in line at the bank, at your own wedding — there's really no wrong place to play air guitar. But the best spot is on public transportation, when you're crammed into a mass of unknown bodies about to experience the fury of a righteous guitar solo no one can hear but yourself.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the flyer for a maid service that disappeared into a massive pile of papers is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when to deviate from traditional wedding-reception music.