Music News

The Record
3:31 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Jay Z's Music Service, Tidal, Arrives With A Splash, And Questions Follow

Madonna, Deadmau5, Kanye West, and Jay Z onstage at the Tidal launch event.
Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 3:46 pm

Jay Z doesn't do anything small. His album drops feature entire new apps. His tours (with his wife, Beyonce, or collaborator Kanye West) gross hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide. So of course the launch of his recently acquired streaming music service, Tidal, would have to be just as big.

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Music News
6:54 am
Sat March 28, 2015

The Tale Of Mingering Mike, Who Painted Himself A Music Career

Mingering Mike's Joseph War & Friend, 'As High As The Sky' (mixed media on paperboard).
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 11:29 am

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has just added a handful of soul records to its collection — or at least that's what you might think when you first see the work of Mingering Mike. A self-taught artist, he grew up in a tough part of Washington, D.C., just a few miles from the museum, though his family didn't spend much time there. Now, his work is in the museum permanently.

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Music News
5:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Influential Guitarist John Renbourn, Co-Founder Of Pentagle, Dies

John Renbourn performs onstage at the Royal Festival Hall in London June 29, 2008. The influential guitarist died at his home in Scotland Thursday. He was 70.
Barney Britton Redferns

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 11:41 am

Guitarist and composer John Renbourn co-founded the group Pentangle and went on to become revered by guitarists around the world. Renbourn was found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home in Scotland on Thursday, after failing to show up for a concert. He was 70 years old.

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All Songs Considered
7:23 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Lower Dens' Jana Hunter Explains 'Escape From Evil,' Track By Track

Lower Dens singer and songwriter Jana Hunter writes that her band's new album, Escape From Evil, is typified by "warmth and physicality."
Frank Hamilton Courtesy of the artist

There's something mysterious, almost opaque, about the songs of Lower Dens. The ones on the band's new album, Escape From Evil, are lush but distant, beautiful things held just out of reach.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Tue March 24, 2015

First Listen: 'Carrie & Lowell' By Sufjan Stevens

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 6:15 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
3:00 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Egyptian Singer, Meet Burundi Bassist. Play Among Yourselves!

A Nile Project concert in Al Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt, 31 January, 2013.
Courtesy of Matjaz Kacicnik/Nile Project

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 6:23 pm

Late one night, Dina el-Wadi, a singer and musician from Cairo, arrived in Kampala, Uganda. She'd come for a gathering of musicians who live in countries along the Nile River.

She went to bed and woke up to pure enchantment: "I found a very beautiful woman singing in the morning in a very, very, very magical way. So I said, 'Oh, who is this girl that's going to sing with us?'"

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Deceptive Cadence
10:11 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Sviatoslav Richter: The Pianist Who Made The Earth Move

Sviatoslav Richter, born 100 years ago in Ukraine, is considered one of the world's greatest pianists.
Sony Music Photo Archives

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:48 am

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All Songs Considered
9:08 am
Wed March 18, 2015

NPR Music At SXSW 2015: Tuesday

A musician plays on the street in Austin on the opening day of the 2015 South by Southwest music festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:43 am

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Music News
12:11 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Remastering 78s: A Company Brings Clarity To Pianist Artur Schnabel's Works

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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The Record
1:18 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Winning In Country Music, With No Help From Nashville

Aaron Watson on stage during the National Finals Rodeo Cowboy Fanfest in Las Vegas in 2014.
Mindy Small Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 10:53 am

There's only one word to describe Aaron Watson's music: country. Watson, from Abilene, Texas, sings about rodeos, fence posts and family with a twang in his voice that would sound like a huge moneymaker if you're the kind of fan who stopped listening to country in the early 1990s, when George Strait and Garth Brooks were selling millions of albums and scoring hits on country radio.

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SXSW Music Festival
1:17 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Doritos Stage Pulled From SXSW But Issues Remain

At SXSW 2014, pop star Lady Gaga performed on a stage made to look like a five-story-tall Doritos vending machine, which won't be returning this week.
Kevin Mazur WireImage/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 9:01 am

South by Southwest is in its 28th year, with its music festival starting Wednesday and featuring more than 2,200 bands from 62 countries.

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Music
4:33 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

In South Africa, Soulful Music Delivers Serious Messages

The newest album by The Muffinz, Do What You Love, tackles heavy issues such as politics, race and education.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 5:21 pm

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Animals
6:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

From Bored To Blown Away: Feline Reactions To 'Music For Cats'

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 3:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Last week we invited you to bring your cat closer to your speakers, not to hear anything I had to say, but this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPOOKS DITTY")

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All Songs Considered
9:07 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Hear Lydia Loveless Cover Prince's 'I Would Die 4 U'

Todd Cooper Courtesy of the artist

Last year, as an April Fools' Day joke, the label Bloodshot Records announced that it had brought together 21 affiliated artists for a roughed-up roots take on the music of Prince, to be pressed as a "purple swirl colored double vinyl LP" set.

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The Record
6:03 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Benjamin Booker Faces The Past

David Goldman Courtesy of the artist

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Animals
6:25 am
Sat March 7, 2015

These Tunes Are Music To Your Cats' Furry Ears

Could this cat be enjoying "Spook's Ditty"?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 10:18 am

When you leave the house, do you ever turn on some music to keep your cat company?

What kind do you choose? Tom Jones crooning "What's New Pussycat?" A ballad by Cat Stevens? Perhaps Al Stewart's "The Year of the Cat"?

Nonsense. Cats don't to want to hear humans singing about them, says composer and University of Maryland music professor David Teie.

Researchers at U.Md. and the University of Wisconsin have teamed up with Teie to make music that was more feline friendly.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:29 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Saying Goodbye To A Manhattan Classical Music Mecca

Owner Heidi Rogers Tuesday at her famous Manhattan shop, Frank Music Company, before the store's final closing Friday. Judging silently from on high is composer Igor Stravinsky.
Anastasia Tsioulcas NPR

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 5:04 pm

There's a kind of little village of artisans on Manhattan's West 54th Street. In a couple of plain looking office towers, there are a bunch of rehearsal studios, violin makers' workshops and other music businesses. Behind one of those office doors on the 10th floor sits Frank Music Company — Frank's, as everybody calls it.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:02 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Young Composer's Work Dropped For Nazi Melody

21-year-old Estonian-American composer Jonas Tarm.
Elena Snow Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 6:28 am

It was supposed to be a celebratory occasion, a high-profile performance of a piece given life by the orchestra that commissioned it — a young composer's music played by other young musicians.

Instead, the performance scheduled for Sunday of Jonas Tarm's music at Carnegie Hall by the highly regarded New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) has been canceled after it came to the attention of the ensemble's administration that the piece contains a quotation from the Nazi "Horst Wessel Lied."

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The Record
9:28 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Planet Of Sound: The Long, Unmistakable Orbit Of Aphex Twin

Courtesy of Warp Records

Releasing music under multiple names is a standby in the world of electronic dance music, but nobody in the early 1990s made more of the tendency than Aphex Twin, born Richard D. James in Cornwall, England in 1971. In addition to his main moniker, James had perhaps the most perversely odd pseudonyms in a field heavy on dweebs, gearheads, sci-fi nuts and other language-as-alien-device types.

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Remembrances
2:58 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Legendary Jazz Producer Orrin Keepnews Dies At 91

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 4:38 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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The Record
8:21 am
Sat February 28, 2015

Sympathy For The Devils

Josh Tillman's latest album as Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear, is a sincere and shocking catalog of the main character's adventures in sex and love.
Emma Tillman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 2:17 pm

It's been five years since Kanye West raised his glass to "the a--holes" in the song "Runaway," a poetic taxonomy of bad behavior that formed the emotional center of his masterwork My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It's a sad song about romantic failure, but also a strong statement connecting West to popular music's longstanding practice of being dangerously outrageous.

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Music News
3:09 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

A Wrong Note Sets The Right Mood In 'House Of Cards'

House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as the ruthless politician Frank Underwood.
David Giesbrecht Netflix

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Madonna's Tumble At Brit Awards Lights Up Twitter, Stirs Ageism Debate

Singer Madonna falls during her performance at the Brit music awards at the O2 Arena in London on Wednesday night.
Toby Melville Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 3:16 pm

Singer Madonna fell off the steps next to the stage while performing her song "Living for Love" at the Brit Awards in London. The 56-year-old singer picked herself up and continued her performance.

The fall at Wednesday's music awards show was apparently caused by a move that went wrong: A dancer tugged at Madonna's cape, which failed to detach, and the singer fell down a flight of steps. Almost immediately, she rose and continued singing.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:26 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Podium Diplomacy: Conductor Takes Chinese Music West And Vice Versa

Chinese conductor Long Yu.
P.A.D. Studio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 12:40 pm

By some measures, China is now the world's largest economy. It's also a gigantic market for American brands, from Hollywood blockbusters to KFC and Pizza Hut. But one Chinese conductor, Long Yu, would like these cultures to hear each other a little more clearly. He's launching a new project to do just that, and it's starting tonight with the New York Philharmonic.

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A Blog Supreme
10:24 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Clark Terry, Ebullient Jazz Trumpeter, Has Died

Clark Terry wasn't just a trumpeter with flawless technique; he was also, according to one peer, a "natural-born educator" who devoted much of his later career to passing on his immense musical knowledge.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 5:22 pm

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Movies
6:01 am
Sun February 22, 2015

In Oscar Nominations For Best Score, Some Hear Sour Notes

Michael Keaton is up for an Academy Award for his performance in Birdman. The movie's original score, despite receiving critical acclaim, was declared ineligible for Oscar consideration.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 4:46 pm

The movie Birdman is favored to pick up several major Academy Awards Sunday night, but it will not be taking home the Oscar for best original score. That's because it was declared ineligible for Oscar consideration.

Birdman has one of the year's more distinctive musical scores, propelled by the unaccompanied jazz drumming of Antonio Sanchez, a bandleader and longtime drummer for guitarist Pat Metheny.

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Music News
6:01 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Taylor Swift, Savvy Trademark Titan

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 10:36 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Music News
3:53 am
Sun February 22, 2015

To Set The Mood In Period Drama, A Composer Paints Around The Emotions

Timothy Spall as the British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, whose score is nominated for an Oscar.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 10:36 am

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Music News
3:05 am
Fri February 20, 2015

First Listen: Public Service Broadcasting's 'Race For Space'

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 6:10 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Deceptive Cadence
2:16 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Composing The Folk Music Of A Made-Up Country

Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori as hotel concierge M. Gustave and his lobby-boy confidante, Zero, in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:13 pm

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