Music News

The Record
3:03 am
Sat April 5, 2014

We've Never Stopped Thinking About Kurt Cobain

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 7:15 am

Kurt Cobain died 20 years ago today. It's hardly news. You've probably already seen plenty of tributes to his career and what might have been, along with, perhaps, a criticism of the impulse to memorialize his death simply because it's been a round number of years since the event.

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The Record
3:34 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Make Peace With Pop: 6 Songs That Prove Pop Gets Along With Everyone

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 4:53 pm

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Music News
1:34 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Hip-Hop Academy: Inside A Beatmaker's Harvard Class

9th Wonder addresses Harvard students in a scene from the documentary The Hip-Hop Fellow, which chronicles a year the producer spent teaching hip-hop culture as an academic subject.
Price Films

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 8:21 am

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The Record
8:42 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Where Love Lives: Frankie Knuckles And The Dance Floor

Frankie Knuckles performs at the 2009 Electric Zoo Festival in New York.
Wendell Teodoro Getty Images

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Music News
1:25 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

On The Auction Block: The Stradivarius Of Guitars

A few of the D'Angelico guitars set to be auctioned, pictured here at the GTR showroom in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 10:54 am

Hundreds of acoustic guitars, some dating back to the 19th century, are coming up for auction in New York City. They include Martins, Gibsons, classical guitars from famous Spanish guitar makers, and some exquisite models from Greenwich Village luthier John D'Angelico.

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Music News
5:59 am
Sat March 29, 2014

From Love To Murder To UFOs, A Dark 'Serenade' To Kansas

Chuck Mead's new album, Free State Serenade, is all about his home state of Kansas.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 9:27 am

"Nashville is where you go to make country music," Chuck Mead says. "There's a certain song vibration down here. There's a whole songwriting culture and playing culture that really doesn't exist outside of New York, or Los Angeles or Chicago."

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A Blog Supreme
9:34 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'A Love Supreme' Comes Alive In Unearthed Photos

John Coltrane during the recording of A Love Supreme in December 1964.
Chuck Stewart Courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Whenever photographer Chuck Stewart was hired by a record company to document a recording session, he would shoot during the rehearsal takes, playback and downtime. The company would take what it needed, the remainder likely never to be developed, much less published. After decades in the photography business, and thousands of album covers to his name, he's amassed a lot of negatives.

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Music News
3:10 am
Wed March 26, 2014

First Listen: Yasmine Hamdan's 'Ya Nass'

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:16 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

An album out this week is drawing international attention to a hidden gem of the indie Arab music scene, Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan. Her second album is called "Ya Nass." It showcases her hypnotic phrasing and modern take on traditional Middle Eastern sounds. And it's caught the ears of cultural taste-makers worldwide, from filmmaker Jim Jarmusch to NPR's Bob Boilen and Anastasia Tsioulcas.

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The Record
11:54 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Dave Brockie, GWAR's Oderus Urungus, Dies At 50

Oderus Urungus and GWAR perform at the Download Festival in Castle Donington, England, in 2011.
Shirlaine Forrest WireImage

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 1:27 pm

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Music News
3:20 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Lost Album Gives Voice To A Johnny Cash In Recovery

John Carter Cash relaxes on the cabin's front steps.
Stephen Jerkins

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 8:24 am

On the porch of a log cabin outside Nashville lies the junk of country music royalty — an old bowling ball here, a Hotpoint stove from the 1940s there. Part retreat, part recording studio, this is where Johnny Cash spent some of his golden years.

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Music News
3:02 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

For Kelis, Music Is Back On The Menu

Kelis gave her first U.S. performance in years at the 2014 SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:22 pm

Kelis Rogers has made a career of reinventing herself. When the R&B singer, whose "Milkshake" made her an international pop star in 2003, took the stage last week at SXSW in Austin, Texas, it marked her first live show in the United States in years. Kelis herself insists she never went away (she's continued to tour in Europe and Asia), but she did make a big career change after releasing her last album in 2006: She went to cooking school.

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Music
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

With 10 Songs Of Silence, Band Puts Free Tour On Spotify's Tab

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 9:48 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We'll end the hours with an innovative business proposition. When a funk band from Michigan planned its upcoming tour, it had one important condition, all the shows must be free. The band is called Vulfpeck and they decided to finance those free concerts with a new album. It's called "Sleepify."

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All Songs Considered
10:27 am
Tue March 18, 2014

5 Dance Moves We Learned At SXSW 2014 In GIFs

Kristina Hanses (of Swedish performance art duo Kristal and Jonny Boy) getting ready to bust a move.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Remember when you were little and you relied on friends or music videos to learn the latest dance moves? You couldn't rewind MTV to break down the steps, and you might look a fool for sashaying left instead of right, or whatnot. This is the beauty of the GIF, a motion suspended in looped animation that allows you all the time in the world to get that shimmy down. SXSW was full of crazy dance moves and we had Adam Kissick capture five worth emulating.

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The Record
3:52 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Scott Asheton, Drummer For The Stooges, Dies At 64

The Stooges (L-R Dave Alexander, Iggy Pop in front, Scott Asheton in back and Ron Asheton) in the studio in 1970, during the making of their second album, Fun House.
Ed Caraeff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 8:43 am

Drummer Scott Asheton, a founding member of the pioneering punk band The Stooges died on Saturday at the age of 64 following an unspecified illness.

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Code Switch
2:30 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

What Do Jay Z And Shakespeare Have In Common? Swagger

Jay-Z performs during his Magna Carter world tour this past January.
Owen Sweeney AP

"No one on the corner has swagga like us," sang rapper M.I.A. in her global hit "Paper Planes." The song was later sampled by T.I. and Jay Z in their hit song "Swagga Like Us." A few years before that, it was Jay-Z who declared "I guess I got my swagger back" on his 2001 album The Blueprint.

The word swagger should be a familiar term to anyone who has listened to popular hip-hop songs in recent years; a recent search on Rap Genius turned up more than a thousand songs that used the word in the lyrics.

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All Songs Considered
12:44 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

SXSW 2014 In Pictures

Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace breaks into a smile during her band's set at the Spin day party at Stubb's.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 8:26 am

South by Southwest 2014 is a wrap, and it's hard to quite comprehend how much was packed into its five days. Which is why we've put together a handy guide to a small sampling of the massive quantity of music we consumed in Austin last week.

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The Record
8:38 am
Mon March 17, 2014

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You: The BeyHive

Kevin Mazur WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 11:46 am

Now that she is back on the road, now that the Internet is again awash in pictures of her sweating on stage in Glasgow, running through sold-out crowds in London in costume, it seems as good a time as any to talk about what for many young women was the most important big live show of the past two years — Beyoncé's "The Mrs.

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All Songs Considered
9:41 am
Sun March 16, 2014

NPR Music At SXSW 2014: Saturday

Kishi Bashi performs at The Dirty Dog in Austin, Texas during the 2014 South by Southwest Music festival.
Bob Boilen NPR

Saturday at SXSW, things go over the edge. Language fails. The mind shimmies free from its moorings. Maybe it's the fatigue. Maybe it's the crowds. You could argue that the constant waves of sound that rattle eardrums over five days in Austin jars something loose inside a person's brain.

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All Songs Considered
2:15 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

SXSW 2014: Everything Is Better In Slow Motion

Future Islands, frozen in time (or at least slowed wayyy down).
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 4:03 pm

With hundreds upon hundreds of bands and tens of thousands of music lovers descending upon Austin for just five days, South by Southwest moves pretty fast. So we slowed it down for you. Because they're awfully considerate, NPR Music's video team — led by Mito Habe-Evans — picked out some of the fastest moments at SXSW 2014 and made them go real slow.

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The Record
9:39 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Lady Gaga At SXSW: 'Don't Sell Out. Sell In.'

Lady Gaga donned luxurious plastic bags for her SXSW Keynote on Friday.
Michael Buckner Getty

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 10:20 am

On Friday, March 14, Lady Gaga gave the keynote at SXSW 2014, a long interview conducted by John Norris that covered her career in pop, from her roots in the rock clubs of downtown New York to her decision to partner with a corporate sponsor for the concert she performed at Stubb's the night before. (You can see the complete video of the interview on this page.)

NPR Music's Ann Powers was in Austin for the keynote, and she filed this report.

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All Songs Considered
8:59 am
Sat March 15, 2014

NPR Music At SXSW 2014: Friday

With a Bjork-like voice and a heart-breaking vibe out of The Sundays, Kristal and Jonny Boy's set at Cedar Street Courtyard was enthralling performance art.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 11:50 am

Friday was a return to full throttle music consumption for NPR Music's team at SXSW, with few obligations other than seeing as many bands as possible. We saw old favorites and new obsessions, tried to squeeze through the crowds on Austin's streets, watched Lady Gaga navigate questions about her career — and reasons behind the corporate sponsorship of her SXSW show — in this year's keynote address and dragged a bunch of bands into the back yard of a local boutique to perform short sets (keep your eye out for these).

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Music News
2:06 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Israel's Orthodox Ravers Are On A Holy Mission To Dance

A group of Na Nachs goof off before a wedding performance in Tel Aviv.
Marlon Bishop for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:33 pm

Natan Gabbay takes a gulp of clear liquor and warms up on his shofar, the ram's horn trumpet that is sacred in Judaism. He's a member of a whimsical Orthodox sect known as Na Nach. Tonight, about a dozen Na Nachs have been hired as an entertainment act for a fancy wedding outside Tel Aviv. It's a surprise — the guests have no idea what's in store for them.

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All Songs Considered
8:33 am
Fri March 14, 2014

NPR Music At SXSW 2014: Thursday

Skrillex skipped the main room at Empire and went straight to the DJ booth, with fans watching from building tops.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 9:12 am

NPR Music's team in Austin woke up on Thursday, like many around the country did, looking for news about the accident that killed two people and injured 23 more at SXSW on Wednesday night. "It was hard to sort of walk out the door today and know that today was going to be another day at SXSW," Bob Boilen said at the end of what he called a long, very emotional day.

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All Songs Considered
7:26 am
Thu March 13, 2014

NPR Music At SXSW 2014: Wednesday

Damon Albarn performs at NPR Music's SXSW showcase at Stubb's BBQ in Austin, Texas.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 7:33 am

For most of Wednesday, our team in Austin, Texas, had their eyes on the stage at Stubb's BBQ, where we presented our SXSW showcase featuring sets by Damon Albarn, St. Vincent, Kelis, Eagulls and Perfect Pussy. But near the end of the night, we started hearing news of a terrible accident involving dozens of people outside another venue.

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All Songs Considered
10:44 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Hear Neil Young Explain His Pono Music Player At SXSW

Neil Young speaks about Pono, his new high-quality digital audio system, at SXSW.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 6:46 am

Neil Young wants to start a revolution against the MP3, against the CD, poorly made vinyl and poor audio quality in general. He wants people to hear the music the way it was made.

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All Songs Considered
8:13 am
Wed March 12, 2014

NPR Music At SXSW 2014: Tuesday

Who brings a confetti cannon to a fun fight? Calliope Musicals does.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 7:33 am

The first day at SXSW is about getting your bearings. Shaking off the jet lag, figuring out what you forgot to pack, remembering how long the lines can be and how the overwhelming crowds can sometimes part for a moment to give you a perfect look at a band you fall in love with on the spot.

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Business
3:10 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Kickstarter Campaign Begins For Neil Young's Music Player

Visually, the Pono player is a relic, but what matters is how it sounds — better than any consumer device for listening to digital audio, according to founder Neil Young.
PonoMusic

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:16 am

Amid the thousands promoting new music at this week's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, one artist took to the stage Tuesday to promote a new way to hear it. Before a crowd at the Austin Convention Center, Neil Young launched a Kickstarter campaign to support his long-planned high fidelity music player and online store, Pono.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:55 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Gerard Mortier, A Polarizing Impresario Who Transformed Opera

Belgian opera impresario Gerard Mortier in Germany in 2003. He died Saturday at age 70.
Volker Hartmann AFP/Getty Images

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The Record
9:56 am
Mon March 10, 2014

The Guide To Making SXSW Fun (For Everybody)

Anything can happen in Austin. Be prepared.
Adam Kissick for NPR

The last thing anyone would say about South By Southwest is that it's an avenue for self-improvement. The annual mega gathering, which began last week for film and interactive-technology mavens and turns into a music conference and festival tomorrow, fulfills many needs for the culture nerd. Communal bonding? Yes – somewhere around 100,000 people will wander the Austin streets looking to high-five each other during this time. Fun? For sure.

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Music News
6:40 am
Sun March 9, 2014

After A Bitter Struggle, DSO Brings 'Joy' To The People Again

Like many regional orchestras, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has struggled financially. But after a lot of work, it's set itself on solid footing and become a bright spot in a struggling city.
Courtesy DSO

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:55 am

Detroit's Orchestra Hall is one of the best symphony concert halls in the country. The acoustics are top-notch. The theater itself is grand. Important music is made there by some of the country's most talented classical musicians.

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