Music News

The Record
1:03 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Many New Voices Of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has called her fifth album, 1989, her "very first documented, official pop album."
Courtesy of Big Machine Records

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:27 pm

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Music News
2:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

A Violin Concerto Back From Beyond The Grave

Robert Schumann wrote his Violin Concerto in 1853.
Josef Kriehuber Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:40 pm

Classical music meets Halloween and the paranormal Thursday night when the National Symphony Orchestra plays the Schumann Violin Concerto, a work buried for nearly a century and recovered — or so the story goes — by a message from the beyond.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:39 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Just Who Is This Opera Star Singing At The World Series Tonight?

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who is singing the national anthem at Game 7 of the World Series tonight in Kansas City, Mo.
Simon Pauly Courtesy of the artist

Maybe this trajectory mirrors the Kansas City Royals' unlikely road to the pennant: An opera star beats out much more mainstream artists to sing the national anthem at the decisive World Series Game 7.

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Music News
12:13 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

SBTRKT: 'There's Always A Space You Can Go'

Charlotte Rutherford Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 4:30 pm

For more conversations with music-makers, check out NPR's Music Interviews.

Homepage photo: Charlotte Rutherford

Music News
4:16 am
Tue October 28, 2014

What Is It About Kendrick Lamar?

"I think that there are moments in hip-hop culture and pop culture when we become ready for somebody to complicate our lives," says NPR's Frannie Kelley of rapper Kendrick Lamar.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 6:14 pm

Kendrick Lamar put out his most recent album (and major label debut), good kid, m.A.A.d. city, in 2012. That album was acclaimed by both hip-hop critics and fans, and their mainstream equivalents, and Lamar's fame has only grown since then.

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All Songs Considered
11:56 am
Mon October 27, 2014

The Taylor Swift/Aphex Twin Mashup You Didn't Know You Wanted Is Here

Aphex Swift.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 1:00 pm

You have to wonder what synapse fired in comedian David Rees' brain when he heard Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" and thought, "You know what this needs?

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All Songs Considered
10:33 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Bob Boilen's Top 10 Discoveries From The 2014 CMJ Music Marathon

Bob Boilen NPR Music

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 7:50 am

Every fall, hundreds of bands migrate to New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon. Many of these groups are playing their first shows in NYC and for a lot of the audience — music journalists, college dj's and fans alike — it's their first taste of these young upstarts. My previous CMJ discoveries include such favorites as Courtney Barnett, Public Service Broadcasting, Foxygen, The Blow, Zola Jesus, Caveman ... the list is long.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Ronnie Milsap Joins Country Music's Hall Of Fame

Singer and songwriter Ronnie Milsap is a new inductee into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville, Tenn.
Rick Diamond Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 6:39 pm

A new class of musicians was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday night, with blind singer and pianist Ronnie Milsap leading the group. Milsap's career ranged from playing both early R&B and on the Elvis hit "Kentucky Rain" in the 1960s to the heights of solo success in the '70s and '80s. One of his biggest hits was 1980's "Smoky Mountain Rain."

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Music
5:04 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

Did Led Zeppelin Plagiarize 'Stairway'? A Pa. Judge Will Decide

This week, a judge in Pennsylvania moved forward with a lawsuit against the members of Led Zeppelin and their music publishers. The band is accused of plagiarism.
Dario Cantatore AP

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 8:29 am

Everyone who knows rock 'n' roll knows the opening riff to Led Zeppelin's 1971 hit "Stairway to Heaven." Play it side-by-side with the 1968 song "Taurus" by the band Spirit, and they sound almost the same.

The songs were released more than four decades ago, but just this week, a judge in Pennsylvania allowed a lawsuit about the issue to move forward.

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All Tech Considered
12:45 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

Pandora Hopes To Lure Musicians Backstage With Analytics

Pandora founder Tim Westergren is a former touring musician himself, but some say the music streaming service he leads is hurting musicians more than helping.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 11:33 am

Coming up on the end of a year marred by bitter quarrels over royalties for online music, Pandora is now making a play for artists' goodwill.

On Wednesday, Pandora announced the launch of AMP (Artist Marketing Platform), a free service that pulls back the curtain on the widely popular streaming service and gives musicians access to data on who is listening to their music, when and where.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Sat October 25, 2014

Jack Bruce, Bassist And Singer For Cream, Dies At 71

Jack Bruce, left, seen here with fellow Cream members Ginger Baker (center) and Eric Clapton in 1967, has died. The bassist sang such hits as "Sunshine of Your Love."
George Stroud Getty Images

Scottish musician Jack Bruce, who co-founded the rock band Cream and created seminal music in the 1960s, has died, his family has confirmed. Bruce played bass in the trio that included Eric Clapton on guitar and Ginger Baker on drums. He sang such hits as "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room" and "I Feel Free."

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Movie Reviews
3:21 am
Fri October 24, 2014

James Brown On Film: An Admiring And Unflinching Look At 'Mr. Dynamite'

James Brown performs onstage at the TAMI Show on December 29, 1964 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in California.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 10:36 am

Eight years after his death, James Brown is suddenly everywhere.

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Music News
2:22 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Who Sang It First? Mockingbirds And Musicians Cover Each Other In New Orleans

A short phrase New Orleans musicians use to communicate is identical to a common mockingbird call.
Sven Halling Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 5:47 pm

In certain New Orleans music scenes, there is a special sound — a signal — that lets players know it's time to pick up their instruments and strike up the band.

"It's a bugle call, or a band call, to assemble," trumpeter Leroy Jones says.

"It's like: C'mon, rally," musician Matt Bell adds. "Come to the bandstand and be ready to do it. Let's go."

The four-note phrase, however, doesn't belong to musicians alone. Another common New Orleans species, the mockingbird, also produces the call.

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Music News
3:13 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Taylor Swift Sells White Noise In Canada

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:32 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. You might say the musician Taylor Swift is so popular fans will listen to whatever she puts out. Like this single from an upcoming album...

(WHITE NOISE)

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The Record
2:33 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Are These The Next Crossover Country Stars?

Sam Hunt has written hits for both Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. His debut album, Montevallo, is out on Oct. 27.
Chase Lauer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:41 am

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All Songs Considered
7:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Sleater-Kinney Reunites, Announces New Album

Janet Weiss (left), Carrie Brownstein (center) and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney. The trio's first album since 2005 will be out on Jan. 20.
Brigitte Sire Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:19 am

Sleater-Kinney is back together, has a new album coming out Jan. 20 via Sub Pop records, and will go on tour early next year. The album is called No Cities to Love, and you can listen to the first single, "Bury Our Friends," right here.

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The Record
4:05 am
Sun October 19, 2014

The Right Way To Complain About The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Future Hall Of Famers? Green Day's Tre Cool (from left), Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt in New York City in 1994.
Ken Schles Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:27 am

As a music geek, I often find myself in conversations, either online or over cocktails, about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Indeed, I've been nerding out about the Hall since last Thursday, when the institution announced its shortlist for induction into the Hall Class of 2015. And when I find myself in polite but argumentative company debating the Rock Hall, I have an approach I use.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:20 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Postlude To A Kiss: Scriabin's Raging 'Poem Of Ecstasy'

Alexander Scriabin originally set out to write a piece called "Orgiastic Poem," centered on physical ecstasy, but later decided to alter the title to something more ambiguous.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 9:03 am

I love composer anniversaries because they afford us opportunities to look at musicians anew, and 2015 will mark the centenary of the death of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. It's quite possible that you've never heard of Scriabin, but take comfort in the fact that even his biographer said, "No one was more famous during their lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after death."

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Deceptive Cadence
2:05 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Twenty Years Later, 'Klinghoffer' Still Draws Protests

Several hundred protesters picket the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera season at Lincoln Center, Sept. 22, 2014. "You will be made to destroy that set," Jeffrey Wiesenfeld said.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 4:26 pm

The Metropolitan Opera in New York is bracing for one of the more controversial productions in its history. Since its first performance more than 20 years ago, some critics have charged that composer John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer is anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic. But the opera's supporters dispute that. They argue that Klinghoffer is a dramatic masterpiece that deserves to make its Met debut on Monday.

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Music News
1:28 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Capricorn In Retrograde: Macon's Endangered Musical History

Otis Redding in 1967. Redding was also known as "The Mad Man From Macon."
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 5:34 pm

City officials in Macon, Ga., say they may have no choice but to demolish the crumbling original headquarters of Capricorn Records, the label that played a key role in the birth of Southern rock and soul music.

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The Record
8:03 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Hear Two Songs From Duncan Sheik's Next Album

Duncan Sheik's seventh album, Legerdemain, will come out in 2015.
Shervin Lainez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 10:15 am

In April 2015, Duncan Sheik, a songwriter who has had hits on both pop radio and the Broadway stage, will release Legerdemain, his first album of original material since 2009's Whisper House and the first not connected to a theater piece since 2006's White Limousine. Sheik crafted the album in his Garrison, N.Y. studio, and he's sharing two songs from that album via NPR Music; you can listen and download both of them below.

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Music News
4:08 am
Sun October 12, 2014

The Royal Shakespeare Company Releases Music From Its Archive

The Royal Shakespeare Company is releasing albums of the music commissioned for its productions of many of the plays in this first collected edition of William Shakespeare's works.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 11:14 am

For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England has hired composers to write original music for its productions. That sheet music has sat in a vault for decades — until now.

The company has started releasing albums that combine music from its contemporary productions with much older works.

Bruce O'Neill, head of music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, describes the archive as "a bit like a bank vault."

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Music News
1:02 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Homeless In Nashville, Huge In Sweden

"I was slapping myself in the face," singer Doug Seegers says of his recent success. "I kept saying, 'Am I dreaming? When am I going to wake up and go back to living under the bridge?' "
Gregg Roth Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 8:01 am

Country music fans were introduced to a new face at last month's Americana Music Awards in Nashville, when 62-year-old Doug Seegers opened the show with a song from his debut album, Going Down to the River.

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The Record
9:42 am
Wed October 8, 2014

The Dream Of Ridiculous Men

The music on U2's new album, Songs of Innocence, reaches back toward the moment when the band was first building an audience.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 10:54 am

The last short story Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote is about being seriously ridiculous. In "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," an intellectual prone to existentialist despair is saved from suicide when, in a vision, he discovers a parallel planet where humanity has never sinned. "It was like being in love with each other, but an all-embracing, universal feeling," he tells the reader. This contact with Eden reinvigorates him, but then, during a playful moment, he teaches the planet's innocents how to deceive each other — and this leads to a catastrophic, Biblical fall.

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Music News
1:15 am
Wed October 8, 2014

On Fania Records And The Music That Made It Matter

The Fania All-Stars in 1980.
Judy Morales Fania Records

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 10:22 am

Fifty years ago, New York City musician Johnny Pacheco and his lawyer friend Jerry Masucci started a small Latin music record label and delivered their first albums to record stores across the city — from the trunk of the musician's car.

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The Two-Way
3:12 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Singer Morrissey Says He Has Had Cancer Treatment

English singer Morrissey performs during the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo in December. The musician told a Spanish newspaper, in a stoic discussion about his health, that he has undergone treatments related to cancer.
Daniel Sannum Lauten AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 11:58 am

Steven Patrick Morrissey, the singer who formerly led The Smiths and is on a solo tour in Europe, has undergone treatment for cancer, he tells a Spanish newspaper. Morrissey did not specify what ailment he had been suffering from, saying only that he had undergone "cancer scrapings."

The singer, 55, was asked about his health in an interview for Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:44 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

A Ferguson Protest Brings New Meaning To Brahms' Requiem In St. Louis

Rebecca Rivas, a reporter for the St. Louis American newspaper, captured video of the Ferguson protest at the St. Louis Symphony concert Saturday night.
St. Louis American/YouTube

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 4:30 pm

At the St. Louis Symphony concert Saturday night, the intermission may have been the most memorable part of the performance. Demonstrators in the audience sang a "Requiem for Mike Brown," referencing the 18-year-old African-American shot to death by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in August.

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The Record
12:34 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Outkast And Atlanta: Until They Close The Curtain

Two dope boys on a Cadillac: Andre 3000 and Big Boi in the early days.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 10:37 am

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Music News
1:34 am
Fri October 3, 2014

'Follow The Music': Alice Gerrard's Life In Folk

Alice Gerrard's new album is called Follow the Music.
Irene Young Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 8:54 am

When Alice Gerrard and Hazel Dickens started playing together at folk music parties around Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in the early 1960s, they were a bit of an odd couple. Dickens was older, from West Virginia. Gerrard was younger; she'd gone to college, but didn't grow up around the music the way Dickens had.

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Music News
2:58 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Queen Of Soul Gives Adele Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 6:01 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now this. We have a tip of the hat from an older generation to a younger.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And since this involves Aretha Franklin, we can assume this is one spectacular hat.

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