Music News

The Record
1:41 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Gazelle Amber Valentine: 'Gender Is Not A Genre'

Gazelle Amber Valentine (left) and Edgar Livengood of Jucifer.
F. Mullin Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 7:26 am

The two vagabonds behind distorted doom unit Jucifer have been peddling their decimating decibels across the globe since 1993. Famed for their towering wall of amplifiers and incendiary live performances, guitarist and vocalist Gazelle Amber Valentine and her partner in music and in life, drummer Edgar Livengood, are always on the move. The married couple live in an RV with a scattering of dogs and musical equipment and transverse the country 24/7.

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Shots - Health News
12:55 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Strange But True: Music Doesn't Make Some People Happy

Is there anyone who can resist dancing when Pharrell Williams sings "Happy"? Yes, if you're one of the rare few with specific musical anhedonia.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 10:08 am

Surely listening to Pharrell Williams' Oscar nominee "Happy" makes you bounce with joy. Nirvana still makes you want to wail. And old Beatles songs make you feel like everything's going to be all right. But maybe you don't feel anything at all.

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The Salt
8:14 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Moo-d Music: Do Cows Really Prefer Slow Jams?

The Ingenues, an all-girl band and vaudeville act, serenade the cows in the University of Wisconsin, Madison's dairy barn in 1930. The show was apparently part of an experiment to see whether the soothing strains of music boosted the cows' milk production.
Angus B. McVicar/Wisconsin Historical Society

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:46 pm

When it's time to buckle down and focus, plenty of office workers will put on headphones to help them drown out distractions and be more productive. But can music also help dairy cows get down to business?

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A Blog Supreme
12:01 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Possessed By Joy: A North American Drummer In Cuba

Eleggua shrines in Matanzas, Cuba.
Harris Eisenstadt for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:06 pm

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The Record
2:42 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

In Rio, A Universe Of Samba

Sitting around what looks like a conference table with a small group of musicians, guitarist Moacyr Luz (center) leads his samba group.
Courtesy of QK

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 4:31 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
10:38 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83

Robert Ashley's operas for television redefined the genre.
Joanne Savio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

Robert Ashley, a restlessly innovative American composer, died at his home in New York March 3 from complications of cirrhosis of the liver. NPR confirmed the composer's death through his wife and manager Mimi Johnson. Ashley was 83.

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Code Switch
8:56 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Where Did All The Female Rappers Go?

Nicki Minaj's commercial success over the last decade has stood as an exception to the unwritten rule that women rappers no longer have a place among elite artists.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 2:40 pm

This piece comes to us from Erik Nielson, an assistant professor at the University of Richmond. He teaches classes on hip-hop culture and African American literature.

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Music News
5:20 am
Sun March 2, 2014

ABBA's 1970s Costumes Decidedly Worth The Tax Break

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:34 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

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The Record
6:03 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Listening In Reel Life: The Pop Music Inside The Oscar Nominees

Beautiful Music Together: Joaquin Phoenix takes a walk on the beach with his girlfriend the Operating System in the Oscar-nominated film Her.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 7:54 am

The most romantic scene from any of this year's Oscar-nominated films begins with a deliciously idiosyncratic pickup line. At a swinger's pool party in 1978, a flabby yet still somehow alluring Christian Bale gently grabs the arm of Sydney Prosser, played by Amy Adams at her most wide-eyed and guileful. "Is that Duke Ellington on your bracelet?" he murmurs.

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Sports
5:59 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Teen Pop Idol Attracts Extra Fans To UK Soccer Match

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, one-fifth of the biggest boy band in the world made up one-eleventh of an English professional soccer team. In a charity game, the One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson turned out to play for his hometown club, the reserve team of Doncaster Rovers.

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Around the Nation
5:56 am
Sat March 1, 2014

New Orleans Piano Legend's Home Finally Restored After Katrina

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Professor Longhair's house has been saved. Now, last year we brought you a story about the piano legend and the nationwide effort to rebuild his home following Hurricane Katrina. Henry Roeland Byrd, better known as Professor Longhair, is widely considered to be the father of modern New Orleans music. He died in 1980, but at carnival time especially, it's evident that Professor Longhair's influence endures. Now, his house will too. Gwen Thompkins brings us this story of music and more.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Music News
5:56 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Playing To The Rafters, Singing Like A Man Possessed

Possessed by Paul James is the performing title of Konrad Wert, a country-folk artist from Austin, Texas.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 9:03 am

Konrad Wert is a teacher by day, but when he plays his country-folk songs for fans in his home of Austin, Texas and elsewhere, he goes by the moniker Possessed By Paul James. In truth, "Paul James" is a fiction, a combination of the names of Wert's father and grandfather. Those who have seen him perform, however, would agree he seems possessed by something.

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Music News
2:02 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

From Recife, Brazil, 3 Rhythms Get The Carnival Party Started

Colorful umbrellas long ago replaced concealed knives during frevo parades.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 6:23 am

It's Carnival this weekend in Brazil. While it costs hundreds of dollars just to get a bad seat in Rio de Janeiro, the northern city of Recife hosts the most unique and varied celebration in the country, with two million people expected to attend.

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Music News
12:13 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

And The Oscar Goes To ... Mr. 'Star Wars' Or Arcade Fire?

William Butler of Arcade Fire: not the most typical contender for Best Original Score.
Jason Oxenham Getty Images

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The Record
7:18 am
Thu February 27, 2014

A Rational Conversation: What's With All The Drummers Leading Late-Night Bands?

Arsenio Hall with his band. Robin DiMaggio stands to the right of Arsenio.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:36 am

"A Rational Conversation" is a column by writer Eric Ducker in which he gets on iChat or Gchat or the phone or whatever with a special guest to examine a music-related subject that's entered the pop culture consciousness.

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The Record
3:22 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Paco De Lucia, Modern Superstar Of Flamenco, Dies

Paco de Lucia in 1982.
Paco Junquera Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

Paco de Lucia, considered by his fans and critics to be the world's greatest flamenco guitarist, died Wednesday in Mexico of a heart attack. The 66-year-old musician was a modern superstar in a Roma, or Gypsy, tradition that is hundreds of years old.

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Music News
2:09 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

'Let It Go': A Global Hit In Any Language

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Queen Elsa embraces her power to freeze things with the anthem "Let It Go" in Frozen.
Disney

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 pm

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The Two-Way
5:49 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Last Of The 'Sound Of Music' Von Trapps Dies At 99

Maria von Trapp in 2008 at the age of 93. The daughter of Austrian Baron Georg von Trapp points to her father on an old family picture. She died on Tuesday at her home in Vermont.
Kerstin Joensson AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:29 am

Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the seven original Trapp Family Singers — the Austrian family that inspired the 1965 film The Sound of Music -- has died at 99 at her home in Vermont.

Von Trapp, whose family escaped Nazi Germany, died on Tuesday of natural causes, her brother Johannes von Trapp said, according to the New York Daily News.

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Code Switch
3:54 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Iconoclastic Musician Takes Measure Of His Life: 'I Became A Fighter'

Fred Ho practices his baritone saxophone in a dressing room before a performance.
Joseph Yoon Courtesy of Fred Ho

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:43 pm

When I first walked through the door of Fred Ho's apartment in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn, I asked, "How are you?" And he said, "Not good. I'm dying."

Ho has always been matter-of-fact and in-your-face. He painted himself green and posed naked for the cover his album, Celestial Green Monster. In the photo, he has a baritone saxophone placed strategically between his legs. He looks strong — like the Hulk.

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The Record
1:39 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Hearing Devotion In Pop's Details

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons performs onstage at the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:08 am

This week, the rock band Imagine Dragons set a record for the longest run on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart — 77 weeks, since it debuted in August of 2012.

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The Record
11:34 am
Thu February 20, 2014

A Phony Article Epitomizes Hip-Hop's Struggling Underclass

The rapper Shirt created a counterfeit article designed to look like it was written by the New York Times critic Jon Caramanica and published on the Times' website.
NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:32 pm

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The Record
10:31 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Computer Love: Beats Music Wants To Be Your Everything

Beats Music

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:21 pm

I have a new streaming music service in my life. Let's call him Beatsy. It's an open relationship — I'm still accessing other music streams, and Beatsy's positively promiscuous, winning the hearts of the music press and thousands of trial subscribers. But I don't mind. When I'm with Beatsy I feel special. Yes, he is a computer program — the world knows him as Beats Music, just one of many services that make it possible for me to listen to music stored in its cloud library via my phone or computer.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:42 am
Wed February 19, 2014

We Love Him For More Than Twizzles: Charlie White Plays Violin, Too

Ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White visit the set of the NBC TODAY Show in Sochi on February 18, 2014.
Scott Halleran Getty Images

It's no secret that gold-winning American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White have become favorite faces in Sochi. But it turns out that the charming White has done his share of woodshedding along with his hard work on the ice.

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Music News
3:14 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Music Education For Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores

Advocates are pushing for the virtues of music education that can't be measured numerically.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:58 pm

In a mobile classroom — basically a trailer outfitted with a desk and some chairs — music teacher Chris Miller works with a group of active kindergartners dressed in green and khaki school uniforms. He teaches them the basics: musical concepts, artists and styles of music.

"Everybody repeat after me," he says. "Wade in the water." Kids sing back, "Wade in the water."

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The Record
1:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Skrillex, King Of The Dance Club Hit-And-Run

Skrillex on stage at HARD Day Of The Dead on November 2, 2013.
Gabriel Olsen FilmMagic/Getty Images

It had been snowing all day and raining all evening when the doors opened at Output on Friday night right after 10 p.m. for Skrillex's appearance, so I felt ready for anything. Not that anyone was expecting too many surprises — a lot of hard, hiccuping beats and jackhammer bass, trap and dubstep and Dutch house, the lingua franca of mainstream nightlife the last few years — in short, what people mean by "EDM."

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Arts & Life
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Classical Music Piece Enhances Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The children's author Roald Dahl died almost 25 years ago, and yet, today you can find more musical adaptations of his work than ever.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"Matilda" is a hit on Broadway. A musical version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is running in London's West End.

GREENE: Over the weekend, the London Philharmonic Orchestra debuted the newest adaptation of Dahl's work, a classical piece for children based on a collection of poems called "Dirty Beasts."

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Race
3:03 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Pop Music Lags In Dealing With Interracial Love Anxieties

They're most likely not listening to a song about cross-cultural love.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 3:00 pm

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The Record
2:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

In The Digital Era, Hit Songs Aren't Everything

Billboard Hot 100. Each time it's played in public, the song's writers get a royalty, which is tracked and collected by ASCAP. Bigger hits usually translate into bigger checks." href="/post/digital-era-hit-songs-arent-everything" class="noexit lightbox">
American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, whose song, "Gone, Gone, Gone," went to No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Each time it's played in public, the song's writers get a royalty, which is tracked and collected by ASCAP. Bigger hits usually translate into bigger checks.
Buda Mendes Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:58 pm

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Music News
3:50 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Heavy Rotation: Shlohmo & Jeremih

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:22 am

Each month NPR Music asks public radio hosts and DJs to pick a favorite new song. Today we'll hear from Jason King, host of I'll Take You There, NPR Music's new 24 hour Soul and R&B stream. He's talking about his pick for Heavy Rotation: "No More" by Jeremih and Shlohmo.

Music News
12:03 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Collecting Money For Songwriters, A 100-Year Tug Of War

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento, member Katy Perry and president Paul Williams at the 2012 Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, Calif.
Frank Micelotta PictureGroup

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:06 pm

A hundred years ago, the Italian operatic composer Giacomo Puccini was having lunch in New York with Victor Herbert, the leading composer of operettas in this country. Then, the band in the restaurant began playing music from Herbert's current hit, Sweethearts. Puccini became outraged, according to songwriter Paul Williams, the current president of the performing-rights organization ASCAP.

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