KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Music News

The world often feels full of fading traditions, from drive-in movie theaters to the dying art of good old-fashioned letter writing.

For the British, add brass bands to that list. Traditional brass bands have played an important cultural role in working-class British communities for centuries. But some warn that without funding, they could become a thing of the past.

Take the Grimethorpe Colliery Band in South Yorkshire. The band was originally formed in 1917, and nearly 100 years later, a group of tuba, euphonium and other horn players still bears the band's name.

Guitarist Alvin Lee, whose incendiary performance with the British band Ten Years After was one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has died.

He was 68. Lee's website says he "passed away early this morning [Wednesday] after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure." An assistant to his daughter also confirmed the news to NPR.

His band's biggest hit — "I'd Love to Change the World" — came a couple years after Woodstock. We'll embed a clip from that.

What it means to own something in the digital age is being re-negotiated.

Few of us own the music we listen to or the movies we watch in exactly the same way we did a decade ago. And today if you buy a smartphone from a cellphone company, what you can legally do with it — how and where you can use it — may be proscribed even if that phone is fully bought and paid for.

I keep a lot of music on my phone. I have the Stones, Janis Joplin and OK Go.

Why I'm Not Going To SXSW This Year

Mar 5, 2013

As a music journalist from the North Country, I'd be a fool to pass up the opportunity to head down Austin, Texas, each March for the South by Southwest Music Conference. It provides those of us on the ice-whipped prairie a respite from our endless winter season, not to mention a chance to binge on the best burgeoning artists before they make their way around the country on tour. It's become something of a requisite for many of the musicians, writers, photographers and fans from my hometown.

Screaming, crying fans are par for the course if you're teen idol Justin Bieber. But this is a bit different.

After a Monday concert at London's O2 Arena that reportedly started two hours late, the 19-year-old pop star has been forced to apologize for upsetting disappointed young concertgoers and their angry parents.

In a series of tweets Tuesday, Bieber issued his mea culpa:

Audie Cornish has more on three Motown artists who died recently — Bobby Rogers, a founding member of the hit-making Motown group the Miracles; Richard Street, a member of the Temptations; and Damon Harris, who sang with the Temptations on many of their hits.

David Bowie, Rock's Shape Shifter, Returns

Mar 1, 2013

Hear Ann Powers talk about David Bowie's career, and his new album, with Morning Edition's Renee Montagne by clicking the audio link above.

Richard Street, for nearly three decades a member of The Temptations, has died. He is the second former member of the fabled Motown group to pass away in two weeks; last week former Tempations tenor Damon Harris died. Both singers can be heard on the 1972 hit "Papa Was A Rolling Stone."

How A Studio Changes Your Sound

Feb 28, 2013

SFX Entertainment Buys Beatport

Feb 27, 2013

Beatport, one of the most popular online stores for fans of dance music, has been bought by SFX Entertainment, a company that has invested heavily in the dance music business over the past year. According to sources with direct knowledge of the deal, the company was sold for around $50 million.

"[With this purchase] you now have a great one-stop shop for consumers of dance music," says SFX Entertainment CMO Chris Stephenson.

A petite woman prances across the stage at Kurdistan TV in Erbil, northern Iraq, with her long, brown hair bouncing behind her.

A band begins to play, the studio audience falls quiet, and the woman starts to sing. Her voice is powerful and her message is personal: It's about fleeing to a foreign land to find freedom.

If I wrote operas, my next work would be called DSKNY. That's a snazzy abbreviation for Dominique Strauss-Kahn New York. The idea came last night when colleagues invited me for cocktails at the Sofitel Hotel, the site of DSK's alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in 2011, and the beginning of his fall from grace.

A Tiny Bit Of Good News For The Record Industry

Feb 26, 2013

There's reason to be optimistic about the market for recorded music around the world, according to a new report released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. For the first time since 1999, the report says, the global trade value for the recorded music industry (a slightly vague/confusing term for record sales) went up last year by about 0.3 percent.

Gretta Harley arrived in Seattle in 1990, when grunge was redefining the city. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were turning Seattle into the epicenter of the music world. Harley was a punk rock guitarist searching for her tribe, and in Seattle's thriving music scene, she found it.

Music, The Food Of 'Amour'

Feb 23, 2013

Film scores are, by and large, manipulative. They do their work at the periphery of the senses, signaling danger, heralding victory, prodding us toward fear and joy in time with the unfolding story. Crucially, they are also empathic, letting us in on what the actors' words or faces may not convey. And when things get unpleasant, the score can step in as an emotional buffer — a layer of unreality between us and the action that lets us know we're safe. Sunday night at the Oscars, Hollywood will honor a film whose music manages to get all these things right.

Music's New 'Real Ambassadors'

Feb 22, 2013

Zuoxiao Zuzhou is a Chinese singer whose accented, croaky voice is hardly ever in tune. But for his fans he's the voice of a generation — one of the very few voices who dare to speak out. After a collaboration, Cowboy Junkies member Michael Timmins called him "China's Leonard Cohen."

Can You Learn To Like Music You Hate?

Feb 15, 2013

You hear some music you hate. That's fair. We all do on occasion. But can you learn to love — or at least not loathe — that music? Can you intentionally transform the visceral response you have to certain pieces and styles, or does that happen at some more incalculable, subtle level?

Researchers at Australia's University of Melbourne say that the more dissonance (which they describe as "perceived roughness, harshness, unpleasantness, or difficulty in listening to the sound") that we hear in music, the less we enjoy said music. Seems obvious enough, right?

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 17, 2013.

After huge critical and commercial success last year, breakthrough British sensation Emeli Sande has her sights set on America.

It's a long way from her roots. Born to a Zambian father and English mother, the singer-songwriter was raised in Scotland. She tells NPR's Michel Martin that being the only mixed-race family in a small village had a big impact on her.

A Brief History Of The Grammy Sales Bump

Feb 15, 2013

As televised prize-givers, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences are slouches. The dozen prizes given out in a typical Grammy Awards telecast is the lowest of any major awards-show telecast, from the Oscars to the Emmys. NARAS gives out the bulk of its little gramophones in an untelevised ceremony.

But as sales-juicers? The Grammys are unparalleled.

We've been able to record sound for over 125 years, but many of the recordings that have been made in that time are in terrible shape. Many more, even recordings made in the past 10 years, are in danger because rapid technological changes have rendered their software obsolete. So Wednesday, the Library of Congress unveiled a plan to help preserve this country's audio archives.

The trumpeter and educator Donald Byrd, a top jazz practitioner in the '50s and '60s whose later work shaped black pop music through multiple generations, died Feb. 4 in Dover, Del. Haley Funeral Directors near Detroit confirmed the news, which was first circulated online last week. He was 80.

Listen to Mandalit del Barco's radio report from the Grammys at the audio link.

Sunday night's Grammys are an opportunity to rain accolades on pop music and perhaps witness the musical return of Justin Timberlake. But each year, the Recording Academy also honors recordings of "lasting significance" by inducting them into the Grammy Hall of Fame. One of them this year is Kentucky fiddler Bill Stepp's performance of "Bonaparte's Retreat."

Pages