Music News

The Two-Way
5:25 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt And KISS Are In The Rock Hall

Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain in 1993. He took his own life in 1994.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:23 am

We can stop wagging our tongues about KISS not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The hall says its 2014 inductees are:

-- Cat Stevens

-- Peter Gabriel

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Business
2:34 am
Tue December 17, 2013

New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come

Some Steinway company representatives and employees — like Wally Boot, pictured here — have been working for the company for decades. Boot is the last person to touch every piano that leaves the factory in Queens, N.Y.
Craig Warga Bloomberg/Getty

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:30 pm

For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency? Paulson, who owns several Steinways himself, says nothing will change.

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The Two-Way
5:39 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Country Singer, Bandleader Ray Price Dies At 87

Ray Price performs during Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival 2010 held at The Empire Polo Club on April 24, 2010 in Indio, California.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:04 pm

Singer-bandleader Ray Price, who had more than 100 country hits in his decades-long career, has died at the age of 87 of complications related to pancreatic cancer, his family said.

Price was a Grammy Award winner and a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee (1996).

Quoting family members, The Associated Press writes:

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Music News
3:24 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Meet Latin America's Teenage Korean Pop Fanatics

The room of Samantha Alejandra, 18, in Mexico City, doubles as a shrine to her favorite K-Pop boy band, Super Junior.
Marlon Bishop for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 9:27 am

If you want to get a sense of what Mexican teenagers are up to these days, here's an unexpected place to start: A Korean bakery in downtown Mexico City.

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The Record
3:50 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Beyonce's New Album Is Entertainment's October Surprise

Beyonce.
Nick Farrell Photography Courtesy of Columbia Records

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:56 pm

Thursday night — just as Twitter was coming down from Scandal's midseason finale, and it's hard to think of this as a coincidence — Beyonce dropped an album out of nowhere. The news ricocheted through social media. People called it Bey Day and Christmas come early.

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The Two-Way
2:08 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

So Much For The 'Mozart Effect'

Researchers could not find a link between exposure to music and improved IQs in preschoolers.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 5:02 pm

Music makes the heart grow fonder, but scientists are not so sure that it boosts IQ.

The Boston Globe notes:

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A Blog Supreme
3:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

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Music News
11:23 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Jay Z Tops Grammy Nominations

Jay Z easily led Grammy Award nominations announced Friday with nine, but left-of-center rappers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar were among a group of new stars who took many of the major nominations.

Macklemore and Lewis' gay marriage anthem "Same Love" was among song of the year nominees and the Seattle rap crew joined Los Angeles rapper Lamar with seven nominations apiece, including best album and best new artist of the year. Pharrell Williams had four major nominations among his seven and Justin Timberlake also had seven.

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Best Music Of 2013
9:47 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Lorde Sounds Like Teen Spirit

Lorde performs in Sydney, Australia, in October.
Mark Metcalfe Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:49 am

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Music News
12:14 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Remembering A Congolese Rumba King

Tabu Ley Rochereau performing at a 2003 festival in Hertme, Netherlands.
Frans Schellekens Redferns

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 1:39 pm

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A Blog Supreme
3:29 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Drummer Chico Hamilton, West Coast Jazz Pioneer, Dies

Chico Hamilton.
Todd Boebel Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:17 pm

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Music News
12:03 am
Tue November 26, 2013

AK-47s, Accordions And Angels Of Death: Narcocorridos Hit The Big Screen

Edgar Quintero of the band Los Bukanas de Culiacan likens what he does in the narcocorrido genre to gangster rap.
Shaul Schwarz Cinedigm

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

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All Songs Considered
5:20 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Bruce Springsteen Releases New Single, 'High Hopes,' Ahead Of 2014 LP

Bruce Springsteen's new album is due out in January.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 4:11 pm

Bruce Springsteen released a new single early Monday morning. "High Hopes" is the title track to The Boss' new album, which is due out Jan. 14.

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Music News
6:23 am
Sun November 24, 2013

For A Few Musicians, Beating Songwriter's Block Is A Game

Singer and songwriter Bob Schneider invented "The Song Game" a decade ago, inviting a closed group of fellow musicians to submit a new song every week.
Chris Miller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 11:50 am

Bob Schneider finished writing "The Effect," a song from his latest album, Burden of Proof, in just a few days. That's how he does it: For 12 years, the Texas musician has beaten back the urge to procrastinate by writing a song once a week, every week. It began casually, just him and a friend sharing their songs with one another.

"I'll go home, write a song, you'll write a song, and then we'll come back here in two days and play 'em for each other," Schneider says. "That's basically how it started."

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The Record
3:05 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Business As Usual At The Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival

John Digweed, shown here performing in August at Electric Zoo, was one of the biggest names at the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival last weekend.
Daniel Zuchnik Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 3:34 pm

Friday night at 1:45 a.m., at least a hundred people were on the main door line for Output, a dance club in Brooklyn that opened near the beginning of the year. They wouldn't be getting in for a while: the spot had reached capacity a half-hour before, shortly after the night's headliner, John Digweed, had begun his DJ set, and they were only letting in folks who'd bought tickets specifically for the show. "No wristbands," said the doorman. The wristbands were all-events passes for the sixth annual Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (BEMF) — the nominal reason for Digweed's appearance.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:46 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Remembering 'Holy Minimalist' Composer John Tavener

John Tavener's ethereal music was influenced by the Russian Orthodox traditions.
Simone Canetty-Clarke Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 5:47 pm

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Microphone Check
9:31 am
Tue November 12, 2013

'All Daps And Hugs': G-Side Reunites And Releases A New Song

G-Side, reunited.
Matt McGinley

For about five years, we at NPR Music have been listening to G-Side, a rap duo from Huntsville, Ala., and the group's in-house production pair the Block Beattaz. Some of us rocked 2008's Starshipz & Rocketz until the tape popped, reveling in the sequined sound and mostly level-headed lyrics that alternate between the gruff and drawled deliveries favored by Clova and ST 2 Lettaz, respectively.

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All Tech Considered
3:52 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

What Today's Online Sharing Companies Can Learn From Napster

Napster founder Shawn Fanning in February 2001, after a ruling that the free Internet-based service must stop allowing copyrighted material to be shared.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 7:02 pm

This week on-air and online, the tech team is exploring the sharing economy. You'll find the stories on this blog and aggregated at this link, and we would love to hear your questions about the topic. Just email, leave a comment or tweet.

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Music News
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Brazil's 91-Year-Old Leading Lady Still Shines

Actress and singer Bibí Ferreira has been performing on stage and television for more than 60 years.
Wilian Aguiar Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 1:26 pm

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All Songs Considered
9:36 am
Fri November 8, 2013

The Five Best Things About This Year's Mountain Oasis Festival

A crush of fans dance together at a Bassnectar performance, from the 2013 Mountain Oasis festival.
Adam Kissick NPR Music

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 11:07 am

Late last month I witnessed the most creative music festival I know, and I'm back with some astonishing new music discoveries. The first annual Mountain Oasis festival took place in a number of venues in Asheville, N.C. the weekend before Halloween. Asheville's a city that, much like Austin, Texas or Portland, Ore., lives up to that often-used slogan "Keep (insert city name here) Weird." As music pours into the streets, you'll see people dressed up as gnomes in illuminated hats, traveling in packs along with jellyfish, various monsters or even giant butterflies.

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Ecstatic Voices
12:56 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Across America, Voices Rise To Reinvent India

Kanniks with the choir at St. Johns Unitarian Church in Cincinnati in 2004.
Courtesy of Kanniks Kannikeswaran

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 2:20 pm

When I visit Kanniks Kannikeswaran on a weekday evening, he is warming up his choir in the meeting room of a civic center in suburban Cincinnati.

"Breathe in the cosmic energy," he says to the choir. The response is a collective "Ommmmmm ..."

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Music News
4:46 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Digital Music, In The Truest Sense

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 2:33 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now, another take on jazz hands...

(SOUNDBITE OF FINGER SNAPS, SLAPS)

SIMON: It may sound like Savion Glover tapping, or some kind of tin pan Buddy Rich, but this is digital music in the true sense. You're hearing the fingers and hands of Darren Drouin snapping and slapping out a percussive freestyle in a YouTube video that he uploaded this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF FINGER SNAPS, SLAPS)

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The Record
3:33 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Paramount Records: The Label Inadvertently Crucial To The Blues

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1923: Louis Armstrong is kneeling, from left to right behind him are Honore Dutrey, Baby Dodds, King Oliver, Lil Hardin, Bill Johnson and Johnny Dodds.
Frank Driggs Collection Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 2:31 pm

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A Blog Supreme
9:09 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Frank Wess, Basie Woodwind Specialist, Dies

Frank Wess appears at a tribute concert in 2007.
Hiroyuki Ito Getty Images

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Legal Issues Settled, Dylan's Guitar May Sell For $500,000

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 10:11 am

Now that Bob Dylan's no longer talking about it not being the guitar he played when he famously went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, a sunburst Fender Stratocaster is to be auctioned by Christie's on Dec. 6.

The pre-sale hype has it going for as much as $500,000.

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The Record
6:14 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Where Rock The Bells Fails, Drake's Tour Succeeds

Drake backlit at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday night.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:18 pm

What does the concert-ticket buyer want? If we're accepting that the market for albums — physical and digital — won't ever rebound, that digital singles will never make up for the loss in revenue and that streaming can't be profitable under current licensing laws, professional musicians (and the labels that love them) need to figure this out. Rap music, with its younger audience, has been more flexible in this regard than other genres: Rap acts now run the multi-genre summer festival gamut after infiltrating smaller cities' club circuits long ago.

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Music News
2:49 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Pedrito Martinez Group Covers Pop And Jazz And Avoids Kitsch

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

If you stop by the Cuban restaurant Guantanamera in midtown Manhattan on a weeknight you're apt to hear one of the great Cuban bands of our time. The Pedrito Martinez Group is a four-piece powerhouse. Since they formed in 2007, they've earned a fanatical following in Latin music circles.

The group's self-titled debut CD is just out and Banning Eyre has this review.

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUMMING)

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The Record
11:41 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Street Queens Bury Competition In Brass Band Blowout

The Pinettes Brass Band parading into the judges area on Saturday.
Courtesy of Matt Sakakeeny

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 12:22 pm

As the pallbearers carried the casket through the streets of New Orleans, a brass band led the procession with the slow dirge "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." But this was no jazz funeral, this was a brass band blowout, and painted on the coffin were the names of competing bands: New Breed, New Generation and To Be Continued.

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Music News
3:05 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Influential Musician Lou Reed Dies

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:25 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "SUNDAY MORNING")

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're listening now to some of the music of Lou Reed. He died over the weekend at the age of 71. He was in his mid-20s in 1967 when he released this song called "Sunday Morning" on the album "The Velvet Underground and Nico."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUNDAY MORNING")

LOU REED: (Singing) Early dawnin', Sunday mornin'...

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Record
1:38 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Lou Reed, Beloved Contrarian, Dies

Lou Reed onstage in London in 1975 playing a transparent, Plexiglass guitar. Reed died Sunday. He was 71.
Denis O'Regan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 3:59 pm

One of rock's most beloved and contrarian figures has died. Lou Reed epitomized New York City's artistic underbelly in the 1970s, with his songs about hookers and junkies. He was 71.

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