Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 12:11 pm
"A Rational Conversation" is a column by writer Eric Duckerin 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.
Police in Milwaukee have recovered a Stradivarius violin and arrested three suspects in its theft. The instrument, said to be worth approximately $5 million, was stolen in a brazen armed robbery from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra late last month. Mitch Teich of WUWM in Milwaukee reports on the violin's recovery.
Four years ago, the women of Warpaint — Jenny Lee Lindberg on bass, Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman on vocals and guitar, and Stella Mozgawa on drums — released their successful debut album, The Fool. Considering it took them five years after forming in 2004 to release their debut, they're right on schedule.
The appearance of Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu in the American market is welcome not only in itself, but also as a sign of a larger trend. Five or six years ago, it was clear the music business was going into long-term sales decline, and I was certain that a prime victim of that would be African pop. The established imports of the '80s and '90s would be available as MP3 downloads, but surely new discoveries and reissues would slow to a trickle, if not cease altogether. I'm grateful that that has simply not happened.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 5:23 pm
Every year around this time, the All Songs Considered team begins the process of listening to nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We acquire them from any number of sources, as bands willing to circulate their songs for consideration make them available online. But every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of bands, hundreds slip past our radar altogether.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:24 am
In 2006, at the 78th Academy Awards, the film Brokeback Mountain captured three Oscars and the attention of movie fans everywhere. That two handsome stars — Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal — played the lead roles helped propel the film's popularity.
But the tale of star-crossed sheepherders who fall in love on a rugged Wyoming mountain originated long before the film, as a tightly focused short story by Annie Proulx that was published in the New Yorker in 1997.
Don't let Cahalen Morrison and Eli West's simple two-man sound fool you. The music itself isn't simple so much as an exercise in artful restraint. The Seattle duo's new album, I'll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands, is packed with exquisite instrumentation and close country harmonies. But the stories they tell and the melodies they employ are complex and wrought with nuanced emotion.
"Down in the Lonesome Draw" is about searching for work and opportunity — an old American story with nearly as much relevance now as when the Western states were still a frontier.
If you remembered that John Paul White and Joy Williams had announced they were taking a hiatus last year, the news of a new digital EP from The Civil Wars might make you scratch your head. But this cover of Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars," which lends its name to the EP, was actually recorded a while back with producers Rick Rubin and Charlie Peacock.