Music

Music Reviews
2:15 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Vertical Scratchers: Slashed Chords, Fractured Poetry

Vertical Scratchers.
Joseph Amario Courtesy of the artist

The members of Vertical Scratchers don't have to pretend: They are free spirits, making music that is at once tightly composed, whimsical and anarchic.

The vocals on a Vertical Scratchers song tend to be high-pitched and yearning. John Schmersal creates harmonies from his vocal tracks that have a keening romanticism. His guitar lines are a series of slashed chords — vertical scratching, and thus the band's name. At the same time, there's a compressed intensity to the tunes, which uncoil with a snap, again and again.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Brass Bed: Tiny Desk Concert

Brass Bed performs a Tiny Desk Concert in January 2014.
Jim Tuttle/NPR NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 3:12 pm

It wasn't an easy road to the Tiny Desk for the four guys from Louisiana who make up Brass Bed. Their tour, for the band's debut album The Secret Will Keep You, was plagued from the start: Singer Christiaan Mader had the flu, there was a death in the family and multiple dates had to be canceled. Their van was broken into and their instruments stolen. So when they heard that a big snowstorm was headed for D.C. at the same time they were to play the Tiny Desk, it felt like yet another bad omen.

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Metropolis
12:39 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Metropolis: 2/22/14

Duke Dumont's new single, "I Got U," gets the remix treatment from Tensnake on this week's episode of Metropolis.
Courtesy of the artist

Tensnake, "First Song" (Astralwerks)


Tomas Barfod, "Pulsing (feat. Nina Kinert)" (Secretly Canadian)


Shur-I-Kan, "Blue Giraffe" (Lazy Days Recordings)


Jonas Rathsman, "Hope I'm Wrong" (French Express)


Booka Shade, "Crossing Borders (Mihalis Safras Remix)" (Blaufield Music)


Duke Dumont, "I Got U (feat. Jax Jones) (Tensnake Remix)" (Blase Boys Club)

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World Cafe
12:22 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Beck On World Cafe

Beck.
Peter Hapak Courtesy of the artist

Our Vintage Cafe this week is with Beck, whose new album, Morning Phase, will be released nationally on Feb. 25.

This interview from 2007 was conducted in the wake of the deluxe edition of his album The Information. The studio session contains some fine performances, including "I Think I'm In Love," and a wide-ranging discussion touching on the hip-hop and indie music scenes. Also, Beck looks back on dropping out of high school and traveling the world before ultimately settling in Southern California.

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Favorite Sessions
8:43 am
Mon February 24, 2014

KEXP Present: Noah Gundersen

Noah Gundersen.
Dagmar Patterson KEXP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:36 pm

It's a family affair for Seattle artist Noah Gundersen. Accompanied by his sister, brother and friends, the soft-spoken singer-songwriter performed a dynamic, yet delicate Morning Show session featuring tracks from his debut full-length, Ledges.

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First Listen
11:12 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

First Listen: Diane Cluck, 'Boneset'

Diane Cluck's new album, Boneset, comes out March 4.
John Rogers Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:51 am

Diane Cluck has been under-appreciated for so long, it's hard not to try to make up for lost time. So, before you listen to Boneset for the first time, take a few minutes to listen to one of the best songs of the last 10 years: "All I Bring You Is Love," from Cluck's fourth album Oh Vanille / Ova Nil.

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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

First Listen: Linda Perhacs, 'The Soul Of All Natural Things'

Linda Perhacs first album in 44 years, The Soul of All Natural Things, comes out March 4.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 11:41 am

We're just now starting to recognize early-aughts downloads with the same nostalgic air that we do a lucky score at a record store. Slow modems, improperly tagged files, Sharpie-scrawled CDRs — well, at least some of us think of those times fondly. It's an odd relationship, clicking on a not-so-legal rip of an all-too-rare LP only previously known to record-store clerks and collectors, knowing that it's only a poor facsimile. But there's still the thrill of discovery, however removed from the source.

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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

First Listen: Nothing, 'Guilty Of Everything'

Nothing's debut album, Guilty of Everything, comes out March 4.
Shawn Brackbill Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:52 am

The story of how singer and guitarist Domenic Palermo came to form the noise-rock band Nothing sounds like a Behind the Music episode gone bad. Growing up in the crime-infested neighborhood of Kensington in Philadelphia, Palermo hung with a tough crowd that, in his own words, drove around with large amounts of cocaine and guns while listening to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.

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Music Interviews
5:12 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

St. Vincent's Eerie Musical Alchemy

St. Vincent is the fourth solo album from singer and guitarist Annie Clark.
Renata Raksha Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 7:00 pm

In three albums as St. Vincent, plus the 2012 David Byrne collaboration Love This Giant, Annie Clark has proven adept at writing rock songs that flirt with the tense and uneasy. Her streak continues on St. Vincent, a new album replete with dissonances and distortions that make even its prettiest melodies read as disturbing.

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Music Interviews
8:04 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Megaband Formed On Craigslist Becomes The Family Crest

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 4:12 pm

There are big bands and then there are really big bands, like The Family Crest, which features around 300 players. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with lead vocalist Liam McCormick about the band.

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