Music

All Songs Considered
1:46 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Viking's Choice: This Song Is Literally For Throwing Stuff Out The Window

Be careful near that window, Have a Nice Life.
Courtesy of the artist

For those drawn to doom and gloom, the most affecting music sometimes takes a while to reveal itself. In 2008, the happily named duo Have a Nice Life released Deathconsciousness, a messy yet fascinating double-album fixated on the darker side of life and endowed with a gauzy, shoegaze-drenched underbelly. As time went on, I'd continue to see Deathconsciousness pop up in RSS and Twitter feeds from those just discovering an album too weird and too bleak for its time — or any time, for that matter. I should know; I was one of them a few years ago.

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Music Reviews
1:19 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Ella Fitzgerald's Early Years Collected In A Chick Webb Box Set

Ella Fitzgerald sings with bandleader Chick Webb in Asbury Park, N.J., in 1938.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:44 am

Drummer Chick Webb's 1930s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. They could be similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Early on, they did have some hot Edgar Sampson arrangements that Benny Goodman would soon turn into hits, like "Blue Lou" and "Don't Be That Way." But the Webb band also had an old-school crooner, Charles Linton, with pre-jazz-age enunciation.

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Favorite Sessions
1:02 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

KCRW Presents: Of Montreal

Of Montreal performs live at KCRW on Nov. 11, 2013.
Gregg Lewis KCRW

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 2:58 pm

Of Montreal was founded by singer Kevin Barnes back in 1996; ever since, the Athens, Ga., group has continued to explore new creative possibilities, as true artists do. The band recently returned to Morning Becomes Eclectic to showcase songs from its new album, including "Fugitive Air."

Watch the entire session with Of Montreal at KCRW.com.

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Best Music Of 2013
8:03 am
Wed December 11, 2013

NPR Music's 100 Favorite Songs Of 2013

A still from Machel Montano's video for "The Fog."
Courtesy of Precision Productions

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 2:14 pm

What do you have to do, as a song, to win our hearts? You have to sink in. You have to stop someone dead in her tracks. You need to cause that man to act a fool. Scrunch a nose, tense a shoulder, drop an ass.

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Music Interviews
5:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Venezuelan Hip-Hop Takes On Police Corruption

Rappers Apache and Canserbero.
Courtesy of the artist

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

A music video made in Venezuela this year calls attention to a special kind of crime: corruption by Venezuelan police.

Two rappers who go by the names Apache and Canserbero show themselves driving a beat-up Lincoln, maybe from the 1970s. They're pulled over at a checkpoint by cops who want cash.

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A Blog Supreme
5:07 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 10:10 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
4:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Indie-Pop Albums That Make The Cut Are More Than Mere Collections

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.

CORNISH: OK. So...

(LAUGHTER)

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Mountain Stage
4:09 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Sarah Jarosz On Mountain Stage

Sarah Jarosz performing live on Mountain Stage.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 9:20 am

Sarah Jarosz makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. Now 22 years old, Jarosz was signed to Sugar Hill Records when she was just 16. She shifted gears in 2009 to enter the New England Conservatory of Music, and graduated this year.

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World Cafe
3:19 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Bill Callahan On World Cafe

Bill Callahan.
Hanly Banks Courtesy of the artist

Those who love indie singer-songwriter Bill Callahan's music no doubt have their favorites among his solo albums, if not from records he previously made under the name Smog. Callahan's music has been remarkably consistent and deeply meaningful; as a writer, he's truly invested in making every word count. Callahan's latest album, Dream River, is a classic illustration of his artistry.

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A Blog Supreme
2:04 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

O Brothers: Drummers Brian and Brady Blade

Brian (left) and Brady Blade.
Megan Holmes/Mary Ellen Matthews Courtesy of the artists

If the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, sometimes two apples will land on similar turf. Brian Blade has been Wayne Shorter's drummer for several years and leads his own project called The Fellowship Band. His older brother Brady Blade is perhaps best known for his drumming with Emmylou Harris and is an all-around music industry mover and shaker.

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