Formed in 2008, Pickwick members Galen Disston, Michael and Garrett Parker, Cassady Lillstrom, Alex Westcoat, and Kory Kruckenberg forged a path toward neo-soul and in 2011 released a compilation of music from three of their EPs. The result was Myths, released one single at a time on 7" vinyl, which put the band on the map and became one of the most popular albums of the year in Seattle.
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."
As the European editor of Rolling Stone, Jonathan Cott spent his time interviewing legendary musicians like Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend. But in 1968, he finally got the opportunity to meet his hero, John Lennon. Cott was nervous.
"He said, 'There's nothing to be nervous about,'" Cott recalls. "'It's going to be OK, and we're doing it together, and that's what really matters.'"
This year is the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth. The man widely called the greatest living Wagnerian tenor is marking the occasion in style — and asking listeners who may have turned away from the German composer to give his music another chance.
Every day at KEXP, we're witnesses to the gifts of musicians from around the world. On one balmy day in Seattle, the bluesy, hypnotic spirit of Sidi Touré brought something extraordinary, as he offered an intimate look into the spiritual influences that guided the creation of Koïma, his newest album.
Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:23 pm
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?
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 1:55 pm
Aaron Neville has been a radio mainstay for more than five decades. Coming from a musical family in New Orleans, he got his start singing with The Neville Brothers and had his first No. 1 R&B hit in 1966 with "Tell It Like It Is."
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.
Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 12:20 pm
The pianist Orrin Evans splits much of his time between Philadelphia, where he grew up, and New York, a much larger jazz scene where he gigs often. A hard-charging player, seasoned with the harmonic touch of fellow Philadelphian McCoy Tyner, Evans is in high demand in a lot of places. Last year saw him release his 19th album as a bandleader or co-leader, Flip the Script. It's a trio recording, a format which both intimidates and excites him; here, he takes up the three-man challenge anew.