One of my most surprising discoveries of 2013 is an artfully poppy pipe-organ record called Ceremony, by Swedish singer Anna von Hausswolff. Though she doesn't consider herself an accomplished pipe organist, von Hausswolff quickly learned the instrument's power, as well as some of its subtleties.
Not that hair is the only thing we care about, but now we're going to hear from a singer whose signature blonde platinum coif is one of the things that makes her stand out. We're talking about singer-songwriter Emeli Sande. She had the best-selling album in Britain in 2012.
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 10:34 am
At 8 years old, I scrawled my first and last Symphonies — nos. 1, 2, and 3 — on ruled notebook paper. They were short duets for clarinet and trumpet for myself and my brother to play. Why did I call them symphonies? I can't remember, but I suspect that it was a desire to tie these efforts — and me, by extension — to a grand and venerable tradition.
Baths, a.k.a. Will Wiesenfeld, plays mysterious and textured electronic music. When Wiesenfeld came to the Tiny Desk, I expected contemplative tones and a laid-back performance; he does, after all, call his project Baths. But what sets him apart from the vast majority of like-minded performers is that his music doesn't get buried behind the buttons or lost in a hypnotic glaze.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:31 pm
Houndmouth is a rootsy rock band from New Albany, Ind., right across the river from Louisville. In an age of loops, samples and all things digital, Houndmouth is a refreshingly straightforward rock band with guitars, B-3 and all members singing in harmony.
The group recently released its debut album, From the Hills Below the City. Hear Houndmouth perform four of its songs on this installment of World Cafe.
At 60, New York City-based composer John Zorn is wiser, sure, but no less prolific, thoughtful and antagonistic than before. His oeuvre is fantastically wide, from cutthroat jazz improvisation and pummeling noise-rock to gorgeous chamber music and, believe it or not, a genuine Christmas album.
For a year and a half now, Morning Edition has been following the singer-songwriter Neko Case as she worked on an album that would come to be titled The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. It includes "Where Did I Leave That Fire," a song with a haunting question at its heart, and now we know that the singer who asked where she left that fire was feeling depressed. She felt like she was moving through life underwater.