All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton has been feeling a little dazed and confused lately, so host Bob Boilen gives him a "sonic hug" with a new song from the Austin, Texas rock band The Octopus Project. Robin follows with a surprising cut from the first new Nine Inch Nails album in five years. NPR's Sami Yenigun brings a healthy dose of dance beats from Seven Davis Jr.
Albert Murray, the influential writer and critic who helped found Jazz at Lincoln Center, died Sunday at home in Harlem. He was 97 years old. Duke Ellington once described him as the "unsquarest person I know."
For Murray, jazz and blues were more than just musical forms. They were a survival technique — an improvisatory response to hardship and uncertainty, as he told NPR in 1997: "You don't know how many bars you have, but however many of them you can make swing, the better off you are. That's about it."
When I first saw The Front Bottoms, I was stunned to see 350-plus singing, shouting club-goers repeat verse after complicated verse back at singer Brian Sella. Then it happened again at a hot, sweaty club in Philadelphia, and later in D.C., and then again in Baltimore. The community that's formed around these songs — as total strangers purge deep emotions in a public space — is a beautiful phenomenon, a testament to the passion and compassion that this band radiates.
Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 4:13 pm
Almost 10 years after "Take Me Out" helped the band break through commercially, win a Mercury Prize and craft a zeitgeist-defining sound — and two years after a rumored breakup — Franz Ferdinand returns with its first new album since 2009. It's the Glaswegian dance-rock ambassadors' best work since their 2004 arrival: Confident and freshly energized, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action captures the ease of pressure that comes with knowing that a decade-old band can't be co-opted as a cool new thing.
This week's World Cafe: Next artist is the Kansas band Moreland & Arbuckle, whose members play blues-drenched roots-rock. On their fifth album, 7 Cities, they've adopted the loose theme of the explorer Coronado's search for the seven cities of gold — which, not so coincidentally, took the conquistador right into their home territory.
Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 10:22 am
Jason Isbell recently told Mountain Stage host Larry Groce that "there are much worse things you can be called than a former Drive-By Trucker," but that "I've been out of that band as long as I was in it."
If it's not careful, the Sub Pop label is going to exceed its reputation for breaking rock bands with its new discoveries in experimental hip-hop. Following its success with the space-hop outworlders in Shabazz Palaces and the earthy psych-rap enchantresses in THEESatisfaction, the Seattle label recently signed L.A.