The international summer festival circuit is full of contenders, celebrating cultures and subcultures while hustling for global vacation dollars. For musicians, festivals mean exposure, a paycheck and a rolling party of peers. For communities, they're a revenue engine and self-promotion platform. For music-hungry fans, they're vacation anchors, or vacations unto themselves.
Brass bands often bring New Orleans to mind. But some 1,000 miles away from southeast Louisiana, there's a different kind of brass band at work: the No BS! Brass Band of Richmond, Va.
Since the late 1970s, the brass-band repertoire has morphed into a new sound with the addition of funk, hip-hop and post-bop jazz. With as many as 13 members, No BS! Brass Band picks up on — and expands — that new tradition.
A few months ago, I reviewed a handful of new apps that show you which bands or artists are playing in your area. Some of those apps were hit-or-miss, and some have made some improvements since my initial review. This week All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton and I have pared the list of apps down to our two favorites. (You can hear us talk about it on the weekly series All Tech Considered.)
I wish I could say I first found Skinny Lister in a pub some late evening while folks were dancing on the tables. I trust that that happens, but my unforgettable experience with this kick-ass English folk-punk band was at a hotel lobby in midday, in the midst of a sober crowd in Austin, Texas.
One major source of pleasure in the music Eleanor Friedberger makes as half of The Fiery Furnaces is a matter of sheer density — the density of The Fiery Furnaces' musical ideas, the thick layers of words, lyrics that operate as dense sounds with meaning to be extracted from them.
As our population is growing and getting more diverse, so is our taste in music. And music lovers want to hear fresh ideas that reflect new realities and experiences. Yet some songs remain quintessentially American — even as they inspire constant re-interpretation.
Tell Me More is teaming up with New Orleans member station WWNO's Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins to showcase some fresh takes on popular American songs. Today we hear from Don Vappie of the Creole Jazz Serenaders, playing the banjo and singing, "Careless Love."