We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the booklets of money-saving coupons we use to light kindling in the fireplace is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, tips for obsessive music fans in an age of instant online gratification.
Moving on to other news in education, last week hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine announced that they would be giving the University of Southern California $70 million to create a degree that will blend business, marketing, product development, design and liberal arts.
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When Igor Stravinsky began composing The Rite of Spring, his ballet for vast symphonic forces, he could hear the music in his head but couldn't quite figure out how to write it down. It was just too complicated.
Each time I see James Blake and his band perform, I feel the extreme rush of hearing something for the very first time. The sound is sharp and visceral; it oddly vibrates the hair on my arms and, at moments of extreme bass, gets me feeling claustrophobic before the inevitable release when Blake sings. It's hopeful, mournful, always thoughtful.
Throughout Kobo Town's new album Jumbie in the Jukebox, frontman Drew Gonsalves declares his love for the past even as his feet are firmly planted in the present. The music of the Toronto band can drift between classic Caribbean pop styles and even verge on hip-hop, but the singer's perspective remains sharply focused, wry and witty. The song "Postcard Poverty," for example, ribs tourists for whom tropical slums become an exotic backdrop to fun-in-the-sun adventures.
Mount Moriah is a rock band formed around the duo of guitarist Jenks Miller and singer Heather McEntire. Its second full-length album, the recent Miracle Temple, combines the strum and twang of Southern rock with vocals that hit hard emotionally.
On this installment of World Cafe, host David Dye discusses with McEntire the complexity of Mount Moriah's sound, as well as her push to explore the nuances in her vocals.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 2:54 pm
Henri Dutilleux, a leading French composer who wrote music of luminous perfection, died Wednesday in Paris at age 97. His family announced the death, which was reported by one of his publishers, Schott Music, and the Agence-France Presse.
The Sea, The Sea makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. The duo of singer-songwriters Mira Stanley and Chuck E. Costa first began performing and recording together in the fall of 2011. No stranger to West Virginia's most famous stage, Stanley spent much of her youth backstage at shows alongside her father, Mountain Stage bandleader Ron Sowell. She even auditioned once, as a very young girl, for host Larry Groce — "Don't call us, we'll call you," he told her. Many years later, he kept his word.
I freely admit that, until the new Random Access Memories, I wasn't much of a Daft Punk fan. I could appreciate the craft and imagination that went into creating the French duo's mixture of electronic genres — techno, house, disco — but the mechanical repetitions and heavily filtered vocals didn't turn me on in any other way.