The morning after a sold-out show at Los Angeles' famed Hollywood Bowl, Hot Chip rolled into our studio to play an energetic set of electro-pop. The amount of live instrumentation these guys use — there are seven members — is always impressive. Their latest album, In Our Heads, has been one of our summer soundtrack essentials at KCRW.
A lot can happen in six years. For Milwaukee-bred trumpeter Philip Dizack, it marked the passage of an era worth documenting in his own artistic chronology.
"End of an Era represents a moment when what you had is gone," he says about his new album during this session from WBGO's The Checkout. "For me, it's specific things like family relationships that ended. Both of my grandparents passed away. All those things were very personal, but I saw that everyone goes through something. And it's all the same."
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:06 pm
Country-music singer-songwriter and actor Dwight Yoakam blends several genres on his first album in five years, 3 Pears. Released last month, 3 Pears is full of surprises, jumping from Motown and soul to light pop and no-frills rock 'n' roll. Beck produced two of its tracks, while Kid Rock co-wrote the catchy lead single "Take Hold of My Hand."
In this World Cafe session, Yoakam performs four tracks from 3 Pears and sits down for a lengthy and at times emotional interview with host David Dye.
The Somali-born rapper and singer-songwriter K'Naan can sure pack a lot into a 3-1/2-minute pop song: clever wit, heartfelt angst, a hook you can't shake — and, in the new track "Hurt Me Tomorrow," honky-tonk piano. That's the sort of quirk that helped win K'Naan his earliest fans. All sorts of eccentricities survive on Country, God or the Girl, his most expansive and elaborately produced work to date. Mostly, though, the new album soars with pairings of sharp, confessional rap and catchy vocal hooks.
The Budapest String Quartet has always been my standard-bearer for chamber music. I grew up listening to their recordings, and especially admired not only their gorgeous sound, but also the uncanny interaction among all four players, even when there were changes in personnel. They had a way of playing as if they were speaking to each other, expressing deep and sometimes complicated feelings.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:35 am
Rosanne Cash started out working with her father, the late Johnny Cash, then released her own self-titled debut in 1978. She's since made 11 more records and topped various Billboard charts with 11 singles. Refusing to be held by genre limitations, Cash is known variously as a rock, pop, folk and country performer.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:42 am
After 17 years molding the Los Angeles Philharmonic into one of the smartest and most adventurous U.S. orchestras, music director Esa-Pekka Salonen called it quits in 2009. Among his reasons for leaving the ensemble was to devote more time to composing.
The Minneapolis band Night Moves released its debut album, Colored Emotions, for free online in 2011, setting off a wave of buzz. Its Americana-tinged single "Headlights" became a staple on The Current's airwaves, and the group played the station's seventh birthday party at First Avenue in January of this year.