At NPR Music, we get stacks of CDs in the mail, as well as countless links to music streams, from bands trying to stand out and get some attention. It's safe to say that we all share similar previewing procedures: At some point, we just sit and listen.
What are we listening for? I can't speak for the others, but I'm constantly in search of music I haven't heard, but which sounds as if it's been in my life forever.
Last year, after the Atlanta rock band Black Lips released the album Arabia Mountain, its members planned a trip to tour the Middle East, but the wave of Arab Spring protests forced them to change plans. Yet even with simmering anti-Americanism persisting throughout the region, singer-guitarist Ian St. Pe was determined to see this through. Cairo, where I spoke with them on Friday, was the band's second stop.
Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 5:29 pm
All Tomorrow's Parties is an extra special music festival. Oddly, it's not just about the music. It's about film, comedy, lecture/conversation and new friendships all bound together by everyone's love for eclectic and passionate music. This year, following a move from Asbury Park (which followed a move from its original Catskill mountain hotel home) to a giant pier on southern tip of Manhattan, it felt more like a convention than a camp. Gone was the coziness of hotel lobbies where artists and participants co-mingled at all hours.
Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 12:17 pm
In a ceremony and concert last night, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz recognized Jamison Ross, 24, as the winner of its annual competition for young musicians. The competition, the highest profile event of its kind, was open to drummers this year.
If you listen to the music on Charmer, hearing Aimee Mann's vocals as just another lilting instrument, you'd probably think the album was just what the title suggests: a charmer. The melodies have an airy quality, at once floating and propulsive, and even without fixing on the words, you can hear that they're metrically precise, with carefully counted-out syllables and tight rhymes.
Grizzly Bear, which has just released its fourth studio album, Shields, spoke to Morning Edition host David Greene about democracy within the band, censorship and candor in interviews, and achieving success as an indie band. Hear the radio version at the audio link and read part of their conversation below.
Weekends on All Things Considered continues its "Why Music Matters" series with music from the heavens, as chosen by astronaut Stan Love.
"In space, every day is an important day of work," Love says. But when he was sent up to the space station to drop off and pick up crew members, the returning station crew member asked, "Dudes, where are the tunes?"
Violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman compares Jewish cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot to some of the giants of opera. Helfgot is the chief cantor at Manhattan's Park East Synagogue. He has sung at the Metropolitan Opera. Now, he and Perlman have recorded an album together that goes back to a time when cantors were opera stars. Jon Kalish reports.