It's the grand finale of Ask Me Another's favorite musical games. Fugazi's Ian MacKaye teams up with NPR's Stephen Thompson to identify acoustic renditions of punk songs performed in decidedly un-punk style by house musician Jonathan Coulton ("Un-Punk'd"). And puzzle guru Art Chung leads a gripping final round on phrases and proper nouns that contain the name of a musical instrument ("Our Magnum Opus").
The hour of musical games continues. Sometimes we like to get a little more clever than "name that tune"-style music games. Here, Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton disguise word games as songs ("Triple Word Score"), invite contestants to sing and clap the answers ("Happy and You Know It"), and search to find the best lyricist among the audience to update Cole Porter's timeless classic, "You're The Top" ("Pen It Like Porter").
Drop a quarter into the Ask Me Another jukebox this week, and revisit some music games from seasons' past. No musical history is sacred on this show--we will rewrite any song lyrics into trivia questions. Join host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton as we defile the Fab Four in the game "With The Beatles," and Carly Rae Jepsen's 2012 earworm in a round dubbed "Call Me M.B."
We recently published a story about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. As part of the story, we published some photos of used T-shirts we found in a couple of markets in Kenya.
"Atomic energy makes our town and society prosperous," reads a sign photographed by filmmaker Atsushi Funahashi for Nuclear Nation. By the time he shows this small-town civic motto, the irony is unmistakable: Japan's nuclear-power industry may have enriched society, but it has left this particular city desolate.
Hear some of today's most innovative and inspirational Celtic music in recordings of its most ancient instrument. William Jackson, Wendy Stewart, Maire Brennan, Grainne Hambly, Savourna Stevenson and Alan Stivell all feature in an hour dedicated to small harps.
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For those drawn to doom and gloom, the most affecting music sometimes takes a while to reveal itself. In 2008, the happily named duo Have a Nice Life released Deathconsciousness, a messy yet fascinating double-album fixated on the darker side of life and endowed with a gauzy, shoegaze-drenched underbelly. As time went on, I'd continue to see Deathconsciousness pop up in RSS and Twitter feeds from those just discovering an album too weird and too bleak for its time — or any time, for that matter. I should know; I was one of them a few years ago.
Throughout this week, we at NPR Music are taking a look at the year in music with our friend Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered. I joined her to bring a closer ear to two very impressive classical albums and an international rarity that's been brought back to life. (I also provided Audie with a primer on pronouncing my last name. I hope you all pay close attention.)