NPR Music

World Cafe
11:39 am
Mon December 1, 2014

TV On The Radio On World Cafe

TV On The Radio.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 3:17 pm

Seeds is TV On The Radio's sixth album and the first since the band's bassist, Gerard Smith, died in 2011. In spite of geographical distance — the group is now split between L.A. and New York — and the profound loss of a collaborator and friend, TV On The Radio sounds tight and focused. The songs on Seeds are punchy, pleasurable, searing and concise.

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World Cafe
11:36 am
Mon December 1, 2014

World Cafe Next: Cookies

Cookies.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 9:01 am

World Cafe: Next's featured artist this week is the Brooklyn band Cookies. Led by Ben Sterling (formerly of Mobius Band) and featuring Melissa Metrick on vocals, Cookies crafts indelible, sophisticated pop songs.

The group's debut album, Music For Touching, works as a melting pot of genres and styles, drawing equally from house, contemporary R&B and West African guitar music.

Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Mon December 1, 2014

What's Your Top 100 Of The Last 100 Years?

Composer Steve Reich, whose Music for 18 Musicians pulled out ahead of Gershwin, Shostakovich, Bartok, Ives, Berg and all others in last year's Q2 poll.
Wonge Bergmann Courtesy of the artist

For the past few years, member station Q2 in New York City has been enlisting listeners in a thought-provoking year-end poll. Forget the best music of the last year — what are the very best compositions of the last century?

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First Listen
8:06 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

First Listen: 'When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936'

African-Americans on their way to church.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:43 am

In the history of American popular music, gospel is the great conveyor. People could hear it everywhere as the 20th century grew from infancy to adolescence: in churches, of course, but also on street corners, sung by wanderers whose guitar work and moaning vocals arose in dialogue with the blues; in factories and mines, where harmonizing quartets provided balm to frustrated workers; on the radio, where preachers and singers performed live to thousands of listeners; and through the new medium of recordings, which turned regional styles into national trends.

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First Listen
8:05 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

First Listen: PRhyme, 'PRhyme'

PRhyme is Royce Da 5'9" (left) and DJ Premier.
Courtesy of The Chamber Group

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:42 am

PRhyme, rapper Royce Da 5' 9" and producer DJ Premier's collaborative project, is in actual fact a hardcore rap fan's fantasy realized; it's also one of those mythical instances of a good-looking tracklist exceeding all expectations. PRyhme is a nine-song testament to its creators' perseverance in changing times and proof positive that — even in an era when novelty supplants quality more often than not — the "dope rhymes, dope beats" formula can still yield something remarkable.

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First Listen
8:03 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

First Listen: Ghostface Killah, '36 Seasons'

Ghostface Killah's new album, 36 Seasons, comes out Dec. 9.
Stan Oh Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:42 am

It's fair to wonder why anybody would make an album today, much less a group of musicians who've proven themselves several times over. There isn't much money to be had, and what little there is can be got by other, less exhausting methods than touring to break new songs. Kool G Rap doesn't need to do this – everybody you respect wishes they could be like him when they grow up. Pharoahe Monch dropped an album this year that leveled whole tiers of his competition. AZ, when he cares to, rhymes circles around 99.99 % of the rapping population.

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Music Interviews
3:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 3:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Favorite Sessions
12:18 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

KCRW Presents: Caribou

Caribou performs on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Alex Pieros KCRW

Dan Snaith, a.k.a. Caribou, has moved freely between musical aesthetics on each of his previous records, but on his fifth studio release, Our Love, he's fine-tuned and settled into a warmer, more personal approach.

On his third visit to KCRW, Snaith performed songs off his newest and perhaps best album to date, including the captivating title track.

SET LIST

  • "Our Love"
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Music Interviews
5:07 am
Sun November 30, 2014

NPR Staffers Pick Their Favorite Music Interviews

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 9:44 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
1:57 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

Backstage With Janis Joplin: Doubts, Drugs And Compassion

Janis Joplin
Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 10:08 am

Janis Joplin felt a sense of outsider isolation throughout her life. She once said, "On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people. Then I go home alone."

But she wasn't alone — she had John Byrne Cooke.

Cooke was Janis Joplin's first and only road manager, from 1967 until her death from a heroin overdose in 1970. He was the one who found her body. In a new memoir, On the Road With Janis Joplin, he details the electrifying performances — and the drugs — that marked Joplin's tours.

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