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Illinois Rock'n'Soul.

 

Clyde and Gracie Lawrence are not your typical brother-and-sister pair. For one thing, they're in a band together: As Lawrence, they've toured across the country performing soulful pop songs. Though the two have been playing music together since they were toddlers, they say it was their more recent experience on the road that made them appreciate their relationship to home.

Mika Vainio, a pioneer in the world of avant-garde electronic music and founding member of Finnish duo Pan Sonic, has died at 53. His death was confirmed by friends and family to numerous outlets. No cause of death was given.

Josh Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, stopped by our studio the day he released his latest album, Pure Comedy, to play a stripped-down set of songs. With his lyrics pushed to the forefront, Tillman's keen cultural observations were on full display. It was a deeply moving set, including our current favorite, "Ballad Of The Dying Man."

Set List

  • "Ballad Of The Dying Man"

Photo: Dustin Downing/KCRW.

This Latin Roots session all started when four guys from Los Angeles showed up at our studio looking like, well, four guys from Los Angeles, in track pants, T-shirts and sneakers. They finished sound check and disappeared for a while — and when they came back, it was like somebody'd hit the 1976 button on the time machine. Those four guys returned sporting matching tuxedos with ruffled collars, their two back-up singers in blinding, sparkly dresses. They had morphed into Chicano Batman.

Dissonance has been around as long as music itself, no doubt. Even the Bible talks of music with "loud crashing cymbals." And if you thought the classical era offered only tidy melodies, try the opening of Haydn's oratorio The Creation, where the world is birthed in a mighty discordant wail, or Mozart's String Quartet No.

Of all the songs from The xx's excellent album I See You to remix for the dance-floor, "A Violent Noise" is, thematically, a funny choice. Sung mostly by Oliver Sim, it is about negatively losing yourself in the music, an escape where "every beat is a violent noise." The notion is mirrored by the music, while the band's low-end atmospheric production and glacial doomed echoes layer on the dread, it does so without truly following through on either of the chorus' warnings: There is no beat and there is no violence.

Timmhotep Aku is an NPR Music contributor and occasional guest host for our +1 podcasts. This week he talks with Matt Martians and Syd of the soul band The Internet.

The Internet is greater than the some of its parts. The Internet I'm referring to in this case is the band consisting of founding members Matt Martians and Syd, as well as guitarist Steve Lacy, bassist Patrick Paige II and drummer Christopher A. Smith, a group of millennials in love with the traditions of R&B and soul.

You wanna talk about stories? Kristin Hersh has stories. You might know Hersh as the frontwoman for the innovative late '80s-early '90s alt-rock band Throwing Muses or the hard-rocking power trio 50 Foot Wave. She's also an author — her 2010 memoir Rat Girl was named No. 8 on Rolling Stone's "25 Greatest Rock Memoirs of All Time" list.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It seemed like a simple video editing trick, run the tape backwards and it will look like this guy is driving backward. Well, it's no trick. The more I watch this video, for JEFF the Brotherhood's song "Punishment," the more jaw-dropping it is to see Harpreet Pappu careening on the highways and unpaved side roads of Bathinda, Punjab in India at full speed — and backwards.

Legend has it that the band Pink Floyd once played so loudly at a show that the sheer volume had killed all the fish in a nearby pond.

Now there's a new species of shrimp, named after Pink Floyd, that can kill fish by making a loud noise. Synalpheus pinkfloydi rapidly opens then snaps closed its large claw, creating a sound that can reach up to 210 decibels — louder than a typical rock concert and loud enough to kill small fish nearby.

Feist's first album in six years, Pleasure, comes out in just a couple weeks. We've only heard "Century" and the title track from it, so far, and today we get a visual companion for the latter.

John Geils Jr., who played guitar in the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his Massachusetts home, according to the Groton (Mass.) Police Department. He was 71. The police department said in a statement that he likely died of natural causes.

American singer-songwriter and producer Matthew E. White and folky English artist Flo Morrissey teamed up for an album of covers called Gentlewoman, Ruby Man.

Written as an aside to having lost a slot opening for The King Khan & BBQ Show on the grounds that the band's music was "too depressing," WVWhite's "Drag Down" sets the pace for the Columbus, Ohio, quartet's second album, House Of The Spiritual Athletes. But something a little more involved is happening here: We're not only listening to a band hone in on its sound for the foreseeable future, but also hearing the manifestation of a two-generation indie-rock family tree.

When Mlny Parsonz rips into a phrase, you feel the wound. Over three albums, Royal Thunder's soulful hard-rock has very much been tied to a desperation to crawl out of darkness and find some kind of hope beyond. Over three albums, that drive has kept the Atlanta band hungry and humble. Its latest, Wick, is a sprawling account of a band still crawling.

The D.C. brewery Right Proper was like a cultural mullet during a recent visit: a posh baby shower in the front (complete with chocolate petit fours), a bunch of metal heads making beer in the back. Right Proper's head brewer, Nathan Zeender, was dumping a heaping spoonful of hop extract into a tank.

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