The X

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The Musical Universe

 

Music and politics have always been intertwined, from "Yankee Doodle" to "A Change is Gonna Come." And that's true in Zimbabwe, too — a country that is now facing a historic political transition.

Aussie psych project Tame Impala and electronic star Zhu have given their collaboration "My Life" the video treatment and enlisted Willow Smith as its bittersweet protagonist.

Low Cut Connie is a lot of fun. Sure, it's developed a healthy reputation as a party band, but there's a lot more to discover underneath the sweaty sheen of its intense live shows. Speaking of which, I wish you could see the way lead singer Adam Weiner attacks the piano. At some points, he plays it the same way Superman flies, his body parallel to the ground. It's a sight to see!

When The Internet first debuted in 2011, the common joke was that the musicians had picked an unfortunate name for fans who wanted to find anything about them on, you know, the Internet. But those cheap snickers quickly faded as the group's sly, slick funk sensibility took hold, even for search engines. Seriously, Google them.

Malcolm Holcombe On Mountain Stage

Jul 20, 2018

"If you want anything more authentically Appalachian, you're going to have to dig it out of the ground" are the words host Larry Groce himself used to describe Malcolm Holcombe before this appearance on Mountain Stage. This was Holcombe's third visit with us here in West Virginia and, as always, he reminded us why he's known as a legend in the folk music underground.

Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Holcombe creates a beautifully rugged sound that you just can't fake.

This year we mark our annual summer Latin music festival show with an accompanying deeper dive into the reason some of these festivals exist: lack of inclusion on the big summer festival stages.

Listen to the podcast and read how the Latinx community is dealing with representation in the music industry.

Earlier this week, Drake secured the fourth solo Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 of his career with the song "In My Feelings," off his fifth studio album Scorpion. But while most of the raps are his, the song's skyrocket up the charts is due, in large part, to something Drake had nothing to do with.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Ann Powers, and Stephen Thompson to talk about July 20th's notable releases. Highlights include sultry R&B from The Internet, seething rock from songwriter Meg Myers, the "Joy" of Ty Segall & White Fence, a new album from the bluegrass group Punch Brothers and more.

Featured on this Episode

  1. The Internet: Hive Mind
    Featured Song: "Come Together"

The Thistle & Shamrock: New Summer Sounds

Jul 19, 2018

New music is always in season on Thistle! This week it's all about the albums that have been gathering in our North Carolina and Scottish mailboxes just waiting for an hour of your time. Included in this week's show are Dylan Foley, 14-year-old Iona Ritchie, The Bevvy Sisters, and Dougie MacLean.

Jazz has always been a music of continuum, its secrets passed down across generations. Benny Green is a shining embodiment of this process: A pianist originally inspired (and eventually endorsed) by mid-century modernists like Oscar Peterson; An apprentice to two of the music's greatest mentors, Betty Carter and Art Blakey; A conservationist of the bebop idiom, and a joyful guardian of its lexicon.

Made in America, an annual music festival founded by Jay-Z and produced by Live Nation, may be forced to leave its home on the streets of Philadelphia as of 2019.

The office of mayor Jim Kenney told reporters on Tuesday that the festival's signature location in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art was causing problems for the city. Jay-Z and other festival organizers have fired back, saying that the event's site is being moved without discussion, and that the mayor's office made its plans public without first informing the festival.

2018 Slingshot band Mt. Joy has had a fruitful year. From festival appearances to nationally televised studio sessions, the band has seen a burgeoning growth in support and notoriety. In the midst of all this success, the band members still recall their humble yesteryears and marvel at their steady rise to indie-rock stardom.

Jeff Rosenstock has always made music for the slow days after the end-times, and "All This Useless Energy" is a kick-the-can punk ballad for crawling out of aimlessness toward a purpose.

OK, look. I don't want to waste your time. It's hot, it's muggy and the news is an ever-widening gyre of flaming airborne chili-festival Porta Potties. So how about we forgo a review that seeks to advance any cool, objective argument on the relative cinematic worth of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the sequel to the 2008 film adaption of the longest-running jukebox musical in Broadway history? How about, in the interest of efficiency, I just answer the questions I know you to have about the film — because I had them, too — in order of importance?

When Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear first came on the scene a few years back, it was only natural that people would fixate on the familial facet of the folk duo's identity — a mother, Ruth Ward, and her son Madisen making music together — particularly with a back story as charming as theirs.

For solo musicians playing fingerpicked acoustic guitar, technical skill and physical dexterity are kind of important. So important, in fact, that it could be tempting to concentrate on technique, letting musical creativity – i.e. actually writing unique, compelling songs – take care of itself. That might work for some, but it's never been Daniel Bachman's way. He's always been more interested in following ideas, making his chops serve his songs' journeys, not the other way around.

MGM Resorts International, the company that owns Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, has named victims of last year's music festival massacre as defendants in a lawsuit late last week. MGM is not seeking money from the victims, but is instead asking a court to declare that the company is not liable for the shooting at Route 91 Harvest music festival last October.

Earlier this week, Guns N' Roses' video for "November Rain" hit a curious milestone: Released in 1992, it's the oldest video ever to be streamed a billion times on YouTube.

It's been nearly six years since Cat Power, a.k.a. Chan Marshall, released a new album. Now, we've got news — Wanderer will come out Oct. 5 — but not a whole lot else to share.

One of Broadway's hottest tickets is coming to small screens: "Springsteen on Broadway" will be launched as a Netflix special this December.

The one-man show, which was written by Bruce Springsteen, earned him a Tony Award in June. Directed and produced by Thom Zimny, it has been a sensation in New York, where it's been seen by intimate audiences of less than 1,000 people per show at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

You're at a party and see your old boo (with a new boo), who is looking very fine. When you go in for the obligatory hug, it brings up aaaalllll of the feels — that weekend at the cabin, the six-week anniversary dinner that was totally unnecessary but still very sweet, that one shirt you like.

The eternally smiling D.R.A.M. knows that feeling, and the smoove synth-bop "Best Hugs" lays it all out: "Reminiscing about those days take me / Back to the days when she drove me crazy."

Dessa On World Cafe

Jul 18, 2018

Can you insure your heartache through GEICO if you use it as a professional asset for writing songs? If you're a self-proclaimed "bottle-blonde, fair-skinned woman" whose mother is Puerto Rican but you don't look it, what's the best way to be a responsible rapper? Can you locate the spot your ex occupies in your brain through MRI scanning?

It's a truth universally acknowledged that if it's pink, it'll likely be marketed exclusively to girls. (And, in that case, it'll probably cost more.) You may be tempted to think that fate has befallen our favorite pink drink, fretfully wondering: Is rosé just for women?

Success is relative. And for Berhana, the gluttonous trappings of music success don't actually make you happy once you get them. The Atlanta upstart premieres the song and music video for "Wildin'" on NPR Music, a divergent stance on defining your accomplishments by the industry's standards.

"There's a lot of things around success that can distract you and you forget what it is you're even doing this for," the singer says. "All this stuff around you kind of means nothing."

The lack of women's visibility in the world of electronic music had, by the late '90s, exhausted the composer, academic, historian and optimist Tara Rodgers. Roused by the loosely-knit federation of feminists that surfaced out of Riot Grrrl's punky strain of activism, Rodgers set out to address the gender deficit by creating an analogous movement by and for women in electronic music, wherever they were.

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