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The Musical Universe

 

Peter Hook's first bass rig when he was a child was "no good," as he puts it. The low notes sounded terrible, so instead, he worked his way up the fretboard. Few musicians have more of a signature sound, or personality, than Peter Hook. He was one of the founding members of Joy Division, pioneers of the post-punk genre. When the band's lead singer, Ian Curtis, died on the eve of its first American tour, the remaining members didn't mourn.

Billy McFarland, co-founder of 2017's disastrous Fyre Festival, was scheduled to be sentenced next week after pleading guilty in March to defrauding 80 investors in that event of $24 million, among other charges.

Happy hours with your crew that last until first light. Summer Fridays observed on Tuesdays. Staggered text threads with unsaved numbers. Fizzy, incessantly-sugared libations. Awkward tan lines in the name of an intricate beach slay. BYOB house parties (and sappy, inconsequential flirtations at said parties). Dance-offs at open-air bars. Egregious swipe-rights in the name of carpe diem. And wine. So much wine.

Watch Vance Joy's Pop-Up Show At A Skateboarding Park

Jun 13, 2018

Right around the time James Gabriel Keogh decided to chuck his promising sports career and a brief law school stint to pick up a guitar, he immersed himself in the works of two-time Booker Prize winner and fellow Aussie Peter Carey – specifically, Carey's 1981 existentially-infused debut novel, Bliss. The novel struck a chord with the burgeoning songwriter and yielded his future stage name, Vance Joy. The moniker was inspired by the great-grandfather of the story's protagonist, Harry Joy, who was known for spinning fanciful yarns while unraveling life's truths.

For Latinos all over the world, the arrival of summer can mean a lot of things: piraguas, block parties, backyard-grown tropical fruit sold out of the trunks of cars. This year in the music world, summer means the return of Cuban hip-hop trio Orishas after a 10-year hiatus, la reina Ivy Queen's contribution to reggaeton season, Dos Santos' psychedelic cumbia funk and more.

Death Cab For Cutie is back with some pretty great new music. The band has just announced that a new album is on the way called Thank You for Today. And in this special episode of All Songs Considered, singer Ben Gibbard shares and talks about the first single, "Gold Rush."

Auditions Begin For 'Hamilton' In Puerto Rico

Jun 13, 2018

Composer and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda begins his search Wednesday for the Puerto Rican cast of his Hamilton production that will take the stage on the storm-battered island in January 2019.

His father, Luis Miranda, Jr., flew to Puerto Rico to help with logistics and tweeted the call for actors: "Seeking men and women, ages 20s-30s, for the non-white characters as written and conceived for the currently running and upcoming Broadway, Chicago and touring productions HAMILTON."

GoldLink is a man of the people. As a D.C. native, the skinny, stylish rapper acted as if his Tiny Desk performance was a family reunion and took the opportunity to invite everybody and their cousin in as his guests.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROCESSION")

KADHJA BONET: (Singing) Oh, every morning brings a chance to renew, chance to renew. Oh...

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In late 2016, Kanye West and Kid Cudi both sought out help. Cudi checked into rehab for "depression and suicidal urges" in the middle of his album rollout for Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin'.

Sometimes your dreams are bigger than originally imagined. After a successful crowdfunding effort, Cumulus was one day from pressing its debut album in 2013 when the band got an email from Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla. Walla not only wanted to work with the Seattle band, but also sign it to his label Trans- Records (also home to Now, Now).

If you think of Willie Nelson as a lot of people do, you might make the same mistake I did on the way up the stairs of his tour bus, Honeysuckle Rose. I imagined we were going to visit a mythical creature or an immortal shaman; in reality, it was better than that.

The history of television and film portrayals of people of color is pretty abysmal. Either we are not present, just in the background and stereotyped, or we're cast as maids, gardeners, servants or the comic buffoon. In my lifetime, I have never been exposed consistently to characters who either look like me, act like me or reflect my reality of those around me.

Notice I said consistently. There have been exceptions, but it seems we've had to wait patiently for portrayals that we recognize as being significant to our lives.

The dreamy retro-rock sound of The Shacks, led by guitarist and songwriter Max Shrager and lead vocalist Shannon Wise, was a great fit at WGBH's Fraser Performance Studio.

In between performing 11 songs, the band reflected on the roots of the band's sound. "There's a certain way we think about our music that allows it to be really intimate, and that's an important part of who we are as a band," Shrager said. "We try to think of our music as an extension of our lives, and maybe that's a cliché, but I think it's something that's actually lost in the world these days."

Eight-year-old Yoyoka Soma's favorite drummer is John Bonham, so for her entry into the 2018 Hit Like A Girl drum contest, she covered Bonham's part on Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times."

The video, which features Soma playing along to the 1969 hit, earned her a spot in the international competition's final round. She didn't take home the gold, but she did win our hearts.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet had been rampaging at the Village Vanguard for over an hour — in full burnout mode, practically rattling the pictures on the walls — when its leader swerved unexpectedly into a softer mode. Channeling his best Ben Webster warble on the tenor saxophone, Branford closed the set with a songbook ballad, "Sweet Lorraine." For those in the room who recognized its gladsome melody, the implicit dedication rang clear.

Danny Kirwan, the guitarist who joined Fleetwood Mac at age 18 and played on five of the band's albums, died Friday in London at age 68. His death was announced by Mick Fleetwood on the group's Facebook page; no cause was given.

Discovering new songs and albums — and the musicians who make them — is one of our favorite things. And if you're a music lover, chances are that you share this passion. So, tell us: Who are your favorite new artists of the year so far? We'll define a "new" artist as someone who released their debut full-length in 2018. (If they haven't yet released a full album, their first EP or single can count.)

We'll share the top 10 vote-getters — and our own personal favorites — on next week's All Songs Considered podcast.

The Tony Awards felt a little different this year than they have recently. It was a year without a Hamilton or a Dear Evan Hansen; there was no one original, out-of-nowhere show that came into the Tony Awards as a pop phenomenon. In fact, all four of the four nominated musicals were adaptations of existing properties: SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney's Frozen and the non-musical films Mean Girls and The Band's Visit.

New York's Village Vanguard may come closer than any other club to embodying the spirit of jazz. For nearly 30 years, the guardian of that spirit has been the Vanguard's formidable impresaria, Lorraine Gordon. Gordon, a jazz champion since her teen years and one of the music's female pioneers, died Saturday at the age of 95.

Tonight the World Cafe presents an evening of black gospel music, bringing together the classic gospel quartet singing of The Fairfield Four and The Campbell Brothers, who perform a rich variety of material from the African American Holiness-Pentecostal repertoire.

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