The X

On now at 91.9-3 HD and streaming above.

The Musical Universe

 

Just a year ago, after sifting through almost seven-thousand video entries to the Tiny Desk Contest, we discovered Tank and the Bangas. The band would go on to win the Contest and the response was one of overwhelming joy. The way this New Orleans group blends hip-hop, R&B, poetry, jazz and rock is unlike anything I'd seen before and I wasn't alone.

First Listen: Liz Brasher, 'Outcast'

Apr 19, 2018

Getting to know a new artist's music can feel like falling in love. One's senses are awakened, and every nuance is noted and internalized. When it comes to Liz Brasher, this is especially true, as each layer brings forth new things to ponder. There is, first, the remarkable instrument of her voice, which can deliver a power-pop howl as easily as it croons a stormy country ballad. Then the guitar captures you, at once crunchy and percussive.

Like many musicians, Okkervil River's Will Sheff responded to the end of 2016's contentious election season by hunkering down to write songs. It'd only been a few months since Okkervil River had released Away, a somber and mournful reflection on hard transitions, from the passing of Sheff's beloved grandfather to some major turnover in the band. So he'd already been neck-deep in re-examinations of his life in the aftermath of monumental change.

Nandi Rose Plunkett is a seeker. As frontwoman of synth-pop outfit Half Waif, Plunkett writes songs that travel profoundly inward — asking questions about who we are and how we relate to each other — over beds of electronic instrumentation that expand and recede like ocean tides. There is a darkness that cuts through Half Waif's songs, hinting at a searching that is often born of loss and struggle.

Many years ago, at a party where I was very drunk, I asked a much-desired woman of my friendly acquaintance what it was like to be pretty.

Fifty years ago, Johnny Cash performed at Folsom State Prison in Folsom, Calif. The January 1968 concert and live album it produced, At Folsom Prison, helped revitalize Cash's career, inspiring him to testify for prison reform and cementing his reputation as a voice for the downtrodden.

A Dallas woman, wishing to remain anonymous, claims she was emotionally manipulated and knowingly given a sexually transmitted disease by singer R. Kelly during an 11-month relationship she had with the singer.

Lee Merritt, the attorney for the 20-year-old woman, has turned over evidence to Dallas police hoping that the department will bring criminal charges against Kelly, who Merritt claims "intentionally and knowingly" transmitted herpes to his client, served her alcohol while underage and provided her with illegal substances.

O.C.: Tiny Desk Concert

Apr 18, 2018

As a member of Brooklyn rap collective Diggin' In The Crates, Omar Credle, aka O.C., helped shape what was known as the golden age of 1990s rap. Marked by loops sourced from jazz recordings and lyrics rooted in one-upmanship, O.C's two '90s albums, Word...Life and Jewelz established him as a rapper's rapper, an underground star.

The Thistle & Shamrock: The Road Of Tears

Apr 18, 2018

Although the scenes of immigration may change, the tragedies of displaced people are replayed with each passing year. Fiona Ritchie's selections this week include traditional broadsheet ballads and music hall choruses from artists like Dolores Keane, Mick Moloney, and Battlefield Band.

One does not simply "start a band" in your garage or basement in the 21st century. Our buzzed-about guest today, Superorganism, prove that point, stretching the notion of a craigslist connection to completely new heights.

"You're still walking around the block," observes Hope Sandoval on Mazzy Star's newest, to which we all — despite the promising green sprigs of spring making their way out of the branches — sigh and think, "Yeah."

There are two sides to Thomas Feriero: the sleek, summery techno of his Atavism and CW/A projects, best heard at the edge of day. And now something harder and heavier emerges.

Our big summer movie preview is coming to you Friday, and while we get that ready to go, we thought we'd revisit a conversation we had a few years ago about something you can't help arguing about: splits.

Copyright 2018 WFUV and Folk Alley. To see more, visit WFUV and Folk Alley.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If you hate fun, now would be the time move on to another session. My guests on the show today are the members of Squirrel Nut Zippers.

When Joey Ramone sang, "I wanna be your boyfriend," The Ramones tapped into bubblegum pop's naïveté with a rosy-cheeked hiccup. When GRLwood's Rej Forester sings the line, at first with a little nod to Joey's Buddy Holly impression, she eventually screams it with all of the pent-up rage of someone who just wants a woman to dump her dude, but also is pretty damn tired of being ignored by society.

Warning: The above video contains language some my find offensive.

As artistic introductions to the world go, repetitiously reinforcing "I am the controller" over a squeaky-clean dancefloor get-down is a strong one. That Channel Tres is doing so on the cusp of rooftop dance season is a savvy bit of scheduling. And a welcome one.

Chances are your life story can be told in a series of songs — a mix of the music you heard and loved at various stages in your life, from infancy through your teen years, on into adulthood and beyond. This is true all the way up to the final chapter of your life, after you've shuffled off this mortal coil. As your friends and family gather somewhere to say their goodbyes, you get one last chance to memorialize yourself with a final song. This is the song that defines who you were or how you want to be remembered.

Hell is real and L.A. punk band Hit Bargain has been there. It's in Ohio.

With My Morning Jacket on hiatus, frontman Jim James has moved away from his bedroom solo albums and assembled something more reminiscent of a great, '70s rock band. Uniform Distortion is his latest solo adventure and "Just a Fool" is the cowbell-rocking song we have for you today.

If this 10-minute-plus song is any indication, The Milk Carton Kids are about to release a truly epic album. The song we're premiering today, "One More For the Road," is a delicate tale of two lovers parting ways and the hope for one last embrace. It'll be one of twelve songs on the duo's fourth album, titled All The Things That I Did And All The Things That I Didn't Do.

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DNA.")

KENDRICK LAMAR: (Rapping) I got - I got - I got - I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA, quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Since (at least) the release of good kid, m.A.A.d. city in 2012, the singularity of Kendrick Lamar has been plainly evident. But with the Pulitzer Prize in Music for 2018 being given to the Compton rapper for his 2017 album DAMN., his exceptionalism is now officially historic: It's the first time in the prize's history that it has been given to an artist outside of the classical or jazz community.

Field Report's new album, Summertime Songs, was recorded before 2016's election, but frontman Chris Porterfield says he's still thought a lot between then and now about how his work fits into the current social and political atmosphere in the U.S. "In the lead-up to putting this record out, I struggled with whether the world needed another white man's record right now," he says.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Out of more than 2,400 submissions, distinguished projects in just 21 categories earned gold Monday as winners of the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes.

Pages