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Illinois Rock'n'Soul.

 

The history of '80s D.C. hardcore is extremely well documented; its importance doesn't need to be boot-stomped into the ground anymore. The '90s, less so, as the scene and Dischord Records, in particular, moved onto more melodic and angular ventures (see: Jawbox, Fugazi, Lungfish). But there were still those who held the torch for fast and unruly hardcore, and few ran with it as maniacally as Battery.

Alex Napping is the name Alex Cohen's gave to her Austin-based guitar-pop band. On "Fault," Cohen explores her eating disorder in vivid blue and white, confronting her feelings of shame about the ailment.

"Our theory was simple," wrote Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of Spotify, in 2014, "offer a terrific free tier, supported by advertising, as a starting point to attract fans and get them in the door."

So what happens after everybody's crossed the threshold?

Sometimes, highly anticipated live concerts knock other priorities right off the calendar — in the case of Britney Spears and Israel, even an election.

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published today, Britney Spears' July 3 concert in Tel Aviv's HaYarkon Park is delaying the Labor Party's leadership vote by a day. The election was originally scheduled to take place on the same day at the Convention Center for Labor, which is adjacent to the park.

From Beyoncé's frank and liberating "Blow" to Marina And The Diamonds' meta, media-scrutinizing "Sex Yeah," pop music's relationship to sex positivity has evolved a lot since Sophie B. Hawkins' "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (that song still rules, though). Sex is complicated!

Mzansi Beat Code is Spoek Mathambo's fifth solo album, the latest salvo of a decade-plus-long career during which the rapper/producer has established himself as one of South Africa's primary contributors to the global dance-music zeitgeist. It is also a far-flung, sociopolitical unification statement that, in one form or another, isn't new to Spoek.

Sexmob first came together, just over 20 years ago, as the Downtown Scene version of a bar band: pugnacious and maniacal, insubordinate but astute. The group — Steven Bernstein on slide trumpet, Briggan Krauss on saxophones, Tony Scherr on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums — could always be found one night a week at the Knitting Factory's Tap Room, putting pop tunes through the wringer for a boisterous crowd.

Ruthie Foster On Mountain Stage

Apr 6, 2017

Grammy-nominated blues musician Ruthie Foster returns to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Born into a family of gospel musicians in the small town of Gause, Texas, Foster began her music career singing in the choir and studying audio engineering in college before taking center stage and traveling the nation with the U.S. Navy Band.

A couple years ago, rock veteran Alejandro Escovedo and his new wife, Nancy, were on their honeymoon on the coast of Mexico when disaster struck and they were sure they were going to die. It was so bad that they even called their family to say goodbye.

One day in late February, the five members of Front Country were warming up for their record release show at the renowned bluegrass club the Station Inn, in their new home base of Nashville, Tenn. They'd never played most of these songs live before.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In the annals of pop music history, the release of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on June 1, 1967 operated as a fulcrum upon which the scales of rock 'n' roll were tipped forevermore towards ambitious refraction, sonic metaphor and unashamed exploration of the far-afield spaces in our minds. Its 50th birthday, then, is something to be celebrated — and oh, how it is.

Hear music from and inspired by the National Theatre of Scotland show that has won acclaim over the past five years, including during its recent run in the U.S. The non-traditional production, which plays in bars, pubs and civic spaces, celebrates Scottish traditional poetry, storytelling and music woven through a supernatural tale.

In the '90s, few NYC punk bands were as sleazy and bluesy and profane and funky as Boss Hog. You hear stories about confrontational live shows and the husband and wife's contentious stage personas. It was dangerous rock 'n' roll.

Miles Mitchell — better known by his stage name, Mr. Mitch — has dedicated his career to pushing London's grime scene to new frontiers. As a DJ, producer, show organizer and label head, he's championed a weightless, melodic version of the otherwise bass-heavy genre.

Three years ago, singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the words "Daddy Issues" written on the wall at a Nashville DIY venue and assumed — with what seems like utterly charming feminist optimism — that it was the name of an all-girl punk group. Sadly, it wasn't; fortunately, Moynihan chose to recruit some friends to take up the moniker themselves. The resulting trio — which also includes drummer Emily Maxwell and bassist Jenna Mitchell — makes stormy, grungey pop that can be charming and trenchant in equal measure.

Maybe you heard it too: murmurs of a "new Beyoncé song," accompanied by whatever it is that gasping and genuflecting sounds like when transmitted via Twitter and Facebook, then the purr of a song playing through the headphones of the devoted everywhere, begun, as in a round, at slightly different moments.

Aimee Mann's music has always been characterized as melancholy. So on her new album, Mental Illness, she decided to lean into the stereotype.

Growing up, punk rocker Laura Jane Grace always felt conflicted about gender. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that she felt like two "twin souls" were warring inside of her, fighting for control. "I thought that I was quite possibly schizophrenic," she says.

It wasn't until Grace was 19 that she heard the term "transgender" and had a context for what she was feeling. In 2012, at the age of 31, she transitioned from male to female.

If you like a little dirt in your power-pop, Needles//Pins should already be on your radar. The Vancouver trio has been pumping out the punk-fueled pop jams since 2010, releasing albums and 7"s on labels that know a thing or two about scuzzy hooks (Portland's Dirt Cult, Germany's Erste Theke Tontraeger).

Can made music from an imaginary country, one with its own traditions and language — which means none at all. In its work, jazz, funk, electronic, psychedelic and minimalist music ran wild through impossible valleys and fantastic mountaintops. Some call it krautrock by virtue of the band's German home base in Cologne. Most just call it Can.

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