Entries tagged with: NPR
by Andrew Sacher
photo by Morgan Walker, illustration by Claire O'Neill/NPR
The year-end lists keep coming. Today, NPR Music published their 50 Favorite Albums of 2015 list. As usual, it's all over the map genre-wise, with classical, jazz, electronic, rap, mainstream pop, lo-fi DIY, indie rock, folk, country, metal and more.
It's got some of the albums that appear on most of these lists, like Kendrick Lamar, Sufjan Stevens, Courtney Barnett, Jamie xx, Future, Vince Staples, Joanna Newsom and Alabama Shakes, but plenty of surprises too. It's the first list I've seen with the Beauty Pill album, and the first non-rap list I've seen with The Game. It's also got often-underrated albums from Colleen, Jazmine Sullivan and Low. And there's bound to be something on it you haven't heard yet.
Read their commentary here and check out the full list below...
photos by PSquared
Beirut @ The Bell House 9/10/2015
The hallmarks of his early music -- the extra instruments, the Balkan influence, the very extravagance that set him apart as a teenager and finally made him famous -- those sounds, he says, were not exactly him.Beirut celebrated the release of their new album, No, No, No, with a show at The Bell House on Thursday (9/10). While part of NPR's free First Listen Live series (which hosted The Arcs' live debut this week as well), Zach Condon and the rest of his band treated this as a regular, if smaller than usual, gig and peppered the set with most of the new LP. Setlist is below.
"In the past, I had this overwhelming desire to knock people over the head with music, as some sort of blunt instrument. I'm learning a lot about pulling back and implying things, instead of actually shooting for the moon," Condon says. "I don't know if I was hiding, so much as I just had so much to prove." - [NPR]
Condon was busy this week, having helped Stephen Colbert usher in the first episode of The Late Show. Beirut will be back in a couple weeks, playing Radio City Music Hall on October 1. Tickets are still available. More pictures from Beirut's Bell House show, below.
photos by P Squared Photography
The Arcs @ Housing Works 9/9/2015
Dan Auerbach of Black Keys' new band, The Arcs, made their live debut on Wednesday night (9/9) at NYC's Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe, part of NPR's First Listen Live series. The band, which includes Richard Swift and a few of the regular Daptone guys, played The Arcs' soulful debut album in full. Opening was mariachi band Flor de Toloache who also sang backup for The Arcs. Did you manage to get in? Pictures from the night are in this post.
by Andrew Sacher
It's that time again. We're about halfway through 2015, and music websites have been posting lists of their favorite music of the year so far. NPR posted their favorite albums, favorite songs and favorite new artists. As always, NPR's list is especially diverse. It has a lot of the artists that have ended up on mosts lists this year (Alabama Shakes, Bjork, Courtney Barnett, The Social Experiment, Kendrick Lamar, Sufjan Stevens, etc) but also jazz, classical, ambient, Cumbia, and less universally-acclaimed country and metal artists. There's definitely some cool stuff on there to check out. You can listen to their songs list here (over 100 songs, and you're allowed 6 skips) and look at the written list here. Albums here. New artists here.
One artist that they highlighted on their 'new artists' and 'songs' lists that we haven't gotten a chance to talk about here on BV yet is Olympia's G.L.O.S.S.. The name stands for "Girls Living Outside Society's Shit" and as Lars Gotrich puts it on NPR, they're a "band full of transgendered women and queer and queer-femmes." Their demo has them using the platform of raw hardcore punk to get their very unsubtle message across. For example, the song "Masculine Artifice" begins like this:
MEDICALIZED/UNDER THE KNIFE/EXPECTED TO BE GRATEFUL/TRAPPED IN THE LENS/OF THE CIS-GAZE/JUST ANOTHER SAD TRANSEXUAL/MASCULINITY/WAS THEIR ARTIFICE/RIP IT AWAY/FEMININITY/ALWAYS THE HEART OF US!/TRANS GIRLS BE FREE!/I'M NOT PATHETIC/I'M NOT YOUR PROJECT/I WASN'T PUT HERE FOR YOUIt's 100% unpolished, unfiltered aggression, and it rips like all hell. If you dig punk with a purpose, check this out below.
The band is touring this fall, and while all dates haven't been announced yet, we know they're playing NYC on September 23 at Silent Barn with Aye Nako and Moor Mother Goddess. Stay tuned for more info.
G.L.O.S.S. demo stream below...
Just yesterday we mentioned how TV on the Radio are touring this year but didn't have a NYC show scheduled. Well that changed quickly, as the band just revealed a show for May 20 at Kings Theatre with the wild Bo Ningen. Tickets go on sale Friday (3/6) at noon with AmEx and venue presales starting Thursday (3/5) at 10 AM.
TVOTR also have a couple shows with the Pixies and John Grant that are near NYC, including the BrooklynVegan-presented show on May 23 at Stone Pony Summerstage. Tickets for that show are now on Pixies presale. PASSWORD: SNAKES.
The BrooklynVegan presale starts Wednesday, and we'll post that password then.
Meanwhile, Kyp Malone's solo project Rain Machine plays NYC tonight (3/3) at Cameo with Lewis Lazar and The Hydras, Aerial East, and Kelsey Lu. Tickets are on sale.
Updated TVOTR dates are listed below...
Dan Deacon @ Rough Trade 2/25/2015 (photo via @roughtradenyc)
Dan Deacon threw a party for the release of his new album, Gliss Riffer, on Wednesday night (2/25) at Rough Trade. It was his second Brooklyn show this month and, as usual, Dan put on a very interactive show with more than your average crowd participation moments. Did you go? Also yesterday, NPR posted a visit from Dan for their Tiny Desk concerts which had him playing "Feel the Lightning," "Sheathed Wings" and "Learning to Relax." Not your average Tiny Desk show. You can watch that below.
Serial's Sarah Koenig arm wrestling Ira Glass
It's official: "Serial" is the hottest podcast in the history of the known universe, the most significant moment in audio since the "War of the Worlds" broadcast, and the most innovative development in communication arts since the smoke signal. In fact, it's a breakthrough symbolizing the Great Podcast Renaissance of 2014. [Yahoo]Like composer Nick Diamonds, This American Life's Ira Glass was involved with the most popular podcast of all time, Sarah Koenig's Serial, which aired its final episode about Hae-Min Lee and Adnan Syed today (12/18). What did you think of the ending (which was slightly different than Funny or Die's version)? I thought it ended okay, but will leave it at that. #nospoilers
Ira Glass (first cousin once removed of Philip) is of course the host of public radio's popular This American Life of which Serial is a spinoff. When not speaking on the radio, Ira sometimes relaxes with a documentary. He listed some of his favorites for the Sundance Doc Club, including Stop Making Sense, and crime drama The Thin Blue Line.
Ira Glass also often appears live in front of audiences, and that continues to prove true throughout the next year, as you can see from his busy schedule outlined below. He appears at Town Hall in NYC this Friday (flyer below), and has upcoming talks at Yale, the Association of Performing Arts, Mayo Performing Arts Center, and many more places.
Dates and video instructions on how to listen to a podcast (by Ira Glass), below...
T-Pain's fingerprints are all over pop and R&B and hip-hop. He wasn't the first musician to use Auto-Tune as an instrument -- he noticed it on a Jennifer Lopez remix, and remembers "Deep" well -- but it was, as he says, his style. For a while, in the mid-2000s, he lived at the top of the charts. He dominated that brief moment of our lives when ringtones were a thing. He was celebrated as an innovator, and he happily took his talents where he was invited, which was everywhere.How did it turn out? Watch below...
But somewhere along the way, somebody got it twisted. "People felt like I was using it to sound good," says T-Pain, in an interview that will air on All Things Considered. "But I was just using it to sound different."
He just turned 30, but T-Pain has already done enough to drop a greatest hits album next week. We asked him if he'd grace the Tiny Desk without any embellishment or effects to show what's really made his career: his voice, and those songs.
Cayetana in Chicago in June (more by Jeff Ryan)
NPR is returning to Le Poisson Rouge on October 22 for their showcase during CMJ this, but this time it's an unofficial show (no badges). They've got an eclectic lineup headlined by R&B singer Elle Varner, and also featuring another R&B singer (and Black Hippy, Big K.R.I.T., Chance the Rapper collaborator) BJ the Chicago Kid, plus singer/songwriter Lia Ices and Philly indie rockers Cayetana. Admission is free with RSVP.
The new Alt-J album is less than a month away (due 9/23 via Canvasback), and though their tour doesn't hit NYC until November 16 at Beacon Theatre (sold out), they'll be here much sooner for an intimate show on September 2 at Le Poisson Rouge at 9 PM. It's one of NPR's 'First Listen Live' shows, which means they'll be playing the new album in full and it will stream at NPR Music's site. You have to RSVP for a chance to get in. Follow NPR Music on Twitter to find out how.
Updated tour dates are listed below...
Spoon @ FFF Fest 2011 (more by Tim Griffin)
Spoon, who have a new album (on a new label) out this August, are in NYC for Governors Ball where they'll play on Saturday (6/7). While in town, they'll tape a concert for NPR's "All Songs Considered" on Monday (6/9) at Le Poisson Rouge. This is an afternoon taping with doors at 1 PM and the the taping beginning at 2 PM. It's free and 18+ with RSVP (entry not guaranteed, based on capacity).
One of the band's new songs will be broadcast live on NPR on Monday afternoon, the rest of the show is only for the audience.
Andrew Bird at RIverside Church in 2012 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Singer/songwriter/violin looper Andrew Bird is going on a tour this summer with his new band The Hands of Glory, "an old timey acoustic configuration featuring Tift Merritt, Alan Hampton, Bowl of Fire alumnus Kevin O'Donnell, and Eric Heywood on pedal steel." That tour hits NYC for a free show at Central Park Summerstage on July 8 with Here We Go Magic singer Luke Temple. That show starts at 7 PM. All dates are listed below.
Andrew Bird will play NYC sooner than that though for RadioLoveFest, "a vibrant cross-section of genres and formats from storytelling, to music, to conversation," which runs from June 4-8 at BAM. Andrew appears on June 6 at the BAM Harvey Theater. Details:
The two-time Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, is public radio's smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Andersen, novelist, journalist, and co-founder of legendary Spy magazine, gets inside the creative mind, introducing listeners to the people who are creating and shaping our culture on movie sets, in galleries, and on the internet.Other highlights include a screening of Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense on June 5 in the BAM Rose Cinemas with a Q&A with director Jonathan Demme and WNYC's Brian Lehrer; NYC/WNYC's Ask Me Another show on June 6 at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House with They Might Be Giants and house musician Jonathan Coulton; and WNYC"s Soundcheck on June 7 at BAM Harvey Theater with The Walkmen frontman (and now solo artist) Hamilton Leithauser.
At BAM, Andersen presents an evening of music and conversation featuring Andrew Bird, one of the most acclaimed and inventive songwriters in indie music, and Jennifer Egan, whose novel A Visit from the Goon Squad won the Pulitzer Prize.
Tickets for all RadioLoveFest shows are on sale now or will be on sale soon.
Full RadioLoveFest schedule, with the list of Andrew Bird tour dates, below...
photos by Tim Griffin
Damon, Annie, Kelis, Eagulls and Perfect Pussy at the NPR Showcase - SXSW 2014
"Damon Albarn hasn't played yet, has he?" we ask. The woman on the door shakes her head. Flushed with the thrill of absurd luck, we don't stop to wonder why.Damon Albarn presented much of his solo debut Wednesdaysday night (3/12) in SXSW at Stubb's as part of NPR's official showcase. (It was the same night and on the same street as Tuesday's tragic events, though most attendees were unaware.) St. Vincent played before him and went on a little late -- and maybe played longer than scheduled. Damon didnt go on until 1:20AM ish -- He was supposed to start at 12:30. It was cold. Damon apologized for having to pull some songs from his set list, but mentioned with so many acts and set ups it couldn't be helped. His set up took a while but he sounded great once it eventually got underway.
The venue inside is half empty. Damon takes to the stage almost an hour late, around 1.30am, and with his touring band runs us through a raft of wry, meandering art pop tunes. There are shades of Gorillaz when he pulls out the melodica, misguided chugs of rock'n'roll, bittersweet ballads. It doesn't sound great, but his presence is entertaining enough. He's still beautiful, if a little grumpy when the performance gets cut short. He apologises. "We got messed about this evening, I'm sorry," he offers. "It happens sometimes." - [The Music]
Albarn also played The Jimmy Kimmel Show (part of his SXSW Week) while in Austin, performing "Mr. Tembo" & "Lonely Press Play." You can watch video of that below.
The whole evening was pretty stacked, as mentioned, with St. Vincent delivering an electrifying performance, plus Kelis serving up Food songs and her first live show in three years. (You can stream audio of her full show below.) Eagulls and the bass-tossin' Perfect Pussy played too.
More pictures from NPR's SXSW showcase, plus Kelis stream and Damon Albarn videos, below...
Real Estate @ Treasure Island Fest 2013 (more by Autumn Andel)
As you might be aware, Real Estate's new album, Atlas, is due out March 4 via Domino. A few days before, the band will perform the LP in full at NYC club SubCulture on February 27. The show is part of NPR's "First Listen Live" series and will be streamed live at 8PM. Tickets will be given out through NPR's Twitter and Facebook. (Schoolboy Q is doing one too.)
In other news, last week, Real Estate stopped by WNYC to perform live on "Sound Check" and SPIN visited singer Martin Courtney's Brooklyn apartment for a segment of their series "In My Room". Video of that, plus an audio stream of the WNYC performance, below...
Schoolboy Q at Summerstage in 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
We're less than two weeks away from Schoolboy Q's much anticipated new album Oxymoron (due out 2/25), but we'll get to hear it just ahead of its release date when Q performs it in full at NYC's Le Poisson Rouge on February 23 for NPR's First Listen Live. For details on how to get into the show, follow @NPRHipHop on Twitter, and for the rest of us, it will stream live on NPR at 8 PM on 2/23.
Schoolboy Q returns to NYC when his tour with Isaiah Rashad and Vince Staples hits Best Buy Theater on March 4. Tickets for that show are still available. If you'll be at SXSW, you can also catch all three artists there.
Real Estate is playing NPR's "First Listen Live" too.
Updated dates are listed, along with a song from Oxymoron, below...
NPR Music posted their 50 Favorite Albums of 2013, and as usual it included a lot of classical, jazz, world music, but also many of the indie/pop/rap/metal that shows up on these lists like Bill Callahan, Blood Orange, Chance the Rapper, Deafheaven, Flaming Lips, Haim, James Blake, Kanye West, Laura Marling, Run the Jewels, Sky Ferreira, Waxahatchee and more. Their list is in alphabetical order, and you can browse the full thing below.
Cut Copy at Prospect Park in 2011 (more by Jessica Amaya)
Australian synth popsters Cut Copy returned this year with the new Free Your Mind LP, and they've been out on the North American leg of their world tour supporting it. The tour previously included no NYC dates, but they've just squeezed in a free, very intimate show happening on November 19 at Le Poisson Rouge. It's for an NPR/KCRW taping and KCRW's Jason Bentley is hosting. Like we said, it's totally free, but you do need to RSVP, which IS OPEN NOW (11/13) and will probably close very fast.
UPDATE: And they were gone pretty much instantly. Did you get tickets?
Updated dates are listed, along with a video from the new LP, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Pusha T spent most of the '00s as one half of respected hip hop duo Clipse, and more recently he's struck out on his own, releasing multiple mixtapes, and becoming a frequent Kanye collaborator. This week (10/8), he finally put out his first official solo album, My Name Is My Name, which was produced almost entirely (and executive produced) by Kanye West. You can hear hints of Yeezus in the production, but while 'Ye used his own record to see how far he could push the boundaries of hip hop, for this one he keeps his beautiful dark twisted fantasies within the classicist realm of the genre. 2 Chainz and Big Sean, who are becoming the dynamic duo of goofy guest verses, show up to lighten the mood on "Who I Am," The-Dream gives Pusha a dose of PBR&B (sorry) on "40 Acres," and Kendrick Lamar appears in characteristic game-murdering mode on what may be the album's best track, "Nosetalgia." You can watch the video for "Nostetalgia" (via NPR), along with a full stream of the album (via Myspace), below.
Pusha T is about to go on a UK tour with collaborators Chase & Status, but before that he'll play a couple US dates, including NPR's CMJ showcase, which happens on October 16 at Le Poisson Rouge. The rest of the lineup is stacked, including Syrian pop star Omar Souleyman (who has a new Four Tet-produced album on the way), NYC pop duo Cults (who have other shows too), and a DJ set from A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad (who also DJed last year's NPR CMJ showcase). The show is free with RSVP, which opens today (10/10). Check @NPRHipHop and @NPRMusic for updates. If you can't make it, you can also watch the live stream on NPR Music.
All Pusha T dates are listed, along with the video and LP stream, below...
The Front Bottoms on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series
NJ folky pop punks The Front Bottoms have seemingly not left the road since the release of their catchy, lyrical new album Talon of the Hawk, and they've just announced another set of US dates for this fall. They'll be opening for Manchester Orchestra on the tour, and it hits Brooklyn on November 13 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets for that show go on sale Thursday, August 29 at noon with an AmEx presale starting Monday (8/26) at 10 AM.
The Front Bottoms also play a headlining hometown show this month at The Stone Pony on August 30 (tickets).
The band just filmed a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR, which you can watch, along with the list of all tour dates, below...
Japandroids at Pitchfork, July 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro // BBG)
NPR Music have announced their "50 favorite" albums of 2012, which includes names like Pallbearer, Andy Stott, Cat Power, Fiona Apple, Death Grips, and Swans. (No Grimes, though.) The list is also deep with hip hop, with shouts to Homeboy Sandman, Kendrick Lamar, Killer Mike and many others. Much like Q magazine did, NPR opted to list them alphabetically instead of one better than the next. Check out the full list below.
Jonathan Coulton and past collaborator/tourmate John Roderick (of The Long Winters) released a Christmas album, One Christmas At A Time, together with ten original Christmas songs by the two musicians ("actually one of them is a Chanukah song, so OK, nine"). Listen to two tracks from the holiday release below.
They'll support the release with another tour together this fall which brings them to NYC on December 14 at City Winery. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All tour dates are listed below.
Jonathan Coulton is also the house musician on NPR/WNYC puzzle show Ask Me Another which tapes live at The Bell House in Brooklyn . The shows are hosted by Ophira Eisenberg and tickets are on sale for five upcoming dates, all also listed below...
FlyLo (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Just a few days after we pointed out that Flying Lotus will be all over NYC in just a few days, and right after we announce that Death Grips is finally touring again and visiting NYC in November, NPR hits us with this surprise:
For the first time, NPR Music and WNYC's Soundcheck come together during the CMJ Music Marathon to present a showcase of singular artists. Los Angeles electronic composer Steven Ellison, a.k.a. Flying Lotus, headlines an October 17 concert on the heels of his new album, Until the Quiet Comes. He's joined by the uncompromising noise-rap group Death Grips, playing its first New York City show since releasing a major-label debut back in April.CMJ just got a bit more exciting this year (though it is unclear if they'll be letting any badges - probably yes).
Ali Shaheed Muhammad, one-third of the legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest and co-host of NPR Music's Microphone Check, will DJ throughout the evening.
More artists will be announced soon.
Watch the show live from (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City at this page or via NPR Music mobile, and listen for highlights on Soundcheck. Listeners in the New York area will be able to RSVP for free tickets next week. Stand by for details.
You can pick up Flying Lotus's new album on iTunes now.
Last year, Tori Amos released Night of Hunters, an album where instead of working with the band she had for the last decade, was an orchestral pop album recorded with a variety of new musicians, including the Apollon Musagete Quartett. It made Billboard history by making Tori the first woman ever to end up in the top 10 for Billboard's Classical, Alternative, and Rock charts simultaneously. She's now following that album with Gold Dust, an album where she re-interprets songs from throughout her career in an orchestral setting. The album is due out on October 2 in the US and Canada and a day earlier in the UK via Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics. You can stream Gold Dust in its entirety at Paste.
Tori will be performing the arrangements from her new album, "plus classic originals," in NYC at the intimate Le Poisson Rouge on October 5. The show is being presented by NPR, who will stream it live at their website and host an archive of the performance afterwards. No tickets to the show will be sold but there are a limited amount of tickets that you can win at Tori Amos' website and at WFUV.
All Tori Amos dates are listed below.
When writer David Rakoff died Thursday at the age 47, he was barely the age he said he was always "meant" to be. In his 2010 memoir, Half Empty, he wrote, "Everyone has an internal age, a time in life when one is, if not one's best, then at very least one's most authentic self. I always felt that my internal clock was calibrated somewhere between 47 and 53 years old."Rest in Peace David.
Rakoff died in New York City after a long struggle with cancer -- an ordeal that he wrote about with sobering honesty and biting wit.
"I can see a great beauty in acknowledging the fact that the world is dark," Rakoff said in a 2010 interview. It's healthy, he insisted, to employ "a certain kind of clear-eyed examination of the world as it is."
Rakoff was born in Montreal, studied East Asian literature and was diagnosed with lymphoma at 22. He recovered, and wrote a fan letter to humorist David Sedaris, which led to frequent contributions to This American Life. In his first essay on This American Life, Rakoff reflects on his role as -- oddly enough -- Sigmund Freud in the Christmas display of an upscale department store.
"In the window I fantasized about starting an entire Christmas Freud movement: Freuds everywhere, providing grown-ups and children with the greatest gift of all: Insight."
In May, Rakoff and some other This American Life contributors appeared onstage before a live audience in New York City. By then, a recent surgery to remove a tumor had severed nerves in his left arm, leaving him unable to feel or move that limb. He spoke wistfully about the pleasure he once took in the rigorous study of modern dance:
"You become this altered humming -- dare I say beautiful -- working instrument of placement and form and concentration," he said. "But like I said, that's a long time ago and a version of myself that has long since ceased to exist. Before I became such an observer ..." His voice trailed off and he was not able finish. He just stood there on the stage. But then, he did something wonderful: He danced. Gracefully, always gracefully. [NPR]
Some videos starring David are below.
Nels Cline of Wilco (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
The 2012 Newport Folk Festival begins in Rhode Island tonight with a concert by Wilco (7:30pm), Blitzen Trapper (6pm), and Megafaun (5pm). If you're not there, you can, as previously mentioned, listen live at NPR which will also be broadcasting from the sold out fest all weekend long.