Soundcheck

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Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.

Episode Date
Havana Pianist Harold López-Nussa's Exciting Cuban Jazz
29:35
<p>Havana pianist, composer and bandleader Harold López-Nussa delivers a range of drama and the irresistible rhythms of Cuban music, fully integrating his conservatory training and love of the jazz continuum with his Cuban roots and soul.  </p> <p>His wide mastery of styles includes a jazz album and documentary film with David Sánchez, Christian Scott and Stefon Harris, an album of compositions by revered Cuban classical guitarist, composer and conductor Leo Brouwer, and three years spent in the touring band of singer Omara Portuondo. Harold holds dual citizenship in both Cuba and France, but will spend some of September touring the United States, which brings Harold López-Nussa and his trio play music from the new record, <em>Un Día Cualquiera</em>, in the studio<em>. </em></p> <p><strong>Watch the full session</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Yde9MSnLFvk" width="620"></iframe></p>
Sep 20, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Al Green, nêhiyawak, and Upper Wilds
<p><strong>Week of Sept. 17</strong>: This week, Hozier pays tribute to Nina Simone, Al Green returns, and LA Witch buys a camera with actual film. Plus, the fuzzy guitar distortion of Upper Wilds. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Watch Hozier’s Moving Tribute To Nina Simone</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140007386035072324e6c35-678d-4e4f-addf-15cf9fb387cc"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/j2YgDua2gpk?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-7689948901138937126" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2YgDua2gpk"></iframe></div></div>   </strong></p> <p>“’Power’ has been cried by those stronger than me,” sings Hozier in his track “Nina Cried Power”; it’s a remarkable gesture of humility from the Irish musician whose “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVjiKRfKpPI">Take Me To Church</a>” was a massive global radio hit in 2014. That song challenged the Catholic Church’s grip on Irish life and especially its opposition to gay rights. This one is a tribute to those singers whose cries of protest have moved millions to raise their voices as well, and although the obvious inspiration for the title is <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/what-happened-miss-simone/">Nina Simone</a>, the song acknowledges a long list of important musicians, from James Brown to Woody Guthrie to <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/89296-mavis-staples-studio/">Mavis Staples</a>, whose backing vocals are part of the rich, anthemic texture here. At first glance, the video doesn’t seem like much – shots of people with headphones on. But those people are Irish activists, and they’re hearing the song for the first time and reacting to it while the camera rolls. Mavis Staples makes a couple of quick appearances here too, and Hozier himself right at the end, but the stars of the video are these unsung civil rights leaders, several of whom are moved to tears as the song’s full message unfolds. </p> <p>By the way, Nina really did cry “Power” – often – in a kind of shamanic, trancelike way, in her classic song “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH3Fx41Jpl4">Sinnerman</a>.” </p> <hr> <p><strong>Al Green Releases His First New Song In Ten Years</strong></p> <p><iframe height="550px" src="https://music.amazon.com/embed/B07H5CZVCM/?id=TeRB4fWyGJ&amp;marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;musicTerritory=US" width="100%" id="AmazonMusicEmbedB07H5CZVCM" style="border: 1px solid rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.12);"></iframe></p> <p>The Reverend Al Green had one of the great voices in American pop in the latter half of the 20<sup>th</sup> century – but for a while, he hasn’t seemed too intent on extending his legacy into the 21<sup>st</sup>. On Thursday, that changed. Green released a cover of the Freddy Fender song “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” as part of Amazon Music’s “Produced By” series, which matches musicians with some top studio producers. In this case it was Matt Ross-Spang, the Grammy-winning producer who, like Al Green, is based in Memphis. And while Fender’s original is a weepy bit of country pop, Al Green’s version is groovy and soulful, and a reminder that the Reverend hasn’t disappeared. He does, after all, continue to perform at his Memphis church every Sunday. But it’s great to hear that voice back in the wider musical world.</p> <hr> <p><strong>From Canada’s First Nations, A New Song/Poem By nehiyawak</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140007381170272bc3cf68c-215f-4d02-8c84-2e4d3034271e"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ldveBScqdwY?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a4797898158141729444" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldveBScqdwY"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The band called <span>nêhiyawak</span> (pronounced ne-HEE-oh-wuk) is a trio of Cree musicians from Canada. (There are no capital letters in the Cree language, hence the lower case name of the band and its songs.) Their new track, called “page,” is a collaboration with the widely admired indigenous Canadian poet Marilyn Dumont, who actually appears in the video reciting a poem full of imagery of loss and nature, themes that are then amplified by lead singer Kris Harper’s lyrics. Behind the voices, <span>nêhiyawak</span> blends the grandeur of the so-called post-rock movement with the wall-of-distorted-guitars sound of the 90s shoegaze bands. </p> <hr> <p><strong>LA Witch’s New Video Uses Old LA Technology: Film</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1400073902396009e4bb8a3-c913-42b0-b508-d90a9b5020fa"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vLf295GamA8?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-6719075629205599264" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLf295GamA8&amp;feature=youtu.be"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The trio known as LA Witch released their debut album earlier this month; it’s got a surf-noir sound that reeks of Los Angeles – not the bright lights of Hollywood but the dark streets of a Raymond Chandler novel. Now they’ve filmed – yes, with a real film camera – a video for the song “Baby In Blue Jeans.” Processed to look like something shot half a century ago, it was originally intended as a love letter to their hometown (all three are L.A. natives), but ended up following the trio as they leave L.A. to go on tour. It’s all apparently made worthwhile by the delirious welcome one of them gets from her dog when they get back… </p> <hr> <p><strong>Upper Wilds’ Noisy New Single Will Take You To Mars</strong></p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1715055922/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://upperwilds.bandcamp.com/album/mars">Mars by Upper Wilds</a></iframe></p> <p>The Brooklyn trio called Upper Wilds is fronted by singer/DIY-noise-enthusiast Dan Friel, whose tendencies towards loud and often woozy sounds are largely offset by his knack for catchy tunes. The band is planning to release its second album, <em>Mars</em>, on October 19, but they’ve just released the title track as a single. As we learned last year, when <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-sept-18-bjork/">they released a song about the man who holds the world record for being struck by lightning</a>, Upper Wilds looks pretty far afield when it comes to subject matter, and this new album is apparently about the colonization of the planet Mars. Of course there’s so much fuzzy distortion surrounding the melody and lyrics that it could be about anything, or nothing. But I like the mysterious nature of the song: why does he keep saying he looks forward to his work each day?  What is that instrument taking a solo before the last verse? It all fits the centuries-long hold the red planet has had on our imaginations. </p> <p>Upper Wilds plays at Alphaville in Brooklyn on September 29.</p>
Sep 17, 2018
'Mutant Chamber Jazz' From Robbie Lee and Mary Halvorson
34:03
<p>Mary Halvorson has established herself as one of the finest guitarists of her generation; Robbie Lee has established himself as a versatile flutist, sax player, and keyboardist. But if they’re not careful, they could wind up being known as the weird instrument team, because their new album together sports such oddities as a 19th-century harp guitar with 18 strings, the world’s smallest saxophone, and a Renaissance reed instrument called the chalumeau. The music of edited improvisations covers a lot of sonic ground, floating between folk and jazz and world music. Robbie Lee and Mary Halvorson are in the studio for an improvised set of "mutant chamber jazz" (via @robbielee.)</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NhjNXly3Xhs" width="620"></iframe></p>
Sep 17, 2018
Richard Thompson OBE Is Still the Shreddingest
29:34
<p><span>British singer, songwriter and guitarist </span><span>Richard Thompson OBE </span>was part of the groundbreaking folk rock band Fairport Convention in the 1960's, made records with his then-wife, Linda Thompson, and has many fan-favourite solo records as well. Rolling Stone lists him as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time and the LA Times called him the greatest living songwriter after Bob Dylan. His new album is called <em>13 Rivers</em> and it is largely an electric, band record. The folk-shredder and troubadour Richard Thompson joins us today to play some acoustic solo versions of these songs.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1405437011628487651f768-8df1-4012-8bf6-c5bbb3591f51"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2_7824oVPLI?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a3264287420785119656" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_7824oVPLI&amp;sf92291916=1"></iframe></div></div>  </p>
Sep 13, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Swamp Dogg, Julia Holter, and First Aid Kit
5:58
<p><strong>Week of September 10:</strong> This week, A “Blaze” of Glory, an old Dogg’s new trick, and a Mountain Goats surprise.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Ethan Hawke’s Film <em>Blaze</em> Shines A Light On A Dark Genius</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140007392682704ecd21bea-4567-42b8-9347-8430d3a7fb56"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cp8GpQFnH_0?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-7759111703524546214" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp8GpQFnH_0"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Singer/songwriter Blaze Foley was shot and killed at a friend’s house, by his friend’s son, in 1989. He was 39. Now, Ethan Hawke has made a movie chock full of musicians that tells the story – or maybe I should say, tells <em>a</em> story – about a man who was gifted, creative, loving, witty, and deeply troubled. An alcoholic and by most accounts his own worst enemy, Foley wrote songs that turned heads on the Texas “outlaw country” scene, but any notoriety he achieved in life seems to have been for his erratic behavior. And for a guy who never achieved any level of fame, there are lots of layers of myth and misinformation about his life and his death. For Ethan Hawke, <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/singersongwriter-blaze-foley-burns-brightly-beyond-film">as he told us last week</a>, this was not a problem but an opportunity, allowing him and his musician-heavy cast a lot of leeway in telling their story. Singer/songwriter Ben Dickey plays Blaze, and longtime Bob Dylan guitarist Charlie Sexton plays Blaze’s friend, drinking buddy, and slightly better known songwriter Townes Van Zandt. Hawke, who has previously performed <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/273488-ethan-hawke/">music based on the Bertolt Brecht play <em>Baal</em></a> in our studio and whose last appearance was to talk about <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/ethan-hawke-channels-chet-baker-born-be-blue/">playing trumpeter Chet Baker on film</a>, came in with both Dickey and Sexton to play some of Blaze Foley’s songs. “Clay Pigeons” is a song that was covered by John Prine – just one name in an illustrious list of musicians who did know Foley and loved his work. Other names in that list would include Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and now, Ethan Hawke and his crew.</p> <hr> <p><strong>An Old Dogg Shows Off His New Trick: Autotune</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1400073949716961d259e41-0206-4a86-ae90-56dadf37cf34"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xMFTucgj8K4?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-7646588288271887431" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMFTucgj8K4"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Swamp Dogg is a 76-year old soul/R&amp;B singer - born Jerry Williams Jr. - with a long track record of near-misses and not-even-closes. Yet he has persevered, writing and producing songs for others (from country star Johnny Paycheck to blues legend Irma Thomas) and occasionally releasing albums that pair his sturdy vocals with an eccentric sense of humor.  His brand new album is called <em>Love, Loss, and Autotune</em>, and the title tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the content of the songs. Swamp Dogg alternates some of his usual tricks (“Sex With Your Ex” includes the deathless line “it will stop you from feeling crappy”) with explorations of heavy processing of his voice. <a href="https://www.wnyc.org/story/41161-bon-iver/">Justin Vernon of Bon Iver</a> plays the Messina – essentially a keyboard of Autotune channels, and Ryan Olson of <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/polica-in-studio/">Poliça</a> handles the production; the heavily Autotuned tracks are reminiscent of the last Bon Iver album, the unsettling <em>22, A Million</em>. The best of them might be “I’ll Pretend,” which finds Swamp Dogg wandering around his apartment, lovelorn and lonely, pretending that the woman he’s missing is merely away for a bit. The Autotune somehow manages to both undercut the song’s aching emotion and to amplify it as well. As for the rest of the production, it’s incredibly spare – there are relatively long pauses where all you hear, if you hear anything at all, is the sonic trail of the Autotune. On an album with a fair share of pop-leaning songs, “I’ll Pretend” seems to deliberately challenge the listener to stay with him: it is the album’s opening track. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Julia Holter’s New Song: Ambitious, Ambiguous, And Brilliant</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1400073846374249e0990c8-b161-459f-964d-d9cc7b1901c3"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k5uwPaCvbhA?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a2605011819575648037" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5uwPaCvbhA"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/unconventional-songs/">Julia Holter</a> is a singer and composer from LA, and if the word “composer” sounds a little highfalutin’ for someone who writes songs, then you should check out her “songs” – they are works that often twist and subvert the usual form and suggest someone with a degree in music composition. Which in fact she has. She’s just announced her new album, her sixth, called <em>Aviary</em>.  It’s not due until October 26, but the single “I Shall Love 2” is out now and it is a brilliant example of a song that pieces itself together – it begins with Holter speaking, only gradually morphing into actual singing, with a high vocal flourish that repeats behind her. It builds inexorably, and finally reaches an anthemic conclusion. But this being a Julia Holter song, it does so with a series of wayward harmonies that refuse to settle into something grand and easy to bask in. Instead, that finale is rich with ambiguity, as is the video that accompanies it. </p> <p>She’ll be playing at Warsaw in New York on February 22.  I’m marking my calendar now.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Surprise! A New EP From The Mountain Goats</strong></p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2734033403/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://themountaingoats.bandcamp.com/album/hex-of-infinite-binding-ep">Hex of Infinite Binding EP by The Mountain Goats</a></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/john-darnielle-victor-jara-camera-obscura/">John Darnielle</a>, the singer, songwriter, musician, and novelist who leads <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/mountain-goats-duo-in-studio/">The Mountain Goats</a> (and is sometimes the only Mountain Goat), released a 4 song EP on Friday. Called <em>Hex of Infinite Binding</em>, it has some echoes of the band’s earliest recordings, which essentially consisted of John singing and playing his guitar into a cassette deck at home. But some of the songs are more ambitious. “Song For Ted Sallis” continues a series of kinda-sorta character studies that have dotted The Mountain Goats landscape over the years. I had to look up who Ted Sallis was – he is a fictional scientist who is transformed into Man-Thing, an accidental hero in the Marvel Comics universe. But the beauty of a John Darnielle song is how it is never quite about a single thing; when he sings “Wherever my former self went/it was an accident,” that sense of alienation and dislocation could apply to anyone. Meanwhile, the melody is propelled by a surprising bass clarinet, and the whole atmosphere is haunted by distant wisps of electric guitar. </p> <hr> <p><strong>First Aid Kit’s Glowing New Song Has An Eerie Video</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1400073843320165cc96fa2-7ff7-481e-9999-993f27cf0e7a"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8LE6veTNORI?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a29807077327050274" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LE6veTNORI"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg record under the name <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/first-aid-kit-in-studio/">First Aid Kit</a>, and they make a kind of dreamy, often cinematic brand of pop, occasionally shot through with a bit of country twang. That’s the case with their new single “Rebel Heart,” although the slight hint of country disappears beneath a lush, almost orchestral climax that sports a gleaming trumpet solo among other things. The video for the song, though, goes in another direction. It basically seems like David Lynch’s fever dream of a young women’s slumber party. The band says it’s a homage to old 70s horror films, and while there’s nothing overtly horrific going on, there’s certainly enough weirdness for one five-minute video.</p> <p>“Rebel Heart” comes from the duo’s forthcoming EP, <em>Tender Offerings</em>, due this Friday. They play in NY at Brooklyn Steel on September 11 (sold out) and 12. </p>
Sep 10, 2018
Singer/Songwriter Blaze Foley Burns Brightly From Beyond in Film
41:45
<p>The Texas singer/songwriter/poet Blaze Foley never hit it big, although his song “If I Could Only Fly,” would later be covered by the great Merle Haggard. Actually, several of his songs have been covered by John Prine, Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, and others. But if you’ve never heard of him, don’t worry – the new film called <em>Blaze</em> will change that. The film recounts Foley’s stormy career – a career that ended when he was shot and killed in Austin at the age of 39. The film was directed and co-written by Ethan Hawke, and stars a cast full of musicians. Ben Dickey, who plays Blaze Foley, and Charlie Sexton, who plays the songwriter Townes Van Zandt, join us in the studio along with Ethan Hawke to talk more about the film and play a few songs.  </p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BPAYj74i7Hg" width="620"></iframe></p>
Sep 10, 2018
Surreal Art-Rock By Saxophonist Donny McCaslin
<p>Sax player and bandleader Donny McCaslin, who collaborated with David Bowie on <em>Blackstar</em>, freely mixes pop, jazz, electronica, and art-rock on his striking new album, <em>Blow.</em>, which sees the band moving into sonic terrain that shows even more of Bowie’s impact. It’s some daring sax-led badassery - a blast of concentrated, powerful, and wonderful pop that rocks, with jazz tendencies - with lyrics and guest vocalists. He and his band play some of the new tunes in-studio. - <em>Caryn Havlik</em></p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9u8FHJax1U4" width="620"></iframe></p>
Sep 07, 2018
Aukai's Electroacoustic Music for a Timeless State
26:53
<p>German producer &amp; multi-instrumentalist Aukai, aka Markus Sieber, grew up in the former East Germany, but his travels have taken him through Latin America, and he is now based in Colorado. "Aukai" is a Hawaiian term for a seafaring traveler, and on his second record, <em>Branches of Sun</em>, he has captured a certain nomadic wanderlust which might connect a listener to a certain peace of being in nature, high in the mountains.</p> <p>With an ensemble that centers on the South American <em>ronroco, </em>a kind of mandolin-like lute, (“the bigger brother of the charango”), harp, violin, percussion and electronics, Aukai and Ensemble perform some of his electro-acoustic creations, in the studio.</p> <p><strong>Watch the complete live session</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5jB81ZbbOiI" width="620"></iframe></p>
Sep 04, 2018
Dark Dance-Pop Duo Bob Moses Confronts the Battles Within
32:31
<p>Canadian electronic outfit Bob Moses is actually two guys: Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance, who are originally from Vancouver, British Columbia. Named after master builder and urban planner Robert Moses, their thinking went something like - choose a New York icon because the aim was to be kings of the New York club scene, but keep it a bit irreverent, with “Bob.” The guys also think that it might be the gloomy northwest climate they grew up in that keeps their dance-floor ready yet moody pop songs on the dark side.</p> <p><span>The latest record from Bob Moses is <em>Battle Lines</em>, and it takes on how and why struggles occur both without and within and looks to identify the cause of the suffering - all the while offering grooves for dancing as catharsis. Interestingly, the duo brings us these fiery, dark, and video game-ready songs in unexpectedly direct and unplugged arrangements, in-studio. </span></p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930582302561a76369c-b93b-4b55-9ca5-2067b12943d6"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NAS5Z1GvxrQ?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a1526298163679792108" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAS5Z1GvxrQ"></iframe></div></div>  </p>
Sep 03, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Neneh Cherry, IDLES, and Stefon Harris
<p><strong>Week of September 3: </strong>This week, political punk and pop from IDLES and Neneh Cherry, and a musical remembrance of Paul Taylor</p> <hr> <p><strong>IDLES Offers Punk For The Brexit/Trump Era<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1400073755651844b0db08f-7daa-4373-9462-692446ce6aed"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zpv7MAM3MmQ?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-3793864065481603834" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpv7MAM3MmQ"></iframe></div></div><br></strong></p> <p>IDLES is a punk band from Bristol, England, whose new album has a title that doubles as a statement of intent: <em>Joy As An Act Of Resistance</em>. Their songs address issues like nationalism, populism, and the general mean-spiritedness they see around them – but what could easily devolve into screed is instead leavened with a sense of fun and wry humor. Take the song “Great,” for example. Looking at the barely-disguised racism and Islamophobia behind the Brexit vote in the UK, singer Joe Talbot sings “Islam didn’t eat your hamster/Change isn’t a crime.” I’m not sure what that literally means, but it’s funny and pointed all at once. The video of the band in its native environment (a small club, a cheap restaurant) is similarly homespun, and while you may not be in the mood to join in when Talbot invites us to sing along (“G!” “R!” “E!” “A!” “T!”), that’s actually a time when the joy is in <em>not</em> resisting.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Neneh Cherry Offers an Avant-Pop Take On Gun Culture<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1400073908404646d5d6261-3716-437b-85a3-76ef88d8ea25"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vGrXaPLX0PU?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-923899913781924039" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGrXaPLX0PU"></iframe></div></div><br></strong></p> <p>The singer <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/232138-some-folks-singing/">Neneh Cherry</a> is about to release a new album, called <em>Broken Politics</em>. That title will not surprise anyone who’s followed Cherry’s career as a cool but forceful protest singer; but the tone of this collection, she says, is different from her last record, 2014’s <em>Blank Project</em>. This despite working with the same producer, the redoubtable <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/12219-no-cover-four-tet/">Four Tet</a> (Kieran Hebden). The last record was angry and forceful, while she describes the new effort as “quieter and more reflective.” The new single is “Shotgun Shack,” a term familiar to many Americans but which Cherry apparently didn’t know until she came to New York for the funeral of the legendary jazz sax player/composer <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/38791-jazz-master-ornette-coleman/">Ornette Coleman</a> in 2015 and heard someone use the phrase. (Cherry’s father was the great trumpeter <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/64152-sampling-don-cherry/">Don Cherry</a>, who’d played with Ornette’s groundbreaking ensemble early in his long career; but Neneh grew up in Sweden and later moved to England.) The song is stark and spare – or at least, it gives that impression. Four Tet does a marvelous job of weaving several strands of percussion into a steadily-churning pulse and adding wisps and fragments of synth bass and other bits of keyboard in a way that suggests something obsessive. Meanwhile, Cherry sketches a bleak narrative: “pick up the gun/you know you’re gonna use it,” she sings in the kind of voice that another singer might use for a seduction. </p> <hr> <p><strong>The Twilight Sad Release Unsettling New Video<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140007388492208a0c09127-1af2-4db5-a09b-dea1c77dc17b"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lQkNzTK3oV8?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a5752391557974676199" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/lQkNzTK3oV8"></iframe></div></div><br></strong></p> <p>With a name like The Twilight Sad no one was ever going to expect sunny pop from the Glasgow-based band. Like their compatriots <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/we-were-promised-jetpacks-in-studio/">We Were Promised Jetpacks</a>, The Twilight Sad traffics in dark, even sinister songs about alienation, betrayal, lost love, and all that good stuff. At least, I think that’s what they’re about; the first time I played some of their music at home my teenage daughter asked “what language is he singing in?” and was shocked when I answered, “English.” Behind James Graham’s often impenetrable Scots accent, the band draws at times on the wall-of-distortion of the so-called shoegaze movement, and at times on the cinematic soundscapes of post-rock. They’ve just released a new single and video, directed by keyboardist Brendan Smith, called “I/m Not Here [missing face]” – whose strange title matches the mood of a song that’s apparently about a man who wants to get away from someone. Namely himself. The video is built on found camcorder footage, edited in a way that suggests the unreliable nature of memory. </p> <p>The Twilight Sad play in New York at Elsewhere on November 1.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Good Vibes In Stefon Harris’s Michael Jackson Tribute</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/7cxD9bogo7EJDHzhm16fO4" width="300"></iframe></p> <p>Last Wednesday would have been Michael Jackson’s 60<sup>th</sup> birthday, and vibraphonist, composer, and bandleader Stefon Harris chose to mark the occasion by releasing his version of “Gone Too Soon.” The King Of Pop didn’t write the tune, but he recorded it on his 1991 album <em>Dangerous</em>, and since his death it’s become a particularly resonant song for many MJ fans. Count Harris among them.  The virtuoso vibes player is about to release his new album <em>Sonic Creed</em> on September 28 – his first in nine years.  (Harris has an active second career as an award-winning music educator.) And while his stellar band, Blackout, reunites with him on this album, for “Gone Too Soon”  he pares things down to just vibes and marimba, the latter played by Joseph Doubleday. The resulting track is reflective, unhurried, and seems to skirt melancholy to land somewhere near peaceful. </p> <p>Stefon Harris and Blackout play at the BRIC Jazz Festival on October 18.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Paul Taylor: Dancer, Choreographer, Music Fan</strong></p> <p>The death last week of Paul Taylor was a huge story in the dance world (and in the wider world – his obituary was page one of the NY Times), but he had an interesting relationship with music too. For a choreographer who was so central to our idea of what “modern dance” would be, he often used much older music: his best-known works were choreographed to the music of Bach and Handel, and when he went to the world of pop music, he’d use things like the Andrews Sisters. But one of his darkest, most disturbing, and brilliantly narrative works, 1988’s <em>Speaking In Tongues</em>, which was broadcast on PBS and won an Emmy in 1992, was different.</p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140007386564832c42f68e0-acf2-4172-97f9-925583f01450"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s94wLtsW6fE?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a5941964374369027556" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/s94wLtsW6fE"></iframe></div></div></p> <p>It was inspired by an unsolicited cassette sent to him out of the blue by an unknown young Canadian composer named Matthew Patton. Patton’s score, which he originally called <em>St. Joan Within</em>, uses the found sounds of a famous and later disgraced TV evangelist (Jimmy Swaggart, but he is a stand-in for any powerful, corrupt figure using religion as a tool). Taylor, remarkably, actually listened to the cassette, and was moved by the creepy use of the preacher’s voice to create a whole tale of a community that falls under the sway of A Man Of The Cloth who is both more and less than he appears. Patton’s music is alternately lyrical and ominous, and this excerpt, from just before the end of the piece, weaves together several elements heard earlier – a drone, a lyrical keyboard figure, and at the end, the preacher’s repeated motif: “their blood will I require at your hands.” </p> <p>Matthew Patton, by the way, has continued to make <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/3970-matthew-patton-rebroadcast/">dark and unsettling music</a>, has worked with film maker Guy Maddin and helps run the surprisingly wonderful Winnipeg New Music Festival each winter.</p>
Sep 03, 2018
Remembering Randy Weston, the Afro-Centric Jazz Pioneer
27:54
<p>Randy Weston, who died today at 92, was a jazz pianist. There, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you why he was so much more than a "jazz pianist." Well before World Music became a trend, and then a marketing term, Weston was creating a personal, deeply spiritual style of music that assimilated West African, Moroccan, and later Egyptian and East Asian elements. Although he was a Brooklyn boy through and through, he did live in Morocco for a few formative years and over the course of his career would frequently perform with that country’s Gnawa musicians. (The Gnawa are the traditional music healers of Morocco, famous for playing trance-inducing rhythms that can run all night.)</p> <p>In his later years, at a time when many musicians are either retired or retrenched (or dead, as was the case with most of Weston's generation of jazz legends), he was exploring new sonic avenues, incorporating instruments like the Chinese pipa, or lute. He also continued to play live right up to this spring, when he did a series of birthday concerts in New York that showed the range of his interests, with different ensembles each night. </p> <p>I looked up to Randy Weston. Most people did, unless they were NBA stars. He was tall enough to be a basketball player himself ("I didn’t like practicing," he once told me when I asked why he didn’t go that route). But it’s hard to look at his body of work, from his piano standard "Hi-Fly" to his work with Morocco’s master musicians, created and sustained over a career of almost 70 years, and not be impressed. He was also a genuine, gracious man with a ready laugh, which helped make him a regular welcome guest in our studios over the years, and this show was his final appearance. With his birthday approaching, we took the opportunity to look back as well as ahead. (<em>Added September 1, 2018</em>)</p> <hr> <p>The American pianist, composer, innovator, and "Legend of Jazz," Randy Weston, joins us to play some of his solo piano works - many of which border on ritual blues with a dash of Ellington stride here and there a crashing note cluster of Thelonious Monk in mind. His latest recording is a two-album set called <em>Sound</em>, which contains many of his own compositions, recorded when he was 75 years old, back in 2001. In advance of his 92nd birthday, he honors our studio once again.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156189422533180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p>
Sep 01, 2018
Songwriter Gabriel Kahane Rides the Rails, Sings with Strangers
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<p>Singer-songwriter, pianist, and composer Gabriel Kahane writes music between classical art song and pop song. His best-known work is probably <a href="https://gabrielkahane.bandcamp.com/album/craigslistlieder">Craigslistlieder</a> (2006) – a song cycle of personal ads set to music -which made it clear that this songwriter could make music from the most unlikely of source material.</p> <p>The day after the 2016 Presidential election, he unplugged from the internet and slowed down time; he spent two weeks traveling the country on Amtrak. He logged 8980 miles and lots of conversations across America in the dining car (and elsewhere), seated next to nuclear engineers, schoolteachers, farm equipment saleswomen, nurses, and long haul truck drivers, among others.</p> <p>His latest record, <em>Book of Travelers,</em> is a ten-song musical travelogue - a sort of loose diary of that time spent with strangers, while on the train. Kahane joins us to perform some of these tunes in the studio.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RSKOzbjdnjw" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 29, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Tunde Olaniran, boygenius, and Moses Sumney
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<p><strong>Week of August 27: </strong>This week, a Bill Withers Tribute, off-kilter pop from Tunde Olaniran, the debut of boygenius, Moses Sumney's EP, and world music orchestra, Bokanté.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Jose James Covers Bill Withers – Lots of Bill Withers</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1400073884932166249e49c-3a3a-41dc-b74e-a8c8254d1969"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vflHnEi2Uns?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a2627113291759249872" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vflHnEi2Uns"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Back in 2013, Jose James, the jazz/R&amp;B/soul singer and songwriter, <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/262784-jose-james-jazz-meets-rb-live-greene-space/">played a set for us in The Greene Space</a>, our ground-floor concert hall, and the first song he played, “Trouble,” was an original tune that had a hint of <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/43124-the-aging-voice/">Bill Withers</a> to it. Well, what had once been a hint is now a full-blown story – the story of a singer who found himself, in the past five years, covering Bill Withers’ songs, including such classics as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lovely Day,” and of course “Lean on Me,” until he realized he had enough to do a whole tribute album. And so, next month, he will release <em>Lean On Me</em>, a collection of twelve Withers songs that James performs with an outstanding band. James decided not to set these old favorites to a contemporary hip hop beat, nor to jazzify them, but simply to pay tribute to a musician now in his 80<sup>th</sup> year whose reputation has only grown over the years. The record itself doesn’t come out until September 28, but the single, “Use Me,” has just come out and will give you a hint of what to expect. </p> <p>Jose James will play the Highline Ballroom in NY on October 26.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Bokanté &amp; Metropole Orkest Offer Globetrotting New Video</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140007394541312c84d9890-7474-43c5-8144-ce213445a1d3"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KZrr5v9N4o4?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-586631556857889922" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=317&amp;v=KZrr5v9N4o4"></iframe></div></div><br></strong><a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-ghostpoet-bokante/">Bokanté</a> is a relatively recent group founded by Michael League, who had previously founded the multiple Grammy-winning jazz/rock/funk band Snarky Puppy. <span>Bokanté</span>, though, is a world music ensemble, featuring vocals by Malika Tirolien, who is based in Montreal but sings mostly in her native Guadalupean Creole. Their next album will be called <em>What Heat</em>, and will feature a collaboration with the Metropole Orkest, the Dutch jazz/pop orchestra best known for its work with <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/elvis-costello/">Elvis Costello</a>, <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/317111-edwidge-danticat-picks-three-laura-mvula-in-studio-what-it-means-to-be-popular/">Laura Mvula</a>, and (surprise!) Snarky Puppy. The track is called “All The Way Home,” and its video includes dancers from Turkey and the USA. This is an appropriate echo of the sound, which is built on the Arab lute, or oud, and the traditional Near Eastern frame drum known as daff. (Several shots of the dancers playing the daff appear in the second half of the video.) Over this flows a serpentine string melody played by the orchestra, and the English chorus is offset by the Creole verses. The versatile League, who also co-directed the video, says “the idea is not to represent the struggles of these countries specifically, but to show the ability of the individual to create change in society.”<strong><br></strong></p> <p>The album, <em>What Heat</em>, comes out on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label on October 5.</p> <hr> <p><strong>A Stirring Debut From boygenius</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/2jGAR1n5D2z8WXYLsmjE4P" width="300"></iframe></p> <p>The trio boygenius is comprised of three women who’ve each quickly gained critical acclaim and a wider audience in the past two years. <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-decemberists-gothic-music-north/">Lucy Dacus</a> has released two highly praised albums on the well-known Matador label. Julien Baker’s raw and emotional “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmGVIvf8Q6s">Sprained Ankle</a>” was written while she was still in school and caught the ear of <a href="https://www.wnyc.org/story/110609-studio-decemberists/">The Decemberists</a>, who tabbed her to be their opening act in their early 2017 tour; by the end of the year Baker was a headliner. Phoebe Bridgers was the voice of the Pixies’ “Gigantic” cover that we all heard on an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFXwyi85gMA">iPhone commercial</a> four years ago, and has released an album with producer <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/eugene-mirman-ryan-adams/">Ryan Adams</a>. As boygenius, the three have combined their considerable songwriting and guitar-playing chops, with Bridgers’ voice the first among equals, on the song “Me &amp; My Dog.” It’s one of three tracks they’ve released from their forthcoming EP, due on November 9, and this one offers the unusual sound of dealing with heartbreak and loss – in harmony. It similarly manages to combine folky strummed guitars with increasingly abstract and spacey electric guitar textures as the song builds to its inconclusive ending.  </p> <hr> <p><strong>Performance Artist And Activist Tunde Olaniran Has A Mountain To Climb</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/488138283&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Tunde Olaniran is a singer and a producer; but he’s also a writer and community activist.  He’s from Flint, Michigan, so he’s had something to be <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/04/16/im-a-flint-resident-im-done-paying-for-water-that-isnt-safe/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.8b66ced35d73">actively writing about,</a> given the city’s notorious water crisis. He’s got a new album coming out in October, called <em>Stranger</em>, and he’s just released a single called “Mountain.” It’s a woozy, off-kilter piece of pop, flitting between neo-soul/R&amp;B and industrial/rap. The overall texture is stark and spare, with a wobbly bass synth line and trap-style percussion, but around the edges of the song you’ll hear a restless producer at work – as we get brief samples of everything from an engine revving up to someone (Olaniran?) screaming. Lyrically, it’s about being all-in - something that Tunde Olaniran seems to know something about. </p> <p><em>Stranger</em> comes out on October 5.</p> <hr> <p><strong>A Politically Charged New Single From Moses Sumney</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140007389176912b7a4318d-0e86-49d3-a56e-0b960065a6f1"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ysb4TjuC5GM?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a5506649255431798301" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysb4TjuC5GM"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Singer and songwriter <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-moses-sumney-and-mexican-institute-sound/">Moses Sumney</a>’s album <em>Aromanticism</em> was a bit of head-scratcher, both because of the way it skirted genres – Sumney’s soulful falsetto vocals bumped up against strangely baroque folk/pop and occasional straight-up indie rock – and because of its suggestion that loneliness might not be the terrible thing it’s cracked up to be in most pop music. But Sumney had written another song, called “Rank &amp; File,” that didn’t fit in with the theme behind the record, so it was left off that album. Now, it’s part of a new EP called <em>Black In Deep Red, 2014</em>. The song was a response to the grand jury decision not to indict the police officer in the Mike Brown shooting… or to be more specific, about Sumney’s attendance at a rally protesting that decision. In a written statement, he recalls that he “felt like a camouflaged outsider at the protest, like an anthropologist performing a study amongst his own kind.” The song itself is a thrumming, urgent exercise in call-and-response; the melody itself is much more constricted than usual for Sumney. It makes effective use of found voices (“they in toy soldier mode now” one voice warns) that raise questions about the loss of humanity that accompanies our loss of individuality. </p>
Aug 27, 2018
Rule-Breaking Punchy Americana by String Band The Devil Makes Three
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<p>The trio The Devil Makes Three has always had a punk rock approach to string band music with their two guitars and upright bass and narrative-driven tunes. Musically, they draw from the deep roots of Delta blues, folk, and rock, along with slow metal, experimental music and drone. (Their list of influences ranges from The Reverend Gary Davis to Django Reinhardt and Steve Earle, as well as from the heavy side- Iron Maiden and Sleep.) They got a little crazy on their latest record, <em>Chains Are Broken</em>, and added a drummer for the first time. However, it's the drummer-less version of The Devil Makes Three who will join us in the studio to get a little rowdy with their punchy Americana to play songs from the new record. </p> <p><strong>Watch the live session</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X8f-lww-Gek" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 27, 2018
Stirring, Epic, and Intimate Cinematic Songs of DeVotchKa
29:24
<p>Having made their way through Eastern European gypsy cabaret leanings, mariachi horns, and Bollywood string stylings, the multi-instrumentalist band DeVotchKa<span>— Nick Urata (vocals, guitars, Theremin, trumpet, piano), Jeanie Schroder (acoustic bass, sousaphone), Shawn King (drums, percussion, trumpet), and Tom Hagerman (violin, viola, accordion, piano)— returns with grand, pop-leaning, cinematic indie rock, full of swells and turns. Their new record, the first in seven years -<em>This Night Falls Forever</em>- is the culmination of lyrical and poetic sparks igniting a slow burn of catharsis. </span>DeVotchKa joins us to play some of these new songs, which “straddle the line between the epic and the intimate.” (<a href="http://bighassle.com/publicity/devotchka#press">DeVotchKa press</a>) <em>- by Caryn Havlik</em></p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here: </strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4u30DkdSgUk" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 22, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Kristin Hersh, Matthew Dear, Yo-Yo Ma, and Prince
<p><strong>Week of August 20</strong>: This week, musical returns for Kristin Hersh, Matthew Dear, Yo-Yo Ma, and, improbably, Prince.</p> <hr> <p> <strong>Kristin Hersh: No Longer Throwing Muses But Still Kicking Up Dust Clouds</strong></p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3307860314/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=803344675/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://kristinhershfire.bandcamp.com/album/possible-dust-clouds">Possible Dust Clouds by Kristin Hersh</a></iframe></p> <p>Singer and guitarist Kristin Hersh was part of the important alternative rock band Throwing Muses, but she’s been making solo records since 1994. For a songwriter whose work can use extremes of acoustic intimacy or electric squalls (sometimes in the same song), Hersh has always been someone whose music you need to lean into to really understand. It may take a few listens to realize those abstract lyrics are actually quite feminist, and how did I miss that the first time? In October, she’ll release her tenth studio album, called <em>Possible Dust Clouds</em>. The first single, called “No Shade In Shadow,” suggests that Hersh is still capable of thrilling listeners with distorted yet somehow still melodic guitars. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Trove Of Prince Albums Now Streaming For First Time </strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293066345920333c9308-d899-42da-93bd-3535e67db865"><iframe width="465" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vG-e00c6uT0?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-2052213301554572901" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG-e00c6uT0"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Prince’s estate has made a large collection of the late artist’s archives available for the first time online. There are 23 albums, some of them well known and many showing Prince at his more experimental and less consciously commercial. There are four just from the year 2004, for example. The estate has also released a compilation of rare and previously out-of-print tracks called <em>Prince Anthology 1995-2010</em>, and a new video for the 2006 song “Black Sweat,” from the album <em>3121 </em>(although an apparently bootlegged version has been online for over a year)<em>. </em>The video, like the song, is a spare, simple affair, uncluttered and slinky.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Irish Guitarists + Irish Composer = Zimbabwean Music</strong></p> <p><strong>  </strong></p> <p>The Dublin Guitar Quartet has just released its latest album, called – simply and appropriately – <em>Contemporary Irish</em>. It features works by some of the leading new music composers working in Ireland today, including Donnacha Dennehy (though he’s based at Princeton these days), Kevin Volans (splitting his time between Ireland and his native South Africa), and the quartet’s own Brian Bolger (still actually in Ireland). There are echoes of American minimalism, elements of traditional Irish music, and what Bolger calls the “riff-tastic distorted shenanigans” of the Dennehy piece. But the Irish composer Dave Flynn, whose music often bears the dual influences of Irish folk and American minimalism, has come up with a piece that draws directly on the resistance music of Rhodesia, the former British colony now known as Zimbabwe. That resistance movement was known as <em>Chimurenga</em>, and Flynn’s piece, also called “Chimurenga,” uses the four guitars to imitate the intricate rhythm patterns of the <em>mbira</em>, or thumb piano, the national (and for many, sacred) instrument of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. It’s probably fiendishly difficult to play, but it’s easy to enjoy.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Matthew Dear Is Dreaming of Bunnies</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293058411296a0a85051-73dd-4bf0-a129-993833a2356e"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H4jZ1GOP1ds?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-8210102787982919875" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4jZ1GOP1ds "></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>It's been six years since Matthew Dear released a full-length album under his own name. (He makes straight-ahead techno albums under the name Audion and has released a couple of singles, covered in previous roundups because we kinda love his dark, dystopian take on electronic pop.) But he is about to release an album called <em>Bunny</em>, and the first single, "Bunny's Dream," has a somewhat lighter touch, with Dear's baritone sounding less gloomy than usual and the song opening with a weightless intro that leads into a steady dance beat. What <em>is </em>usual is the construction of the beat from strange and unidentifiable bits. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Yo-Yo Ma Is Dreaming Of Bach</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293076233440d3ca7a87-9842-45a8-898b-ef50d5afc547"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ChjE1Mm-ttw?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a8309230777094739357" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/ChjE1Mm-ttw"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>For a classical cellist, the pinnacle of the repertoire is the set of six suites for solo cello by J.S. Bach. I realize that's a presumptuous thing to say, especially since I am not a cellist of any kind, but there is ample proof that the world's greatest cellists have measured themselves against this timeless collection of Bach pieces. Take, for example, the globetrotting cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He is arguably the most popular classical musician on the planet (your kids have seen an animated version of him on the TV series <em>Arthur</em>), and he has just released a recording of all six suites under the title <em>Six Evolutions - Bach: Cello Suites</em>. I should probably mention here that this is the third time Yo-Yo Ma has recorded these works. And, he claims, the final time. First came a beautiful recording when he was in his twenties and already a star - the work of a musician who seemed to be saying, "yeah, I'm famous, but it's because I'm <em>good</em>." But if the playing in the first set was assured, the second recording, done when he was in his forties, was supremely melodic - and part of a series of interdisciplinary works with dancers, visual artists, and others. This new recording finds Yo-Yo Ma, in his early 60s, asking what this music can mean to a world that seems so divided and anxious. "I share this music," he writes in a statement, "which has helped shape the evolution of my life, with the hope that i might spark a conversation about how culture can be a source of the solutions we need." It's been almost twenty years since Yo-Yo Ma founded the multi-cultural music project known as the Silk Road Ensemble, and I can't help hearing the influence of all that non-Western classical music in this new set of performances - not in a "world music" way, but in the almost improvisatory flair that he brings to these works. Check out the "hit tune" from the set - the Prelude to Suite #1, where it almost sounds like he's making it up as he goes along.</p>
Aug 21, 2018
Italian Pianist Ludovico Einaudi, In-Studio
36:33
<p>Prolific Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi has been commissioned by prestigious orchestras and festivals, scored music for films and TV, and headlined festivals alongside Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga. He has also done collaborations with Malian kora virtuoso Ballaké Sissoko, Armenian duduk master Djivan Gasparijan (the duduk sounds like an oboe, and is made of apricot wood), and with the brothers Lippok as a post-rock trio called Whitetree.</p> <p>Born in Turin, Einaudi trained at the Conservatory in Milan, and studied under Luciano Berio, celebrated for his experimental and electronic works. Einaudi's style of melodic stillness is part American-style minimalism, a bit of European romantic lyricism, and may lean towards ambient music while dominating contemporary classical charts. He has also championed the environment, creating a video for Greenpeace to bring awareness to climate change.</p> <p>The musical alchemist Ludovico Einaudi performs his music on our piano, in-studio. </p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156437259293180%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=620" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3R5fCVyFN4o" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br> <iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bDn0x3yRsaM" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br> <iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K4ALVfKM7Ek" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 20, 2018
NYC-Based Spanglish Fly Leads the Boogaloo Revival
29:51
<p>New York-based band Spanglish Fly are part band and part celebration with their brasstastic mix of Latin dance-funk and soul in homage to Boogaloo - that fusion of soul music, Rhythm &amp; Blues, and Afro-Caribbean rhythms that was born in New York City in the 1960s. [See this excellent <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/05/we-like-it-like-that-film-boogaloo-new-york-latin-soul-music" target="_blank">article from The Guardian</a> for more history, and a bit of background on the documentary in which Spanglish Fly appears.] On their latest record, <em>Ay Que Boogaloo!</em>, Spanglish Fly both tips a cap to boogaloo and takes that style in unexpected directions, incorporating bolero, New Orleans funk, swing jazz, Arabic chant, and other new sounds. The band brings their irresistible groove to be our in-studio dance party.</p> <p><strong>Watch the live session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/C0-f1Hfgw14" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 16, 2018
Ava Rocha's Forward-Looking Brazilian Pop
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<p>Brazilian musician Ava Rocha has quickly become a leading figure in Brazil’s post-Tropicalia movement and is blazing ahead making inventive Brazilian pop. Her new album <em>Trança</em> means Braid, and it weaves together strands of rock, funk, post-punk abrasiveness, fuzzy and playful electronica, Afro and Amazonian grooves, and Brazilian styles like percussion-heavy samba, smooth bossa nova, and tropicália. She and her husband, the Brazilian guitarist and songwriter Negro Leo, often write and play together, and today they’re playing a few stripped down songs for us.</p> <p><strong>Watch the live session</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bktQiIl8YMY" width="620"></iframe> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fKzHD-_8f7k" width="620"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ifupgyF39_Q" width="620"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yFaWCk4Pmxk" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 13, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Ginkgoa and Aphex Twin
<p><strong>Week of August 13: </strong>This week, protest songs from Marc Ribot, Ginkgoa, and possibly Aphex Twin.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Marc Ribot and Meshell Ndegeocello Offer Song Of Resistance</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930678349283c01fccc-7466-4276-bd7f-5962a9364fd4"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vKpDsBZVGQE?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-583887092748762329" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/vKpDsBZVGQE"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Guitarist <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/282162-filmmaker-danny-boyle-marc-ribots-ceramic-dog-deconstructing-accidental-racist/">Marc Ribot</a> is best known for his work with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and many others. He is also a prolific composer and bandleader, and he has been writing and collecting songs of resistance since the completely random date of November 8, 2016. Last year, <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/3993-new-york-guitar-festival-2017-highlights-rebroadcast/">in a performance in our Greene Space</a>, he and Trixie Whitley performed his version of “Ain’t gonna let them turn me around,” and he mentioned that it was part of a larger project. Now we know that project is an album called <em>Songs of Resistance</em> <em>1942-2018</em>, and the first single is just out. It’s called “The Militant Ecologist,” and it’s actually a reworking of a World War II partisan song from Italy. But instead of a male soldier fighting for his country, we get a female singer – the redoubtable singer/songwriter/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello – fighting for our world. The song could easily be a loud scream in your face, but that’s not the tack they take here: Ribot’s guitar is brooding, Ndegeocello’s voice is soft and husky, and the whole effect is almost like a Morricone score with its twangy guitar and orchestral strings. </p> <p><em>Songs of Resistance</em> comes out on September 14.</p> <hr> <p><strong>After Cosby Protest, Ginkgoa’s New Song Says “Time’s Up”</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930794171043c5a846f-51f2-4699-afb5-1f8a29660a83"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eol77r3MTRs?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-5352984955791600195" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/eol77r3MTRs"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The French-based electro-swing duo known as Ginkgoa is led by singer Nicolle Rochelle, who made headlines in April when she was arrested for appearing topless outside Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial with the names of his accusers written on her chest. Interestingly, in the 1990s she appeared on <em>The Cosby Show</em> four times, under the name Nicole Leach. Now, she and producer Antoine Chatenet have released a video and single called “One Time” that combines 20<sup>th</sup> century swing rhythms with a very 21<sup>st</sup> century message – “you better run now/your time is up now” Rochelle sings, while clips of old movies trace a story of gathering female empowerment. I know, it all sounds very serious and weighty; but the song is a swinging good time. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Aphex Twin’s New Song Is No Weirder Than Anything Else He’s Done</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm14029305833968057b98440-6cbd-40ed-8c1b-e32ca92e2544"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SqayDnQ2wmw?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a8819532115642047770" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/SqayDnQ2wmw"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>By now, no one should be going to Aphex Twin albums expecting electronic dance music. The British producer (real name Richard D James) has spent two decades slicing and dicing the tropes and clichés of electronic dance music, making smart, strange music that has come to be known as IDM – Intelligent Dance Music. He’s about to release an EP called <em>Collapse</em>, and unlike <em>Syro</em>, his 2014 album which was released on a hidden server on the deep web, this one will actually be available for us to hear. The first “single,” called “T69 collapse,” is out now, and it sports many of Aphex Twin’s trademarks: the frantic breakbeats, the use of mangled language as a visual element, and the three-prong Aphex Twin logo. The video, with images of buildings covered with letters and later falling into a cubist black hole, might point to the threat to civilization from climate change or our own reliance on technology, but who can tell. </p> <p>The full EP will be released on September 14.</p> <hr> <p><strong>DeVotchKa Try Being A Rock Band For A Change</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm14029305989132851c341c2-e8cb-4d4b-81fb-4fa32b3efffc"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2jU0r6gobGU?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-7867575998457128167" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/2jU0r6gobGU"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>It’s kind of amazing that DeVotchKa, the Colorado quartet of multi-instrumentalists, has the sizable following it does, given that their music fits in no traditional musical category. They started as the backing band for neo-burlesque performer Dita Von Teese and then went on to explore their own blend of cabaret/gypsy/cinematic rock, using a lineup that includes theremin, melodica, trumpet, and sousaphone among others. But now, the band is preparing to release a new album, their first since 2011, and the new single, “Angels,” suggests the group might be exploring a more guitar-based sound. Frontman Nick Urata has been a successful film and TV composer in recent years, so the arrangement is still full of almost orchestral touches, but this about as straightforward a song as you’d ever expect from DeVotchKa. </p> <p>The album, <em>This Night Falls Forever</em>, comes out on August 24. The band plays a live set in our studio on August 22 at 2pm ET, and a show at Rough Trade on August 23. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Marissa Nadler’s New Single Is a Slow Burn</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293058879936c9caaa92-58ff-4700-b30b-e37d79e8c9b2"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bDnupH9_GYc?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a7161507835995605394" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDnupH9_GYc&amp;feature=youtu.be"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Guitarist/singer/songwriter Marissa Nadler has often written songs that have a haunted quality, and that use the electric guitar to build up to a shoegaze-style storm of music and noise that looms on the horizon but never quite breaks overhead. “Blue Vapor,” her new single, is one such song. Nadler’s feathery vocals (sung in harmony with Kristin Kontrol of <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/gig-alert-dum-dum-girls/">Dum Dum Girls</a>) seem to mourn the beginning of the end of a relationship, and her guitar sounds hushed, and expectant. Only at the end, when drummer Patty Schemel of Hole enters the fray, does the song (and the video) approach something like a release. </p>
Aug 13, 2018
Trixie Whitley, with Marc Ribot, from the New York Guitar Festival
29:54
<p>Hear the Belgian-born guitarist/songwriter Trixie Whitley, from the 2017 New York Guitar Festival, presented in The Greene Space. Her songs draw from her favorite styles – punk, electronica, R &amp; B, and feel something like quietly watching the sun rise after a long, adventure-filled night. She was joined onstage by Marc Ribot for many of these tunes. <em>-Caryn Havlik</em></p> <p>Set list:</p> <p>"Oh the Joy"<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930605962885e23657d-723a-4192-a2d8-b600aa34978a"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x1FV2bE_TkE?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a7169898368618911943" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1FV2bE_TkE"></iframe></div></div></p> <div id="title-wrapper" class="style-scope ytd-video-renderer"> <p class="title-and-badge style-scope ytd-video-renderer">"Fear for Permanence"<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930600556800dd6cf39-a39d-44a9-8f74-67d24d59e47a"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7bYiv79jMgQ?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a8650443891489210724" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bYiv79jMgQ"></iframe></div></div><br><br>"Long Time Coming"<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930678866722030c688-7006-40bb-ad95-77b304c2ee79"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_bvJFh-pOmI?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a207519572192655089" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bvJFh-pOmI"></iframe></div></div></p> <p class="title-and-badge style-scope ytd-video-renderer">"Fourth Corner"<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930658621761e15d5f3-01cb-49e9-b3cc-27a6ad9699a6"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-7q8G2mL-P8?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a2076051629987451040" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7q8G2mL-P8"></iframe></div></div></p> <p class="title style-scope ytd-video-primary-info-renderer">"Hotter | Burn"<br><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293059891856086b1ebd-5bac-4f2b-8e6e-c2d0e3bd5bca"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lDUpAAzbkUM?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-7700331976578466924" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDUpAAzbkUM"></iframe></div></div></p> </div>
Aug 09, 2018
Fantastic Negrito's Fiery Blues with a Punk Attitude
29:55
<p>Self-described “lifelong hustler,” Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, is better known by his stage name Fantastic Negrito, and makes “black roots music for everyone” - blues with a giant undercurrent of punkass. Fantastic Negrito’s songs tell of a hard life with some complete do-overs and a few near-death experiences. Coming from a crossroads with optional deals, his music might be informed just as much by California funk-punk (Bad Brains and Fishbone), hip hop, thrash metal, punk, Prince and his self-taught ways - specifically <em>Dirty Mind</em> (according to this<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/02/fantastic-negrito-the-drug-dealing-hustler-who-became-bernie-sanders-favourite-bluesman"> Guardian interview</a>) and the blues records he’d heard as a kid, visiting family in southern Virginia.</p> <p>Lately, his tunes have been placed and licensed for TV and film series (<em>Empire</em>, <em>Hand of God</em>, and in the case of his song “Working Poor,” Bernie Sanders’ political campaign.) But back in the early 2000's he had co-founded a record label, which <span>grew into Oakland-based multimedia creative collective, the <a href="https://blackballuniverse.bandcamp.com/" target="_blank">Blackball Universe cooperative,</a> fed and financed with the publishing royalties of his own</span> musical alter egos Chocolate Butterfly, Me and This Japanese Guy and Blood Sugar X. </p> <p><span>Fantastic Negrito's latest record, <em>Please Don’t Be Dead,</em> references his own near-fatal car crash, and is driven in part by political and social issues in these broken and fractured times<em><span>.</span></em> The record is full of heavy riffs, cheeky songwriting, playful musicianship, and a whole lot of surviving. It brings Fantastic Negrito to the studio to play some of these tunes. <em>-by Caryn Havlik</em></span></p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156517130453180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0wmJMfMVR4g" width="620"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mQJM6GtkaGE" width="620"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_R0yLWqj-Ds" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 06, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Robyn, Cypress Hill and Urban Santeria by Okonkolo
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<p><strong>Week of Aug. 6</strong>: This week, long-awaited returns by Robyn and Cypress Hill, plus Urban Santeria from Okonkolo.</p> <hr> <p><strong>The First Robyn of Summer, 8 Years On</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930678349286e07d6dd-3d71-4c4e-8fe9-cbd02cd6a32d"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8o5BHH9U2Mg?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-3866623323329883144" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/8o5BHH9U2Mg"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The Swedish electropop star Robyn hasn’t put out a full album since 2010, but that’s about to change. She’s just released her first single from a forthcoming record, and “Missing U” shows that she’s about to pick up where she left off – with a steady dance beat, swirling synthesizers, and multiple layers of her voice. The song falls into a pattern that she’s used to great effect before, namely, dancing away your troubles. (See, for example, her huge 2010 hit “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcNo07Xp8aQ">Dancing On My Own</a>.”) Here, she’s mourning the end of a relationship, but seems to be doing it while the strobe lights flash and the drums pound.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Cypress Hill Return With New Egyptian-Flavored Single</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293077193776b175652a-251a-490c-b74d-05ef7068c6e6"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/buxccDwjkdA?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-655263003868588026" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buxccDwjkdA"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Like Robyn, the multi-platinum hip hop band Cypress Hill is about to release its first full-length album in eight years. Called <em>Elephants on Acid</em>, it will apparently feature sounds and musicians from various parts of the world, and the lead single, “Band of Gypsies,” is a collaboration with a group of Egyptian street musicians from Cairo. It’s just the latest in a long line of unusual choices of musical partners this band has made. (In 2004, Cypress Hill teamed up with Tim Armstrong of the rock band Rancid on the memorable <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFE7gTvalHw">“What’s Your Number?”</a> – essentially a remake of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqcizZebcaU">“The Guns of Brixton”</a> by The Clash.) The song begins with Sadat &amp; 50, as the Cairo crew is known, and then alternates between the two bands; but everything is woven together by a throbbing bass drone, a thudding drum beat, and a skirling, keening electric guitar that drifts around a Near Eastern mode. The band’s veteran producer, DJ Muggs, also directed and partially shot the video for “Band of Gypsies.”</p> <p><em>Elephants on Acid</em> comes out on September 28. They’ll play their annual Haunted Hill concerts in New York this Halloween, on October 31 at the Gramercy Theater and on November 2 at Warsaw in Brooklyn. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Santeria Prayers, El Barrio-Style, from Okonkolo</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm14029307399806456d905df-5a8e-4fc0-a6b9-f1d36522518e"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Bec17k7HsFE?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-2377572729926969850" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bec17k7HsFE"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The Afro-Cuban spiritual practice known as Santeria has its roots in the Yoruba culture of what is now Nigeria. Chanting and drumming have long been at the heart of this tradition, and they still are – but the band Okonkolo has given them a contemporary, jazzy twist on their new album, <em>Cantos</em>. The band is led by Abraham “Aby” Rodriguez, a New York native from a Puerto Rican family who is a percussionist and a Santeria priest. He and guitarist/producer Jacob Plasse have come up with a fetching blend of spiritual dance rhythms and surprising, almost orchestral touches. In this piece, “Wolenche por Chango,” Aby’s vocals are soon surrounded by funky guitars and jazzy horns; but towards the end, there’s a striking passage with a lush string sound and a plaintive clarinet. Chango, by the way, is the god of the drum, so those <em>bata</em> drums are a constant throughout the piece. </p> <hr> <p><strong>From Scotland’s Chvrches, a Blast Of J-Pop</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930752180165076a6a3-5d23-4786-9f1c-8d30cadbc93c"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4w9Zs_OfEgs?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-941456328013334584" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w9Zs_OfEgs"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Back in March, the synth-pop band Chvrches released their third album, <em>Love Is Dead</em>.  In the roundup for that week <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-kwes-chvrches-and-sidi-toure/">we focused on the song “My Enemy,”</a> a collaboration with Matt Berninger of The National. On Friday, Chvrches released a new – and unexpected – collaboration: it’s a single called “Out Of My Head,” and sees the Glaswegian band working with a Japanese pop group with the wonderfully unlikely name Wednesday Campanella. Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry handles the choruses, in English, but the verses are sung in Japanese by the J-pop trio’s lead singer Kom_I. In a press release, Kom_I described her singing with Chvrches as “Kiyoshiro Imawano (Japan’s late “King of Rock”) meets David Bowie, and edamame meets fish and chips.” The video is an anime extravaganza with a huge water bottle emerging from the sea and a subway car flying through the air. All accompanied by the lush, layered sound of Chvrches at their catchiest.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Donny McCaslin Reflects Bowie’s Influence In New Album</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293062976352a432d9e7-6cfc-4845-a247-421e507e7532"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tj7-MTVF8rU?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-2289198356254207202" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj7-MTVF8rU"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Sax player Donny McCaslin was no secret to fans of the New York jazz scene before 2016, but he was catapulted to a whole new level of visibility (audibility?) when David Bowie’s final album, <em>Blackstar</em>, was released in January of that year. McCaslin and his quartet were essentially Bowie’s band for that album, and some of Bowie’s influence seeped into McCaslin’s last album, <em>Beyond Now</em> (which included covers of two Bowie songs). Now, McCaslin’s forthcoming album, <em>Blow.</em>, sees the band moving into sonic terrain that shows even more of Bowie’s impact. With guest singers like Mark Kozelek of the band Sun Kil Moon and Gail Ann Dorsey, who was Bowie’s bass player for many years, McCaslin has come up with an album that uses his band’s serious jazz chops in the service of song structures drawn from rock. The single “Club Kidd” features vocals by Ryan Dahle, and surprisingly pairs reflections on McCaslin’s early days in music clubs with the movement of bees. </p> <p><em>Blow.</em> comes out on October 5. McCaslin and his quartet play Rough Trade in Brooklyn on September 13 and 14; watch for a live performance on our Facebook page on September 7 at 2 pm. </p>
Aug 06, 2018
Bang’s Big Theory
<p><strong>Bang’s Big Theory<br></strong>by Lasse D. Hansen</p> <p>“Do not warm up in the bathroom, please.” It’s not hard to imagine the situation that made it necessary to put up the sign backstage at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. With 31 young musicians from the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival getting ready to go on stage at the North Adams-located museum for modern art, the spaces backstage were sparse.</p> <p>No two line-ups were the same in the 15 different pieces of the iconic marathon, which in keeping with tradition rounded off three weeks of intense work for musicians and composers from around the world. During the six hours of music the musicians stood ready to take over for each other, with some of them on stage playing, while others were on standby offstage with a violin bow in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other. “Came here for the pizza–stayed for the music,” violin Faculty and 28-year Bang on a Can veteran performer Todd Reynolds joked in a short break between two performances.</p> <p>A third group had gathered around a time table that listed the concert order and on which the “start time,” “estimated end time,” and “actual end time” of every piece were noted as the concert progressed. The festival’s Fellows and Faculty had an internal bet on when the marathon would actually end. Composer and Bang on a Can Co-Artistic Director David Lang has reportedly won three years in a row.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/Banglewood_Composers.jpg" alt="Bang on a Can Summer Festival Composers"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Brooks Frederickson, Eli Greenhoe, Guusje Ingen Housz, Samn Johnson, J. Tower, Timothy Peterson, Pamela Z, Stephanie Orlando, Ailie Robertson, Dan Rhode, M. Gordon, J.Wolfe, Alicia Jane Turner, D.Lang</div> <div class="image-credit">(Maggie Molloy/Bang on Can Media Fellows )</div> </div> </div> <p>Between performances, a part of the audience walked in and out of the hall with beer and ice cream. The invitation did say “Come and go as you like, or stay all day” when Lang, together with his two Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, opened the doors in 1987 to the very first marathon—a total of 12 hours of contemporary music at the Exit Art Gallery in SoHo.</p> <p>The three composers met as students in what they remember as “a very hostile environment” where commands from teachers such as “Do not play that weird music” were commonplace. “Our teachers told us: ‘No one is interested in your music and no one will play it. There’s no audience’,” Gordon revealed in an interview with his two co-founders during the preparations for the marathon.</p> <p>With the name Bang on a Can—a name they chose “so people would ask us about it”—they decided to program an entire marathon of music. “We curated by a different criterion,” Wolfe explained. “We thought about: ‘What’s powerful and interesting to us?’ and that could be a piece by Milton Babbitt back to back with a piece by Steve Reich. At that time they basically weren’t on the same concert, they weren’t on the same venues, they weren’t on the same side of town, and they weren’t in the same zip-codes.”</p> <p>Beer was served at the concert and formalities such as dress code (for musicians as well as for the audience) and printed program notes were removed to shift the focus from the prestigious works and composers back to the experience of the music itself. “Instead we did living program notes,” Wolfe continued. “That was really fun. ‘Steve Reich, get up and say a few words about your piece’,” she recalled.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/IMG_1569.jpg" alt="Steve Reich introduces his recent work “Runner” onstage at Mass MOCA"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Steve Reich introduces his recent work “Runner” onstage at Mass MOCA</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>Since then, the marathon has become a popular annual event with music ranging from the clever constructions of Karlheinz Stockhausen to the eastern minimalism of Arvo Pärt—and could thus celebrate its 31st anniversary in May. When the Summer Music Festival was launched in 2002, the marathons became part of that program as well.</p> <p>“Usually if you are interested in contemporary music, you’re the oddball in your music school,” Lang said about the beginning of the festival, “so we had this idea from the beginning that it would be great for our world if those people could find each other in a school situation like this.”</p> <p>Gordon, Lang and Wolfe wanted the young people at the summer program to “be nice to each other, feel respected, feel like they are part of a larger culture” and to “feel optimistic about what music can accomplish in the world.”</p> <p>“In 1987, those were fighting words,” Lang emphasized. At this summer festival the three founders have tried to design as many things as possible to make composers and performers equal. By participating in music from different traditions like African drumming and Latin music, the Fellows get the opportunity to solve musical problems equally “and not only have their musicianship attached to, for instance, a piano, where all of your expression comes with a piece of furniture,” Lang elaborates.</p> <p>“I think we’re about to shake up a bunch of art formats,” he continued. “We’ve spent a lot of time in production meetings talking about how to make this format more inviting to people who are a little further away from our world.”</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/IMG_3416.JPG" alt="Bang on a Can Co-Founders sit for an interview with Media Fellows"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Bang on a Can Co-Founders sit for an interview with Media Fellows</div> <div class="image-credit">(Will Robin/Bang on A Can Summer Festival 2018)</div> </div> </div> <p>“We haven’t figured it out yet, but we’ve done the marathon for over 30 years,” Wolfe added, “and it’s good to question why we keep doing this, and if its role has changed or what its value is. To me it’s always a very special day, so the answer is not necessarily something new or a solely separate project, but more like a development or change of what we already do.”</p> <p>On the evening of the marathon Steve Reich, the festival’s guest composer this year, was on stage in front of a full hall to do a live program note for his recent piece Runner, which concluded the marathon and thus the festival. The evening’s biggest ensemble was on stage with him in front of a bright emerald green background that resembled one of the luminous James Turrell installations that MASS MoCA exhibits in its basement.</p> <p>During the introduction there were frequently laughs and cheers from the audience, as had been the custom the entire event. Earlier the same evening conductor Brad Lubman introduced György Ligeti’s etheric Ramifications by initiating the audience to the instrumental setup: Two groups of strings sitting opposite to each other, with one of the groups tuned a quartertone lower than the other. At first this could seem like a theoretical curiosum, but the mere sound of the string sections tuning their instruments in the rather abrasive tuning before the performance was enough to arouse both applause and enthusiastic shouts from the audience.</p> <p>It was clear that the young musicians and composers were among friends. Change may be coming, but in the meantime the marathon audience seemed to respond to the original ideas. Some of them came and went as they liked. Others stayed all day.</p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/LDH_NinaMouritzen_sq.jpg" alt="Lasse D. Hansen" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><strong>Lasse D. Hansen</strong><span> is a Copenhagen-based composer and writer, whose latest performances includes the theatrical fantasy Face the Music at the 2018 MATA Festival in New York. As a music journalist he is interested in the mysterious process of doing creative work.</span></em></p> <p> </p>
Aug 05, 2018
Visual Art at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival
<p><strong>Visual Art at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival</strong><br>By Sarah Lindmark</p> <p>Every morning during Bang on a Can’s week-long Media Workshop, the four Media Fellows would walk to seminar together through MASS MoCA’s extensive network of galleries, hallways, staircases, and doors. Our usual path took us through Julianne Swartz’s <em>Tonal Walkway</em>, where ghostly disembodied voices followed us through a creaky covered bridge; Spencer Finch’s <em>Cosmic Latte</em>, where hundreds of exposed, hanging lights guided us through a recreation of our view of the Milky Way from planet Earth; Sarah Crowner’s sparkling, ocean-blue <em>Wall (Hot Blue Terra Cotta)</em>; and James Turrell’s startlingly hypnotic yet revealing technicolor installation <em>Into the Light</em>.</p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293059640400f6e7631a-3cdf-4de6-8bb5-7ce432ee1680"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/efI4eia2_kA?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a8100573030577957614" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efI4eia2_kA&amp;feature=youtu.be"></iframe></div></div>  </p> <p>But it wasn’t just the festival’s writers who regularly passed through the museum’s galleries: performing music inside the gallery spaces was commonplace throughout the week. For example, a concert of Eve Beglarian’s music and a performance of seven of Philip Glass’s <em>Etudes for Solo Piano</em> took place in the Wardwell Gallery – a long, thin, hallway with a gigantic mural of pink, orange, and blue text surfacing through a background of thin silhouetted trees. Other favorite venues included the Finch gallery and various parts of the museum’s sprawling installation of Wall Art by the late Sol LeWitt. In fact, only a handful of evening concerts and the end-of-the-week marathon took place in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center for the Performing Arts.</p> <p>One unique aspect of the Lunchtime concerts is that they take place in multiple gallery spaces – the audience walks around the museum together in between each piece. Two of the four total works programmed on the Friday Lunchtime concert were performed in the LeWitt exhibit, and in both cases, the performers chose their preferred venue with the audience in mind.</p> <p>The first of the two was a piece written for solo bass, <em>Four Moons</em> by Miya Masaoka, but performed by a trio of basses by Performance Fellows Will Yager, Rebecca Lawrence, and Gregg August. The piece requires a scordatura, or an alternate tuning for their double basses, and consisted entirely of long, deep, dissonant drones. Yager, August, and Lawrence warned the audience before the piece began that it had the potential to cause a trance-like state. The LeWitt piece they chose as their backdrop was especially fitting for the work: an almost completely enclosed space that surrounded the viewer in a field of electric blue with thin, white, wavy lines, like being folded up into an unfinished blueprint. While Yager stated that he chose the gallery space because of its acoustics, it was easy to think that each different wavy line coincided with each slow, wavering note that grew out of the double bass trio.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/544/l/80/2018/08/bassthreeoh_LeWittgallery_cropped.jpg" alt="Will Yager, Rebecca Lawrence, and Gregg August, LeWitt gallery Banglewood"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Will Yager, Rebecca Lawrence, and Gregg August, LeWitt gallery</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>At the same Friday afternoon concert, Performance Fellow Susan Summers performed a solo saxophone piece in front of another of LeWitt’s works. The piece, titled <em>Deep Flowers</em> and written by composer Evan Chambers, showcased Summers’s ability to play with an extreme pitch and dynamic range on the alto saxophone. Near-silent notes would slowly fade in and out of the space, in stark contrast to the smooth yet piercing pitches that would follow. The LeWitt work she performed in front of consisted of a series of bright orange wavy lines over a saturated green background that would run in and out of each other, swirling across the entire width of the gallery space. Both the LeWitt piece and Summers’s performance of the Chambers work seemed to envelop the audience in a series of hypnotic waves, suggesting a relationship between the two works.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/IMG_1429.jpg" alt="Sol LeWitt's wall art, Mass Moca / 'Banglewood' 2018"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Sol LeWitt's wall art, Mass Moca / "Banglewood" 2018</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>Contemporary music has maintained a long and loving relationship with contemporary art spaces. Minimalist composer Steve Reich played many of his early shows at art galleries around New York, and fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with Sol LeWitt. Reich even has a wall-drawing in his kitchen that was a gift from LeWitt himself. Similarly, the three Bang on a Can founders held many of their early shows in art galleries as well. For their inaugural 1987 marathon, they consulted a book of New York art galleries for the initial search for a space willing to put on a twelve-hour concert of contemporary music. “Our very first Marathon was in an art gallery,” Julia Wolfe told the four media fellows in a group interview last week. “A very cutting edge, controversial one called Exit Art.”</p> <p>Around a decade later, Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang sat bored in one of the many rehearsals at the Williamstown Theater Festival for an upcoming concert. He decided to email Joseph Thompson, the man spearheading the MASS MoCA project in the nearby town of North Adams: “You don’t know me, but I’m from Bang on a Can.” He got a response from Thompson thirty minutes later, inviting him to the old factory site.</p> <p>“I told him who we were, I said what we wanted to do, and we shook hands. That was it.” After a few years of fundraising and networking, their agreement paid off. MASS MoCA became a nationwide symbol for arts-based community development, and Bang on a Can had a cutting-edge space to start their Summer Festival and continue their Marathon tradition.</p> <p>The Bang on a Can Marathon, held at the Hunter Center for the Performing Arts, was a six hour long extravaganza of contemporary music ranging from Steve Reich’s <em>Runner</em> to David Lang’s multimedia work <em>how to pray</em>. One of the works performed was by Pamela Z, <em>Attention</em>, a piece that includes video and a string quartet (cellist Ashley Bathgate, violist Molly Collier-O’Boyle, violinists Sofie Thorsbro Dan and Yi-Chun Lin). In <em>Attention</em>, a cell phone in the projection would ring, and one of the players would seemingly answer the call on her own phone during the performance, having short conversations with a disembodied voice echoing through the Hunter Center.</p> <p>The lighting would change as the piece transitioned between moods – typically from dark to light, drawing the audience’s attention away from the screen and to the performers and vice-versa. Not unlike James Turrell’s <em>Perfectly Clear</em>, the visuals would blur in and out, enticing the audience into searching for the identity of the object coming in and out of focus on screen.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/IMG_1569.jpg" alt="Steve Reich introduces his recent work “Runner” onstage at Mass MOCA"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Steve Reich introduces his recent work “Runner” onstage at Mass MOCA</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>The six-hour show concluded with Reich’s <em>Runner</em>. Chock full of the composer’s characteristic overlapping rhythms and tightly woven, repeated melodies, <em>Runner</em> was both engaging and hypnotic. Conducted by Brad Lubman, the chamber orchestra flowed effortlessly through each rhythmic modulation, with the piano grounding the ensemble with a series of constantly churning repeated chords as the violins, violas, percussion, and winds added color to the work’s texture. The friendship between Steve Reich and Sol LeWitt came into focus during <em>Runner</em> – although the LeWitt gallery was on the other side of MASS MoCA, the artist’s bright colors, thin lines, geometric shapes, and repeated patterns seemed audible in Reich’s work. This week, visual art and music became so deeply intertwined that they no longer needed separate performance and exhibition spaces. Contemporary art was no longer either audible or visual; it was simply art</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 200px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/200/200/l/80/2018/07/Sarah_Lindmark_square.jpg" alt="Sarah Lindmark" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Sarah Lindmark is currently working on a Master's Degree in Musicology at the University of California, Irvine. </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>
Aug 03, 2018
The Folk-Rock of Passenger, from Busking to 'Runaway" Hit-Maker
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<p><span>English singer-songwriter and folk-rocker Mike Rosenberg, formerly of the band Passenger, might be best known for his song “Let Her Go.” Originally from Brighton &amp; Hove,  Rosenberg busked his way through England and Australia in the early 2000’s and worked with a five-piece band until 2009, when he decided to continue under that name as a solo artist. He’s played giant stages and summer festivals in Europe, opening for old friend Ed Sheeran. Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger, joins us to play new songs from his forthcoming record, <em>Runaway, </em>in-studio.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</span></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156514847813180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ujn3bvB2rGg" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/G5TMovJZY_s" width="620"></iframe></p>
Aug 02, 2018
Bang on a Can, Sing through a Vacuum Tube
<p><strong>Bang on a Can, Sing through a Vacuum Tube<br></strong>By Maggie Molloy</p> <p>Mark Stewart hears the music in everyday objects. The world is his orchestra, and every pipe, tube, tabletop, and balloon is an untapped vessel just waiting to make beautiful music.</p> <p>At the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA each year, he invites composer and performer Fellows to do just that: create new music from the humblest of materials. He calls his daily workshop the Orchestra of Original Instruments—playfully nicknamed the “O of OI”—and anyone can be a part of it.</p> <p>“The word ‘musician’ is too often used to discourage people from participating in their birthright as sound-makers,” he says. “I see it as my duty to reconnect people with that birthright.”</p> <p>Stewart is well-versed in the art of sound-making. He’s played guitar with the Bang on a Can All-Stars since the group’s inception in 1992, and for the past two decades he’s toured the world as the guitarist and musical director for Paul Simon. He’s become a fixture of the annual Bang on a Can Summer Festival—you can spot him from across the room at any number of performances, his jovial smile framed by three-inch sideburns that blend into a waist-length mane of a ponytail.</p> <p>“I spent a lot of years studying the cello, studying the guitar, trying to develop a level of mastery,” he recalls thoughtfully. “Now so much of the time I spend making sound I’m not interested in mastery, I’m interested in revelry. I’m interested in delight.”</p> <p>He delighted students each day last week with his lessons in unconventional music-making. On the first day of class, dancing across the center of a circle of about 45 students, he excitedly demonstrated the vast musical possibilities of a ribbed vacuum tube: singing elephant noises through it, coiling it up into a percussion instrument, whipping it above your head like a lasso to let the overtones ring out. He calls it a Whirly, and if you connect a basic mouthpiece to it using a piece of balloon and some electrical tape, it becomes another instrument entirely: the Balloon-Powered Organ Pipe, a powerful, animalistic horn that vibrates right through your fingertips.</p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930657021764052854f-3041-477d-8b99-a8f9c89dec5b"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nS_kBnH54MM?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a7906247157111350498" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/nS_kBnH54MM"></iframe></div></div></p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930600556804f41aaaf-d85a-4896-b634-23cc33df9f37"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-4nt_MyWMiw?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-6094084016049874408" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/-4nt_MyWMiw"></iframe></div></div>  </p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/Balloon-PoweredOrganPipes.jpg" alt="Balloon-Powered Organ Pipes"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Balloon-Powered Organ Pipes</div> <div class="image-credit">(Maggie Molloy/Bang on Can Media Fellows )</div> </div> </div> <p>Later in the week, he showed students how to craft a sonic rainbow of single-reed horns by attaching saxophone mouthpieces to discarded hula hoops, plumbing pipes, wiffle ball bats, and the bones of old sousaphones. When sounded together, the result is a clamorous orchestra of big-bellied honks, bellowing howls, high-pitched squeaks, and joyous laughter.</p> <p>“There are all sorts of wonderful creatures between the cracks that deserve their chance in the sun,” Stewart says. “The piano is a remarkably versatile instrument—so too is the clarinet and the violin. A cowbell, on the other hand, is an idiophone that does one thing perfectly. I like to find those other instruments that do their one thing perfectly.”</p> <p>Stewart’s O of OI is the offshoot of a long lineage of unusual instruments in contemporary classical music. Perhaps the most famous is John Cage’s prepared piano, invented in 1940: an entire percussion orchestra created by placing screws, bolts, and pieces of rubber on or between the strings of a grand piano. Cage’s later works pushed the envelope even further, featuring instruments as wide-ranging as toy pianos, radios, conch shells, and even cacti. Another 20th century musical maverick, Harry Partch, took a different approach: he explored microtonality in music by crafting his own collection of idiosyncratic instruments using wood, bamboo, gongs, glass carboys, strings, and recycled organs and guitars.</p> <p>Working at a more local level was the late Gunnar Schonbeck, who taught composition and ethnomusicology at Bennington College in Vermont for over five decades. During that time Schonbeck assembled a collection of hundreds of handmade instruments built from unexpected materials: 10-foot tall drums made from aircraft fuselages, two 9-foot tall banjos fashioned from concert bass drums strung with piano wire, xylophones built from 2x4s and 2x8s and 2x10s, and a whole myriad of steel pan drums, zithers, plumbing pipe chimes, and more.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/1066/l/80/2018/08/MarkGunnar_SchonbeckExhibit_corr.jpg" alt="Mark Stewart with Gunnar Schonbeck eclectic instrument collection/exhibit"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Mark Stewart with Gunnar Schonbeck eclectic instrument collection/exhibit</div> <div class="image-credit">(Maggie Molloy/Bang on Can Media Fellows )</div> </div> </div> <p>Schonbeck’s instruments are now housed at MASS MoCA, where Stewart serves as curator of the collection. Stewart first discovered Schonbeck’s eclectic instrument collection at Bennington in 2011, six years after the composer’s passing. The school was no longer able to support the instrumentarium, so Stewart worked with a small team of people to relocate the surviving instruments to MASS MoCA, where they now form an exhibit titled “No Experience Required.”</p> <p>“Every visitor is encouraged to play joyfully upon all these wonderful instruments, and they do,” Stewart says with excitement. “Every day that gallery is filled with people of all ages getting down.”</p> <p>That spirit of openness and accessibility is critical not only to Stewart’s personal music practice but also to the broader Bang on a Can ethos. Composers Julia Wolfe, David Lang, and Michael Gordon produced the original Bang on a Can Marathon in New York in 1987 with the invitation “Come and go as you like, or stay all day.” The concerts took place in museum galleries, offered beer for sale, and skipped the program notes in favor of informally introducing pieces from the stage.</p> <p>The eclectic programming was born out of a desire to celebrate new music in all its many forms, boldly placing composers from both the academic uptown and the experimental downtown music scenes on the same concert. At the time, the polarization of 20th century music between different stylistic camps had created a hostile environment for young composers, and Bang on a Can sought to erase the institutional and ideological boundaries that separated them.</p> <p>“We wanted composers to feel like they were part of a community with each other, and to be cooperative and be nice and support each other,” Lang recalls. “In 1987, those were fighting words.”</p> <p>Over thirty years later, Bang on a Can still embodies that sense of boundary-breaking community: last Saturday’s six-hour Marathon began with the angular melodies of Iannis Xenakis and ended with the pulsing minimalism of guest composer Steve Reich, with music of composers as wide ranging as Pamela Z, Andy Akiho, György Ligeti, and Dobrinka Tabakova woven in between.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/769/l/80/2018/08/RehearsingtheFanfare3_Kifnv4u.jpg" alt="Mark Stewart Orchestra of Original Instruments"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Mark Stewart and his whimsical O of OI rehearse pre-concert fanfare</div> <div class="image-credit">(Maggie Molloy/Bang on Can Media Fellows ) </div> </div> </div> <p>But before the marathon even began, a crowd of around 500 people was welcomed inside the MASS MoCA performance hall by a pre-concert fanfare featuring the beautifully irreverent music of Mark Stewart and his whimsical O of OI. Though playfully less polished than the performances that followed, the fanfare brought together composers and performers alike in a powerful display of the pure joy of sound.</p> <p>“I’m interested in getting simple, glorious instruments into people’s hands so that they can experience the delight of making sound,” Stewart says with an exuberant smile. “When you make sounds that are delightful, after a little while music tends to emerge.”</p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/MaggieMolloy350.jpg" alt="Maggie Molloy" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Maggie Molloy is a music journalist, editor, and radio host at <a href="https://www.secondinversion.org">Second Inversion</a>. She is based in Seattle, Washington.</em> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>
Aug 01, 2018
Bang on a Can Summer Festival Marathon, 2018: Traditions and Highlights
<p><strong>Even An Avant-Garde Music Festival Values Some Traditions</strong><br>By Stan Tymorek</p> <p>If you had attended the Bang On a Can summer festival in 2008, you would have heard a piece by a young Composition Fellow named Andy Akiho at one of the MASS MoCA gallery recitals.If you came back to the festival this year, you would have heard Akiho’s propulsive <em>NO one To kNOW one</em> along with works by new music legends like Reich, Ligeti and Xenakis at the Festival’s grand finale marathon.</p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>Finding former Fellows like Akiho on the Marathon program is just one of the notable changes to have occurred at the festival since its inception in 2002.</span></span><span><span> </span></span><span><span>Another, according to Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang, was MASS MoCA’s addition of Building 6 in 2017. The expansion basically doubled the size of the museum, attracting more visitors and establishing it as one of the stops along the Berkshires summer art trail, along with well-established sites like Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow and the Clark Art Institute. </span></span></p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/IMG_1477.jpg" alt="Rehearsing Andy Akiko's 'NO one To kNOW one' for the 2018 marathon concert at Mass MoCA."> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Rehearsing Andy Akiko's "NO one To kNOW one" for the 2018 marathon concert at Mass MoCA.</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p class="gmail-p3">The opening of Building 6 not only increased attendance at the Bang on a Can daily recitals in the galleries, but gave the Fellows many more dramatic locations with super-sized art in which to perform.</p> <p class="gmail-p2">For all its experimentation, though, there are some things about Bang on a Can’s Summer Program and Marathon that have not changed over the years.</p> <p class="gmail-p2">One is obvious: the challenge of taking breaks from the six-hour marathon without missing out on a lesser-known, standout piece. You don’t want to be the only one in a post-marathon discussion who didn’t hear the ensemble who “really killed it” because you couldn’t resist the yen for Lickety Split’s Coffee Almond ice cream. </p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>Another constant is the presence of</span></span><span><span> </span></span><span><span>RoseMarie Thomas. In her trademarked, sparkling red hat, Bang on a Can baseball T-shirt and boldly printed skirts, the 79-year-old Thomas has attended every marathon and gallery recital (right in the front row) every year Bang On A Can has been at MASS MoCA, according to Violin Faculty Todd Reynolds.</span></span><span><span> </span></span></p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/640/480/l/80/2018/08/IMG_0455.JPG" alt="RoseMarie Thomas"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">RoseMarie Thomas</div> <div class="image-credit">(Stan Tymorek/Bang on Can Media Fellows )</div> </div> </div> <p class="gmail-p2">A few years ago, Reynolds said he arranged to have a doll made to acknowledge the music collective’s biggest fan. Thomas proudly recalls Reynolds calling her up to the stage to present her “mini me,” as she calls the doll with tiny versions of her clothes and hat.</p> <p class="gmail-p2">Early on in last Saturday’s marathon, it was clear that Ligeti’s <em>Ramifications</em> would not be RoseMarie Thomas’s favorite piece. “I thought it was a little slow,” she said. “When it was over I looked around to see if anyone was asleep.”</p> <p class="gmail-p2"><span><span>There was little chance of snoozing during Julia Wolfe’s <em>Cha</em>, for saxophone quartet: Dylan Ward on soprano, Luke Carbon on alto, Susan Summers on tenor and Ken Thomson on baritone. Wolfe told the audience that the title of this piece in memory of her father comes from the cha-cha, one of the dances that “he would pull me out on the dance floor to do with him.” In a video of  her talking about writing the piece for another sax quartet, she said she “took advantage of the flexibility to work with rhythms, cross-rhythms and hocketing,” or playing notes or short phrases in rapid alternation.</span></span><span><span> </span></span></p> <p class="gmail-p4"><span><span>“Memory pieces can be sad but they can also be a celebration,” she said. “My father loved to dance. This is definitely a party piece.”</span></span><span><span> </span></span></p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/08/IMG_1531.jpg" alt="Pamela Z's 'Attention' - a crowd fave at the Bang On A Can Marathon at Mass MOCA. "> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Pamela Z's "Attention" - a crowd fave at the Bang On A Can Marathon at Mass MOCA.</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p class="gmail-p4">Another highlight of this year’s marathon was Pamela Z’s <em>Attention,</em> for string quartet, video and audio. It began with the quartet facing a video screen as they played, watching the images of old, black, rotary phones as we heard them ringing and people saying “Hello.” The second movement introduced cell phones and their sounds announcing texts, which contained bars of music appearing to be from the composer. Some members of the audience laughed as the string musicians played faster but then stopped to answer phones and talk. In the final movement, the slow music returned as the soundtrack for a video of people moving on an airport walkway as they looked down at their phones. Ironically, the last thing we heard was the terminal announcement, “Please look down, the moving walkway is about to end.” </p> <p class="gmail-p2">How typical of Bang on a Can’s sensibility to both use new technology in a multimedia performance for its effectiveness, and poke fun when it gets out of hand.  </p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/Stan_Tymorek_sq.jpg" alt="Stan Tymorek" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><span>Stan Tymorek is a freelance writer from Madison, Wisconsin, specializing in the arts.</span></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>
Aug 01, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Jlin, Arthur Moon, and Masayoshi Fujita
<p><strong>Week of July 30:</strong> This week, a bluesy take on the Rolling Stones, scores by Jlin and Dustin O’Halloran, new music from Brooklyn-based Arthur Moon, and ambient music by Masayoshi Fujita. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Jlin Releases Dizzying Excerpt From Dance Score</strong></p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=554347215/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2996318547/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://jlin.bandcamp.com/album/autobiography-music-from-wayne-mcgregors-autobiography">Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor's Autobiography) by Jlin</a></iframe></p> <p>The Indiana-based producer known as Jlin works in the style known as footwork, or Chicago footwork. A form of house music that often uses strong bass lines, a somewhat slower rhythm, and lots of samples, it began in Chicago, but Jlin has been making inroads with it in Europe as well. Now, she has collaborated with the celebrated choreographer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_McGregor" target="_blank">Wayne McGregor</a> on a literal bit of foot-work: his dance piece <em>Autobiography</em>. It has provoked some of her starkest, trippiest music yet – at least, that’s what the first single to be released from the dance score suggests. It’s called “The Abyss of Doubt,” and over a slow but highly syncopated beat, Jlin scatters sampled instrumental bits and lots of vocal clips. The one that’s most easily recognizable is the line “they’re all gonna laugh at you” from the horror film <em>Carrie</em>, but the other samples, some of them sounding like they’ve been altered in speed or partially reversed, are just as unsettling. </p> <p>The entire score for <em>Autobiography</em> comes out on September 28, and Jlin is performing this Friday at the Panorama festival at Randall’s Island. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Chicago Blues Musicians Cover The Stones</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293059759840a51d11aa-f853-4ecd-8bd5-52f84e080a81"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/v4t0Q7iTXkM?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-4096012444963365529" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4t0Q7iTXkM"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The Rolling Stones’ earliest songs were covers of Chicago blues tunes from Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed. So when a bunch of Chicago blues men and one blues woman decided to cover The Stones, it not only made sense, it also attracted the attention of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards themselves. The resulting album is called <em>Chicago Plays The Stones</em> – a title that fans of the old pop/rock band Chicago may find a little confusing – and it comes out on September 14. When it does, you’ll hear Jagger joining blues legend Buddy Guy on a version of “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” that is dramatically different from the original; Richards aiding Jimmy Burns on a sly, sauntering version of “Beast of Burden,” and 82-year old harmonica wiz Billy Boy Arnold doing “Play with Fire.” But you don’t have to wait until then to hear multiple Grammy nominee Billy Branch doing a slow-burn version of “Sympathy For The Devil” that’s full of fun touches – the gritty slide guitar, the barreling blues piano, and the harmonica subbing in for the “doo-de-doo”s of the Stones’ original. </p> <hr> <p> </p> <p><strong>Dustin O’Halloran And Ane Brun Collaborate On Song From The Film <em>Puzzle</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293067798464a221065a-fda1-4bb7-a5bc-f2b5929e4883"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mWKNnEwBKn4?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-6833237131729395182" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWKNnEwBKn4"></iframe></div></div>  </em></strong></p> <p>American pianist/composer <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/dustin-ohalloran">Dustin O’Halloran</a> has had an unusual career: for years he was part of the so-called post-classical scene in Berlin; but he was also half of the ambient/post-rock duo <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/4015-everything-revolves-around-sun">A Winged Victory For The Sullen</a>. Lately, he’s become a sought-after composer of film scores, including the Oscar-nominated score to <em><a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/composers-dustin-o-halloran-hauschka-connect-score-lion">Lion, done with German pianist/composer Hauschka</a></em>. Now, he’s released the music to the new film <em>Puzzle</em>, and this time, he’s done most of the score by himself.  The lone exception is the song “Horizons,” for which he called on the Norwegian folk/rock singer Ane Brun, whose ethereal vocals float over the Minimalist piano music that recurs throughout the rest of the film. O’Halloran rounds out the sound with layers of strings and manages to make a cycling series of three chords into something surprisingly expressive. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Arthur Moon’s Queer, Fractured Funk</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293060349264a9070ddf-ed6b-41bf-aa07-e56b2a151267"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yT8v3rRWtHY?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a8343239763136912966" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT8v3rRWtHY"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Arthur Moon is the work of the Brooklyn-born, still Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/people/lora-faye-ashuvud/">Lora-Faye Åshuvud</a>. <em>New Sounds</em> listeners may know Lora Faye’s genre-blind program “Odd Theory,” which runs on our 24/7 <em>New Sounds</em> radio stream. Like the music she picks, the music she makes is a rangy, often dizzyingly eclectic mix of artful intention and twisted pop music sounds. She’s just released a new video and song called “Wait A Minute,” which over the course of three and a half minutes manages to give us a boom-chick-boom beat, a kind of fractured funk built around the slicing and dicing of said beat, and some lovely, multi-tracked vocals that skirt R&amp;B and sneak into art-song territory. Meanwhile, the video contrasts scenes of Gay Pride and Dyke marches with found footage of mid 20th century American life. The video suggests that resistance is anything but futile; the song says you should be able to dance at the same time. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Masayoshi Fujita’s “Magical” Vibraphone</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/450972867&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>The term “ambient” music was originally coined by <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/291906-brian-eno-blows-our-minds-again-rachel-zeffiras-dreamy-pop-rich-tone-talauega/">Brian Eno</a> for his 1979 instrumental album called <em><a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/4100-music-descriptive-titles">Music For Airports</a></em>. Over the years, it’s come to be associated with atmospheric electronic music; but it’s worth remembering that Eno’s original ambient record featured piano, wordless voices, and the vibraphone. The Japanese composer Masayoshi Fujita is a vibes player as well, and that instrument, with its characteristic motor-driven vibrato sound, fits perfectly in the ambient world. On Friday, Fujita put out an album called <em>Book Of Life</em>, which sees him doing things like “preparing” the instrument with tin foil or beads to change the sound, or playing the keys with a cello bow. It is largely a solo vibes record, but you could be forgiven for assuming it was somehow electronic. There’s also a piece called “It’s Magical,” which owes more to the so-called Minimalist composers – especially <a href="https://email.wnyc.org/owa/redir.aspx?C=c_GWfgMwlazc0wYrJuWoLItXxzQihBUotABEv-aF0QP4L1V0VvbVCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fwww.newsounds.org%2fstory%2f126510-steve-reich-75%2f">Steve Reich</a>, who has often used the vibes as a central part of his pulsing, pulsating music. “It’s Magical” pairs the vibraphone with flute and bowed strings to shimmering, hypnotic effect.</p>
Jul 30, 2018
Tropical Electronica 'DreamBow' by Balún
33:18
<p>Brooklyn-based via San Juan band Balún came from DIY electrified bedroom pop that embraced punk on the island of Puerto Rico. Now, with an even wider range of influences, (please see their ethnomusicological, technological, punk, hardcore, and New York Philharmonic <span>credentials</span>) their "dreambow" tropical electronica harnesses Caribbean rhythms, grime/jungle/IDM, Puerto Rican folk music, shoegaze and is a playfully-informed take on global pop music. Balún joins us in the studio to play music from their brand-new record, <em>Prisma Tropical</em>.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293100630560a913606c-5157-4754-acc3-1fd02d34f8c5"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Osgo2cQDuY4?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a7719023803265989122" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Osgo2cQDuY4"></iframe></div></div></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6tfl1khjAM" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br> <iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Spev2Pob19o" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br> <iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giiKHTUVoxA" width="620"></iframe></p>
Jul 30, 2018
Dispatches From the Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2018: Part 4
<p><strong>Profile of a Composer In Five Quotes and a Laugh<br></strong>By Stan Tymorek</p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>“Imagine me at Bang On a Can! They’re so cutting edge,” composer Joan Tower said to a MASS MoCA audience on Thursday night. “I’m elderly, but I guess I’m adventurous.” </span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>Tower was being modest. She comically screwed up her face at the word “elderly,” but this year the music world is happily celebrating her 80th birthday with a number of  performances dedicated to the adventurous composer. At the Bang On a Can concert of her music, her quick wit and enthusiastic encouragement of the musicians were on display. </span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>“I love percussion and percussionists. They’re the salt of the earth,” Tower said when introducing her piece <em>DNA </em>for five of these instrumentalists. It shows how she treats percussion instruments like people, because she said the title refers to the DNA of cymbals, drums and woods.</span></p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/492/l/80/2018/07/Percussionists_maggieMolloy.jpg" alt="Percussionists For Joan Tower's 'DNA'"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Percussionists For Joan Tower's "DNA"</div> <div class="image-credit">(Maggie Molloy/Bang on Can Media Fellows )</div> </div> </div> <p class="gmail-p1">As she began to talk about her next composition, <em>Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman </em>for solo piano<em>—</em>part of a series of acclaimed works riffing on the title of Copland’s famous <em>Fanfare </em>that have been performed by dozens of groups around the world”—she looked at the program and saw the misprint “Common.” Some composers would have been outraged; Tower laughed it off.</p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span>When Piano Fellow Fei Nie finished playing the <em>Sixth Fanfare</em>, Tower embraced her. </span><span>“I love the intimacy of music,” she told the audience. “I know a lot about her after hearing her play that piece. But she knows a lot more about me.”</span></p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span>Next up was another piece demonstrating Tower’s affection for percussionists. <em>Small </em>was written for about a dozen small percussion instruments that she wanted to fit in one, easily carried bag. “That way the musicians can pack up quickly after a performance and not miss the party,” she explained. “Percussionists have always been delayed by having to take down big instruments like marimbas.”</span></p> <p class="gmail-p5"><span>The final selection on the program was <em>Noon Dance, </em>for flutes, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano. In his introduction, Nick Photinos, Bang On a Can’s Faculty cellist, recalled an earlier performance of the piece. When Photinos and the other members of the popular new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird were still in school, <em>Noon Dance</em> was the first sextet they played.  “It meant so much to us that Joan was there,” he said. “When she came up to us after the performance, tears were in her eyes.”</span></p> <p class="gmail-p5"><span>Less nostalgically, Tower quipped, “I never really liked that piece.”  She turned to Photinos and added, “but your ensemble’s commitment made it sound so special.”</span></p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/Stan_Tymorek_sq.jpg" alt="Stan Tymorek" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><span>Stan Tymorek is a freelance writer from Madison, Wisconsin, specializing in the arts.</span></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>Alicia Jane Turner:  A Composer of Contradictions</strong><br>By Sarah Lindmark</p> <p>Composer Alicia Jane Turner has spent the last three weeks dragging her friends (and in this case an almost complete stranger) with her into the Turrell Gallery at MASS MoCA. The first stop on Turner’s impromptu gallery tour, an installation titled <em>Afrum,</em> was a bright white projection in the corner of a dark room that looked strangely like a 3-D object. The second stop, titled <em>Guardian,</em> looked at first like a flat projection, but after close inspection was actually a cavernous hole cut into the side of the gallery. The other installations in the Turrell exhibit feature disorienting washes of color in complete darkness.</p> <p>The performance art she is known for in London, where she grew up and still resides today, expresses the sexuality and gender politics involved with listening. Many of her works are interactive, and she highly values being involved in every aspect of the production process. "I collaborate with lighting designers and sound designers, or I work as a sound designer on other artists’ projects,” she said while talking about her most recent performance art project titled <em>Breathe</em>. The intimate piece has the listener tune in to Turner’s heartbeat and breath while she experiences fear and anxiety.</p> <p>Turner’s fascination with Turell’s work stems from her interdisciplinary background. “I’m really interested in putting new music into different contexts, mainly theater and performance art,” she said. She doesn’t typically write concert music, in part because her education didn’t take place at a music conservatory like many of her counterparts. “I haven’t been around a lot of really expensive instruments,” she stated matter-of-factly. The resources at Bang on a Can have allowed her to experiment with a wider variety of instruments. The piece she premiered Thursday night, titled <em>Valves</em>, for example, utilizes a violin, vibraphone, and a cymbal. During the concert, the violinist danced on the fine line that separates a clear, distinct tone from a distorted, crunchy, sul-ponticello sound in true Alicia Jane Turner style.</p> <p>In stark contrast to her bright, welcoming personality, she’s worn exclusively black over the last five days of the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, and greatly admires the similarly friendly attitudes of the festival’s storied founders Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and David Lang. “A lot of people writing contemporary classical music or new music are really patronizing when they talk about things and they’re really elitist,” she said. The Bang on a Can founders, however, “talk about things in a really matter-of-fact way, so that they don’t alienate people.” On the other hand, Turner loves their music because they utilize many of the same sounds and techniques that she works with in her own interdisciplinary compositions.</p> <p>“I like Marilyn Manson, and I <em>really</em> like Arvo Pärt,” said Turner while talking about how she doesn’t quite see herself fitting in to the world of new music. Nervous about being an outsider among composers she admires for their accepting attitude, she and her work live in a beautiful world of contradictions.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 200px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/200/200/l/80/2018/07/Sarah_Lindmark_square.jpg" alt="Sarah Lindmark" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Sarah Lindmark is currently working on a Master's Degree in Musicology at the University of California, Irvine. </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>The Celestial Music of Samn Johnson</strong></p> <p>By Maggie Molloy</p> <p>It’s 9pm on a Thursday and Samn Johnson is sitting at a picnic table outside MASS MoCA talking about the cosmos. He pushes his curly blonde hair back from his forehead as he excitedly describes a new app on his phone that allows him to map the constellations. Later tonight at an after-hours concert, one of his pieces will be performed under a different set of stars: Spencer Finch’s glimmering LED light installation <em>Cosmic Latte</em>.</p> <p>Johnson is one of nine composer Fellows at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, where he’s spent the past three weeks writing and rehearsing new music with performers from around the world. For the festival he has composed three new works, each one inspired in some way by time, space, or the celestial spheres.</p> <p>Tonight’s premiere is an ethereal, three-minute saxophone quartet which will be performed by Dylan Ward, Luke Carbon, Ken Thomson, and Susan Summers. The piece, which is not yet titled, unfolds through broad washes of harmony that seem to hang suspended in mid-air, slowly spinning below the stars.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/384/512/l/80/2018/07/Banglewood_LEDlights.jpg" alt="Banglewood 2018"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Spencer Finch's light sculpture, Mass MOCA</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>“There’s something very comforting about music’s ability to manipulate time,” Johnson says. A good composer, he points out, can make time move faster or slower, allowing certain moments to pause or repeat. Sometimes an hour-long piece can pass by in the blink of an eye, or a three-minute miniature can stretch on for an eternity. By altering the audience’s perception of time, he believes music can address the transitory nature of humanity.</p> <p>In fact, Johnson’s music often juxtaposes different historical forms and styles as a way of circumventing the linear march of time. <em>Blue Aurora</em>, his string chamber work performed on Monday, employed an abstracted concerto grosso form to depict a cloudy nocturnal scene drifting in and out of focus. A gallery performance on Tuesday featured a celestial motet he wrote based on a medieval chant titled “Ave Maris Stella” (“Hail Star of the Sea”). Johnson’s rendition reversed the traditional roles of voice and accompaniment and softened the modal harmonies of the Gregorian chant, highlighting its haunting and ephemeral qualities.</p> <p>“It feels like the ghosts of forgotten centuries,” he says. “I’m fascinated by this idea of trying to bring back something that’s irreparably broken.” </p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/MaggieMolloy350.jpg" alt="Maggie Molloy" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Maggie Molloy is a music journalist, editor, and radio host at <a href="https://www.secondinversion.org">Second Inversion</a>. She is based in Seattle, Washington.</em> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>The marathon before the Marathon: Emily Thorner at Bang on a Can<br></strong>by Lasse D. Hansen</p> <p>On Thursday afternoon, Emily Thorner arrived ten minutes early to sing into a paper cup. “It’s my warm up cup,” the high-coloratura soprano explained while preparing her voice for her second rehearsal that day–this time of steel pan virtuoso Andy Akiho’s <em>NO one To kNOW one</em>.</p> <p>The piece is one of many new works the Bang on a Can Summer Festival’s thirty young musicians, or Fellows, are performing with its Faculty this Saturday at the six-hour Marathon at MASS MoCA. It is a pulsating, fast-paced and shape-shifting piece, and with its leaping melodic lines, rap sections and punchy bass drum hits, it requires Thorner to be exactly the same.</p> <p>Saturday’s marathon will mark the end of eleven different performances for the young soprano, who gives the impression of someone who is constantly in motion. “There have been a lot of times during this where I would go from one thing and then immediately after go learn something else,” she said flipping through her sheet music while recalling three weeks of Old English text, Scottish dialect, electronics, Renaissance-like timbres and scat singing. “At this point you kind of rely on your sight reading abilities, and then just put it together bit by bit: ‘Where do I have an entrance?’, ‘What’s the next interval?’, ‘How’s the rhythm?’”</p> <p>She had to leave the rehearsal an hour early in order to get ready the third rehearsal of the day–this time of Iannis Xenakis’ <em>Akanthos</em>. The sound of the Greek “stochastic” composer’s piece–with its wordless and wide-ranging instrumental use of the voice–is located at the opposite end of the musical spectrum from the Akiho. Being located at the opposite end of the converted factory building complex as well, walking through the iconic wall art hallways gave Thorner just enough time to adjust to the appropriate frame of mind.</p> <p>“It’s doesn’t always seem like there’s a place for vocalists in the new music world and I really want to change that,” she said later that Thursday. “I really want to show that we can be part of the instrumental texture too.” This interest she shared with Flute Fellow Alexis Letourneau in the first week of the festival, and they came up with the idea for a composition that would switch the classic roles, having the flutist as the soloist with the singer supporting. Subsequently they asked Composition Fellow Samn Johnson to write a piece based on the idea. After only 24 hours it was premiered this Tuesday together with Fellows Cara Search, Eli Greenhoe (both singing) and Rebecca Lawrence (bass).</p> <p>“We can move fast,” Thorner concluded in a rare moment of rest. “And we do move fast.”</p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/LDH_NinaMouritzen_sq.jpg" alt="Lasse D. Hansen" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><strong>Lasse D. Hansen</strong><span> is a Copenhagen-based composer and writer, whose latest performances includes the theatrical fantasy Face the Music at the 2018 MATA Festival in New York. As a music journalist he is interested in the mysterious process of doing creative work.</span></em></p> <p> </p>
Jul 28, 2018
Dispatches From the Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2018: Part 3
<p>The Bang On A Can summer festival at Mass MOCA offers a chance to explore one of the country’s leading exhibitors of contemporary art - IF you can find the time. Yesterday I finally had a chance to wander around a bit. Of course there were still music events, and the Media Faculty, myself and Will Robin, did an evening talk about the role of the media in the contemporary music scene. Don’t worry - the Media Fellows ignored the latter and focused on the former. Here are their latest reports.</p> <p><em>-John Schaefer</em></p> <hr> <p><strong>Vicky Chow Mesmerizes MASS MoCA (And She’s Just Warming Up)<br></strong>By Maggie Molloy<strong><br></strong></p> <p>“Please do not touch or play this piano” reads the sign atop a shiny Yamaha grand standing in the center of the Wardwell Gallery at MASS MoCA. That sign, of course, doesn’t apply to Vicky Chow.</p> <p>She’s seated at the keyboard, warming up for her afternoon concert of Philip Glass’s virtuosic Piano Etudes, the composer’s rolling arpeggios echoing through the cavernous galleries of the museum. It’s over an hour before her concert begins, but she’s already attracted a crowd of nearly two dozen curious museum-goers: some standing, a few watching from a nearby stairwell, a couple perched in a balcony high above, and one woman seated on the floor at the foot of the piano.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/544/l/80/2018/07/Vicky_Chow_banglewood2018.jpg" alt="Vicky Chow plays Philip Glass 2018"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Vicky Chow plays Philip Glass in a gallery recital, "Banglewood, 2018"</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>“The recital officially starts at 4:30,” Chow tells them softly, with a smile, between excerpts. Her concert is part of Bang on a Can’s three-week summer music festival—Chow is a faculty member at the annual gathering and the resident pianist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the collective’s amplified chamber ensemble.</p> <p>But even all-stars have to practice. And that’s precisely the function of etudes: they are short musical compositions designed to develop (and, once learned, <em>demonstrate</em>) the skill and technique of the player. Glass is part of a long lineage of composers such as Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Ligeti who have taken the etude to new heights.</p> <p>"Glass’s Etudes are just extraordinary examples of how even studies of certain techniques can become musical gems,” Chow tells me in an interview before the concert.</p> <p>Despite its brevity, her program is an impressive feat of endurance: the first six preludes plus No. 12, each its own mesmerizing web of interlocking melodies and restless momentum. When played well, Glass’s circling motives can induce a trance—hence the crowd of museum patrons who stopped in their tracks to watch her practice. But she doesn’t mind the impromptu audience. In fact, the open gallery performances are part of what make the Bang on a Can Summer Festival so inviting to new listeners.</p> <p>“Musicians are not these magical creatures, we're just people doing the thing that we love doing,” she says. “Sometimes people catch us in the middle of the work in progress—and that might be more interesting.”</p> <p>The warm-up may have been more intimate, but the concert itself was every bit as mesmerizing: two standing ovations, three curtain calls, and a literal encore of No. 6.</p> <p>"I guess I'll just try that one again," Chow muttered to herself as she swiped through the sheet music on her iPad before launching into another blistering performance. </p> <div class="embedded-image"></div> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/MaggieMolloy350.jpg" alt="Maggie Molloy" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Maggie Molloy is a music journalist, editor, and radio host at <a href="https://www.secondinversion.org">Second Inversion</a>. She is based in Seattle, Washington.</em> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>Connecting with Others in the Art World and Beyond</strong></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>By Stan Tymorek</span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>Timothy Peterson likes writing chamber music because the small group fosters cooperation.“If someone plays a wrong note, it can sometimes sound better than what I wrote, so I just leave it in,” he said in an interview yesterday, adding jokingly, “I can always acknowledge the musician with an asterisk in the program.”</span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>A composer in Bang On a Can’s Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, Peterson has even collaborated physically on his piece <em>Duet for Body Percussion, </em>scored with his own form of notation. By rapidly clapping, tapping their chests and thighs, clicking their fingers and stomping their feet, Peterson and his partner did their own take on classical Indian percussion, which fascinated Peterson while studying Carnatic music in South India.</span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>“When I was asked to compose a work that could be performed in the close quarters of a coffee shop,” he recalled, “I realized there was no instrumentation more portable than body percussion.” <div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm14029306023635283881324-67b0-4696-baf4-92715443b216"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DXzk_KzQHBY?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a3071801907750997747" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&amp;v=DXzk_KzQHBY"></iframe></div></div></span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>Pivoting from Indian percussion to Greek mythology, Peterson collaborated with poet Sara<span> </span>Fetherolf on a song cycle about the myth of Philomela, <em>Harp My Bones. </em>At MASS MoCA yesterday, he accompanied mezzo-soprano Cara Search on piano as she sang the <em>Becoming Nightingale </em>movement of the cycle. The high notes of the piano help launch an image of the mute Philomela as she transformed into a bird to “find a flightpath...all/inarticulate...and go (all song).”</span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>Like many artists, Peterson has a strong commitment to social justice throughout the world.<span> </span>During college he held an internship at Bellevue Hospital, in New York, translating for victims of torture from French-speaking African countries. Though the Bang On a Can program has “made me even more invigorated to succeed as a composer,” he sees himself volunteering for such socially conscious work in addition to his career.</span></p> <p class="gmail-p1"><span>Peterson also has a clear approach to another common artistic dilemma, finding an audience for your work. </span><span>"If I write music from my heart,” he says, “I know someone else will believe in it."</span></p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/Stan_Tymorek_sq.jpg" alt="Stan Tymorek" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><span>Stan Tymorek is a freelance writer from Madison, Wisconsin, specializing in the arts.</span></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>Vicky Chow Performs Philip Glass’ Etude No. 2<br></strong>By Sarah Lindmark </p> <p>The audience immediately began to clap after Vicky Chow’s evocative performance of Philip Glass’s restless Etude No. 1 for Solo Piano. But as soon as the slow, rising arpeggios from Glass’s Etude No. 2 drifted up through the applause, a hush fell over the crowd. Chow was dressed in black and bathed in soft white light from the windows behind her, elegantly contrasted against the faded brick walls of the Wardwell Gallery at MASS MoCA. Apparently, Chow herself asked for the piano to be moved from the far end of the performance space to the middle, in front of the windows. It had the desired effect: after a concert featuring seven different etudes back to back, Chow’s performance of Etude No. 2 quietly refused to leave the back of my mind.</p> <p>As the piece progressed through its slow, rising, mid-range arpeggios, a single low note would drop from the tips of Chow’s fingers, one at a time, like she was simply touching the surface of a puddle. Each pitch would resonate up and out of the piano, into the high ceilings of the Wardwell Gallery, reflecting off the faded brick walls and wood floor. In the third repeated phrase, Glass introduces notes from the piano’s highest register, again one at a time, peaking out of the constant, repeated arpeggio figure. I was poised at the edge of each note, listening intently for the next rise and fall of the phrase.</p> <p>The second etude in Philip Glass’s first book of Etudes for Solo Piano is soft and pensive, as if the composer needed to come up for air after working through the fast-paced Etude No. 1. Chow’s rendition of this particular Etude struck me as the clear highlight of the show – it was a moment of absolute peace before the flurry of leaps and scales to come in the next five etudes.</p> <p>Even <span>the engineer recording the event, after adjusting</span> the three microphones situated near the inside of the Yamaha baby grand piano during the first Etude, sat down on the floor and shut his eyes to listen.</p> <p>Entirely spellbound, the audience didn’t clap at the end of Etude No. 2 – and then she was on to No. 3.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 200px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/200/200/l/80/2018/07/Sarah_Lindmark_square.jpg" alt="Sarah Lindmark" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Sarah Lindmark is currently working on a Master's Degree in Musicology at the University of California, Irvine. </em></p> <p> </p> <hr>
Jul 26, 2018
Jupiter & Okwess Spread Positivity Via Funk and Dance Grooves
22:38
<p>From the Democratic Republic of the Congo comes Jupiter &amp; Okwess, percussion-driven socially-conscious funky guitar-buoyed dance music. Led by “Jupiter” Bokondji, the self-dubbed “rebel general”, incites partying but with positive messaging for the long-term, to work towards Congo’s recovery from the kleptocracy of previous generations, to respect and protect women, combat injustice, and embrace unity. The highly danceable tunes represent not only Congolese pop but also other regional and local traditions combined with American and British funk, R&amp;B and rockenroll (<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/03/arts/music/jupiter-okwess-kin-sonic-review.html">NY Times</a>) - all delivered with irresistible and electrifying energy from a band who knows how to whoop it up on a dance floor. Jupiter &amp; Okwess perform some of their latest <span>tunes from the record, <em>Kin Sonic,</em> </span>in-studio. </p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156481792218180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/REyGHXwlSvQ" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZHhZzgnbqDw" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZHhZzgnbqDw" width="620"></iframe></p>
Jul 26, 2018
Dispatches From the Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2018: Part 2
<p>It isn’t surprising that each day at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at Mass MoCA thus far has felt like a marathon, given the new-music collective’s reputation for curating concerts of extreme durations. But despite the long hours of rehearsals and concerts, John Schaefer and I haven’t felt all that tired. Perhaps it’s because we begin each morning by making a ruckus of uncanny sounds utilizing home-made instruments; or perhaps it’s because the conversations we’ve had with the four aspiring writers that we are coaching this week have been so energizing.</p> <p>Yesterday, our intrepid media Fellows attended two concerts, a seminar for composition Fellows led by the three Bang on a Can founding composers, and that aforementioned original instrument workshop guided by guitarist Mark Stewart. They also interviewed a slew of musicians, and somehow managed to fit in writing and discussing the essays you will read below. Maggie Molloy heard in Eve Beglarian’s music a subversive and compelling personality; Stan Tymorek saw the same all-Beglarian concert, but arrived at an entirely different take on the composer’s work. Sarah Lindmark sat down with three effusive flutist Fellows and discovered a bourgeoning friendship, and Lasse Hansen recognized the larger implications of a composer’s musings on instrumentation.</p> <p>It’s been just as fascinating to watch these events unfold as it has been to read such diverse takes on what they have meant.</p> <p><em>-Will Robin</em> </p> <hr> <p><span><strong>Eve Beglarian at Bang on a Can</strong><br>By Maggie Molloy</span></p> <p>There are 40,320 different ways to make music like a girl. Or at least, that’s how many ways you can perform Eve Beglarian’s piece <em>Play Like a Girl</em>. It’s comprised of eight variations on a Bulgarian women’s folk song that can be played in any combination, simultaneously or successively. The instrumentation is a mix of piano, toy piano, bells, celestas, and other “girly” instruments, according to the composer.</p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3559409829/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://evbvd.bandcamp.com/album/play-like-a-girl">Play Like a Girl by Eve Beglarian</a></iframe></p> <p>We were treated to one lively iteration of the piece Tuesday evening during a concert of Beglarian’s works held at MASS MoCA, one of dozens of performances hosted at the museum over the course of Bang on a Can’s annual three-week summer music festival. Around 150 people (including the composer) filled the gallery where the concert took place, standing and sitting in rows on chairs, floors, and window sills along an audacious 146-foot wall mural by Joe Wardwell.</p> <p>This particular Beglarian piece featured a combination of faculty and student performers: Vicky Chow and Maire Carroll on piano four-hands, Karl Larson on synthesizer, and Adam Holmes on glockenspiel. The unusual collection of timbres made for a modern take on the distinctively close harmonies of Bulgarian folk music, with a restless stream of piano and glockenspiel melodies circling above a growling synth drone. While the driving rhythms propelled the piece closer to the world of minimalism, the more subtle modal ornaments embodied the emotive folk traditions of Eastern Europe. The title is of course subversive: Beglarian is forcing the audience to think critically about the language we use to describe music created by women.</p> <p>Also featured on the program was Beglarian’s heart-wrenching mixed chamber work <em>Waiting for Billy Floyd</em>, based on a short story by Eudora Welty about a vulnerable young woman who is raped at a fishing camp along the Mississippi River while waiting for her lover. <em>Push the Dust</em>, performed by Adam Holmes, featured the surrealist poetry of Henri Michaux spoken amid the meandering melodies of both live and pre-recorded vibraphone. The program, so wide-ranging in style and tone, ended with <em>The Marriage of Heaven and Hell</em>, a groove-driven setting of three proverbs by William Blake. </p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/MaggieMolloy350.jpg" alt="Maggie Molloy" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Maggie Molloy is a music journalist, editor, and radio host at <a href="https://www.secondinversion.org">Second Inversion</a>. She is based in Seattle, Washington.</em> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>From a Long Story to a Short Musical Gem</strong></p> <p>By Stan Tymorek        <br><br>This is a story about different ways of telling a story.</p> <p>At Bang On a Can’s Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA on Tuesday, the prominent new music composer Eve Beglarian knew her piece <em>Waiting For Billy Floyd</em> required an introduction. She told the audience at the all-Beglarian recital that it was based on Eudora Welty’s short story <em>At The Landing</em>, about a young woman named Jenny who falls in love for the first time with Billy Floyd. While trying to find this wandering fisherman after he deserts her, she is raped repeatedly.   </p> <p>Beglarian said she was inspired to write <em>Waiting For Billy Floyd</em> during a boat trip down the Mississippi to Rodney, Miss., where the story is set. She even camped out in Rodney’s town square to make a field recording of local sounds, mostly an unaccompanied chorus of barking dogs.</p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930596443681aa0a0b4-8914-4709-b5d8-a0dabf2a3441"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pTs--nDt7GE?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a5540114284314806390" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTs--nDt7GE"></iframe></div></div>  </p> <p>Yet even with her own evocative score, five highly accomplished musicians (playing flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano), and the field recording, it would be impossible for any composer to directly translate eighteen pages of Welty’s imagistic, dreamlike prose—which could take well over an hour to read—in a 10-minute piece of music. Instead, Beglarian’s approach is poetic, using the power of her music to focus on the emotional crux of the story, the rape scene.</p> <p><em>Waiting for Billy Floyd</em> progressed from a soft piano and vibraphone duet to a full-blown love song when the rest of the sextet joined in. The violence of the assault was loudly announced when the piano turned dissonant, almost drowning out the other instruments. In a post-concert interview, Beglarian said she bluntly refers to this in rehearsals as “the rape music.” In discussing the piece with other musicians, she said, some have questioned her score for indicating that the piano be played so loudly in triple forte. “They say you can’t hear the other instruments,” she said. “I know that!” The pianist’s violent music rightly dominates the others’ “joyous music,” which, she pointed out, is all we hear at the quiet conclusion.  That, and the barking dog, which Beglarian hears as a sign that Billy is coming back to Jenny. “The joyous music fucking wins that piece!” she said, proving her words can be as forceful as her music. </p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/Stan_Tymorek_sq.jpg" alt="Stan Tymorek" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><span>Stan Tymorek is a freelance writer from Madison, Wisconsin, specializing in the arts.</span></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>Flutes of a Feather Flock Together</strong></p> <p>by Sarah Lindmark</p> <p>How often is the phrase “Flute party!” shouted into the summer breeze? Not enough, apparently, according to the three flutists at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA. Alexis Letourneau, Philip Snyder, and Jennifer Timmins shout the phrase at top volume whenever they run into each other in the seemingly endless halls of the contemporary art museum.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/517/328/l/80/2018/07/flutists_banglewood2018.jpg" alt="(L to R: Alexis Letourneau, Philip Snyder, Jennifer Timmins)"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">(L to R: Alexis Letourneau, Philip Snyder, Jennifer Timmins)</div> <div class="image-credit">(Sarah Lindmark / Bang on a Can)</div> </div> </div> <p>Although frequent rehearsals can be tough for the festival’s performance Fellows, Jennifer Timmins smiled as she mentioned how much she’s gained from the experience. “We’re not here to learn to be flutists. We’re here to learn to be musicians and citizens of this community,” she said.</p> <p>Michael Gordon’s <a href="https://cantaloupemusic.bandcamp.com/track/yo-shakespeare-live-bang-on-a-can-marathon-2013"><em>Yo Shakespeare</em></a><em>, </em>one of the pieces they’ve had to grapple with together, calls for the three of them to play sets of hand-made pan pipes. According to Jennifer, “the piece is a banger,” but it has a series of intricate rhythms that are hard to master on an instrument that is played so differently than the flutes they’re used to. She added, “it takes more air, and it takes longer for the air to produce a sound.”</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/07/panflutes_homemade_PfBz1et.jpg" alt="hand-made pan pipes"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">hand-made pan pipes</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>A sense of true <span>camaraderie</span> shone through as the conversation turned to their fast friendship, and Philip and Alexis laughed about playing orchestral excerpts together before rehearsals. Jennifer spoke to how easy it was “to naturally gravitate towards each other” upon meeting people who “just want to play music but just happen to play the flute.” “There are a lot of stereotypes about flute playing,” she continued, just as Alexis interrupted her to add, “which the three of us all defy.” At any other summer music festival, one might expect these three to viciously compete for top spot or principal chair, but it’s clear that these performance Fellows value community over competition.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 200px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/200/200/l/80/2018/07/Sarah_Lindmark_square.jpg" alt="Sarah Lindmark" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Sarah Lindmark is currently working on a Master's Degree in Musicology at the University of California, Irvine. </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>Putting it together: Brooks Frederickson at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival</strong><br>by Lasse D. Hansen</p> <p>Given the opportunity to work with noted conductor Brad Lubman, composer Brooks Frederickson did not think twice: This was the ensemble he was going to write a new piece for. It was in spring 2018, and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival asked him to choose one of three different instrumentations for the commission work he was about to write for the festival's Musician Fellows.</p> <p>Giving the unusual instrumentation a second look it struck him: “Oh no! What am I going do with four percussionists and two singers?” Realizing that this configuration of instruments would probably never be accessible again, Frederickson decided to focus his attention on making the most out of this particular event by not worrying about usual concerns for a classical composer, such as whether the music would be suitable for every other hall or playable for every other musician. Instead he joined the Festival Ensemble on stage at the World Premiere Composer Concert this Monday - the only one of the nine Composition Fellows to do so.</p> <p>“I didn’t intend to write myself into the piece in the beginning,” Frederickson recalled in an interview at MASS MoCA Wednesday afternoon, “but as I was working on it I started to get really interested in vocoders. It’s an instrument that basically creates a new sound by taking two existing sounds and putting them together, and voices are really good for that.” Using the two singers as source material he wrote himself a vocoder part.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/533/800/l/80/2018/07/Brooks_Frederickson.jpg" alt="Brooks Frederickson"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Brooks Frederickson</div> <div class="image-credit">(Julie Rooney)</div> </div> </div> <p>When he lived in New York, surrounded by highly skilled musicians for eight years, Frederickson didn’t perform much. Now, having just moved to Durham, NC, where there are fewer musicians around, he is getting more involved in the performance of his music.</p> <p>“I want to be a participant in my music rather than just write it, send it off, show up at the rehearsal, say ‘It’s good!’ and sit in the audience,” he said. “This piece is a continuation of that feeling. I’m still getting comfortable with being back on stage and I have to relearn how not to be afraid of it or to have stage fright again, and that feels good.”</p> <p><em>Stratus-embedded waves moving against mean flow</em> received its world premiere performance by the 2018 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival Ensemble and Brooks Frederickson this Monday evening at MASS MoCA.</p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/LDH_NinaMouritzen_sq.jpg" alt="Lasse D. Hansen" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><strong>Lasse D. Hansen</strong><span> is a Copenhagen-based composer and writer, whose latest performances includes the theatrical fantasy Face the Music at the 2018 MATA Festival in New York. As a music journalist he is interested in the mysterious process of doing creative work.</span></em></p> <p> </p>
Jul 25, 2018
Dispatches From the Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2018: Part 1
<p>The Bang On A Can collective, which has championed new music since 1987, decamps every summer to Mass MoCA, the vast complex of former industrial buildings in North Adams, Massachusetts that now houses one of the country's largest contemporary art museums. Since 2002, Bang On A Can has hosted Fellowship programs for emerging composers and musicians  - a way of allowing a younger generation of creators and performers to essentially grow up together. This year, for the first time, they included a Fellowship program for aspiring music writers, and invited me and the writer/musicologist Will Robin to serve as the faculty.  </p> <p>This week, we are reporting back from the Berkshires with our writing Fellows' impressions of the concerts, rehearsals, and unusual concert settings they're experiencing. It all leads up to the big event this weekend - the Bang On A Can Marathon at Mass MoCA, this year featuring composer Steve Reich. Follow our writers as they follow the musicians and composers who may be the next generation to change the sound of contemporary music.  </p> <p><em>-John Schaefer</em></p> <hr> <p><strong>Folk Songs from the Bang on a Can Festival<br></strong>By Maggie Molloy</p> <p>Ailie Robertson loves a good folk tale—and the spookier, the better. One of her favorites is “The Two Sisters,” a Scottish murder ballad recounting the tale of a girl who drowns her sister in the river. When the sister's body washes ashore, a townsperson crafts a harp from her bones and strings it with her golden hair. <br><br>A Scottish harpist and composer, Robertson was inspired by that very piece of folklore when she began writing music for this year's Bang on a Can Summer Festival. Robertson is one of nine composers from around the world who was selected to attend the annual festival this year in North Adams, Massachusetts. Last night’s concert featured world premieres from each of them, an explosion of wide-ranging works that embodied the eclectic nature of the festival.<br><br>For three weeks each July, the experimental music collective Bang on a Can brings together some of the most innovative young performers and composers in the field for an immersive three weeks of outside-the-box music-making. The festival is housed at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), a sprawling complex of 19th-century mill buildings whose rich history is beautifully contrasted against the bold and brazenly modern art that now fill its rooms. <br><br>Robertson's new premiere was perfectly at home in this setting: the piece, titled <em>Binnorie</em>, draws connections between a 400-year-old Scottish folk tune and a modern day news story of a UK woman who murdered her sister last year. Conducted by faculty member Brad Lubman, the performance featured a mixed ensemble of voice, winds, strings, percussion, and a haunting sound collage of recordings from the UK police case.<br><br>"Often the things we think of as folklore are actually still so relevant today," Robertson said in an interview following the concert. "The themes in folk music are basically love and jealousy and war—and they always come around no matter what age we live in."<br><br><em>Binnorie</em> captured the immediacy of these folk music themes but employed a more intricate timbral palette. Two female singers evoked the sisters on stage, singing the text of the original ballad in a ghostly modal melody amid a sea of string harmonics and quarter tones. Jet whistles and breathy murmurs in the flutes suggested the sister's desperate gasps for air, and musicians bowed the strings of two grand pianos with long yellow strands of twine that were reminiscent of her hair. Along the back of the stage four percussionists bowed marimbas and dunked cymbals in bowls of water. Woven throughout this gripping sound world were wailing police sirens, news reports, laughing children, river waves, and radio calls from the police. The result was a fresh take on a ballad that has inspired a number of modern reincarnations, including Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe’s <em>Cruel Sister</em> and Nico Muhly’s <em>The Only Tune</em>.</p> <p>An earlier concert in the MASS MoCA galleries that afternoon featured another of Robertson's pieces: a string trio titled <em>The Black Pearl</em> that was inspired by Bach's Goldberg Variations and another folk tune called "The Pretty Maids of Galway." Performed in a dark room next to the muted landscape of a Patrick Bermingham oil painting, the piece evoked a similarly somber mood. Short melodic fragments of Bach's three minor key variations emerged from the rhythmic, circular bowing of the violin and viola, with the cello plucking a steady bass ostinato throughout. The effect was that of a distant memory, brief flashes of recognition shining through from just beyond our reach.</p> <p><span>"I like music to have a narrative," Robertson said. "It doesn't have to be melodic, it doesn't have to directly tell a story, but there has to be some type of emotional thread that the audience can latch onto.” <br></span></p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/MaggieMolloy350.jpg" alt="Maggie Molloy" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Maggie Molloy is a music journalist, editor, and radio host at <a href="https://www.secondinversion.org">Second Inversion</a>. She is based in Seattle, Washington.</em> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>A Museum That Opens The Eyes And the Ears<br></strong>By Stan Tymorek </p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>Scat singing rarely takes center stage. For the most part it tends to be a substitute for lyrics that a jazz singer resorts to after singing the words of a few verses. That’s one reason why Stephanie Orlando’s composition “Scatterbrain,” </span></span><span><span>consisting</span></span><span><span> entirely of scat singing, was a bold move. It was performed by a theatrical soprano and underscored almost syllable for syllable by a soaring flute.</span></span></p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/384/512/l/80/2018/07/Banglewood_LEDlights.jpg" alt="Banglewood 2018"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Lunch Recital under Spencer Finch's light sculpture meant to evoke the Milky Way.</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>Then there was the performance space: we heard this music below 150 specially fabricated LED fixtures suspended from the ceiling over an expanse of an 80-foot long gallery in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. According to the MASS MoCA website, in this installation by artist Spencer Finch titled <em>Cosmic Latte</em>, lights are “arranged in the gently arching shape of the Milky Way as it is observed in the Northern Hemisphere in March.” Now scat was thrust into the cosmic spotlight.</span></span><span></span></p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>These are the types of multimedia dynamics that happen at the North Adams museum every summer when the music collective Bang On a Can comes to town for a three-week festival of new music, presented by their Faculty and Fellows. MASS MoCA and Bang On a Can both specialize in large-scale experimentation: the museum in its 16-acre campus of the vast brick buildings of a former electrical plant. and the musicians with their signature 12-hour marathons and limits-pushing, seemingly limitless repertoire. When the composer and musician fellows select one of the galleries available to them, to present their work, the sheer scale and audacity of the art can’t help but affect how the audience hears their music.</span></span><span></span></p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/716/435/l/80/2018/07/Sol_LeWitt_wall.jpg" alt="Sol LeWitt's wall art is the backdrop for a work by Tim Hansen."> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Sol LeWitt's wall art is the backdrop for a work by Tim Hansen, "Banglewood" 2018</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>After the single 30-minute slot in which“Scatterbrain” was performed, the museum-goers who heard it were led to one of the three floors filled with Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawings,” a quintessential part of MASS MoCA’s collection. There they heard “North Head,” by Tim Hansen, a piece for vibraphone and and bass clarinet commemorating, as vibraphonist Thea Hassen movingly explained in her introduction, the deaths of several gay men who had been murdered on a beach of that name in Australia. The duet sounded more contemplative than funereal, perhaps due to the spirit of LeWitt’s bold colored shapes—including a bull’s eye and a long wavy line that suggested the ocean in this context.</span></span><span></span></p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>Contemplation abruptly ended when the audience moved on to another take on young men’s spirit, “as our Name Brand society,” an electrified improvisation performed on synthesizers and drums that did its damnedest to fill Mass MoCA’s largest gallery—almost a football field in size with 18-feet-high catwalks. This was the site of “The Archaeology of Another Possible Future,” by Liz Glynn, a sprawling collection of pyramid-shaped caves formed by factory pallets, multi-colored shipping containers and hospital-type gurneys. When the trio stopped playing we could hear a soprano perched on a catwalk, singing words on sheets of paper that she blithely tore in pieces and cast down. If the exhibit was a scene from the future, an audience member might think, the howling music was a valid protest against it, and why even bother to recycle the torn-up paper?</span></span><span></span></p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>Having a Bang On A Can staffer lead the viewers to the widely dispersed gallery performances created a kind of indoor pilgrimage promising new discoveries. Our final way station was the “Lure Of The Dark” exhibit, a variety of artists’ responses to the mysteries of the night displayed in dimly lit galleries. The art pilgrims trekked all the way to the farthest one, where a string trio played “The Black Pearl,” by Ailie Robertson, which drew inspiration from Goldberg Variation #25 and a Scottish folk tune.</span></span><span><span> </span></span></p> <p class="gmail-p3"><span><span>The Scottish-tune influence conjured up the image of a cottage dimly lit by a peat fire. And if you got close enough to one of the gallery painting’s placards, you could read that Patrick Bermingham’s</span></span><span><span>  </span></span><span><span>scene of a moonlit path is titled “Midway on our path in life”— a reference to the first line of Dante’s <em>Inferno</em>. For a museum visitor without a Bang On a Can staffer to guide them through the maze-like MASS MoCA, a follow-up line in the poem would be more apt: “For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”</span></span></p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/Stan_Tymorek_sq.jpg" alt="Stan Tymorek" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><span>Stan Tymorek is a freelance writer from Madison, Wisconsin, specializing in the arts.</span></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong>In Search Of Dan Rhode<br></strong>by Sarah Lindmark</p> <p>With my last bit of crumbling dessert, I sat down at a small round table in MASS MoCA’s café, Lickety Split. The man I assumed to be composer Daniel Rhode sat across from me, clean shaven, wearing a dark blue button-down shirt, with slick hair and a genuine smile. </p> <p>He reached out to shake my hand. “Hi, I’m Philip Snyder.”</p> <p>At that moment, it dawned on me that not only had I mistakenly asked the wrong person for an interview, but that I had somehow managed to start the interview before realizing it. At the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival each July, MASS MoCA is teeming with bright, young musicians from around the world. They’ve all gathered to make friends and new music under the guidance of the Bang on a Can organization, a group of established musicians that have been writing, performing, and recording experimental music for over twenty years. I hadn’t considered the possibility that in the process of meeting everyone as quickly as I could in between concerts, rehearsals, and seminars, I might accidentally mix two of them up. Yet there I was, trying to be as pleasant as possible, talking to the wrong person.</p> <p>In my defense, I had experienced quite the myriad of colors, sounds, and people earlier that day. MASS MoCA is packed with the work of some of the best in visual art (Liz Glynn, James Turrell, Natasha Bowdoin, and Sol LeWitt just to name a few), and combining it with a diverse array of music can be a little overwhelming. One of the concerts I attended had the audience walk to a different gallery space between each piece, making the hour and a half show feel similar to an art walk or a musical scavenger hunt. Called a lunch time recital, this type of multimedia experience is not new to either MASS MoCA or Bang On a Can. Nor is it new to composer Daniel Rhode, whose piece titled <em>As Our Name Brand Society</em> was performed at the recital.</p> <p>Featuring drum set, keyboard, and synthesizer, Rhode’s <em>As Our Name Brand Society</em> had a distinct punk rock flavor that stopped suddenly when a vocalist appeared out of thin air on a raised metal platform - part of Glynn’s installation - around which the performance took place, reading something in a severe, urgent tone. She later tore her sheet of lyrics to shreds and sprinkled them onto the heads of the bemused audience. Although it was difficult to make out most of the vocalist’s text from my position below, her timbre blended well with the ensemble and added a distinctly human element to an altogether cold and hardcore piece. The only line I was able to make out occurred at the very end: “right in the middle of it comes a smiling mortician.” I was left both bewildered and fascinated - the piece stopped just as suddenly as it began, and I couldn’t keep myself from laughing.</p> <p>The second of the two Rhode works was introduced by the composer: in pre-performance remarks, he stated that he’s particularly fascinated by the Liz Glynn gallery and “how our humanity changes as we go from working with physical objects to swimming in some digital ether.” His words clarified some of my suspicions about <em>As Our Name Brand Society,</em> and the piece that unfolded after his short preface continued to pull back the curtain. Titled <em>Zero System,</em> the piece is about “human movement.” He said, “I’m using some of the ideas from my electronic music, but really trying to make it human. You’re going to hear a lot of these mechanical rhythms that come together in some giant human, robot whole.” With driving, interwoven rhythmic lines punctuated intermittently by the piccolo and xylophone, the composer’s mechanical influence in <em>Zero System</em> is unmistakable. The ensemble dropped out periodically, leaving the pianist alone with a repeated polyrhythmic figure. The human element fought back in the low tones of the bass, but was eventually swallowed by the rest of the ensemble once again. Despite having little programmatic context outside of a single forty-five second pre-concert talk by the composer, Rhode’s two works felt thematically linked. Both grapple with hard-hitting subject matter – our dependence on technology and our materialistic culture – and both are musically drawn from noise rock. This link led me to my desire to interview him and spend more time engaged with his work this week, even if it meant handling a few bumps along the way.</p> <p>After fifteen minutes or so of excellent conversation from flutist Philip Snyder, I decided to close out the interview with, “One last thing – I’m looking for a composer by the name of Daniel Rhode for another interview, do you know where he might be?”</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 200px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/200/200/l/80/2018/07/Sarah_Lindmark_square.jpg" alt="Sarah Lindmark" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em>Sarah Lindmark is currently working on a Master's Degree in Musicology at the University of California, Irvine. </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <hr> <p><strong><span>His ears decide what we are hearing: amplifying the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival</span></strong>   <br>by Lasse D. Hansen</p> <p>"Okay, what do you guys need to be different?," sound engineer Andrew Cotton asks from the back of the empty hall as soon as the ensemble stops playing. The time is 3:30pm, Monday afternoon, and it's the first day of the final week of the three-week Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival.</p> <p>For the past two weeks, the musicians have worked intensively with the festival's nine composition Fellows at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus to realize nine new works written for the occasion.</p> <p>Right now, eight of the Musician Fellows are on stage, rehearsing <em>Zero System </em>- a groovy piece by composition Fellow Daniel Rhode consisting of waltzing melodic fragments - for the last part of the process: the sound rehearsal for the World Premiere Composer Concert in just one hour.</p> <p>Cotton’s fingers rest on ten of the 32 faders on the extensive mixer desk at which he is seated. On a small monitor screen he can follow the sound levels of all the individual instruments and with a microphone he is able to speak directly to the musicians on stage. Most of the time, however, he shouts through the hall. It works perfectly fine.</p> <div class="embedded-image" style="max-width: 800px;"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/800/600/l/80/2018/07/IMG_1423.jpg" alt="Mission control - where Sound Engineer Andrew Cotton works the audio magic"> <div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Mission control - where Sound Engineer Andrew Cotton works the audio magic</div> <div class="image-credit">(John Schaefer/ NYPR)</div> </div> </div> <p>The sound engineer has been working with the Bang on a Can All-Stars since 1996, and he is introduced as "the seventh member of the band" by Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe. "It’s a long-term relationship," she points out.</p> <p>"A lot less guitar, please," one of the percussionists answers. "And if possible, can I get a little more bass clarinet?" At this time, it's not so much about actually rehearsing the pieces as it is about setting the right levels of amplification for the musicians on stage. </p> <p>"We should probably kill the monitors for this," the clarinetist and faculty member Ken Thomson suggests as they decide to move on to the next piece on the program, <em>Heron and the Bell</em> by composition fellow Guusje Ingen Housz. This means that Andrew Cotton gets a brief but much needed break on a very long work day.</p> <p>The piece is about simplicity, stillness and movement, according to the Dutch-born Housz, and for the entire piece the two percussionists are moving calmly and almost processionally across the stage. One is playing a singing bowl, the other is playing shackles.</p> <p>The piano and bass players join by adding simple, meditative harmonies to the percussion, quickly followed by woodwinds playing short two-note melodies. The piece is slowly assembled from these musical elements, both free floating and structured like planets in a solar system.</p> <p>In a brief moment of silence an unexpected creaking sound appears. First, it is not clear where the sound comes from, but it quickly turns out that it is the stage floor that creaks, amplified through the microphones on stage. The musicians interrupt music to discuss different solutions, and Cotton is called to the stage to help. So much for that break. </p> <p>The solution, he says, is to move the percussionists to the floor in front of the stage, along with the strings that are taped to the floor to guide the musicians' walk. "Can we move the stairs?," one of the musicians shouts through the room, and three stage hands quickly enters to move it.</p> <p>"I just broke my golden rule," Andrew Cotton says walking across the room to take his seat again with the audience now entering the room. "I changed something five minutes before the concert."</p> <p>Now another unexpected sound appears, this time from above. From the roof, a deep and soft rumble moves down the walls, amplified by the whole room. The musicians are looking up. A member of the audience turns to me, saying "Wow, the rain on the roof sounds amazing!" There is no way to fix that. It will be part of the concert.</p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media.wnyc.org/i/raw/2018/07/LDH_NinaMouritzen_sq.jpg" alt="Lasse D. Hansen" width="200" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"></div> <p> </p> <p><em><strong>Lasse D. Hansen</strong><span> is a Copenhagen-based composer and writer, whose latest performances includes the theatrical fantasy Face the Music at the 2018 MATA Festival in New York. As a music journalist he is interested in the mysterious process of doing creative work.</span></em></p> <p> </p>
Jul 24, 2018
Junun Featuring Shye Ben Tzur and The Rajasthan Express
41:38
<p><em>Junun</em> is a musical collaboration between India-based Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur, a group of Indian musicians called The Rajasthan Express, and composer (and Radiohead’s guitarist) Jonny Greenwood. The music is in the ecstatic Sufi music style known as <em>qawwali</em> (made famous by the late <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njitYt646ZE&amp;list=PLCECrtsNyGVqgH9yVtXUKJbtKRkFylX2z">Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan</a>), and it's devotional music—sometimes in Urdu, Hebrew, and Hindi, and is built on a percussion-dense and brass enriched groove with everything to love. The band has been opening for Radiohead on their current tour, but they join us to perform some of these ecstatic tunes in-studio.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>: </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156469743788180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p><strong><br>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_tSFvgsAn-Q" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ekFkISRP68s" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/anvMgBP61CU" width="620"></iframe></p>
Jul 23, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Punch Brothers, Marlowe, and The Hold Steady
5:58
<p><strong>Week of July 23:</strong> This week, returns for Pussy Riot, Cat Power, The Hold Steady, and public radio host/musician Chris Thile, plus new music by p<span>roducer </span><span>L'Orange</span><span> and rapper </span><span>Solemn Brigham as </span>Marlowe. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Pussy Riot’s “Policeman” Series Includes World Cup Disruption And A New Song</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930598832809d63227f-4a70-4077-8f49-598da2b848f1"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/q1v7u1GacSU?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-1581885960506822218" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1v7u1GacSU&amp;feature=youtu.be"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Even if you were among the relatively few humans not watching the World Cup championship game last Sunday, you probably heard about the pitch invasion – when four people ran out onto the field in the middle of the second half of the game. As is customary, the TV cameras immediately cut away, not wanting to reward this sort of thing with global publicity. But it turned out not to be drunken hooligans; it was members of the punk/protest art group <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/pussy-riot-public-service-announcements-sometimes-guitars/">Pussy Riot</a>. Calling their action “Policeman Enters The Game,” they <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zQGV7XBkLE&amp;feature=youtu.be">posted a video</a> explaining that they were protesting Russia’s culture of surveillance and imprisonment as tools of government repression. (And <em>their</em> camera stayed on the four as they ran around the field. Best moment: one of them high-fives France’s star winger Kylian Mbappe.) They drew a comparison between the good cop, who upholds the law and is a part of the community, and the bad cop, who is essentially a spy looking for any trace of discontent. (I’m paraphrasing; Pussy Riot’s English is charmingly fractured.) That theme extends to the group’s new single, called “Track About Good Cop” (see what I mean?), which is a surprisingly bouncy slice of electropop, featuring some fun dance moves and lines like “me and the cop/we’ve turned from enemies into a duo” - as well as some warnings about the darker side of policing in Russia. </p> <hr> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Hold Steady Release New Song, Get Shot In The Shoulder</strong></p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2303093545/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://holdsteady.bandcamp.com/album/the-stove-the-toaster-b-w-star-18">The Stove &amp; The Toaster b/w Star 18 by The Hold Steady</a></iframe></p> <p>Brooklyn indie rockers <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/hold-steady-ambassador-live/">The Hold Steady</a> don’t make songs; they make short audio movies. <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/craig-finn-in-studio/">Craig Finn</a> sing/speaks his way through character studies, portraits of people on the margins of society, and scenes that practically play themselves out in your mind. “The Stove &amp; The Toaster” is a new single that they’ve just released in advance of a small but mostly sold-out tour. It is a heist story, and you can tell from the opening verse (“it’s gonna be easy, it’s gonna be simple”) that it ain’t gonna end well. And indeed, when the titular kitchen appliances don’t turn out to be what’s expected, things go south real fast. But Finn’s droll delivery makes it all okay, and the addition of some Dap-King-style horns makes it way more than okay. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Marlowe Offers Breathless Rapping And Classic Hip Hop Sampling</strong></p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=743974183/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://lorange360.bandcamp.com/album/marlowe">Marlowe by Marlowe (L'Orange &amp; Solemn Brigham)</a></iframe></p> <p>Marlowe is a duo, consisting of rapper Solemn Brigham and producer L’Orange. Their new album, simply called <em>Marlowe</em>, is a dizzying musical trip full of the kind of inventive use of musical and vocal samples that made the work of De La Soul, or Steinski, or any number of other early hip hop albums so much fun to drill into. The overall mood is vaguely psychedelic, with vintage voices from various media flitting about and strong echoes of '70s soul in the production. Solemn’s rapping seems to spill out of him in a stream-of-consciousness flow that refuses to acknowledge bar lines, punctuation, or at times the need for a human being to draw breath. They’ve posted all the lyrics to their songs on their Bandcamp page, and it is refreshing to hear a rapper who is able to suggest weighty issues (equality, truth, identity, community) even as you read along and wonder what the heck he is actually talking about. Multiple rhyming schemes weave together, and there isn’t a curse word or even an N-word in sight. Meaning that if some hip hop radio station were curious enough, and daring enough, they could actually play this on the air. How about that? The album has several standout tracks, including “Things We Summon” and the surfy “Palm Readers,” but my favorite is “Lost Arts,” with its sauntering gait and interplay of sampled and live vocals. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Cat Power Announces A New Album This Fall</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293070706048ae9f7148-3e8a-4100-af80-4cb66df2ff9e"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_ss1uN1IHyA?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a7998820838782133093" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ss1uN1IHyA"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The singer and songwriter Chan (pronounced like “Sean”) Marshall has been making albums under the name <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/40468-cat-power-live/">Cat Power</a> since 1995 – although she hasn’t released anything for six years. That will change on October 5, when she releases <em>Wanderer</em>, an 11-song collection that she says will describe “the course my life has taken in this journey - going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale.” Cat Power’s journey has at times been a tortuous one, with periods of substance abuse and mental illness leading to an erratic history as a live performer; but she has always been a compelling songwriter, and a richly emotive singer. So far, she hasn’t released a single from the album, but a short trailer features several layers of that distinctive voice singing <em>a cappella</em> – the tune almost sounds like it wants to turn into the brooding folk ballad “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MkfTYPmLlA">In The Pines</a>,” perhaps as if arranged by <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/julianna-barwick-in-studio/">Julianna Barwick</a>. It is an intriguing glimpse at what’s to come.</p> <p>Cat Power performs in New York on September 30 at Forest Hills Stadium, as part of The National’s “There’s No Leaving New York” weekend festival. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Punch Brothers Release<em> All Ashore</em></strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/3lS0DcJDzDiaqAje0LViWe" width="300"></iframe></p> <p>Even after 10 years and six albums, it’s still not easy to describe Punch Brothers. The all-star acoustic band looks like a bluegrass ensemble but plays music that draws on classical composition, jazz improvisation, and progressive rock structures. They’re also capable of laying down a funky groove or resurrecting an old-timey sound. Each of the five musicians is a virtuoso of the highest order, but public radio listeners will be most familiar with singer/mandolinist Chris Thile, who took over <em>A Prairie Home Companion</em> when Garrison Keillor left and now hosts the show under its new name, <em>Live From Here</em>. (Heard Saturday evenings at 6 on WNYC-FM. Force of habit: I just <em>had</em> to get the promo in…). On Friday Punch Brothers released their sixth album, <em>All Ashore</em>, which finds the usually ebullient quintet in an unusually restrained mode. There is still incredible technique here – it’s just not on display the way it usually is. And the songs tend to be more reflective. Thile has written that the album is “a meditation on committed relationships in the present day, particularly in the present political climate.” That’s pretty sobering stuff. Fortunately, the band’s energy and wit can’t be fully repressed. The track called “Just Look At This Mess” uses a slow, slinky rhythm and some neat falsetto harmonies to suggest a kind of bluegrass version of classic R&amp;B. </p> <p>Punch Brothers play in NY at the Beacon Theater on July 28.</p>
Jul 20, 2018
Fluid, Borderless Solo Guitar by Marisa Anderson
26:48
<p>Portland, Oregon-based Marisa Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. From spacious melancholic laments to transcendent minimalism, Anderson is coming from a place between country, blues, and drone. On her latest record, <em>Cloud Corner</em>, she touches on Tuareg scales from "desert blues," the finger-style picking of so-called “American Primitive,” and chiming sad cowboy chords, while continuously moving and traveling on her guitar<span>.</span> She joins us in the studio to play songs from <em>Cloud Corner</em>.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fbusiness.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156462980253180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nwfLvxiE56g" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I9Re3WbyQqY" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tVNXUXg52-U" width="620"></iframe></p>
Jul 19, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Savoir Adore, Eddie Palmieri, and Childish Gambino
<p><strong>Week of July 16:</strong> This week, summer sounds from Childish Gambino, Savoir Adore, and hot salsa from Eddie Palmieri.</p> <hr> <p><strong>PREMIERE: Savoir Adore Return With A Dreamy Summer Song</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/471000363%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-Am2FP&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>The Brooklyn-based indie pop outfit called <a href="https://www.wnyc.org/story/307460-savoir-adore-in-studio/">Savoir Adore</a> was founded by Paul Hammer, son of the veteran keyboardist and composer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Hammer">Jan Hammer</a>, and in recent years has featured vocals and keyboards by Lauren Zettler. The two of them have just finished writing a whole new album together, which I expect will have the band’s usual, effective brand of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH4ryqWze6U">dreamy yet danceable pop</a>. That album will come out later this year, but on Friday, they’ll release the first single, which apparently is one of the first songs they wrote together. The reason for rushing this one out ahead of time will become obvious: it’s a breezy ode to summer, tinged with just a hint of nostalgia. And although it’s <em>officially</em> not out until Friday, we’re happy to premiere it here today. Enjoy “When the Summer Ends.”</p> <hr> <p><strong>Childish Gambino Returns, But Don’t Worry – He’s In A Summery Mood Too</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293066354144b1ab9b6b-f2bc-4932-9e89-63b2cb3fd75e"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ieL7BHjiyd8?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a7087626209094284253" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieL7BHjiyd8"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>The members of Savoir Adore aren’t the only ones with summer on their minds. Childish Gambino has gotten into the act as well, releasing two new songs, as a single: the A side is called “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diLp6hUqvVk">Summertime Magic</a>,” and the B side is “Feels Like Summer.” You may remember that in May, the Grammy- and Emmy-winning rapper, singer and actor released his biting, controversial <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-childish-gambino-and-red-baraat/">song and video “This Is America</a>,” which was probably the most talked-about new music we’ve had in years. (It went platinum in just three weeks.) Well, the mood here could not be more different from the earlier track’s bleak and graphic portrayals of gun violence and racism. Both songs are laid-back summer jams, as if Gambino (aka the actor Donald Glover), having asked us some pretty tough questions last time, is offering us a break from all the crap we’re dealing with. Or at least, that’s how it appears at first. But in a neat musical head-fake, the song “Feels Like Summer” turns out to be talking about climate change: its languorous R&amp;B groove and Glover’s smooth falsetto vocals deliver lyrics like “Every day gets hotter than the one before/Running out of water, it's about to go down,” and “Oh, I hope we change/I really thought this world would change/But it seems like the same.” </p> <hr> <p><strong>Latin Jazz Great Eddie Palmieri Is About To Come Full Circle</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/471280794&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>We here at <em>New Sounds</em> have been in a Latin mood since last week’s visit from the incredible Cuban dance band <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/orquesta-akokan-channels-golden-era-cuban-mambo-instudio">Orquesta Akokan</a>. So we were totally primed for the news that this Friday, the 81-year old pianist, composer, and bandleader <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Palmieri">Eddie Palmieri</a> will release his latest album, called <em>Full Circle</em>. In it, he revisits some of his classic jazz-tinged salsa tracks with a new, younger group of musicians. Today, he released a new, extended version of one of his pivotal works, the 1971 song “Vamonos Pa’l Monte,” whose title, “let’s go to the mountains,” was a statement of pride in his Puerto Rican heritage. The band sounds great, and as usual, for Palmieri at least, the piano solo is full of jazzy chords and jagged surprises. And a bit of Keith Jarrett-style “singing” (or moaning) as he plays. The strong <em>montuno</em> rhythm of the original version remains, but the energy is definitely that of a new generation, carrying on a tradition of salsa-meets-Latin Jazz that Palmieri began pioneering over 50 years ago.  </p> <hr> <p><strong>Anna Meredith Scores the New Film <em>Eighth Grade</em></strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/7nSQvW6hC6hKCI4l2naxsa" width="300"></iframe> </p> <p>English composer <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/club-banger-chamber-music-composerproducer-anna-meredith-full-surprises/">Anna Meredith</a> leads a double life: she’s a contemporary classical composer who’s used to working with chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestras, and whose big new piece <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/13/proms-2018-review-opening-night-dutifully-honours-musical-greats">Five Telegrams opened the Proms</a></em>, the UK’s annual music festival-slash-national holiday.  But she also leads a kind of electronic art-rock band. Now, you can add film composer to her resume. She has just scored <em>Eighth Grade</em>, the comic-turned-writer/director Bo Burnham’s debut movie about an over-connected eighth grade girl. Meredith’s music tends to be obsessively rhythmic and full of melodic quirks, and the soundtrack largely follows that pattern – it even includes “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vajhs2wBeCU">Nautilus</a>,” one of the most obsessive and quirky tunes from her 2016 band album <em>Varmints</em>. Most of the score, though, restricts itself to just Meredith and her keyboards, and that includes the track called “How To Be Confident,” which appears in three different versions during the film. This first version lies in the weeds for a minute before blossoming into something grand – in a quiet, shy eighth grader sort of way.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Quiet Hollers Confront The Opioid Epidemic</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/467684916&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>The Louisville rock band <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/quiet-hollers-in-studio/">Quiet Hollers</a> has a not-so-secret weapon: the storytelling ability of frontman Shadwick Wilde. (Is that a storyteller’s name or what?) Whether it’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSDNKCadUcg">trying to survive in a post-Apocalypse America</a>, or <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1glXHx1kmy8">driving through the south of France, with a kidnap victim in the trunk</a>, Wilde has a knack for the surprising and the cinematic. But his new story is much more intimate – “Addicted,” the group’s brand new single, came after Wilde’s uncle died of a fentanyl overdose. The band’s guitar-driven sound gets a catchy keyboard figure – it’s tempting to say it’s addictive, as you keep waiting for it to return – and Wilde’s lyrics early in the song seem like they might be veering from the observational to the holier-than-thou, as he mulls over people’s reluctance to make a change they know they need to make. But that is immediately and poignantly skewered when he sings, “and I am the same.” Wilde has had some experience with addiction, and for him and the band, the song is not a vehicle for promoting a new album, but a moment to think about a problem that is both insidious and widespread. </p>
Jul 16, 2018
Orquesta Akokán Channels Golden Era of Cuban Mambo
32:15
<p>Orquesta Akokán bursts and flows with the spirit of dance orchestras of the 1940’s and 1950’s of Havana on their debut record of nine tunes - all sparkling, blazing, soulful, and meticulously arranged and composed mambo originals. Together, singer José "Pepito" Gómez, producer Jacob Plasse, and arranger Michael Eckroth, along with Cuba’s finest players, young and old, recorded the record live to tape in a three-day session at the legendary and revered Estudios Areito in Cuba – where percussion and piano absolutely pop, and the brilliance of brass is magnified. The recording is the first Spanish-language venture for Daptone Records, (the folks who brought you Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Charles Bradley, and other timeless artists) whose old-school techniques and attention to sonic detail ensure a living, breathing warmth.</p> <p>The big band collective Orquesta Akokán joins us to play some of these Cuban Mambo (and rumba, cha-cha and jazzy) tunes in-studio. </p> <p><strong>Watch the session here</strong>: </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156467428663180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p>
Jul 16, 2018
Cumbia and Chicha-Inspired Music by Sávila
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<p>Sávila is a <span>cumbia-inspired</span><span><span> music and visual art project by guitarist Fabiola (Fabi) Reyna, vocalist Brisa Gonzalez and percussionist Papi Fimbres which takes its name from a medicinal plant that grows wild in tropical climates all over the world. Guitarist Fabi Reyna is also the editor-in-chief and founder of She Shreds Magazine, dedicated to women guitarists and bassists. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>This Latinx power trio is captivating, with cleanly picked guitar lines, phantom bass lines generated by a loop pedal, playful and wonderfully unexpected rhythms besides the chicha and cumbia from Fimbres, and vocals in both English and Spanish by Gonzales, who also plays auxiliary percussion. Hear their set and interview from June 2018, which was part of the New York Guitar Festival, recorded in The Jerome L. Greene Space. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>Watch Savila's set (starting at 1:07:19)</span></span></p> <p><span><span><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293057751872d8847f60-e2f2-4af3-960a-83dcbc568dfa"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XqNNqkK_MiU?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a989105743298323336" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/XqNNqkK_MiU"></iframe></div></div>  </span></span></p>
Jul 12, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Mitra Sumara, Future, and "The Immigrants"
5:25
<p>Week of July 9: This week: rollicking Farsi funk, a melancholy Future, and Kate Bush looks to the past.</p> <hr> <p><strong>PREMIERE: Farsi Funk From NY’s Mitra Sumara</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm14029305958513634b08848-06ce-45f7-b1a2-81a4a4a54630"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-MJ0dRrD8Sw?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-4980536434260656696" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MJ0dRrD8Sw&amp;feature=youtu.be"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>Something wonderful happened in the 60s and 70s when young musicians around the world began incorporating Western pop into their music, without totally abandoning their native rhythms and sounds. Examples include the so-called <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/69909-ethiopiques-old-and-new/">Ethio-jazz</a> of Ethiopia, the <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/3930-modern-cumbia-and-chicha-renaissance-rebroadcast/">psychedelic <em>cumbias</em></a> of Peru and Colombia, the reverb-drenched cassette culture of the Turkey and the Near East. Something similar happened in Iran, in the years before the 1979 revolution. And that something is the inspiration for the band Mitra Sumara, whose Farsi funk’n’roll comes from the mind of singer Yvette Saatchi Perez. Raised in America by adoptive parents, she began a search for her birth family and eventually met her Iranian birth father. Along the way, she fell in love with the music that a generation of Western-looking Iranians grew up with. Today we premiere the video for the song called “Helelyos,” or “our people are dancing.” The song comes from the band’s debut album, <em>Tahdig</em>, which is the name of the crunchy rice at the bottom of the pot which is an essential (and addictive) part of Iranian cuisine. The video is a swirling, psychedelic montage of traditional Iranian imagery with photos from the Iranian pop scene in the 70s and occasional photos of the band. When trombonist Peter Zummo first appears, you’ll see a photo of <em>tahdig</em> behind him. That’s assuming, of course, that you haven’t started dancing across the room by that point…</p> <hr> <p><strong>Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks Celebrate American’s Immigrant Roots</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293056203792ce4b0787-a55e-4af3-b7af-7077d6ca9448"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/q6U6Ja_K2zA?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-2498826069439526552" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6U6Ja_K2zA&amp;feature=youtu.be"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>On the Fourth of July, the NY Times published the Declaration of Independence on the back page of the sports section. A large portion of it is a laundry list of complaints against the British crown, but the second paragraph is one of the most profoundly moving things you will ever read. To think that almost 250 years ago, a group of people (okay, men) had the wisdom to write this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Yes, the word “men” proved problematic for a while, but nowhere does it say that only the people who are already here should have those inalienable rights – in fact, it is clear that <em>everyone</em> is entitled to them. For the <a href="https://www.wnyc.org/story/164177-studio-gaby-moreno/">Guatemalan-born singer/songwriter Gaby Moreno</a>, there is heartbreaking disconnect between the openhearted values of the Declaration of Independence and the reality of what’s happening today at America’s southern border. And so, on the Fourth of July, she paired up with the veteran <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/294682-van-dyke-parks-babys-first-commissioned-work-ben-verdery/">American arranger and producer Van Dyke Parks</a> (you’ll know his work with The Beach Boys, and hundreds of others) to release “The Immigrants,” a song that celebrates the ideals our country was founded on and the immigrants who built it. The song was originally written by the Trinidadian singer David Rudder after the police attack on the Haitian immigrant Abner Louima here in New York in 1998, but its message (which includes a quote from the Declaration) is still resonant today. The song’s original calypso sound has been expanded to a marching orchestral anthem, with Van Dyke Parks pulling out all his arranging stops. </p> <p>All proceeds from the sale of the single go to the <a href="http://www.carecen-la.org/">Central American Resource Center of California (CARECEN)</a>.</p> <hr> <p><strong>A Surprising Song From Future’s Surprise Mixtape</strong></p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930727542563d379160-0819-4462-912f-2f58829894d9"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4N5x1HpiuJs?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-8017480079503102715" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N5x1HpiuJs"></iframe></div></div>  </p> <p>Atlanta rapper and singer Future is a guy with a strong work ethic. You may recall when he released his album <em>Future</em> last year it went to number one; then the very next week he released <em>Hndrxx</em>, and it too went to number one. It was the first time an artist had ever had albums debut at the top of the charts in successive weeks. Last month, Future <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-lost-john-coltrane-and-hungry-march-band/">curated the soundtrack of the newly remade film <em>Superfly</em></a>, and provided much of the music himself. But that hasn’t stopped him from dropping a surprise release on Friday. <em>Beastmode 2</em> is a followup to his 2015 mixtape called <em>Beastmode</em>, and again was done with the noted producer and pianist Zaytoven. Now, we’ve all heard rappers writing verses about their success, their money, their climb from the streets and how everyone is jealous of their singular talent. So the track called “Racks Blue” on the new mixtape caught my ear. It is all of those familiar things, but delivered in a pensive, almost melancholy way, with Zaytoven providing a lyrical, spare, piano-driven production. It’s quite a different thing from the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5w21_Vphbg">earlier track “Racks”</a> that Future co-wrote with the rapper YC. That song celebrated money (a “rack” is $1000, usually made up of ten $100 bills, which now have a blue-ish tinge); this one seems to be questioning what it all means. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Kate Bush Unveils A New Tribute To <em>Wuthering Heights</em> – And It’s Not A Song</strong></p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293100633616edd677c7-7f84-4dc7-8e38-98feb7bb6b0c"><iframe width="465" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-1pMMIe4hb4?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-7319417918898500666" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1pMMIe4hb4"></iframe></div></div></p> <p>Back in April, we learned that the English singer and songwriter Kate Bush was one of four British artists commissioned to write tributes to the Bronte sisters, which would be carved in stones set in the Yorkshire moors. Three of the four were unveiled this weekend. Novelist Jeannette Winterson wrote a tribute to all three authors as a single, possibly proto-feminist unit. Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy was asked to write a tribute to Charlotte Bronte, author of <em>Jane Eyre</em>. Scottish national poet Jackie Kay was given Anne Bronte, whose stone will stand at the parsonage where she mostly lived – it’s the only one not yet ready for visitors. Kate Bush was assigned Emily Bronte – a natural choice given that Bush’s career began with her compelling single “Wuthering Heights.” That 1978 song announced the arrival of a major new talent (she was 19), with its evocation of Emily’s famous novel and its haunting chorus, “Heathcliff, it’s me/I’m Cathy, I’ve come home/I’m so cold; let me in through your window.” In her new poem, simply called <em>Emily</em>, Bush returns to the imagery from that song: there is another plea to open the window, and the poem’s final line is almost like an answer to that early song’s refrain. </p> <p><em>Emily</em>, by Kate Bush</p> <p>She stands outside<br>A book in her hands<br>“Her name is Cathy”, she says<br>“I have carried her so far, so far<br>Along the unmarked road from our graves<br>I cannot reach this window<br>Open it, I pray.”<br>But his window is a door to a lonely world<br>That longs to play.<br>Ah Emily. Come in, come in and stay. </p> <p>The stone marker was placed yesterday in the West Riding area of the fabled Yorkshire moors, where the Bronte sisters lived and where <em>Wuthering Heights</em> was set. The timing was perfect, as this year marks the 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Kate Bush’s song, “Wuthering Heights.” </p> <hr> <p><strong>Bodega Takes To The Staten Island Ferry In New Video</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm140293076233440f6cae49f-a4b3-4c3f-af5d-cc50ebb2f8c2"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CAxRuZt3xYE?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a7898993151179418304" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://youtu.be/CAxRuZt3xYE"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>We met the Brooklyn art-punk band Bodega back in June, when <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/art-rock-good-time-band-bodega/">they performed live on the <em>Soundcheck</em></a> podcast. On Friday, they released their album, <em>Endless Scroll</em>, which is full of plain-spoken, politically-minded, sharp-tongued songwriting that can provoke a surprised guffaw, a wry smirk, and pogoing – possibly all at once. But there is an outlier, a track called “Charlie,” which the band has now released a video for. Singer/guitarist Ben Hozie (or Bodega Ben, as he prefers to be called) wrote the song to remember his best friend Charlie, who drowned in 2007. The details are woven into the lyrics in a way that avoids sentimentality, and the video, of Ben and fellow singer Nikki Belfiglio taking a trip on the Staten Island Ferry, has the feeling of an affectionate memory or celebration. </p> <p>For a more typical example of the band’s bratty, brainy sound, watch their <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PmC3y-ktBM">“Jack In Titanic” video</a> – or check out <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRs253Gkiqw">the band’s songs in our studio</a>.  But “Charlie” shows that the band is capable of hitting more than one emotional note.</p>
Jul 09, 2018
Monsieur Periné Blends Afro-Colombian Styles with Vintage Swing, Live In-Studio
29:50
<p>The Bogotá-based Monsieur Periné has taken the the Latin music world by storm since their start in 2008. The eight piece band takes the music of their native Columbia, and infuses it with sweet swing sensibilities of the 1920's and a good dash of modern pop styles. Their upbeat and lively arrangements are engaging, detailed, and above all such a joy to move to. Their excellent musicianship and energy has not gone unnoticed; they were given a Latin Grammy award as 2015's best new artist. They have not slowed down since then and recently released the wildly popular <em>Bailar Contigo</em>. They perform live in-studio.</p> <p><strong>Watch here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156405454773180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gO-QrUcpKNQ" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r0n74E-BJF0" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uTFOWp-Uux8" width="620"></iframe></p>
Jul 09, 2018
Powerhouse Singer-Producer Ebony Bones Live In-Studio
29:11
<p>Singer-songwriter and producer Ebony Bones is a powerhouse performer with seemingly no limits. She creates energetic and driving songs with twinges of pop, punk, afrobeat, and dance music, all wrapped up into a compelling display of raw emotion and stunning degree of detail and intricacy. She has already worked with Yoko Ono, CeeLo Green, the New London Children's Choir and more.</p> <p>Her latest single, "Nephilim," is the title track of her upcoming album and features a dramatic performance from the Beijing Philharmonic Orchestra. The work focuses on how the voices of women, especially women of color, have been silenced. Ebony Bones joins us to discuss these themes and play songs from the record in-studio.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156402867298180&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/92At1PjdyUw" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Iv6zhyD7g7Y" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UutUECj6ypI" width="620"></iframe></p>
Jul 05, 2018
Remembering Henry Butler, Unforgettable New Orleans Pianist
57:14
<p>The singer and pianist <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/38153-henry-butler">Henry Butler</a> died yesterday at 68. Blind since infancy but blessed with charisma and a resonant voice, he was not someone you’d forget, once you’d met him. Butler was part of the lineage of great New Orleans pianists, along with Doctor John, Professor Longhair, and James Booker. He was also a voracious consumer of music – and what he took in, he could easily send back. His repertoire included art songs by Franz Schubert, old Mardi Gras songs, 19<sup>th</sup> century revival hymns, as well as the blues, jazz and funk you would expect from a NOLA master. </p> <p>I first met Henry Butler in 1989, when he played a typically wonderful set of pieces at our piano. I was blown away by his piano playing, but also by the version of “Deep River” that he sang – the best I’ve ever heard. And it turned out, I wasn’t the only one impressed. I would find out years later that the multi-platinum-selling pianist <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/solo-piano-works-george-winston/">George Winston</a>, a lifelong fan of the New Orleans pianists, had recorded the show off the radio and listened to it obsessively over the years. Now you can hear it as well:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="54" src="https://www.wnyc.org/widgets/ondemand_player/newsounds/#file=/audio/json/866869/&amp;share=1" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>In subsequent years, Butler would appear on a <em>New Sounds Live</em> concert series we did in Frankfurt, Germany, and also returned to our studio for an <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/38153-henry-butler">appearance on <em>Soundcheck</em></a>. And we learned that he had an interesting side gig: he was a photographer. He once explained that he would arrange objects by hand into what he felt would be an interesting still life setting. The results were good enough that his photos were exhibited in galleries. </p> <p>After Hurricane Katrina, Henry lost his piano and many of his belongings, and lived for a time, “in exile,” as he called it, in Colorado, before eventually resettling here in NY. His last album, in 2014, was <em>Viper’s Drag</em>, a collaboration with a gifted group of New York musicians led by trumpeter/arranger extraordinaire Steven Bernstein. </p> <p>Although he was never going to be a household name, Henry Butler probably wasn’t as well-known as he should have been. Check out his in-studio performances to hear a true American original. </p>
Jul 03, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Directors and Dos Santos
<p><strong>Week of July 2:</strong> This week, Drake, Directors, and Dos Santos. Plus a new video from Meshell Ndegeocello.</p> <hr> <p><strong>PREMIERE: The NY-centric Video By Directors, Featuring Sahr Ngaujah</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3r8XhRTOcoE" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>The New York band called Directors features the voice of Sahr Ngaujah; you may recall that <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/88692-fela-live/">Sahr played the title role of the hit Off-Broadway musical <em>Fela</em></a><em>!</em>, about the great Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti. That performance earned him nominations for both a Tony and an Olivier Award. His newest role is somewhat less demanding: watch Sahr and the rest of Directors biking and bopping along on the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx (eventually hanging out with multiple versions of themselves) in the new video for their just-released song called “So Fly.” The track itself is a fun, brassy slice of 60’s-inspired pop, with a sultry trumpet solo by Jordan McLean (a member of the band <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/antibalas-spreading-infectious-afrobeat-far-wide-in-studio/">Antibalas</a>, which was basically the pit band for <em>Fela!</em>). The video is a celebration of the simple pleasures of chilling out on a summer’s day. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Another Great Cover From Meshell Ndegeocello Gets A New Video</strong></p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm14029310063056032301c37-9630-4e30-8690-a3637c5be7b9"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r3b9dPn3MPU?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-3434011979514489351" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3b9dPn3MPU"></iframe></div></div>  </p> <p>The singer and bassist <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/42740-meshell-ndegeocello/">Meshell Ndegeocello</a>’s latest album, <em>Ventriloquism</em>, is both an album of covers as well as an exercise in gender studies. As we’ve noted before in the Weekly Roundup, <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/weekly-music-roundup-cloud-cult-meshells-prince-tribute-jack-white/">her cover of Prince’s beautiful ballad</a> “Sometimes It Snows In April” uses Ndegeocello’s androgynous voice to good effect. Now, she’s released a new video for her cover of the song “Sensitivity,” a 1990 song by Ralph Tresvant. The original was a come-on in the hip-hop-inflected R&amp;B style known as New Jack Swing. Ndegeocello’s version recasts it as a kind of neo-Dixieland stomp, complete with banjo and a brass band. She sings Tresvant’s original lyrics without changing the gender (“you need a man with sensitivity – a man like me”), and the video echoes that by showing couples of many different types. The show is stolen, though, by a youthful brass band who know how to bust a move.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Drake Breaks the Internet.  Again. </strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/36ONiya0OANYknz0GgJmwB" width="300"></iframe> </p> <p>The rapper/singer/producer Drake routinely sets streaming records when he releases a new album, and he apparently feels quite aggrieved when someone has the temerity to top him. That happened earlier this year with Post Malone’s album <em>beerbongs and bentleys</em>, which set a new Spotify record with just under 79 million streams on its first day. Now Drake’s new <em>Scorpion</em> has shattered that mark, with over 132 million streams in its first 24 hours. The album comes with a fraught backstory – in it, Drake acknowledges publicly for the first time that he has a child. In the song “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRWULpVX9f0">Emotionless</a>,” built around a Mariah Carey sample, he says “I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world, I was hidin’ the world from my kid.” Some of the album (much of it, actually) is about Drake himself, his fame, his beefs, and his production chops.  And, in a roundabout way, his cash. The track “Don’t Matter To Me” is essentially a duet with Michael Jackson. Clearing the rights for that sample must have cost a genuine fortune, and it’s not only a case of conspicuous consumption, it’s also a suggestive meeting between the former King of Pop and the man who would love to inherit that title. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Let’s Eat Grandma Releases Sophomore Album</strong></p> <p><strong><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930600007529d987980-c4a9-4c60-be94-a46ceadf2e7f"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NdzTmyV3M0g?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-7095534255513193293" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdzTmyV3M0g"></iframe></div></div>  </strong></p> <p>First, the band name. The name Let’s Eat Grandma is a whimsical grammar lesson on the importance of the comma. Get it? The band is a duo, comprised of two British teenagers, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, who’ve been friends since kindergarten. They are both singers and multi-instrumentalists, and their first album, called <em>I, Gemini</em>, was full of strangely off-kilter pop. On Friday, they released their second album, <em>I’m All Ears</em>, which expands their palette to include a lovely ballad (“Ava”), a clanging, metallic track (“Hot Pink”), and a slightly more conventional pop song called “I Will Be Waiting.” Emphasis on the word “slightly.” Strange phrases like “Now all your leaves will change with season/Count to eight to hear the gleaming” are supported by an increasingly lush production that includes a neat little vibraphone solo. </p> <p><em>Let’s Eat Grandma plays in New York at Baby’s All Right on September 12.</em></p> <hr> <p><strong>Dos Santos Offer A New Type Of Latin Psychedelia</strong></p> <p><iframe height="150" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=544986837/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=1450593641/transparent=true/" width="300" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;"><a href="http://intlanthem.bandcamp.com/album/logos">Logos by Dos Santos</a></iframe></p> <p>In the late 60s/early 70s, the sounds of psychedelic rock met Latin American <em><a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/3930-modern-cumbia-and-chicha-renaissance-rebroadcast/">cumbia and chicha</a></em> rhythms in places like Peru and Colombia. Largely unnoticed by North Americans at the time, this unexpected fusion of old and new, acoustic and electric, has had lingering echoes.  Take for example the Chicago quintet called Dos Santos. Their new album is called <em>Logos</em>, and it’s got a colorful mix of indie rock, Latin music, and some elements of jazz and post-rock in the style of their Chicago neighbors Tortoise. The album’s title track is one of two that features the horns of Antibalas (see the Directors track, above) helping out, and on this song, those horns combine with some group vocals to create a big, progressive sound. </p> <p><em>Dos Santos plays in Brooklyn at Barbes on July 14.</em></p>
Jul 02, 2018
La Luz Dreams a Floating World of Surreal Surf-Noir
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<p>The now L.A.-based band La Luz recently moved to California from Seattle and their surf-noir refracts that weird golden paradise. Awash in reverb, the surf guitar and fuzzy vocal harmonies from singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marian Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl, and bassist Lena Simon are like a dreamy B movie, surreal, and kitschy, but definitely fun. The band joins us to play songs from their latest record, <em>Floating Features, </em>in-studio.</p> <p>Watch the session here: </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156385864478180%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p>Also, this video for their song, "Cicada," is spectacularly goofy. Wait for the band in the hospital room...</p> <p><em><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idm1402930678349282a8ea703-4b07-4c63-97c1-f8086e39ebc6"><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vVaZuX5FRDA?wmode=transparent&amp;autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a-1503620481504639332" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVaZuX5FRDA"></iframe></div></div>  </em></p>
Jul 02, 2018
Art-Rock for a Good Time with the Band Bodega
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<p>NYC-based art rock quintet Bodega (previously known as Bodega Bay) are the model of modern tongue-in-cheeky post-punk band. <span>With politically-minded personal commentaries on </span>masculinity, consumerism, the hustle of capitalism, and female pleasure, their staccato guitars and shouty gang vocals make for a potent delivery vehicle. Dance party with them as they play salty new tunes in-studio.</p> <p><strong>Watch the full session here</strong>: </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156371079188180%2F&amp;width=620&amp;show_text=false&amp;height=349&amp;appId" width="620" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p> <p><br><strong>Watch the individual songs below:</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YEcw_Rdd7IM" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WHfgoH6sLNA" width="620"></iframe></p> <p><br><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YRs253Gkiqw" width="620"></iframe></p>
Jun 28, 2018
Weekly Music Roundup: Conscious Hip-Hop and Aging Rockers
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<p><strong>Week of June 18: </strong><span>new music from Paul McCartney, hip hop for the Brexit era, and owning the generation gap. </span></p> <hr> <p><span></span><strong>A New “Single” From Paul McCartney</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZeJLrtFY7Ds" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/38948-sir-paul-composer/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.newsounds.org/story/38948-sir-paul-composer/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFyqXdTS1K34gZ6dUhsAIg5skqrhA">Paul McCartney</a> will release his latest album, <em>Egypt Station</em>, in September, but he’s just released the first two tracks from it. In the old days, the A-side of this single would be “Come On To Me,” a simple, almost simple-minded rocker that promises that “if you come on to me, I’ll come on to you.”  It’s one of his good-natured, slightly goofy tracks, and the 76-year old’s eternal youthfulness and cheer keep the song from becoming icky. “Come On To Me” has a lot of Macca’s favorite tropes – the false ending, the return of the chorus, and the sudden appearance of such Beatles-y sounds as a brass band and an electric sitar in the final moments. </p> <p>The B-side is a pensive, piano-driven number called “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aef2eV7GmQw" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3Daef2eV7GmQw&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHwf5AUrR1bDDbRcrZ9dKwVBDDkAA">I Don’t Know</a>,” which might well be a better song but isn’t nearly as much fun to listen to.</p> <p><em>Egypt Station</em> comes out on <span data-term="goog_1081713974"><span>September 7</span></span>. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Hip Hop For The Brexit Era From The Rotten Hill Gang</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pw3-r5CtjKE" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>The Rotten Hill Gang is a motley crew of London-based rappers, writers, singers, and musicians, whose forthcoming album is called <em>Teach Peace</em>. The title puts this squarely in the "conscious hip hop" box, but the sound is not so easily contained. A good example is the first single, "Party's Ova," a wild and colorful blend of brass band, music-hall, rock, and Caribbean sounds, all supporting rapped verses and sung choruses that wrestle with themes of ignorance, economic inequality, and racism. The band is plainspoken about the challenges of Brexit-era Britain, and the wider problems facing the world, but the sound is catchy and inviting. </p> <p><em>Teach Peace</em> comes out on <span data-term="goog_1081713976"><span>July 27</span></span>. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Big Red Machine And Other "PEOPLE" Announce Big Collaborative Music Event In Berlin</strong></p> <p>PEOPLE is a collaborative music-making enterprise that includes Bryce and Aaron Dessner, the twin guitarists of <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/43454-the-national/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.newsounds.org/story/43454-the-national/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGfP1ldM557pNZVkjZrNqMxbKtGng">The National</a>, Justin Vernon of the band <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/41161-bon-iver" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.newsounds.org/story/41161-bon-iver&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEw6nS6p0Nyfqcdx2qINYfeRh_mOw">Bon Iver</a>, and over a hundred of their musical friends. Today PEOPLE has announced the list of musicians who will be taking part in this year's event, which will be at the famous Funkhaus, a series of studios in Berlin, on <span data-term="goog_1081713975">August 18 and 19</span>. The roster includes (as you might expect) The National, and members of Bon Iver, but also Arcade Fire and a host of others. Among them is Big Red Machine - a collaboration between Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon.  You may know the band from its theme music to WNYC's <a href="https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/american-fiasco" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/american-fiasco&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGPSQGX0qkZULk4RDis3BgkrpIamw">hit podcast <em>American Fiasco</em></a>, about the disastrous come-uppence of the US Mens' Team in the 1998 World Cup, but that theme music is just <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vetGmZanaRc" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DvetGmZanaRc&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEPmoxZbHleUSZ00WcgCGg30TkZwg">part of a larger song</a>, which you can hear on the PEOPLE digital stream at <a href="https://beta.p-e-o-p-l-e.com/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://beta.p-e-o-p-l-e.com/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNG6Ng5cZR0kATKXijRpqEmHsqLH-g">https://beta.p-e-o-p-l-e.com/</a>, where you can also hear new works by the various contributors.  </p> <p>For a complete list of artists taking part in PEOPLE this August, click <a href="https://www.p-e-o-p-l-e.com/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.p-e-o-p-l-e.com/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGuGhxPvVc-P_-cdNGe1nuVZ4zFIA">here</a>. </p> <hr> <p><strong>Having Fun With The Age-Old Generation Gap, From Shakey Graves</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cECFux1TYvw" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>The "gentleman from Texas," as <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/pick-three-caitlin-moran-shakey-graves-kind-of-blue/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.newsounds.org/story/pick-three-caitlin-moran-shakey-graves-kind-of-blue/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFa-bY_xCcMgn6ejIiRxn928kj9fQ">Shakey Graves</a> describes himself, has been releasing albums of rootsy American music since 2011. Born Alejandro Rose-Garcia, he has steadily widened his sonic palette, from guy-with-a-guitar to a kind of folk-rock group to occasional full-on rock band. He's just released a wry, witty video for the song "Kids These Days," from his new album <em>Can't Wake Up</em>. The song itself is a dry commentary on how each generation thinks their parents have no idea what it's like to be young - until they become their parents' age and suddenly start wondering why the next bunch of teenagers are such losers. The video gives Shakey Graves the opportunity to portray one of the classic examples of this generational confusion: the aging (but unwilling to admit it) rock star. Watch Graves don a long-hair wig and eyeliner! Thrill to the sight of the crowded interior of John Denver's tour bus! Or don't - I don't care; I don't understand what you young people are doing these days. </p> <hr> <p><strong>More Unearthed Records, But This One Is Early Punk</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0Vuv0JQMgI4SvKjhFZ01bK" width="300"></iframe></p> <p>In the early 1970's, before there was punk rock, there was <em>Death</em>. <em>Death</em> consisted of three brothers who made a kind of proto-punk music that was far enough ahead of its time that it almost vanished without a trace, until the band was rediscovered and hailed as visionaries about a decade ago. In the early 1980's the brothers moved to Vermont and recorded a kind of gospel-based form of hard rock under the name The 4<sup>th</sup> Movement. It too has only now been rediscovered and released by Drag City Inc.</p> <hr> <p><strong>Charles Lloyd and Lucinda Williams Make Bleak But Beautiful Music Together</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sHCGDKenssk" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Now 80 years old, sax player <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/109506-playlist-taylor-swift-smackdown-charles-lloyd-jason-moran/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.newsounds.org/story/109506-playlist-taylor-swift-smackdown-charles-lloyd-jason-moran/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGiYi0UO4Z2v6EoXV9x7ivcF5Sd4w">Charles Lloyd</a> is still refusing to bow to expectations. Yes, he’s a jazz musician, but his long career has included pioneering excursions into what would later be called “world music,” as well as collaborations with classical and country musicians. Now he’s working with the exemplary folk/country/rock singer and songwriter Lucinda Williams. Together with Lloyd’s band The Marvels, which includes the killer guitar team of <a href="https://www.newsounds.org/story/64122-intercontinentals/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.newsounds.org/story/64122-intercontinentals/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1530033951944000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFVsObHOfjGfMV-GebihqPItNxlGA">Bill Frisell</a> and Greg Leisz, they’ve released a moody, epic song called “Dust.” Williams’ weathered vocals say as much as the lyrics do about resignation, doubt, and despair, and the band creates the sort of alternate-reality Western sound that Frisell in particular has made his own over the years. And then there’s Lloyd himself, whose sax broods beneath the surface, only to take flight at several points in the song. It’s somehow both deeply sorrowful and unaccountably thrilling.</p>
Jun 25, 2018
Natalie Prass Serves Up Groove, Romance and Sparkle
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<p>Richmond-based musician Natalie Prass is a fighter. Her forthcoming record, <em>The Future And The Past</em>, has transformed resistance and personal heartache into defiant, groove-laden romantic anthems. With a little dash of disco, and a little bit of soul, this record might look to Janelle Monae &amp; Prince but also further back to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye for its sound. That said, hear tender, big-hearted, shake-your-groove-thing songs by Natalie Prass, in-studio.</p> <p>Watch the session here:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnewsounds%2Fvideos%2F10156368503168180%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;"></iframe></p>
Jun 23, 2018