Writing for NPR Music's Deceptive Cadence blog, composer/clarinetist Derek Bermel examines a puzzling phenomenon in classical music: why does no one seem to be composing new symphonies? Bermel talks to a handful of modern artists about why the label of "symphony" has become anathema to contemporary composers, and examines the complicated standing of the time-tested musical form that is the symphony.
The technicolor electronics of Baths' music can fit many molds, as evidenced by an excellent new session for NPR's Tiny Desk concert series. Baths—created and helmed by Will Wiesenfeld—performs three tracks from Obsidian, his latest album for Anticon records.
On the heels of Hesitation Marks, the latest album from Nine Inch Nails, front-man Trent Reznor talks with NPR Music, discussing the personal trials and decades of experience that fed into the creation of the new record.
Multi-talented saxophonist/composer John Zorn makes music that can be pretty hard to define, running the gamut from jagged noise rock to unhinged experimental jazz. Zorn recently spoke with NPR's Fresh Air; you can find the interview here.
The newest in NPR's series of First Listen advance album streams brings new sounds from left-field r'n'b outfit The Weeknd, alongside offerings from homespun folk/soul singer Willis Earl Beal and indie dance group Factory Floor. Rounded out with upcoming releases from acts like Okkervil River and The Julie Ruin, you'll find an impressive range of styles to choose from; listen here.
For A Blog Supreme's jazz series, NPR's Matt Fleeger takes a look at the jazz of Jamaica, and how the island nation has fostered a thriving musical community. Fleeger offers five cuts to summarize the various flavors of Jamaican jazz; listen here.
Nine years after their celebrated debut, left-field Glasgow rock outfit Franz Ferdinand are readying a new album, titled Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. Frontman Alex Kopranos talks with NPR's Jacki Lyden about the ideas and inspiration behind the new record.
Archy Marshall's work as King Krule is instantly recognizable. The reason for this is Marshall's voice, a deep-throated mumble that alternates between growls and slurs but always manages to remain both enthralling and surprisingly emotive. At points, Marshall sounds more like he's chewing his words than singing them. Talented beyond his years - he began his career in music in 2010, at 16 years old - Six Feet Beneath The Moon is a powerful, confusing record that draws on jazz, punk hip-hop and blues in a dizzying variety of speeds and colors.
As part of NPR's Microphone Check music interview series, Atlanta hip-hop foursome Goodie Mob discuss the ideas behind their newest album, Age Against The Machine. While front-man Cee-Lo Green has recently been making a name for himself with chart-topping hits, Goodie Mob's members say that Age Against The Machine comes from a more mature place, offering a take on hip-hop from the perspective of "elder statesmen."
Discover new and emerging artists with KCRW's ECLECTIC24, an all-music channel blending the talents and tastes of KCRW's DJs into a single voice, streaming 24/7. Artists currently in the mix include Gotye, Regina Spektor, The National, Django Django and Charlie Hunter w/Norah Jones.
After years of unrest, voters in Mali recently went to the polls to elect a new president. One of the casualties of the country's chaos was the celebrated Festival in the Desert. While organizers canceled this year's festival, they decided to take the show on the road. The result is a traveling Caravan for Peace.
Australian sextet Alpine perform four songs from their debut album for NPR's Tiny Desk series—A Is For Alpine is rooted in glossy, expansive pop, but the group's stripped-down, quasi-acoustic arrangements of tracks like "Gasoline" translate surprisingly well to the relatively sparse setting of the Tiny Desk.
Ann Powers tackles this fall's upcoming releases from the biggest names in popular music for NPR's The Record, from the saccharine sounds of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to rapper Kendrick Lamar's heated diatribe against a bevy of his hip-hop peers on the recent Big Sean single, "Control".
John Darnielle—founder and central member of California's The Mountain Goats—talks with Weekend Edition, explaining the lonely and low-tech origins of The Mountain Goats' 2002 album All Hail West Texas.
A Philadelphia native best know for his work as the bassist for the genre-bending Robert Glasper Experiment, jazz musician Derrick Hodge recently stopped by to chat with Morning Edition. Hodge describes being drawn to church via music, the percussive nature of his breakfast gatherings, and the making of his most recent album, Live Today.
Slated for an August 20 release date, An Object marks a bit of a departure for forward-thinking LA punk duo No Age. NPR's Steven Thompson writes that singer Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall are "keeping one eye on upsetting and upending expectations", with a new offering that "seethes stubbornly."
On August 11, 1973, New York DJ Clive "Kool Herc" Campbell threw the first in a series of parties that would later be credited as the birthplace of hip-hop. NPR's Dart Adams commemorates the genre's 40th anniversary with an in-depth look at the trajectory of the American-born art form.
If you can stand the heat, Salt Lake City in the summertime is an excellent place for live music. In the coming months, a wide variety of venues will offer musical outings for music fans of all shapes and sizes, from jazz and classical to electronica and reggae. Here’s a brief taste of what’s happening in SLC music this summer.
North Carolina's The Avett Brothers are set to release a new full-length album, "Magpie and the Dandelion," on October 15, 2013. Whet your Avetts appetite with this track, 'Another is Waiting' - brought to you by NPR Music.
Each month, NPR Music polls public radio DJs/programmers and asks them to share their favorite new songs. You get to download the tracks! Here are the picks for August 2013, including songs by New York City-based composer Daniel Wohl, Louisville band Handmouth and D.C. trio Misun.