KUER Music

Has Pop Music Ever Hit Rock Bottom?

Sep 28, 2014
the artist

All Songs Considered's Stephen Thompson takes on an interesting question this week, from listener Josh in Chicago: 

"Paula Abdul had four No. 1 hits, spanning 1989-90.  One of them featured a rapping cartoon cat. Was that period the nadir of pop, pre-Nirvana?"  

Thompson doesn't quite agree with that sentiment; you can head over to the All Songs Considered blog to read his full response to the question.

NPR Music

NPR Classical hosts give you a classical music suggestion for your end-of-week listening pleasure. Classical newbie? Seasoned fan? Wherever you land along the classical music spectrum, you'll find some great Twitter-curated suggestions here.

Chris Stein/Juxtapoz

Juxtapoz brings us some mostly unpublished photographs by Chris Stein of Debbie Harry and other "cool creatures" from the '70s and '80s New York music scene. Stein met Harry in the early 1970s - he later co-founded Blondie.

Jeff Tweedy's back - this time with his son Spencer on drums. They stopped by Bob Boilen's tiny desk recently for a live set. Simple and sweet, father and son. Tweedy's new album is called Sukierae.

NPR Music

I've loved Lucinda Williams for years - can't wait to stream her new album! Check it out in its entirety before it's released to the public next Tuesday.

Last week, The New Pornographers gathered at New York City's legendary Brill Building to rock out. Enjoy the show, courtesy of NPR Music.

Drafthouse Films

Did you catch the interview with Nick Cave during Morning Edition? Cave talked with NPR's Audie Cornish about his new documentary, why therapists ask better questions than journalists and finding "something where there's still a spark of discovery within the song."

Anastasia Tsioulcas from NPR's Deceptive Cadence blog brings us this feat of concentration: International music competitions are full of nail-biting moments for young musicians seeking top prizes.

I've been re-watching both seasons of Flight of the Conchords, and wanted to share this clip with the guitar and bass playing readers in the house. Brett has just sold his guitar after the boys fell into deep debt due to the purchase of a tea cup. Their professional manager, Murray Hewitt, has obvious concerns (episode 2/season 2).

NPR Music

Hooray! It's a new album by Ryan Adams, and NPR Music brings it to us in its entirety before the album is officially released next week. I'm rocking out to it as I write this post..."Gimme something good, gimme something good, gimme something good." No Ryan, you gave me something good!

They've become one of my favorite go-to bands (and I'm not crazy about bluegrass music). Watch as Bob Boilen's desk gets Trampled by Turtles!

A fond farewell to Dan Nailen, KUER's Books & Beats contributor and Utah's source for all things music. Dan's moving to the Pacific Northwest to begin the next chapter in his life. Dan, thanks for everything you've done for KUER - and best of luck with your new adventure! We welcome Austen Diamond as the new contributor of the beats portion of Books & Beats.

Tiny Desk Concert: Nickel Creek

Aug 27, 2014

Nickel Creek's blend of bluegrass stylings and pop-tinged accessibility has been a winning formula for the California trio. The group recently reunited for a tour celebrating 25 years of music, and stopped by the Tiny Desk to perform four tracks in the cramped NPR studio.

Adam Kissick / NPR

As outdoor concert season comes to a close, All Songs Considered's Stephen Thompson responds to a listener's question on etiquette at outdoor concerts. So - what's the verdict - do you hush?

Justin Lapriore/Courtesy of the artist

I recently uploaded a few Dinosaur Jr. songs to my workout playlist because their guitar-driven style gives my heart rate and spirits a needed boost. NPR Music is currently featuring the new album by J Mascis (guitarist/singer for Dinosaur Jr.) - stream Tied to a Star (Sub Pop) before it's officially released next week. I recommend starting with "Every Morning"...sweet, catchy and classic J Mascis material.

Bring the beach to the Beehive State with KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, broadcasting from Santa Monica, California. Stream while you're plugging away at the office or buzzing around town for a sunshine-laden mix of beats from around the world. Check out this episode for music from Arcade Fire, The War on Drugs and Imogen Heap.

NPR Music brings us big sound from a tiny desk. Enjoy three movements composed by Dmitri Shostakovich, as performed by Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet.

Meet 6-year-old Félix, who is totally blind. He belted out this song while hanging out in pajamas at at his summer camp last week. PRI's The World brings us this smile-inducing story and inspiring performance.

Karen Kuehn/NPR

Looking for a soundtrack to these rainy days of summer? Although Robert Kyr's album was composed in the arid desert of northern New Mexico, these cantatas are a gorgeous companion to a drizzly day. 

Get your DIY on and catch some live music at the 6th annual DIY Craft Lake City Festival, this Friday and Saturday (August 8 and 9, 2014). With 40 local performers and 200 vendors, there's a lot going on! I hope to catch my favorite twangsters Bronco - they'll be playing on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the KRCL stage. KUER is proud to sponsor this year's festival.

NPR Music brings us a live performance by Tweedy - a new band featuring Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and his 18-year-old son Spencer. They took a break from the Newport Jazz Festival to play a song from their new album, Sukierae, in a tunnel under Rhode Island's Fort Adams State Park.

Gregory Porter: Live At Newport Jazz Festival

Aug 6, 2014
Adam Kissick / NPR

With his trademark ski-mask-hat and rich, decadent voice, singer Gregory Porter cuts quite a silhouette on the jazz circuit.  He recently performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, delivering his signature energy and emotion in spades despite sporadic rain showers; head over to NPR Music to stream the eight-song live set from the talented Californian vocalist.  

Courtesy of the artist

Did you catch the interview with Billy Joe Shaver during Morning Edition today? Find out who his text buddy is and how his persistence in stalking Waylon Jennings paid off.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

This weekend, one of the original restaurants at The Gateway shopping center in Salt Lake City will serve its last meal. Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill is closing Saturday. While there is a growing list of closures at The Gateway, one restaurant is opening this month that promises a new experience.

Problem: Soy un perdedor.
Solution: You’ll never amount to anything with that attitude, mister.

At last! McSweeney’s brings us some common sense solutions to problems posed in alt-pop songs.

They've become one of my favorite bands of 2014...check out Saintseneca's Tiny Desk Concert.

Adam Kissick/NPR
Courtesy of the artist/NPR Music

NPR's Kelly McEvers talks with Jenny Lewis about insomnia, the death of her father, the creative process, her sense of humor and her new album, The Voyager.

Courtesy of the artist/NPR Music

MC/producer Ishmael Butler once fronted Digable Planets. But don't expect anything like 1992's "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" with Shabazz Palaces' new album Lese Majesty. Butler's newest project is hip hop-based, but it's also atmospheric. Abstract. Check it out - NPR Music is featuring the album in its entirety through July 29, 2014. 

Today's RadioWest is a rebroadcast of a conversation with Michael Rossato-Bennett, the director of "Alive Inside," a documentary that explores the healing power of music. The film is screening in Salt Lake City next week (July 22, 2014) as part of RadioWest's Through the Lens collaboration with the Utah Film Center. If you've never checked out a Through the Lens screening - mark your calendar and treat yourself.

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