KUER Music

Beth.Anderson 2007 (Flickr)

Stephen Thompson from NPR's All Songs Considered busts open the virtual mail bag to answer this question: can you meet your favorite band without making a fool of yourself? You'll also want to check out this collection of awesome superfan stories/pictures.

Ebony Bones live in WNYC's Soundcheck Studio

Nov 21, 2013
Michael Katzif / WNYC

U.K.-born Ebony Bones throws down three songs from her new electronic/afropunk album, 'Behold, A Pale Horse,' at WNYC's Soundcheck Studio. Check out her electrifying performance here!

Country Music for Drinking and Thinking

Nov 20, 2013
Becky Fluke / NPR Music

The new record from Nashville singer-songwriter Brandy Clark, 12 Stories, is a collection of rural tales told from a variety of perspectives. In a conversation with All Things Considered's Melissa Block, Clark says her goal as a songwriter is to create songs that everyday people can relate to.

Producer, Director & KCRW DJ Judd Apatow

Nov 20, 2013
Wikipedia (2012)

Producer, director, and screenwriter Judd Apatow is drawn to songs that are “deeply truthful” and allow your “inner self to shine,” a life philosophy presented by The Who, Cat Stevens and more in his Guest DJ set as featured on KCRW in Santa Monica.

Tiny Desk Concert: John Legend

Nov 20, 2013

NPR Music: First Listen

Nov 19, 2013

Check in often with NPR Music's First Listen page for exclusive previews of select new albums in their entirety. Albums currently featured include Shearwater's 'Fellow Travelers,' Jake Bugg's 'Shangri La' and Cate Le Bon's 'Mug Museum.'

The Biggest Jazz Riff Ever Written

Nov 19, 2013
Eric Thayer, NPR Music

Pianist Jeremy Denk was awarded a MacArthur "genius" grant in September. Weekends on All Things Considered host Arun Rath invited the pianist to talk about his new recording of the iconic Goldberg Variations, a nearly 90-minute masterwork that Denk has referred to as "the biggest jazz riff ever written."

Pianist Paul Lewis plays Schubert

Nov 18, 2013

The Soulful Sounds of Stax

Nov 18, 2013

The city of Memphis is a main character in Robert Gordon's book, "Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion." NPR's Don Gonyea talks with Gordon about the story of the white, country-loving brother and sister from rural Tennessee who started Stax Records and "wound up making some of the most soulful, swinging music that we still listen to today."

The (Syrian) Wedding Singer

Nov 15, 2013
Hisham Bharoocha/NPR Music

Morning Edition's Renee Montagne talks with Omar Souleyman, one of Syria's most popular wedding singers. Souleyman serenades newlyweds with songs of love performed on a synthesizer.

Overwhelmed by Music?

Nov 15, 2013
NPR Music

Are you missing out if you're not actively exploring the newest beats? Have you ever felt like taking a break from music? NPR's Stephen Thompson responds to listeners' concerns about music overload.

'12 Years a Slave' soundtrack

Nov 14, 2013
Fox Searchlight/NPR Music

NPR's Ann Powers talks about the soundtrack to Steve McQueen's film '12 Years a Slave,' and why it's the most compelling film about music to be released this year.

Debashish Bhattacharya: Tiny Desk Concert

Nov 14, 2013

Cumbia: The Music That Moves Latin America

Nov 11, 2013
Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd—hosts of NPR's ongoing series on Latin alternative music—recently stopped by for an episode of Weekend Edition to discuss the history and far-flung influence of cumbia, a syncopated style of music and dance that ranges from the traditional to the Top 40 (you can hear cumbia's influence on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' chart-topping "Thrift Shop.) You can listen to the piece here, along with a handful of song selections that illustrate the various flavors of

The Do's and Don'ts of Going Solo

Nov 11, 2013
Brian Aris

It's an age-old story; band finds success, band's momentum dwindles, lead singer departs for greener pastures in the form of a solo career.  But why is it that some solo ventures—like Morrissey's post-Smiths output, or Beyonce after leaving Destiny's Child—seem to strike gold, while others (like, for instance, Van Halen's David Lee Roth) simply fizzle out of existence?

Ari Shapiro's Five Songs for Earbud-free Biking

Nov 9, 2013
Denise DeBelius/NPR

In the interest of safety, NPR's Ari Shapiro doesn't wear headphones while riding his bicycle; instead, Shapiro prefers to tuck his iPhone into a jacket pocket and crank up the volume on the phone's external speaker.  As he prepares to depart from his position as White House Correspondent to cover London for NPR, he's picked five songs that still shine despite the undeniably tinny speakers mounted on most smartphones.

Hans van der Linden (http://www.flickr.com/photos/herrhanz/)

John Fahey pioneered a musical style called American Primitivism (or American Primitive Guitar) in the 1950's, a sort of amalgamation of the various flavors of American guitar.  Head over to All Songs Considered to check out Lars Gotrich's picks of five contemporary records keeping Fahey's tradition alive.

Tyler, The... Director?

Oct 31, 2013

For those familiar with the work of Tyler, The Creator—the divisive rapper whose Odd Future crew rose to prominence at the close of the 00's with a slew of jarring mixtapes centered around murder, mutilation and mayhem—the new video for "Glowing" might be a bit of a surprise.

Fresh Air Remembers Lou Reed

Oct 30, 2013
Karl Walter/Getty Images

From his counter-culture anthem "Walk On The Wild Side" to a questionable but undeniably bold collaboration with Metallica, Lou Reed was always pushing: pushing himself, his listeners, and often the entire landscape of American popular music in electrifying new directions.  It wasn't always a successful strategy—take that record with Metallica, for instance—but when Reed's restless creative drive was in top form, it really was something to behold.

Beneath The Wig: Bach Examined In New Book

Oct 30, 2013
courtesy of William H. Scheide, Princeton, N.J.

Johan Sebastian Bach's music has enjoyed considerable longevity as a cornerstone of the musical zeitgeist, but his personal life is, for the most part, the stuff of speculation.  The composer's little known personality—his emotions, flaws, and triumphs—may be about to become significantly clearer, however, with the publication of Bach: Music in The Castle of Heaven.  Written by John Eliot Gardiner—himself a renowned composer—the book attempts to unravel a man "filled with contradictions".

First Listen: Cut Copy, Kronos Quartet and More

Oct 28, 2013
Cut Copy

The fine folks over at NPR Music headquarters have rolled out a fresh batch of First Listen streams; head here to hear new music from indie dance mainstays Cut Copy, experimental string outfit Kronos Quartet and more.

Katy Perry's Career 180

Oct 28, 2013
Cass Bird/Courtesy of the artist

Katy Perry has a unique perspective with regards to pop music.  You most likely know her as the sultry star responsible for hits like "I Kissed A Girl", but chances are you might not be aware that Perry is currently in phase two of her career.  Her first stab at the music game was under the name Katy Hudson, singing sterilized Christian pop; it was a move that failed to garner the audiences Perry was hoping for, and she has since moved to greener, more secular pastures.

Do Surprise Album Releases Work For Everyone?

Oct 21, 2013
Brad Barket/Getty Images

What's the value of hype? As part of NPR's The Record, Eric Ducker examines the pros and cons of the spontaneous album release, on the heels of records like Four Tet's Beautiful Rewind and Kanye West's polarizing Yeezus.

Ryley Walker Brings Acoustic Swagger

Oct 16, 2013
Michael Vallera/Courtesy of the artist

Guitarist/songwriter Ryley Walker offers music that "swings and sways", an alluring hybrid of blues, folk and psychedelia.  Check out "The West Wind" now, courtesy of All Songs Considered. 

Rubblebucket Gets Funky

Oct 9, 2013

With their new video for "Save Charlie", Brooklyn indie pop outfit Rubblebucket serves up a technicolor slice of languid funk, complete with neon outlines and shimmering on-screen lyrics.  For more info, head over to All Songs Considered.

Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

24-year-old Melissa Aldana, the winner of last month's Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, has been gaining quite a bit of buzz as a result of her talents.  Citing artists like Sonny Rollins as key inspirations, Aldana talks with A Blog Supreme about her experiences as a globe-trotting jazz afficionado. 

Deltron 3030 Brings More Interstellar Madness

Oct 5, 2013
Michael Donovan/Courtesy of the artist

Thirteen years after the release of the much-celebrated concept album Deltron 3030, rapper Del Tha Funkee Homosapien has returned with producer Dan The Automator and turntablist Kid Koala for Event II, another dystopian sci-fi epic packed with nimble wordplay and head-nodding beats.  Listen now at NPR music.

Is Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" A Real Hit?

Oct 5, 2013
Lester Cohen/WireImage

It's the number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 with a raunchy video to match, but is Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" a genuine hit?  After the flash-in-the-pan popularity of songs like Bauuer's "Harlem Shake", NPR's Chris Molanphy wonders about the lasting impact of Cyrus' sound. 

Nostalgia 2.0: 90's Rap Release Dates

Sep 29, 2013
Jive Records

More 90's nostalgia! Evan Auerbach delivers this piece for NPR's The Record, celebrating a number of dates from the 1990's that marked the release of classic hip-hop records.  A random highlight: April 17, 1990, which offered the release of A Tribe Called Quest's seminal People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

Gabe Baltazar

83-year-old saxophonist/clarinetist Gabe Baltazar was recently profiled as part of NPR's Weekend Edition series, offering an in-depth look at one of the foremost Asian-Americans in jazz music.  The piece examines a career that spanned the U.S., and boasted appearances alongside the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly and Wes Montgomery. 

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