Music

Music

Tokyo, Japan is Kikagaku Moyo's home, but the wandering band looks to the world to make its psychedelic music. Rumbling hard-edged rock and acid folk are dipped into motorik rhythms and sitar drone, developed through the band's five-year discography and extensive tours in America and Europe.

Its fourth album, Masana Temples, took the band to Lisbon to work with jazz musician and producer Bruno Pernadas, where Kikagaku Moyo truly encompasses a state of psychedelia rather than any one trip. You can hear that in the genre-skipping joy that is "Dripping Sun."

You couldn't exactly call them high strung.

On Friday, 15 contestants from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia brought their A game to a rainy stage in Oulu, Finland for the Air Guitar World Championships.

When Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices burst onto the national scene in the early 1990s, they had already broken just about every rule in indie rock.

The genre was dominated by young hipsters from big cities or college towns who made a show of looking bored at concerts. Pollard, by contrast, was an ex-college jock and a school teacher pushing 40 who swigged Budweiser and executed athletic high kicks on stage, and evinced no interest in moving out of his hometown of Dayton, Ohio.

Jamie Bernstein can't call her childhood a typical one. On any given weekend, she might find Lauren Bacall, Isaac Stern, Richard Avedon, Mike Nichols, Stephen Sondheim, Lillian Hellman or Sidney Lumet hanging out at her house. Jamie's father was Leonard Bernstein.

In the world of jazz, most musicians choose one single thing and get as good as humanly possible at it, but not Camille Thurman. She's known as a double threat: The rare jazz musician who has mastered both a highly technical instrument — in her case, the saxophone — and sings. Thurman's vocals have been compared to Ella Fitzgerald. Her latest album, Waiting for the Sunrise, is out now.

The man who waited outside John Lennon's New York apartment building and then shot him to death in 1980 has been denied parole a 10th time.

Mark David Chapman, 63, stood before a New York State Board of Parole panel on Wednesday. In its decision, which was emailed to NPR, the panel said that releasing him would be "incompatible with the welfare and safety of society."

It also noted that the fact that Chapman has only one crime on his criminal record does not mitigate his actions.

Gorillaz' Damon Albarn drew me a portrait. Imagine my surprise to learn this. After all, this is an audio medium and he's half a world away in London while I'm chilling at the World Cafe studios in Philadelphia.

I love everything about Ohmme's debut album, Parts. Here we have two classically trained pianists, picking up electric guitars and diving into uncharted musical waters.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks with Ann Powers, Jewly Hight, Sidney Madden and Stephen Thompson about the essential albums out on Aug. 24. This includes the drone rock of Nothing and delicate piano work of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, French-American rapper Bas, the return of DeVotchka and more.

Featured Albums:

  1. White Denim: Performance
    Featured Song: "Good News"
  2. Nothing: Dance on the Blacktop
    Featured Song: "Zero Day"

There has never been an American dynamo remotely like Leonard Bernstein. The composer, conductor, pianist, creator of musicals, educator, political maven and raconteur seemed to spin on his axis faster than any normal human being.

Executive Power: Laws And Limits

Aug 23, 2018

On Tuesday, a set of jaw-dropping legal developments turned up the heat on President Trump.

Former personal lawyer and known fixer for Trump, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations regarding the payment of two women who said they had a sexual relationship with the president.

Also on Tuesday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on 10 other charges, and the judge declared a mistrial.

Today's guest made me cry in a church and I'll never forgive him. Dermot Kennedy was performing a showcase for SXSW. It was super dark, Kennedy was standing up there at the altar wearing this black sweatshirt and holding a guitar, and from the moment he opened his mouth, it was like hearing someone drag their own heart through their vocal cords and send it right up to the heavens: relentless emotion. It was like time stopped.

Sarah Siskind On Mountain Stage

Aug 23, 2018

Gifted singer and songwriter Sarah Siskind has had her songs covered by Alison Krauss, Randy Travis, and Wynonna Judd, who included "Keeps Me Alive" on her 2016 Americana release Wynonna & the Big Noise. Siskind has toured with Bon Iver and Bonnie Raitt and she's collaborated on 20 songs that have been featured as part of the TV series Nashville.

Accompanying herself on guitar and piano, the singer-songwriter says returning to Mountain Stage for the second time is like "coming back to camp."

First Watch: Luluc

Aug 23, 2018

"It used to be: 'Nashville — that's where you come to play country music.'"

In 2004, when singer-songwriter and guitarist KT Tunstall released her debut album Eye to the Telescope, little did she know that songs like "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," and "Suddenly I See," would hold such sway over our pop psyches. But they have. They've been indelibly marked on us, and with those songs and others from KT's previous five releases, she's proven to be consistently adept at writing smart pop songs that deal with matters of the heart and soul, spirit and the mind.

Robyn Is The 21st Century's Pop Oracle

Aug 23, 2018

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Bandcamp playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Bandcamp playlist at the bottom of the page.


For more than a decade, Thou has taken existential rage and slow-moving sludge and wedded them to elegant melodies and Bryan Funck's serpentine scream. That mix, however ruthless in its display, has met with rapt response, as the Baton Rouge metal band evolves its heavy doom in steps rather than leaps.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Two days ago, on Monday, police in Uganda fired upon protesters who were demonstrating against the detention of Robert Kyagulanyi — a lawmaker better known as the musician Bobi Wine — and others.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

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