Music

Music

The Brooklyn-based duo She Keeps Bees likes to go it alone. Singer-guitarist Jessica Larrabee and drummer Andy LaPlant have been recording their music at home and self-releasing it since 2006. Their sound is intimate and moody, with incredibly spare arrangements that mix swampy blues with gritty rock.

To record the band's latest single, "Counter Charm," the duo headed to Paris, where they set up a makeshift studio in a small restaurant, late on Halloween night. If they were hoping to bottle the airy creepiness of the time and space, they found it.

The xx, Dan Deacon, Frank Ocean And More

Jul 17, 2012

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hear the first new song from The xx since the group's stunning debut in 2009. "Angels" is a sensitive love song, and fantastically sparse in instrumentation, aside from a booming bass.

When it first emerged in 2010, the California garage-pop band Best Coast was all primitive charm: The duo of singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno used simplicity as a weapon, eschewing metaphor or nuance in favor of songs built around sentiments like "When I'm with you, I have fun" and "I wish he was my boyfriend." The hooks helped the songs verge on irresistibility, but the music was trifling by nature — songs built for the beach rather than the brain.

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

LCD Soundsystem's Final Bash, Relived

Jul 15, 2012

For an indie band, it seems almost impossible to achieve massive commercial success without losing credibility. LCD Soundsystem may have figured out the secret.

Opinions about Dirty Projectors couldn't be more divided. At a recent NPR Music listening party, audience members gave the band's new album, Swing Lo Magellan, both very high marks and very low marks. It was a genuine split decision.

Intrigued, weekends on All Things Considered spoke with Dirty Projectors bandleader Dave Longstreth to figure out why. One thing became clear pretty quickly: Longstreth and Dirty Projectors take a lot of risks.

He Keeps fun. Running

Jul 14, 2012

When NPR's Scott Simon spoke with singer Nate Ruess of the band fun. three weeks ago, the band was wrapping up a marathon tour of the United States in support of its album Some Nights and the hit single "We Are Young."

Buzz has been building. There were standing ovations when Milo Greene toured with The Civil Wars. Esquire magazine put Milo Greene on its list of artists to watch in 2012, and Milo Greene will perform songs from its debut album on David Letterman's show later this month. But this budding star is probably not who you think he is.

Alberta Cross In Concert

Jul 13, 2012

Born in a New York City bar from the minds of Londoner Terry Wolfers and Brit/Swede Petter Ericson Stakee, Alberta Cross crafts a distinct variation on American roots music. The band's use of folk and blues traditions within an old-school rock template works off the firm foundations laid by the likes of The Band and Neil Young.

Maybe we should all write our autobiographies and boil them down to 5 minutes. Loudon Wainwright III makes it look so easy in this music video for his song "The Here & the Now." There's a poignancy here that is so bittersweet and a trajectory that is both unpredictable and undeniable.

Birthdays come but once a year, but for music lovers, what I like to call "that birthday feeling" is a semi-regular thing. I'm talking about the rush, tinged by anxiety, greeting the first download click on an album you've been longing to hear for months. It's a complicated wash of emotions, boosted by conflicting hopes and assumptions. You're about to get exactly what you've wanted; but what if it's not exactly what you want? And boy, that bike Mom promised to buy had better be cherry red.

Hot Chip In Concert

Jul 11, 2012

The huge popularity of EDM — electronic dance music — has led to a sea change in concerts lately, as huge crowds gather to watch brand-name DJs like Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Avicii. Nothing wrong with that, but it was great to be reminded last night at Celebrate Brooklyn that there are still bands playing dance music the old school way: with multiple human beings and instruments being played in real time.

Bear In Heaven On World Cafe

Jul 11, 2012

Bear in Heaven, the brainchild of Jon Philpot, spent the winter trimming down (from a quartet to a trio) and stocking up, releasing its third album I Love You, It's Cool this spring. To promote the record, Philpot posted it in its entirety on the band's website, but not before slowing the audio down 400,000 times. At its original tempo, Bear in Heaven's music is at once ambient and energized, resonating in synth-driven waves that swell and pulse through an electric sea.

KCRW Presents: Bahamas

Jul 11, 2012

Bahamas' music has really grown on us at KCRW. The group is led by Afie Jurvanen, who previously played guitar with Feist and is such an aficionado of the instrument that he doesn't even have a bassist in his band. Instead, he's accompanied by a drummer and a pair of backup singers who reinvent his gorgeous pop songs in a live setting.

We continue our search this week for the top ten records everyone can love with a look back at last week's poll results.

On this week's All Songs Considered, listen to what happens when Robin takes a chance on an album based solely on its cover art, and when Bob brings on a surprise guest who makes our ears bleed.

If you don't know Taken by Trees, the solo project of Swedish singer Victoria Bergsman, then perhaps you're new to All Songs Considered. In 2009, Taken by Trees' made my year end top 10 list and then seemed to vanish. The album, East of Eden, was made in Pakistan but embodied American popular music in the way only a Scandinavian could do (as in so many cases, that meant "better").

Langhorne Slim In Concert

Jul 9, 2012

Langhorne Slim was born Sean Scolnick, and hails from his pseudonym-sake: the borough of Langhorne, Penn. After graduating college, Slim moved to New York City, where he began his slow climb into the American musical consciousness by touring with the sweetly arty Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

Tim Maia: A Brazilian Cult Soul-Rocker

Jul 9, 2012

The career of Brazilian singer and songwriter Tim Maia was defined by two periods of exile that contribute to a story so crazy that nearly overwhelms his notable career. Round-faced and diminutive (a press release says he was five feet, seven inches tall, "6' with the Afro"), Maia released his first album in 1971. It was a huge hit. He died in 1998 at the age of 55, but Maia would have been 70 on Sept. 28. On Oct. 2, Luaka Bop will release Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia.

Next: Family Band

Jul 9, 2012

Guitarist Jonny Ollsin (formerly of S.T.R.E.E.T.S.) and singer Kim Krans met in the Catskill Mountains in New York, where they continue to write and record in a hand-built log cabin. Together, they lead the Brooklyn ambient rock group Family Band, which sounds like anything but mountain music.

This just in: Aliens from pretty far away have been listening to music from Earth for the past 35 years. As it turns out, the planet's only redeeming quality is our music. From a legal standpoint this is great news, the biggest copyright violation since forever. That's the first thing you want to know about Rob Reid's smart and wacky novel Year Zero, out this week.

Sharon Van Etten On World Cafe

Jul 9, 2012

Sharon Van Etten's raspy, elegant vocals and deeply confessional folk-rock have made her a rising star. Ever since her official debut in 2009, the heart-breakingly intimate Because I Was In Love, Van Etten has been expanding her sound and adding grit to her delivery.

I try and see music as much as I can. I've been going to the 9:30 Club since it opened. In fact, I was in the first band to ever play the club. So when I walked in the front doors of the club to see an M. Ward show recently, I was surprised that I, along with everyone else getting their hand stamped, received the following marching orders: "Tonight, no photography or videos. Including cell phones."

By now it isn't news that a Chicago guitarist recorded 100 famous rock licks in chronological order without breaking a sweat. The video of Alex Chadwick blazing through "Smoke on the Water," "Day Tripper," "Satisfaction" and others, all in one 12-minute take, has gone certifiably viral.

Pages