When NPR Music started inviting musicians to perform at Bob Boilen's desk back in 2008, we never could have expected that we'd one day host The Dismemberment Plan. For one, the D.C.-area group had long since disbanded; for another, its fleshed-out and periodically funky sound wouldn't seem to lend itself to vastly stripped-down arrangements.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:10 pm
One of the big winners in last week's New Zealand Music Awards was the singer Aaradhna. She took home three "Tuis" awards — Album Of The Year for Treble and Reverb, Best Female Solo Artist and Best Urban/Hip Hop Album. Treble and Reverb was released in the U.S. in October.
We were fortunate to welcome Darkside — a project comprised of producer Nicolas Jaar and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington — for their U.S. radio debut on Morning Becomes Eclectic. The duo had only played a handful of shows before arriving to KCRW, so we weren't sure what to expect. But it was immediately obvious that the project is rooted in live performance.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:20 pm
John Mayer has made multi-platinum albums, won Grammys, dodged paparazzi, kind of self-destructed, escaped to Montana and spent more than a year without speaking or singing publicly to allow his damaged vocal chords to heal.
"I always claim I that like to improvise, so I need to prove it," says Nils Frahm as he sits down before a setup completely new to him and cobbled together for this in-studio performance at KEXP. Lately, the young German minimalist composer has been exploring the spaces between things, between the extemporaneous and the rehearsed, between live and recorded, between intimate and public — and most definitely between classical music, electronica and pop.
Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 6:46 pm
There is no shortage of folk and country songs about whiskey. But what makes this Mandolin Orange tune so enchanting is its effortlessness. The words seem to fall right into one another, like cheery drunks into so many bar stools. Mandolinist Andrew Marlin wrote this song during a road trip with his friend. They thought it might be fun to write a stereotypical country song and didn't expect for it to be so catchy.
This might be as intimate as hearing Katie Crutchfield sing in her basement. That's where she and her sister would play guitar, write and sing songs 10 years ago, when she was 14. Katie and Allison Crutchfield had a band back in Birmingham together, The Ackleys; these days, Katie performs as Waxahatchee, while Allison's band is called Swearin'.
For all the terrific live sessions Cheryl Waters witnesses in the KEXP live room, she's not often knocked speechless after a first song. Clearly, London Grammar has learned from the best: Thanks to the moody atmospherics of guitarist Dan Rothman and keyboardist Dot Major, as well as the soulfully smoky voice of Hannah Reid, the young U.K. trio has already attracted comparisons to Daughter, The xx and Florence Welch.