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.
At 34, John Legend has sold millions of records, won nine Grammys, collaborated with many of the biggest stars in music (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, The Roots, et al), and achieved the kind of statesmanlike musical-ambassador status usually afforded to artists twice his age.
When your first full-length album draws fans like ?uestlove of The Roots and Gilles Peterson from the BBC, you've probably hit on something special. That's just what Melbourne, Australia's Hiatus Kaiyote did with Tawk Tomahawk, a record that blends jazz and soul with warm vocals and fuzzy effects.
It's hard to keep your eyes off singer Nai Palm: She's a true original, as you can see in this live performance of "Nakamarra" as part of Hiatus Kaiyote's Morning Becomes Eclectic debut.
You've probably never seen or heard an instrument like this. The Hindustani slide guitar is the creation of Debashish Bhattacharya, whose creation pairs his first love — a Hawaiian lap steel guitar, a gift from his father when he was only 3 — and the sounds of India. You can see the similarities to a lap steel guitar, as Bhattacharya lays the guitar across his legs, sliding a metal bar to create the fluid, almost vocal melodies.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 7:03 pm
To launch the partnership between NPR music and KCRW's Metropolis, Cut Copy drew a packed house to downtown New York for a dynamic set of new material from Free Your Mind, along with a few older gems to the delight of an adoring crowd at Le Poisson Rouge. The Aussie dance rockers showed their experience in the live arena, keeping spirits high and working the crowd until late.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 10:55 am
KEXP has a long history with No Age, dating back to a 2008 performance in our employee parking lot. Over the years, the band's music has grown even more experimental, as its recent album An Object demonstrates. Still, the two-man onslaught — guitarist Randy Randall and singer/drummer Dean Spunt — remains riveting.
In 1963, the jazz pianist George Shearing, an enormously popular act in his day, made an album that was unusual for him. He asked his new, 20-year-old vibraphone player to write an album of contrapuntal, classical-music-inspired compositions, and recorded them with a woodwind quintet atop a jazz rhythm section. It's out of print now, but Out of the Woods received good reviews, and it remains an early career highlight for its young architect, Gary Burton.
When the down-and-dirty Austin rock band White Denim stopped by the KCRW studios on the day of its album release, its members had one goal in mind: Put as much pressure on our studio equipment as possible before total collapse. They nothing held back, even sweating through their shirts on a crisp fall morning. From blues to prog-rock, soul and psychedelia, there's plenty to like about White Denim's album Corsicana Lemonade — including this song, "Cheer Up/Blues Ending."
In the last few years, Ashley Monroe has cobbled together an impressive country-music pedigree by working alongside both upstarts (Pistol Annies with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley) and longtime Nashville veterans (Vince Gill produced Monroe's solo album Like a Rose), and even collaborating with Jack White every now