It's fitting that the first episode of Front Row Boston (a new digital and television series produced by WGBH Music and Crossroads Presents in association with NPR Music) features Boston-based Celtic punk legends Dropkick Murphys. Here they perform "The Boys Are Back" from their eighth studio album, Signed and Sealed in Blood.
With all the sunlight in Los Angeles, it's easy to overlook the beauty in the darkness there. Yet Chelsea Wolfe doesn't. The SoCal singer-songwriter has carved a unique place in the musical landscape with her epic "drone-metal-art-folk" style. On her recent third album, Pain Is Beauty, she takes a decidedly more electronic approach to her haunting sound, further highlighting her timeless singing, powerful arrangements and seductively mysterious aesthetic.
The relationship between songs and poetry is often symbiotic, with some songwriters going so far as to lift entire verses from poems. Della Mae musician Celia Woodsmith discovered an intergenerational connection between her family and the poem "The Hound Of Heaven" by Francis Thompson.
While on a world tour to support their fourth album, Love in Flying Colors, The Foreign Exchange stopped by the Tiny Desk to rev up a Friday afternoon. I've followed Phonte Coleman and Nicolay in their 10 years as a band — and it's evident their writing and production are honest and downright pungent at times. But when it's time to perform, it's all about fun.
What is it with trumpeter Avishai Cohen and triples lately? He recently recorded a pair of albums with his band Triveni, a free-swinging trio which showcases his fervent imagination. He's also one of three Cohen siblings in jazz's top echelon; Avishai invited his big sister Anat, the celebrated clarinet specialist, to join him here.
For the past 15 years, Fink has been a solo project for Berlin-based songwriter Fin Greenall. But with his album, Hard Believer, he enlisted the help of longtime friends Guy Whittaker and Tim Thornton to help him develop his new material. In part because each participant has a different musical background, the new songs sound especially varied and dynamic. As Greenall says, "They even taught me how to play live" — as you can see for yourself in this performance of "Looking Too Closely."
Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 10:20 am
The new video from composer Christina Vantzou, for the moody ambient piece "Strange Symptoms," will take you away. Vantzou's nirvana-inducing sounds emerge, bloom and fade away in less than a minute-and-a-half, as a figure stands motionless behind a curtain of slowly cascading water, her face distorted by the sun-dappled ripples.
We at NPR Music leave a lot of variables out in the wild when we make Field Recordings. That's especially true when we commission new music for the annual Make Music New York festival, as we have for three years.
Since we're not using a traditional stage and people are roaming around, we don't know exactly what the performance will sound like (though we're lucky to work with fantastic engineering colleagues). It's always held outdoors, and we can't be sure what the weather will be.
For 23-year-old singer-guitarist Lydia Loveless, gritty, countrified blues-rock is a palette broad enough to include literary drama — complete with fatalistic references to the doomed French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud — and a plainspoken plea for oral sex.