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.
It's hard to see the hope that glows dimly in the vaporous sounds of Broken Twin's music. But it's there, pulsing delicately in the beautifully spare arrangements and haunting voice of singer Majke Voss Romme.
The dark Americana band Hurray for the Riff Raff is led by Alynda Lee Segarra, a young, Bronx-raised Puerto Rican who developed her musical voice by riding the rails as a teenage punk before settling down in New Orleans. (The Crescent City serves as inspiration for the band's sixth and most recent album, Small Town Heroes.)
Dean Wareham is one of independent music's most consistent ambassadors, from his early days as a member of Galaxie 500 through Luna and on to his newly formed solo career. Sprinkle in forays into film composition, writing and even acting, and it's clear that the New Zealand native never lacks inspiration. Now, he's settled in Los Angeles, where we get to watch his new chapter unfold up close. Watch Dean Wareham perform "The Dancer Disappears" live on KCRW.