Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 1:08 pm
Nightmares on Wax was one of the first acts to sign to the Warp Records label, and the man behind the moniker — Ibiza-based DJ and producer George Evelyn — has never stopped exploring new territories for musical inspiration. The latest album, Feelin' Good, is no exception, as Evelyn taps into a talented group of musicians who've contributed their individual styles to help create a fresh new sound.
La Santa Cecilia spreads joy every time its members plug in to do a show. They do it one dance step at a time, with cumbias, corridos, elegant mambos and plain old rock 'n' roll.
I first saw La Santa Cecilia perform in an Austin, Texas, parking lot about five years ago. As all great bands do, it showcased an It Factor that has only intensified as the L.A.-based, Mexican-American group works tirelessly to perfect its musical vision.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:44 pm
Given the speed with which the band rose in popularity, it's not surprising that The Head and the Heart would want to slow down for a minute. After all, the Seattle group was performing at open mics just a few years ago, yet now sells out large theaters nationwide.
Her voice feels old, but it's got power that's young and vibrant. In fact, Christine Salem sings songs that are old: They're work songs and chants from the maloya tradition on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. I first heard her in New York City as she shook a flat board called a kayamb, made of cane reeds, with two percussionists flanking her to provide rhythm.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:45 pm
Toward the end of every year, NPR Music invites some of the world's best jazz keyboard players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We ask them to take on some of their favorite Christmas tunes, solo, and the recording becomes the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:52 pm
Of Montreal was founded by singer Kevin Barnes back in 1996; ever since, the Athens, Ga., group has continued to explore new creative possibilities, as true artists do. The band recently returned to Morning Becomes Eclectic to showcase songs from its new album, including "Fugitive Air."
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:53 pm
It was a guest of honor DJ Cheryl Waters had been anticipating for 20 years: The Waterboys, a band currently celebrating its 30th anniversary despite frontman Mike Scott's insistence that he's only 24. The long-running group is on tour supporting its seven-CD collection, Fisherman's Box, which was inspired by the 1988 album Fisherman's Blues; the record marked Scott's relocation from Scotland to Ireland, and resulted in the most successful release of The Waterboys' long career.
Bluegrass' most beloved pros often play well into their 80s and 90s, so it would surprise no one if our children's children's children turn up at a Sarah Jarosz concert 70 years from now. The singer and multi-instrumentalist first surfaced as an 18-year-old wunderkind with the release of 2009's Song Up In Her Head, which generated the first of what will likely be many Grammy nominations; now a grizzled 22, she's out performing songs from her fine new third album, Build Me Up From Bones.