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The Musical Universe

 

Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl, Lilys, Lorelei, Stereolab — these are just a few of the artists who released 7-inch singles on Slumberland Records in the late '80s and early '90s. That's a helluva run for any label, but also remarkably prescient, considering the simultaneously softer and stranger indie pop that would follow.

Guitarist Marc Ribot has an unpredictable and far-reaching catalog that's taken him through rock, jazz and many avant-garde variations thereon. Now, he's releasing a pointedly titled set of protest music — Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 — that calls on a group of guests as versatile and iconoclastic as he is.

It's not like Brody Dalle hasn't put her gritty-pretty voice to snarling use, but it's been almost a decade since her band Spinnerette's last release, and four since Diploid Love, her underrated solo effort. But now The Distillers, the L.A. punk band that gave Dalle's velvet scowl a platform to howl, is back onstage and making good on new material, after officially breaking up in 2006.

Illuminati Hotties, aka L.A.'s Sarah Tudzin, seems plagued by the past on "Cuff." But over a chorus of explosive guitars, backed by simple, steady drum programming, she settles on a solution: "I cuff my T-shirt sleeve / and grit my teeth / How else can I tell myself I can do most anything?"

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues and folk as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers accomplished something remarkable this year with their Tiny Desk Contest entry. They made a simple backyard video - a single camera shoot - that's now been seen almost 10 million times on YouTube. And the song they played, "Peach Scone," has unlocked a door to a dream - to play a Tiny Desk Concert and be heard. The song is a tale of one-sided love - a tale of kindness in the face of loneliness and depression.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Last Friday, rapper and producer Mac Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, was found dead in his San Fernando Valley home. His fans, who had heard Miller openly address drug use in interviews and in his music for years, immediately speculated that the cause was an overdose, though postmortem toxicology tests have not been released.

Eileen Farrell On Piano Jazz

Sep 11, 2018

Long acknowledged as one of the world's leading sopranos, Eileen Farrell (1920 – 2002) was comfortable in the spotlight of opera, jazz and the blues. She began her career as a classical and operatic singer, and in the 1980s began performing pop. Of the change, Farrell said, "In opera there is a certain person you have to be. Doing pop, I can be whoever I want to be." On this 1993 Piano Jazz episode, she shares her tremendous vocal range on "How High the Moon" and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 1993.

Take out the trash and cut the crap: That's Margo Price's advice on "Leftovers," a new track from the East Nashville singer-songwriter. "Leftovers" is the first release from Amazon Music's new Produced By series aimed at shining a light on prominent producers.

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues and folk as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

Surrounded by live streamed performances on the Day Stage from The Local in Nashville, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m. CT, NPR Music and World Cafe will webcast the Americana Music Honors & Awards ceremony live from the Ryman Auditorium.

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and singer-songwriters, as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

Walking through the warm, vanilla hallway of Grand Central Terminal, I tried to enter a barricade when an army sentry — helmet, muted green-and-sand uniform, a pistol and a big machine gun — said it was the wrong entrance. "This is for the artist — go down, take a left and stick to the wall."

Octavian is taking off. Nearly a year after the woozy and infectious unpredictability of "Party Here" perked ears and raised his profile, the U.K. artist has shared his latest mixtape SPACEMAN, out now via Black Butter.

The hardest thing about being a hip-hop fan in 2018 is watching legends turn into cannibals. Not to suggest that rap should ever be above self-critique – that's always been a major tenet of the genre. But certain artists seem to have forgotten what it's like to be young, dumb and numb. In their hunger for lasting relevance, some have even begun to feast on their own babies.

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and singer-songwriters, as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

"I'm supposed to be a dead man," says Bobi Wine, a Ugandan musician turned politician.

His driver Yasin Kawuma was shot dead on Aug. 13. Wine tweeted a graphic picture he said was of the man's dead body. Wine says police were the ones who shot Kawuma, but Wine says he was their real target.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Updated at 1:52 a.m. ET Saturday

Mac Miller, the Pittsburgh-born rapper who developed a ravenous following over the course of five successful albums, died Friday of an apparent overdose in his Los Angeles home, multiple outlets have reported. He was 26 years old.

Around the world, people are struggling for access to drinking water. All Things Considered is examining the forces at play in separating the haves from the have-nots — from natural disasters to crumbling infrastructure and corruption.

When the drought in Cape Town, South Africa, was worsening in late 2017, one of the country's leading insurance companies, Sanlam, wanted to help get the word out that people needed to save water.

On Thursday night, the rapper Nas posted a sprawling open letter to his ex-wife on Instagram in which he denied the allegations of physical and mental abuse that she publicly made against him in April.

Sonny Landreth On Mountain Stage

Sep 7, 2018

Raised in Lafayette, La. renowned guitarist Sonny Landreth was inspired in his late teens by seeing three influential musicians; B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and Clifton Chenier. This would shape the inventive nature of his slide-guitar playing, using his signature techniques to gain expansive sounds that are as much fun to see as they are to hear.

The Mountain Goats have surprise-released an EP today called Hex of Infinite Binding. "I used to release a whole bunch of EPs," singer John Darnielle says in a press release about the four new songs. "I miss the general spiritual realm of the EP and am hereby centering an intention to spend more time thereat. These songs represent, in part, the first salvo of my resolve."

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