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The Musical Universe

 

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Caribou Returns With First New Music In 5 Years

Oct 8, 2019

Caribou, the project of songwriter and producer Dan Snaith, has shared "Home," his first new music in over five years. Caribou last released the tropical, house-influenced full-length Our Love in 2014.

"Home" is warm, soulful and full of sweet longing. "It's just what she pleases," sings Snaith. "'Cause she's happy on her own / She picks up all the pieces, she's going home." At just over two-and-a-half minutes, Snaith builds the song around vintage horns and a sample from R&B singer Gloria Barnes' track of the same name.

As a World Cafe host, there's one question I'm asked more than any other: Who has been your favorite person to interview? My answer: Vince Gill. And while it's not the answer I expected, I can't think of more thoughtful and kind storyteller than Vince.

This past July, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia played host to the annual Nuevofest, an all-ages concert celebrating Latin American music and culture. Presented by AfroTaino Productions in collaboration with WXPN, the daylong event featured performances from Los Rivera Destino, Yanga, Kevin Johansen and more.

About an hour outside of Nashville, in the hills of Middle Tennessee, you'll find a sprawling compound of cabins and farmhouses with red roofs; a place where horses run the pastures and mist tends to settle in the valleys between the hills. If it weren't for the work that happens here, this could be a vacation retreat for Nashville's entertainment industry – a getaway from the trappings of daily life, to disconnect and forget the world outside. But here, at OnSite Workshops, the idea isn't to leave your life behind, but to process everything that's happened in it.

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If the forces of the universe wreak havoc in threes, then Aldous Harding follows tradition with her co-directed visual treatment for "Zoo Eyes," the third off-kilter video from her lat

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

Ain't nothing minimal about minimalism. It's mind-expanding music within a limited frame, its attention to repetition and variation happens to be a sympathetic conductor for rock and pop music hypnosis.

I've recorded over 500 Tiny Desk concerts and, of course, have countless favorites. But which sound the best? Well here they are, according to me — the guy mixing the performances and bopping his head along just off (and sometimes on) screen.

Where FOMO and self-care has become commercialized to justify ridiculous purchases (please don't look at my Amazon Prime history), these songs of catharsis are just what you need to disconnect. Whether you're scorned, scathed and in the midst of plotting or just peacefully seeking a reset, these artists know the feeling.

As always, check out the Heat Check playlist in its entirety on Spotify.


Today we're not worthy: Joining us, it's the legendary Rush frontman and bassist, Geddy Lee. While Rush has retired from touring, Geddy's kept busy, cataloging, photographing and writing about his collection of bass guitars for the almost-encyclopedic Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass.

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FKA twigs' elastic music feels at home in dark clubs, where neon lights shimmer on latex suits in a dreamlike display.

When Sharon Van Etten made her Tiny Desk debut back in the fall of 2010, her voice exuded fragile, gentle grace. Performing songs from that year's Epic, she huddled around a single acoustic guitar with backup singer Cat Martino to perform a set of tender and evocative folk-pop songs.

At the World Series game between the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals in October 1968, Puerto Rican singer José Feliciano sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" — to no little controversy. Feliciano put a personal spin on the song, giving it a slower tempo, almost like a folk anthem. The rearranged version got a cold reception from many listeners, doing lasting damage to the singer's career.

Detroit rapper Danny Brown made a name for himself over the past decade as a party boy rapping about drinking and drugs in his signature high-pitched voice.

But now he's older, approaching 40, Brown's re-branding of sorts, branching out to other forms of entertainment.

Earlier this year his comedy talk show Danny's House premiered on Viceland. He's just come out with his fifth studio album, uknowhatimsayin¿

Updated at 10:42 a.m. ET

There are lots of firsts and superlatives in the career of Ginger Baker, the drummer and bandleader who died Sunday morning at age 80. His death was announced by his family on social media; they had said on Sept. 25 that he was "critically ill," without giving details.

The wild-eyed son of a South London bricklayer, Baker was the engine room of rock's first and still most revered power trio, Cream. He played a similarly key role in shaping the more finessed work of one of rock's first supergroups, Blind Faith.

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As if someone with their foot on the gas of the collective madness meter heard "Punch it!," we've slammed full-speed ahead into political uncertainty as we enter the last stretch of th

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Arthur Russell was a mutant of disco, a starry-eyed singer-songwriter and a relentless explorer, first heard in downto

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On paper, Travis Scott is a talented artist and an especially gifted hook writer.

In the lyrics to one of 1999's most popular songs, Santana's "Smooth," Rob Thomas repeats the words "Let's don't forget about it." Twenty years on, I'm betting that your memory hasn't faded, no matter how hard you might have tried.

When Madison Cunningham was in her late teens, she moved from Orange County, Calif., to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of being a songwriter. It's something that she's been working at since the age of 4. She's also been singing for almost as long.

This past July, the annual Nuevofest, an all-ages, day-long concert celebrating Latin American music, was held at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. Presented by AfroTaino Productions in collaboration with WXPN, the concert featured eight artists with musical roots from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Panama.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Kiss To Perform For Sharks In Australia

Oct 4, 2019

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. Matt Waller operates tours off the coast of Australia. He plays rock music on underwater speakers for great white sharks.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Molly Sarlé began her fascination with the multitude of objects shelved behind the Tiny Desk back when she sang with Mountain Man earlier this year. This time, with her own band, those objects left by others inspired a tale of a sweaty towel, an old lover and more.

Gaby Moreno's ¡Spangled! is a collaboration with Van Dyke Parks, a music arranger who has worked from everyone from The Beach Boys to U2 to

Buddy and Julie Miller's latest album is called Breakdown on 20th Ave. South and yes, that's a real address and yes, it refers to a real-life car breakdown that needed to be repaired. The songs on the album address that.

Recorded live at the Birnam Book Festival, American folk singer, songwriter and activist Peggy Seeger is joined by Scots singer and songwriter Alan Reid, with host Fiona Ritchie to explore the transatlantic travel of songs.

Kim Shattuck, the guitarist, singer and songwriter of The Muffs, The Pandoras and The Coolies died Wednesday after a two-year battle with ALS, as confirmed to NPR by Omnivore Recordings co-founder Cheryl Pawelski. She was 56.

Charlie Hunter & Lucy Woodward On Mountain Stage

Oct 3, 2019

As a living testimony to his ever-flowing musical creative stream, guitar master Charlie Hunter has made five trips to Mountain Stage — all with different groups. Hunter, who has chalked up nearly 50 albums and worked with Norah Jones, Mos Def, John Mayer and D'Angelo, has kept it fresh with a duo, trio, quartet, and his group T.J. Kirk back in 1995.

On Sept. 27, Sturgill Simpson released his new album, Sound & Fury — a slate of rage-fueled rock songs and an accompanying anime film which shares the title. Set to the album's music, the film takes place in a dystopian world, filled with fire and fast cars, an animated visual bonanza that takes the anger of the album as its driving narrative engine. This pairing — mildly surprising, maybe, for a country star — was released on Netflix, which has been amassing an arsenal of music-related projects for the last few years.

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