Since expanding from a duo into a sextet, Blind Pilot has given its warmly catchy, charmingly delicate folk-pop a bit of a propulsive kick: For all the band's sweet, easy-going grace, it's a special pleasure to hear it apply a percussive jolt to songs like "We Are the Tide." Released last year, the album of the same name is consistently engaging, but Israel Nebeker's songs about nature and desire sound best when Blind Pilot puts some muscle behind them.
Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 12:58 pm
A simple approach is often the most affecting. In "To The Bone," the latest video from folk and blues artist Mirel Wagner, the singer slowly rises and sinks in a black pool of water, illuminated only by the faintest light. Wagner slowly turns, falls back, and rises again before something pulls her back under. It's both a seductive and unsettling metaphor for love's darker side.
In an email, Wagner described how the video came together.
Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 10:52 am
The experience of going to the Newport Jazz Festival actually starts before you get there. The community of Newport sits at the tip of Rhode Island's Aquidneck Island — the exact festival location even more so — which means you're going to need to cross a big bridge or hop a boat. You'll probably pass through the old resort community of Newport, and by its massive oceanside mansions. It'll be about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with a stabilizing ocean breeze. And then there's the music.
It wouldn't be hard to confuse Detroit-born singer MoZella's new album, The Brian Holland Sessions, with any one of the classic recordings to have come from the legendary studio known as Hitsville, USA.
That's no coincidence — the record was co-written by someone who spent a lot of time in that studio: Brian Holland of the songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland.
You might not be able to hear it on television, but in the Olympic stadiums and arenas of London over the next weeks, games-watchers will be treated to some exclusive new tracks from world-renown mashup artist Jordan Roseman, better known as DJ Earworm.
"Out of the blue, there was an email," Roseman tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "They wanted these mixes."
The last band to open for Levon Helm before his death earlier this year, Brooklyn's Spirit Family Reunion crafts a sweetly ramshackle Americana sound that's part secular gospel revival, part folk ramble.
Imagine being able to rock a piano so well that Aerosmith wants you as its touring keyboardist. That's what happened to Russ Irwin, and he's been sharing the stage with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry for 15 years.
"I'm staring at their backsides," he tells NPR's David Greene. "It's an interesting place to be."
It's summer. It's hot. And that means it's time for a particular kind of music: the kind that streams from church basements and empty lots, raising your spirit as high as the mercury. It's revival season.
Spirit Family Reunion isn't from Appalachia or the plains; the band is from Brooklyn. Its music, though clearly Americana-based, casts a wide enough net to elude classification.