Podcast

Soundcheck

Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.

Episodes

  • Matmos Finds "Audio Gold" in Plastics, In-Studio

    Apr 18 2019

    Only the Baltimore-based electronic duo Matmos (M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel) might be able to make an entire record from the sounds of a washing machine, or for their latest - only from plastic. They've sampled the percussive qualities of a police riot shield (purchased on Ebay from the Albuquerque police department), made patterns, saved, repeated, and voila! Electronic music that is fun to be unsettled to. There’s a squeaky “crying pill” made of plastic, a PVC pipe as percussion and pseudo di...more

  • American Troubadour Steve Earle Covers Texan Great Guy Clark

    Apr 15 2019

    Watch the session here:   Steve Earle has been many things – a Grammy-winning musician, a political activist, a writer, an actor. He’s also, a music fan. Specifically, he’s a fan of two late, great Texas songwriters, Townes Van Zandt, and Guy Clark. Ten years ago, he released an album called Townes, where he covered that singer’s work. Now it’s Guy Clark’s turn. Steve Earle and The Dukes have recorded a whole album of Clark’s songs – the record is called Guy, and it brings Steve Earle back to o...more

  • Dreamy Dance Pop by Savoir Adore

    Apr 11 2019

    The Brooklyn-based band Savoir Adore, French for “to know love” consists of songwriting team Paul Hammer  (Yes! Son of composer/producer/keyboardist Jan Hammer) and Lauren Zettler. Lately, they have crafted mostly electro-pop songs intent on dispensing magic and dreams, showcased in a two-part album, First Bloom, released last year, and most recently, Full Bloom. Savoir Adore and guests join us in the studio to play sunny music from these records. The band plays Thursday night, April 11, at Else...more

  • Intimate and Patient Atmospheric Pop by Helado Negro

    Apr 08 2019

    Miami-born, New York-based songwriter and electronic musician Helado Negro, (artist Roberto Carlos Lange) makes spacey folky electro-pop that is introspective, yet wide-reaching, utterly inviting and open; it pulses with the gentle power and warmth of loving and being loved. The record, This Is How You Smile, is a collection of delicate and painstakingly-crafted confessionals and affirmations that are designed to work their way into your heart or your mind or your home, which he calls “the most ...more

  • Luther Dickinson and Sisters of the Strawberry Moon

    Apr 04 2019

    The band Luther Dickinson and Sisters of the Strawberry Moon is a musical pot-luck with friends put together by Dickinson, the guitarist and co-founder of the North Mississippi Allstars. On their new record, Solstice, the guests at the gathering include singer-songwriter and upright bass player Amy LaVere, the secular gospel duo Birds of Chicago (JT Nero and Allison Russell), fife player Sharde Thomas, singer-songwriter and drummer Amy Helm (daughter of Levon), fiddle-playing singer/songwriter L...more

  • Cosmic Funk by The Comet Is Coming

    Apr 01 2019

    London-based trio The Comet Is Coming are often described as a jazz band, although this is cosmic funky jazz where young musicians have incorporated elements of electronic music, hip hop, psych, and rock. This apocalyptic dance party jazz features Shabaka Hutchings on sax, Max Hallett on drums, and Dan Leavers on keys. Fresh from inciting rooms of folks to sweat and mosh in Austin, TX, The Comet Is Coming performs new material from their 2019 album, Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, fo...more

  • Inuk Folk-Pop Artist Elisapie Finds Her Center In The Far North

    Mar 28 2019

    Montreal-based Inuk folk-pop singer and songwriter, Elisapie, is from the Far North, and her music draws from and takes pride in her Inuit and First Nations origins – while also journeying through some heavy emotional territory. The JUNO-nominated Elisapie (Élisapie Isaac) is originally from Salluit, Nunavik, but has lived in Montreal for 20 years. On her most recent record, The Ballad of the Runaway Girl, Elisapie reaffirms her connections to her sonic roots in Inuit and Native folk music. She ...more

  • 47SOUL Brings the Shamstep Party With a Message

    Mar 25 2019

    “Shamstep” band, 47SOUL, take their name from the Arabic name for the Levant region – Bilad al-Sham, with members from Jordan, Washington DC, and Israel - spanning the divides of the Palestinian Diaspora. The music is a mix of dubstep, hip-hop and electro-Arabic dabke with lyrics in both Arabic and English, which are intensely political in their call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality. The quartet 47SOUL performs their smart dance music in-studio.  - Caryn Havlik Watch the ...more

  • The Timeless, Endless Love of Classic Soul Singer Lee Fields

    Mar 21 2019

    The classic sound of soul – the bright horns, the snappy hi-hat in the grooves, and expressive, heartfelt vocals – has never really gone out of fashion. There are singers like Lee Fields, who has been at it since 1969, when he released his first single. This April, he’s about to put out a new album called It Rains Love – with tender melodies and deep funk beats, and one which draws from Lee's own rock-steady love in his 40+ year- marriage. The soul legend Lee Fields joins us in-studio to perform...more

  • Heartbreaking and Dark Songs by Amanda Palmer

    Mar 17 2019

    Singer, writer, pianist, and activist Amanda Palmer is also a listener, a “love-lover, rule-hater and co-founder of the Brechtian punk cabaret duo, The Dresden Dolls” (Bandcamp). She has a way of connecting with people and directly asking for what she needs, as well as giving back to her fans. Her latest record, There Will Be No Intermission, is a “five hanky” record, full of dark songs on abortion, miscarriages, cancer and grief, all the while in a way that hints at hope and delivers community....more

  • Captivating Chamber-Electro-Pop by Emily Wells with Metropolis Ensemble

    Mar 14 2019

    Composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Emily Wells works in the space between art-pop and neoclassical chamber music using electronic and acoustic instruments: synths, strings, and hip-hop production in elegant layers to support her singular and dramatic vocals. For her latest, This World Is Too _____ For You she has expanded her sonic palate to include a string quintet and French horn for a collection of swirling and dramatic chamber-pop showpieces.  Together with the Grammy-nominated cha...more

  • Crafty, Charismatic Chamber Jazz of Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom

    Mar 11 2019

    New York-based drummer Allison Miller is also a composer, teacher, and the leader of the band Boom Tic Boom, a group featuring violinist Jenny Scheinman, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, bassist Todd Sickafoose and pianist Myra Melford, who celebrate ten years of working together this year. Miller's experience in leading this specific group of improvising collaborators, along with the openness in her compositions, gives each member of the band space to shine. And shine they do -...more

  • Adia Victoria Carries The Legacy of the Blues

    Mar 06 2019

    Nashville-based singer-songwriter, guitarist, and poet Adia Victoria crafts Southern Gothic pop deeply rooted in the blues. On her new record, Silences, produced by The National's Aaron Dessner, she clothes her plaintive melodies with a velvet-robed ferocity, like a self-dubbed “Dope Queen”; the fully fleshed, orchestral-pop arrangements of woodwinds, brass, strings, and electronics are simply majestic. Adia Victoria and her band perform these new songs, more “in touch with her Southernness”, an...more

  • J.S. Ondara Says Hello To The 'American Dream'

    Mar 04 2019

    J.S. Ondara is a Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter whose love for Bob Dylan spurred him to move to Minnesota from Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. Since he won a Green Card lottery that allowed the move, he learned to play guitar and has lived the so-called “American Dream.” He learned English both in school and because he wanted to understand the lyrics in music by Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Nirvana, Death Cab for Cutie Neil Young, and Dylan.   Ondara, in an interview with Rolling Stone, describes his musi...more

  • Excruciatingly Beautiful Future-Soul Music From Jacob Banks

    Feb 27 2019

    British singer Jacob Banks was born in Nigeria before moving to Birmingham, England. There he has developed a large following for his remarkable voice and his equally impressive storytelling gifts – stories he tells in songs and in a series of videos – short films really. His debut LP, called Village, features electro-enhanced R&B with deep powerful grooves spread across a smartly-arranged full spectrum of sound. Jacob Banks is here with his band to play some songs for us today.  Watch the s...more

  • Cherry Glazerr’s Soft and Sharp Power Pop

    Feb 25 2019

    Los Angeles trio Cherry Glazerr, led by singer/guitarist/founder Clementine Creevy, is fierce, furious, but also weary. Creevy has found some inspiration by looking inward, and just hanging out with the demons of self-doubt instead of fighting in some of the songs from the new record, Stuffed & Ready. Creevy is self-deprecating, but at the same time, trying not to beat herself up, as she lets out her rage. As Creevy looks outward, she's come into some world-weary wisdom too. “Being a feminis...more

  • Nilüfer Yanya's Twisted Pop Embraces Imperfection

    Feb 21 2019

    Guitarist and songwriter Nilüfer Yanya writes songs that, while dark and a bit twisted, yet direct and elegant, ultimately embrace imperfection. Her music might easily flow between Nina Simone, pop punk, crisp jazzy chords, and the dynamic, sweaty explosiveness of The Pixes. Nilüfer deploys her impressive voice in all kinds of styles - falsetto crooning, growls and yelps, speak-sing indie, and smooth soul - as she spins out songs inspired by tube ads bombarding us with self-improvement or those ...more

  • Mandolin Orange's Bittersweet Pickin' Tunes

    Feb 18 2019

    Mandolin Orange is the folk duo of North Carolinians Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, who blend traditional Americana roots music – folk, country, bluegrass – in their warm and intimate, bittersweet acoustic songs. They met at a bluegrass jam, and have been known to wield mandolin, guitar, banjo and violin between them, with Marlin mostly doing lead vocals and Frantz, who thinks of herself as a harmony singer. Mandolin Orange sometimes expands to five instrumentalists for the live shows, but stil...more

  • Hypnotic Brass Leads The Way

    Feb 14 2019

    The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is a musically free-ranging band of seven brothers from the south side of Chicago. Their music draws from funk, funky jazz, Afrobeat, hip hop, rock, reggae, and R&B, and they’ve performed with Tony Allen, Wu Tang Clan, De La Soul, Prince, Femi Kuti, Gorillaz, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), and the B52's, to name a few. Growing up, the members of HBE were raised with music as a constant, as they are the sons of the late jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran (Earth, Wind, and Fire,...more

  • The Custom-Built Pop Experiments of Buke and Gase

    Feb 11 2019

    Buke and Gase is an experimental pop duo that’s collaborated with everyone from The National to the Blue Man Group. The band is named after two of the instruments they’ve invented, a baritone ukulele and hybrid guitar-bass. Their songs are tasty slices of angular melodies and problem-solving off-kilter percussion that are creatively stacked like a magical, warped, and playful sandwich of aural goodness. And on their new album, Scholars, Buke and Gase offers a sound more rooted in electronics – e...more

  • Rubblebucket Parties Like Their Hearts Hurt

    Feb 07 2019

    Dancey and dreamy, Brooklyn-based Rubblebucket makes psychedelic and jazz-conscious pop swimming in a strange and lovely mix of celebration and melancholy. Their latest record, Sun Machine, is a celebration of the connection between trumpeter Alex Toth, and saxophone player Kalmia Traver, The two have survived momentous life-challenges like cancer and alcoholism, and their romantic uncoupling, and still managed to transform their musical partnership in a positive way. The expanded version of Rub...more

  • India.Arie Spreads Love and Music

    Feb 04 2019

    Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer India.Arie has returned to spread love and joy through music and words. Her latest album, due out in February, is a collection of enchanting and soulful electro-acoustic pop songs, full of smart observations, sensuality, spirituality, and yes, empowerment. On one tune, “That Magic,” she lovingly describes the connection between two people that we can all hope for. Her latest single, “What If,” begins with the memorable lines, “what if Martin didn’t stand...more

  • RaaDie's Trumpet and E-Zither Make Loops and Waves

    Jan 31 2019

    Meet RaaDie, which is the latest musical project of Vienna-based trumpeter Lorenz Raab (Volksoper Vienna, XY-Band, Bleu) and the composer, bassoonist, and zither player Christof Dienz (Die Knoedel, Quadrat:sch, XY-Band). With a balance of composition and improvisation, the duo crafts music using trumpet and e-zither with electronic effects and looping station, at times spacey, funky, contemplative, and eerie.   Besides Prokofiev, Ravel and Schubert, Dienz also names Prince, AC/DC, Björk and Xena...more

  • Alejandro Escovedo Searches for the American Dream

    Jan 28 2019

    Mexican-American rock musician, songwriter, and singer Alejandro Escovedo draws from DIY punk, Tex-Mex country, and Americana rock for his latest record, The Crossing, a growly and crunchy guitar-filled, instrumentally cinematic, and in-your-face loud search for the American dream. In a cool twist, Escovedo has co-written the album with an Italian instrumental band, Don Antonio, and uses avatars, a young boy from southern Italy named Salvo, and a young boy from Mexico named Diego, who meet in So...more

  • London's Groove-Based Ezra Collective

    Jan 24 2019

    London-based quintet Ezra Collective makes music with an irresistible blend of groove that includes Afrobeat, hip-hop, grime, reggae, and jazz. Led by drummer Femi Koleoso, and anchored by his brother TJ Koleoso on bass with keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones, and featuring what looks like a hard bop frontline of Dylan Jones on trumpet and James Mollison on tenor sax, the group’s members are all skilled improvisers who can easily incite packed crowds into a sweaty dance party with their infectious rhyt...more

  • Guster, More Alive Than Live

    Jan 21 2019

    Coming from jangle-pop garage rock origins in the 1990’s in the Boston area, the band Guster is a group of talented songwriters, down to the last harmony. With electronic augmentation beyond just guitar amps, Guster long ago dropped its acoustic guitars and bongos in favor of arena rock with electrified-pysch-pop leanings. Their live shows are known for their quirky humor and legions of devoted fans singing along, and their latest batch of sing-along anthems from their record, Look Alive, is an ...more

  • Banjo-Wielding Kaia Kater Is 'Swimming in Her Own Shadow'

    Jan 16 2019

    Montreal-born folk singer, songwriter, banjo player, and guitarist Kaia Kater grew up surrounded by her family’s ties to folk music and Appalachian music in West Virginia. Her music often touches on social issues, and her latest album ranges even wider, including her family’s Grenadian-Canadian background, while still drawing upon old-time banjo music. In her liner notes to her latest record, Grenades (Smithsonian Folkways), she writes, “Here’s to swimming in your own shadow.” She then explained...more

  • Leyla McCalla Plays the 'Capitalist Blues'

    Jan 14 2019

    A New York–born Haitian-American living in New Orleans, the multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla draws from traditional Creole, Cajun, and Haitian music, as well as American jazz and folk. McCalla is a former member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, but her latest record, Capitalist Blues, contains very little of her signature instrument, the cello. While the tunes range from blues to calypso, and folk with some Haitian Creole, she explores connections between New Orleans and Haiti and tries to ma...more

  • Dollshot's Experimental Dream-Pop

    Jan 09 2019

    Brooklyn band Dollshot crafts experimental dream pop that is a crazy-quilt of electro-art-rock, cabaret music of Schoenberg, chamber music by Poulenc, and futuristic noir soundscapes. They offer an unusual and often unsettling combination of sounds, with breathy, featherlight vocals floating over wailing saxes and pounding drums. Their new album called Lalande comes out on January 25 and today they’ll play a few songs from it, in-studio.  Watch the session here:   

  • My Brightest Diamond Hits the Dance Floor

    Jan 06 2019

    Not many people can front a rock band, sing Górecki’s Third Symphony, deliver heavy works on themes of social justice for youth chorus, and compose pop songs for marching band, back-to-back. But Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond can. The classically-trained vocalist, composer, and self-taught multi-instrumentalist has continued to reinvent herself on her journey through the worlds of chamber music, art-pop, rock, and new music. Her latest record, A Million And One, marries symphonic-leaning pop...more

  • Twangy-Gothic-Folk by Vera Sola, In-Studio

    Jan 03 2019

    New York/Canada-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and poet Vera Sola, aka Danielle Aykroyd, crafts twangy-gothic-folk that might stem from horror punk as much as Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee. With a little wry and dark humor, a streak of seriousness, a few eloquent barbs, and a whole lot of vulnerability, Vera Sola channels the sounds in her head ("something like a demon’s orchestra", as she puts it) on her debut album, Shades. She and her band join us in-studio to play some of th...more

  • Best of The Soundcheck Podcast 2018, Part 2

    Dec 31 2018

    From the live in-studio performance series, here's part two of our favorite sessions from 2018. Hear everything from a Cuban orchestra to a famous South African choir, along with music from My Brightest Diamond that came from our live performance series, The Soundcheck Podcast. The big band collective Orquesta Akokán channels the spirit of dance orchestras of the 1940’s and 1950’s of Havana and plays original Cuban Mambo music. Then, tenor sax superstar Joshua Redman and string quartet Brooklyn ...more

  • Matisyahu and Band Spiritually Summit the Jams

    Dec 27 2018

    The once-bearded Jewish-American roots-reggae vocalist and beatboxer Matisyahu found success in both the Hasidic spiritual community and beyond, back in the mid-2000’s. He has continued to reflect on seeking the divine, despite the surprise of shaving off his trademark beard, and started bringing a little more stretch and even more groove into his newer music. Matisyahu and his top-notch band - original Stubbs guitarist and longtime staple of the downtown New York improv scene Aaron Dugan, Dub T...more

  • Best of The Soundcheck Podcast 2018, Part 1

    Dec 24 2018

    From the live in-studio performance series, we’ll be recapping our favorite sessions from 2018. Part 1 features the Norwegian band Wardruna, Chicago-based duo OHMME, the dance-jazz band Sons of Kemet, porch and mountain music duo Anna & Elizabeth, and the qawwali devotional collaborative music by Junun.   Hear the ancient Norse ritual music of Norwegian band Wardruna, and their captivating combination of old and recreated Norse historical instruments. Their music has also scored episodes of ...more

  • John Grant's Electro-Brooding Dreamy Songs

    Dec 20 2018

    Michigan-born, Colorado-raised, but now Icelandic-based singer/songwriter John Grant crafts anguished, lush ballads and spacey electro-pop. He speaks five languages and is also a former member of The Czars, a Colorado-based band that split in the early 2000’s. After battling personal demons in New York, Grant returned to music and recorded with Texan folk rock group Midlake. He just got a publishing deal for his autobiography, and released his latest record, Love is Magic. It brings John Grant t...more

  • The Badass Blues-Rock of Larkin Poe

    Dec 17 2018

    Larkin Poe is Rebecca & Megan Lovell -two singer/songwriters and multi-instrumentalist sisters who are originally from Atlanta, but are now Nashville-based. Combining guitar, lap steel, minimal percussion, and sibling harmonies, they make roots-infused southern heritage-steeped rockenroll, with a helping of both gut bucket and Delta blues. Larkin Poe are acutely aware of the historicity of blues legends, touching on the imagery of the crossroads (Robert Johnson) and including a version of Sk...more

  • Quiet and Sharp Story-Songs by Laura Gibson

    Dec 13 2018

    Singer-songwriter and producer Laura Gibson was born and raised in the small Oregon logging town of Coquille but now splits her time between Oregon & NYC. She recently completed an MFA in fiction writing (Hunter College) and her sharp story-songs quietly and gracefully explore darkness on her latest, Goners. Gibson’s storytelling is both raw and bold in its exploration of the depths of grief and other hidden feelings; the music hearkens toward folk traditions with unexpected arrangements, wi...more

  • Algiers' Postpunk Soul Music for Disrupting

    Dec 10 2018

    Algiers is a mesmerizing band of musicians born in Atlanta, Georgia and now splitting time between London and New York. Their urgent, genre-resistant, chill-inducing, and fist-shaking music taps into and channels the frustration of locally-informed global citizens in these dark times - with a soulful and compelling roar. Their live sets feel spiritual and cathartic, but also might be for dancing. Then again - they also put out a music/zine series of somewhat more experimental sounds. 1st Novembe...more

  • Piano Manipulator and Producer Kelly Moran

    Dec 07 2018

    Pianist, composer, engineer, and producer, Kelly Moran takes pride in trying to “obfuscate exactly what the piano sounds like. The whole point is to make it sound different.” (Tiny Mix Tapes) Moran, on her latest record, Ultraviolet (Warp Records), has also found a delicate balance of improvisation and structure in her expansive compositions. It'd be a reductionist approach to label her work merely minimalist or ambient music because it's also melodic cascades of these studiously prepared acoust...more

  • The Welcoming Intensity of Incoming Met Opera Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin

    Dec 03 2018

    Canadian conductor and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the incoming Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, is taking over two years earlier than initially planned. In this interview with John Schaefer for the Soundcheck Podcast, he outlines his plans to welcome more folks to the opera and to make sure that routine does not become the norm. Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s intensity is fueled by his boundless energy and his understanding of the legacy and the history of the Metropolitan Opera. He's the f...more

  • Emily King Supplies Warmth Via Retro Disco-Soul

    Nov 29 2018

    Grammy-nominated chanteuse Emily King went into the family business via a different route, that of an R&B-influenced singer-songwriter. (She’s the daughter of New York jazz vocalists who has moved to the Catskills.) Her latest record, Scenery, due in February of 2019 (on ATO Records), promises to be a clever mix of R&B, pop, and perhaps a little retro disco. A bicoastal preview tour brings Emily King and her band to our studio to perform some of her brand-new “retro-cinematic” tunes (NPR...more

  • Noise-Fuzz-Pop from Upper Wilds

    Nov 26 2018

    With screaming and blistering guitars, power-chord-like vocal harmonies (both clean and processed through an array of guitar pedals), and a rock-solid pummeling of drums, Brooklyn trio Upper Wilds, [Dan Friel (Parts & Labor), Zach Lehroff (Ex Models) and Jeff Ottenbacher], exploits all kinds of sonic textures for a cathartic, electric explosion of melodic and riff-driven noise-fuzz-pop. Expect distortion-filled, high-intensity songs with the “raw hopeful energy of DIY spaces” (Thrill Jockey)...more

  • Grizzly Bear, Live at Brooklyn Bowl, June 2018

    Nov 22 2018

    Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear has been around in some form since 2002, but since assembling their current quartet lineup in 2006 they’ve become one of indie rock’s biggest, most successful, and sometimes most psychedelic bands. They've also collaborated with contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly, Beach House's Victoria Legrand, the Acme String Quartet and the Brooklyn Youth Choir. Grizzly Bear are also public radio fans, and played a set for New York Public Radio in June of 2018 at Brooklyn Bo...more

  • Exuberant Psych-Pop From Australia's Pond

    Nov 19 2018

    The band Pond hails from Perth, the Western Australian city referred to “as the most remote city on earth.” They blend blissful and mind-bending psychedelic rock, with subversive strains of funk, synth-pop, falsetto, somehow both of the moment, and informed by the past. To illustrate, in a recent video, the band went shopping at Amoeba Music in Los Angeles, and showed off their haul: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Young Thug, Tokyo Psychedelic music of the 1990’s, Tom Waits, Neil Young, 1980’s dub from ...more

  • Art-Indie-Rock Band Cloud Cult, In-Studio

    Nov 15 2018

    The cinematic Minnesota band Cloud Cult is a creative collective who continually celebrates life and love, and catharsis through music and multimedia performances, usually involving painting from stage, and lately, film. Cloud Cult’s emotive, melodic, orchestral indie rock is perfectly suited to the movies. Singer/instrumentalist Craig Minowa and his crew have scored shorts and documentary films, The Seeker, The Great Alone, and lately, Minowa has been working on a score for a National Geographi...more

  • Zen Ritual Groove Music by Nik Bärtsch's Ronin

    Nov 12 2018

    Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch creates playful and carefully balanced works containing both space and riffs. There might be as much listening going on as there is playing, which points to a spiritual focus, trust, and discipline that comes from Bärtsch's avid practice of the Japanese martial art Aikido. In his electric group, Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin (after the freelance Japanese warriors who served no master), there is slow-building, ever-shifting, sensual groove reductionism. With newfound ...more

  • Glimmery Electro Art-Pop by Arthur Moon

    Nov 08 2018

    Arthur Moon is the moniker of composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist Lora-Faye Åshuvud. As Arthur Moon, she is the anchor who has gathered collaborators- including Cale Hawkins (Quincy Jones, Bilal, Wyclef Jean) and Martin D. Fowler (a composer for This American Life) and other folks. They trade demos and build on musical perspectives, which she then arranges and composes by way of experimentation and improvisation. The result is dazzling music that feels beautiful, affecting, and strange. Arthur...more

  • Michael Feinstein on Oscar Levant

    Nov 05 2018

    In the mid-20th century, pianist Oscar Levant (1906 –1972) was a pre-digital version of a social media star – a ubiquitous, witty presence on American TV and radio, and films. He was also a bestselling author, radio game show panelist, and a talk show host. As a concert pianist, his Gershwin performances, especially a 1945 version of the “Rhapsody in Blue”, were the best-selling classical records in America. But, Levant was a troubled figure off-camera and out of the limelight. He’s the subject ...more

  • Composer and Drummer Tyshawn Sorey Explores Time

    Nov 01 2018

    Newark-born composer, multi-instrumentalist, collaborator, and 2017 MacArthur Fellow Tyshawn Sorey, is also the Assistant Professor of Composition and Creative Music at Wesleyan University. A recent Instagram post (Sept. 2018) of the day’s listening ranges from Nigerian King Sunny Adé and a record by legendary drummer Tony Allen to Frank Zappa with Joseph Jarman (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Art Ensemble of Chicago), Steve Reich, and Karlheinz Stockhausen in between. On...more

  • Richard Reed Parry's 'Quiet River of Dust'

    Oct 29 2018

    Richard Reed Parry is perhaps best known as the really tall, really redheaded guy playing half a dozen instruments in the Grammy-winning band Arcade Fire. But he’s also a founder of the instrumental group Bell Orchestre, and a composer of contemporary classical music. His latest project is called Quiet River of Dust, and it was at least partly inspired by the psychedelic folk/rock scene in Britain in the late 1960's. He and Quiet River of Dust perform some of the musical meditations live in-stud...more