NPR Music's first listening party, live at the Gibson Room in Washington, D.C.
NPR Music's first listening party, live at the Gibson Room in Washington, D.C. Michael Katzif/NPR
Thursday night at the Gibson Showroom in Washington, D.C., we threw a listening party. Maybe you were one of the 100 or so people who packed the room. We played music, mostly unreleased tunes. Everyone used score cards to rate the music on a scale of 1 to 10, and then we talked.
For some, hearing the twang of Gillian Welch was a welcome relief to a long drought. Her upcoming release will be her first in eight years. For others, that same music and was a deal-breaker. "You can't dance to it, so what's the point?" was one comment. "You've never been to a country bar in Houston and done the two step" was pretty much the retort.
There was a lot of applause and laughs and love for Cults from many, though Robin Hilton gave it a 4. Classical music by the group Build and jazz music by James Farm didn't fare as well as pop. Maybe the setting favored music that had more snap, less build. That said, the clear favorite — the music with the most 10s — was by Heavenly States, with guest singer Britt Daniel of Spoon. Here's a fun animation for the song we played, "Berlin Wall":
We're thinking we need to take this show on the road. Would you come?