April 30, 2007 Beach House's sleepy "Saltwater" never feels weary or tiresome. Instead, it floats along in a wispy haze of skittering drumbeats that rise and fall like heartbeats. As Victoria Legrand sings, "Love you all the time / even though you're not mine," her voice sounds powerful and stripped bare.
April 29, 2007 The complicated relationship between Kurt Weill, the composer of the standard "Mack the Knife," and his wife, the singer Lotte Lenya, is the subject of LoveMusik, which opens on Broadway this week.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/9847843/9892102" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
April 27, 2007 In spite of its proclamatory title, there's no grand message to be shared in Kaiser Chiefs' "Everything Is Average Nowadays": These guys are simply bored and disagreeable, with a driving, mod-revival rhythm borrowed from The Jam circa All Mod Cons.
April 27, 2007 Much of the material on Lucinda Williams' West was inspired by the death of her mother, as well as a bitter breakup. The album's heartsick "Are You Alright?" functions as either a post-breakup lament or a tribute to a lost loved one, or possibly both.
April 25, 2007 The original industrial rock band, Nine Inch Nails, is back. Creator Trent Reznor has put out a concept album, Year Zero. The CD is an expression of Reznor's view of the world as amoral and doomed.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/9818832/9818833" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
April 25, 2007 With her tart, no-nonsense voice, Mable John deserved to be a star like her brother Willie, who sang "Fever" before Peggy Lee. But Mable John never quite made it, though it sure wasn't because of her singing. Case in point: "Able Mable."
April 25, 2007 Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Hyphy Hitz, which surveys the San Francisco Bay Area brand of hip-hop known as "hyphy."
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/9817410/9817415" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
April 24, 2007 Though Lura fully discovered her Cape Verdean heritage later in life, her music is deeply rooted within those island traditions. M'Bem di Fora incorporates the rhythms of her parents' homeland, with vibrant stories of love and loss pouring out of every syllable and song.
April 24, 2007 Music critic Milo Miles reviews Old School, the latest CD from blues diva Koko Taylor. It's on the Alligator label.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/9799480/9799485" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
April 24, 2007 Love Songs of the '70s finds Osmond casting his gaze back to beloved — some might say reviled — hits, including "I Can See Clearly Now," "How Deep Is Your Love," and a song Barry Manilow made famous: "Mandy."
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/9786175/9786367" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
April 23, 2007 A Glaswegian rock band that punctuates its guitar-fueled rock blasts with moody interludes and bits of esoteric instrumentation, The Twilight Sad makes epic songs that sound both punishing and pretty. Singer James Graham paints a vague but distinct portrait of alienation.
April 20, 2007 "The Notbirds" nicely sums up Hopewell's ability to craft arena-friendly, '70s-style psychedelic rock. The song offers a sweet ride of near-perfect guitar rifts and lazy, spaced-out rock, punctuated by aggressive bird noises.
April 19, 2007 For many veteran AfroPop performers, the end of the LP era meant their back catalogs were suddenly unavailable. And for many of those musicians, there's no prospect of a CD being produced locally. So it's good news, according to music critic Milo Miles, that the music of one performer who made a splash in the West — Nigerian juju superstar King Sunny Ade — is being smartly preserved in the digital age. Miles reviews three new collections: Gems From the Classic Years and The Best of the Classic Years, both on the Shanachie label, and King of Juju, from Wrasse.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/9685123/9685132" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
April 18, 2007 Michael Penn seemed like a budding superstar in 1989, but he's never fully capitalized on his early momentum. His commercially under-appreciated 2005 album Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947, led by "Walter Reed," just received a deluxe reissue treatment.
April 17, 2007 Amy Winehouse is a young Londoner who draws on the musical past while telling tales about love and ex-lovers. She combines '60s R&B and soul, blues and jazz. With a stack of black hair, an athletic trainer's body and a unique personal style, her look is as arresting as her subject matter.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor