July 31, 2006 Maybe it's an indication that the initial weirdness of listening to it has worn off, but pianist Jason Moran's scrupulous practice of using pre-recorded dialogue as a guide for etching melodic statements has never sounded as moving as it does on "Artists Ought to Be Writing."
July 31, 2006 "Skip to the End," in which a protagonist wishes he could fast-forward from the beginning of a relationship to the end before getting involved, is an ode to both longing and laziness, bolstered by an addictive "na na na na" chorus and The Futureheads' trademark harmonies.
July 28, 2006 A venerated art-funk band that helped spawn hip-hop and No Wave, ESG should always stay in the way-back machine: It has such a singular sound that, were it to deviate even for a second, it would come across as calculated and fake. Thankfully, it's still 1978 in ESG's world.
July 27, 2006 Snow Patrol appears content to issue a series of great, gooey ballads familiar to anyone who's heard Coldplay's "Fix You." "Chasing Cars" is formulaic and utterly irresistible, built to play in trailers for romantic movies involving Zach Braff.
July 27, 2006 A new classical CD called Ars Poetica features the Armenian Chamber Choir singing compositions by composer Tigran Mansurian. Musician and Day to Day contributor David Was offers a review.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5586708/5586709" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 27, 2006 Ever since Chuck Berry, St. Louis has been producing rock music that defies the prevailing norm. But is it possible that in 1969 it also produced America's Beatles, a band no one ever heard? Rock historian Ed Ward investigates the curious case of the Aerovons.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5586678/5586679" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 26, 2006 Lenine immortalizes a local legend in a song that deftly connects bits of old and new Brazil. The beat has funk in it, but also elements of maracatu, the northeastern Brazilian rhythm Lenine has helped to modernize with percussion loops.
July 26, 2006 Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new DVD collection of conductor Arturo Toscanini's live NBC symphony telecasts between 1948 and 1952.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5583696/5583697" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 24, 2006 On his new album, Ray Wylie Hubbard serves up a mostly greasy plateful of growling, country-fried rhythm and blues, heavy on themes of sin and the South. But most notable is an exception to this mix, a soulful neo-gospel re-working of a late-'90s original called "Resurrection."
July 23, 2006 Kaki King and Vienna Teng first performed on Weekend Edition Sunday in 2004. Since then, their musical styles have evolved. Teng's forthcoming album intimately showcases her talent as a pianist and vocalist. King has moved past the acoustic instrumentals of her earlier discs with her latest album, coming in August.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5571184/5574742" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 21, 2006 Many jazz artists have mined Prince's songbook, but few explore the seedier side of his repertoire. Leave it to slide trumpeter and bandleader Steven Bernstein to offer a jazz take on the infamous "Darling Nikki."
July 20, 2006 Thomas Dybdahl's voice has the emotional resonance of Jeff Buckley's and the vulnerability of Chet Baker's. His delicate but lush music recalls that of Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and other forward-thinking folk-rock songwriters who surrounded their basic guitar chords with layered arrangements.
July 20, 2006 Our rock critic reviews Pick A Bigger Weapon a new hip hop album from The Coup.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5570579/5570580" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 19, 2006 In the unlikely event that Dido were to mate with Bjork, Psapp is the likely result. "Hi" is a shimmery mix of the things the duo does best: gently insistent, vaguely Brazilian melodies layered over offbeat percussion.
July 18, 2006 Record producer Gregory Page was sitting in the back office of an Ocean Beach coffee shop called Java Joe's on an open-mic night when he heard what he thought was a female singer with a beautiful voice. He went into the shop and discovered that the voice belonged to a man: a folk singer and songwriter named Tom Brosseau.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5566213/5566214" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor