Soundcheck Soundcheck, hosted by John Schaefer, is WNYCs daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, critics, and the public radio audience. Listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.


From WNJP Radio - FM

Soundcheck, hosted by John Schaefer, is WNYCs daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, critics, and the public radio audience. Listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.

Most Recent Episodes

Seratones Rocks Your Socks Off

Seratones is a band from Shreveport, Louisiana, who combines strutting groove, fuzzed-out slinky guitars, grounded tremolo organ, lush strings – and soaring over it all, frontperson AJ Haynes's powerful singing voice, first honed at Brownsville Baptist Church in Columbia, Louisiana. This is music to sear earholes and "replenish your faith in the power of Rock & Roll" (Seratones' Bandcamp.) It's electrifying Southern rock where punk rawness meets soul power, topped with a bit of blues swagger. Seratones plays music from their latest, Power, in-studio. - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:

Futuristic Day-Glo World Pop by Gruff Rhys

Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys is also a composer, producer, filmmaker and author. Recently, while recording the track "Vessels" for Damon Albarn's world music collective Africa Express, he met South African electronic producer Muzi. They have since collaborated on a futuristic Welsh Language pop album, with a couple of verses of Zulu and an English title, Pang! (also partly inspired by Gruff's visit to Prince's Paisley Park studio and the gloss of Prince's Around the World in a Day.) Gruff Rhys and drummer Kliph Scurlock play some of this day-glo processed Welsh pop in-studio. - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:

Nordic Klezmer Band Mames Babegenush Jazzes It Up

Danish outfit Mames Babegenush cooks up a Nordic-Jewish-Balkan musical stew both manic and melancholy. Their tunes embrace the ambience of Nordic snowscapes as well as the lively weddings of Romania, all the while incorporating the vibrant dance music and klezmer traditions of eastern Europe. Since their formation some 15 years ago, the group has performed everything from electronic music to string quartets to opera. Mames Babegenush brings their rich blend of Balkan-Klezmer Jazz for dancing to the studio. - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:

Icelandic Duo Hugar Creates Glacial Soundscapes In-Studio

The Icelandic duo Hugar is multi-instrumentalists Bergur Þórisson & Pétur Jónsson, who sculpt dreamlike layered soundscapes using keyboards, guitar, and electronics. Occasionally they'll include other chamber players, including one Ólafur Arnalds. Sometimes the music is an attempt to "put our everyday experiences into sounds" – like "walking to school in a snow blizzard and riding your bike in the calm midnight sun" (Sony Masterworks). Their latest record is Varða, which translates to "cairn" in English. Hugar joins us in-studio to perform some of their music. - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:

Drummer Marcus Gilmore Creates Continuous Melodies

Drummer and composer Marcus Gilmore looks to the creative openness of his drum elders – like his grandfather, Roy Haynes, tabla master Zakir Hussain, or renaissance man and drummer Milford Graves - and underscores the drum set as melodic instrument – exploiting all of the potential of the components – bending notes, playing with the natural vibrations, or augmenting his set up with Sunhouse Sensory Percussion. (With thanks to Modern Drummer Magazine's June 2019 issue.) He joins us in-studio to amaze and delight with his percussive sorcery. – Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:

Pop Songwriting Mastermind Skylar Grey, In-Studio

From pop and hiphop to love anthems, Grammy-nominated songwriter Skylar Grey has multiple hits to her credit. She's the co-writer on Eminem's 'Love The Way You Lie' featuring Rihanna, and featured artist on Diddy's 'Coming Home', and has written and recorded theme songs for TV and film. Lately, Skylar Grey has embraced her folk rock roots in new songs from her upcoming project 'Angel With Tattoos'. Fresh from an appearance at the Video Music Awards, she performs in-studio. - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here:

Flatpicking Acoustic Guitar-Folk From Courtney Hartman

Singer, songwriter, award-winning flatpicking guitarist, and Colorado native Courtney Hartman has musical roots in the bluegrass world with her family band, The Hartmans. She recorded and toured with the Grammy-nominated group Della Mae for seven years, and has collaborated with Texan Robert Ellis on a record of tunes by American folk, country, and bluegrass composer and musician John Hartford. Her latest solo record, Ready Reckoner, co-produced with Shahzad Ismaily (a multi-instrumentalist known for his work with Lou Reed and Tom Waits) is a collection of hushed and intimate yet magnificently vast tunes rooted in improvisatory freedom and folk music. Courtney Hartman performs in-studio (ahead of her square dancing gig with Radiolab at The Bell House tonight.) - Caryn Havlik Set list: "Belfry", "Hollow", "Won't Be Satisfied" Watch the session here:

Modern-Day Troubadour Pete Yorn's Jangly-Pop

Multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter Pete Yorn's latest record of anthemic, lyrical jangle pop is called Caretakers. It's also the first release on his own new label, Shelly Music. The New Jersey native joins us in-studio to play some of these tunes in a solo acoustic setting. - Caryn Havlik Set list (Click to watch): "Calm Down" "I Wanna Be The One" "Life On A Chain" Watch the full session here:

Nashville-based Lillie Mae's Countrified Americana-Pop

Nashville singer, songwriter, fiddler and guitarist Lillie Mae's sound has a bit of dark twang, some psychedelia, and the intimacy of front-porch singing. She started out in a countrified sibling band Jypsi and now has two solo records to her credit on Jack White's Third Man Records. Lillie Mae's latest is Other Girls, backed by members of her family and a few trusted collaborators. She's been touring with White's current band The Raconteurs, and is on the road in the fall as part of Robert Plant's band. But she joins us with her own band to play some of her latest original songs, in-studio. – Caryn Havlik Set list: "I Came for the Band" "How" "Crisp and Cold" Watch the session here: Other Girls by Lillie Mae

Quiet Reflection in Acoustic Songs by Daughter of Swords

North Carolina singer and guitarist Alexandra Sauser-Monnig records under the name Daughter of Swords, in which she "combines the eerie sound of old Appalachian folk music with elegant guitar playing and touches of lo-fi pop." (John Schaefer) She's also part of the alternative folk trio Mountain Man, a group of women whose precise harmonies offer songs of warmth, belonging, and community. Sauser-Monnig's record, Dawnbreaker, a homespun country-pop offering of vulnerability, brings liberation to the "breakup record" and hope for the next phase of life. Daughter of Swords joins us to perform in-studio. - Caryn Havlik Watch the session here: Dawnbreaker by Daughter of Swords

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