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At the beginning of 1997, Nigel Godrich was a relatively unknown recording engineer. He'd been looking for a band that would trust his instincts as a producer, and he'd finally gotten his chance — with the band Radiohead. By the end of 1997, Godrich was one of the most talked-about names in music.

While we may not agree as to whether new recording technology makes music better or worse (see Douglas Wolk's fantastic essay), I think we'd all be willing to admit that technology has made making music a whole lot easier, cheaper and more accessible. We can be more agile, impulsive, nimble, reactionary and spontaneous than ever before. Right? Well, that's the idea anyway.

So let's try!

Afropoppers have come to be on a first name basis with many of the superstars we've introduced you to over the years, much like Stevie, Aretha, and Bonnie. We'll enjoy some of Afropop Worldwide's finest live recordings of Oumou Sangare, Abdel Gadir Salim, and Miguel Poveda plus some under-recognized artists we've pulled from our recording archive. 
 

Love songs are like the meat and potatoes of most rock and pop music, but sometimes you need something different. For the band Delta Rae from Durham, N.C., inspiration for new material comes from stuff like graveyards and being stuck in the wrong job.

Delta Rae is a six-piece band that includes three siblings: Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes. Their music is like a kind of modern folklore.

Guest DJ John Cale

Oct 3, 2012

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The 007 theme is one of the most famous themes in movie history. The infamous guitar riff that gives the theme its secret agent feel was performed by Vic Flick, who spoke to Morning Edition about the day he played it, 50 years ago.

In 1962, Flick was a 25-year-old studio guitarist who was asked to help give the James Bond theme more of a punch. Composer Monty Norman, who wrote the theme, was scrambling to complete the score for the first Bond movie, Dr. No. He'd scratched out a rough draft of the theme, but Flick says it fell a little flat.

The latest tease from this fall's upcoming collection of remixed Philip Glass tunes comes from Beck. The 20-minute song, "NYC: 73-78," includes snippets from more than 20 Glass songs, which Beck cut together and re-imagined.

Janis Martin, 'The Female Elvis,' Returns

Oct 1, 2012

Janis Martin was just a teenager from Virginia when she was christened "The Female Elvis." In the mid-1950s, she sold 750,000 copies of a song called "Will You, Willyum." She played the Grand Ole Opry, American Bandstand and The Tonight Show. But her fame was short-lived. Martin got married and had a baby, which didn't sit so well with the people managing her career. Her label dropped her, and she fell off the musical map.

The CD, At 30, Is Feeling Its Age

Oct 1, 2012

Today marks the 30th anniversary of a musical format many of us grew up with: the compact disc. It's been three decades since the first CD went on sale in Japan. The shiny discs came to dominate music industry sales, but their popularity has faded in the digital age they helped unleash. The CD is just the latest musical format to rise and fall in roughly the same 30-year cycle.

Compact discs had been pressed before 1982, but the first CD to officially go on sale was Billy Joel's 52nd Street.

Steve Kimock and Friends performed live from WCBE's Studio A on September 27th, 2012! Check out the performances of "Crazy Engine", "Nana's Chockpipe", and "54-46 Was My Number"! Enjoy! 

Do you like what you hear? Let us know what you think about our online Live from Studio A REPLAY series!

The streaming music service Spotify has garnered some 2 million users in the U.S. since its introduction a little over a year ago. The service includes many big acts like Katy Perry, but many musicians have mixed feelings about it. Some, like Adele and Coldplay, resisted putting new albums on Spotify, citing the service's low royalty payments to musicians. Others, like the Black Keys, won't allow full albums on the service at all.

Singer Andy Williams, best known for his rendition of Moon River, his Christmas TV specials and his long-running show in Branson, Mo., has died.

He was 84.

Williams' publicist, Paul Shefrin, says in a statement sent to reporters that the singer "passed away last night (Tuesday) at home in Branson, Mo, following a year long battle with bladder cancer. ... Williams, 84, who also had a residence in La Quinta, Calif., is survived by his wife Debbie and his three children, Robert, Noelle and Christian."

The Mix: Songs For Oktoberfest

Sep 25, 2012

Germany's Oktoberfest — that annual celebration of all things lager — kicked off on Sept. 22 in Munich, the festival's birthplace. In honor of the 200-year tradition, NPR Music and opbmusic.org in Portland (America's microbrew capital) team up to present a limited-time music channel devoted entirely to songs about beer.

By now, everyone's heard of Kickstarter, the website that lets people with an idea or project ask other people to contribute toward realizing it. It's called crowd funding, and this summer's big success story was musician Amanda Palmer. She raised more than $1 million to produce her new album. But crowd funding doesn't work for every musician every time.

Photo taken by Ciara Kinzig

Mike Rosenberg, also known by his stage name Passenger, met with Maggie and I in Studio A last Monday. While I listened in on his interview, this Brighton, England native poured out the story behind his new album All the Little Lights. Rosenberg was notably one of my first personal encounters with a British artist, let alone a folksy one who "busks."

Fall Music Preview

Sep 20, 2012
Jim McKelvey / http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6975096

Catch Mark Erelli and Lori McKenna playing together Live in Studio A.

Mark Erelli is currently touring with Lori McKenna opening for and playing with her. Both will be performing that night at the Shedd Theatre at the Columbus Performing Arts Center.

Presented by Six Strings Concerts

The Phillip Fox Band will showcase a few new tunes during the Global Village in the 2PM hour! 

Ron Pope
last.fm

Born in Atlanta, and based in New York, Ron Pope,  former frontman for the band The District will perform some of his material. 

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For a band with a firm grasp on pristine, precise production and immaculate vocal

harmonies, Grizzly Bear can be inscrutable at times: Its members have been known to use their formidable studio chops in the pursuit of what can sound like puzzles waiting to be solved.

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Wave bye-bye to summer. It's gone. Everybody's all hard-eyed on the sidewalks these days, facing down the fall.

The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."

Requiem For A Monster Hit

Sep 5, 2012

Recently, I was listening to a new tribute album covering the songs of Fleetwood Mac, and thought once again how dreadful most tribute albums are: They don't add much to the legacy of the artists being saluted, while inadvertently freezing vital old music in an amber of sentimentality. Then I turned to When I'm President, an album of new songs by Ian Hunter.

Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland marked an unprecedented intersection of music, culture and politics. In a conversation with World Cafe's David Dye — presented here in four parts — Simon speaks candidly about his legendary collaborations with South African musicians such as Joseph Shabalala and his vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

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Despers USA practices on a big parking lot off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y. Band members start wandering in around 6 or 7 p.m. and slowly take their places behind racks of steel drums. Like a symphony orchestra, they're organized by section — the thin tenors ringed around the outside; the big, deep, oil-drum basses toward the center; the midrange "guitars," as they're called, nearby.

Their section leader counts them in. He stops them, and then stops them again, saying the opening needs to be stronger. Eventually, they get it.

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