Sigur Rós could be forgiven for sounding better on record than in concert. The Icelandic band's songs either billow out deliberately or stomp majestically, and in every case entail the building of layers upon intricate sonic layers. Plus, singer Jónsi — he of the otherworldly voice, singing mostly in a ghostly language of his own devising — is no Mick Jagger when it comes to calling attention to himself.
Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:13 pm
The concept of the compilation Out of Many: 50 Years of Reggae Music is simple. 50 years ago, Jamaica won independence from the British-ruled West Indies Federation. Around that same time, popular music in Jamaica began solidifying into some of the many sounds we now think of as reggae. Out of Many tells those two stories in parallel, with one song selected to represent the sound of each year from 1962 to 2012.
The Newport Folk Festival has always championed a range of American music. From Muddy Waters to Pete Seeger, Joan Baez to Jimmy Buffett and a famously electrified Bob Dylan, the festival's curators have a knack for casting a wide net in their definition of folk.
Pop music in the 21st century has been flush with precise re-creations of '60s and '70s American R&B — think of Sharon Jones, Adele, Raphael Saadiq and the late Amy Winehouse. Meanwhile, I've been waiting for a similar revival of Jamaica's R&B: ska, rocksteady, roots-reggae.
Sir Elton John is constantly remembering his life as a drug addict, whether he wants to or not.
"I still dream, twice a week at least, that I've taken cocaine and I have it up my nose," John tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And it's very vivid and it's very upsetting, but at least it's a wake-up call."
Old Crow Medicine Show didn't count on the runaway success of its 2004 song "Wagon Wheel." In fact, say members Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua, the Nashville band was just trying to finish a job Bob Dylan had started.
Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 10:53 am
On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.