Once known as a poster child for heedless prolificacy, Ryan Adams now seems to have discovered how to live at a human pace. His self-titled 14th album is his first in three years — a span that would have seemed inconceivable a decade ago.
Ever since he made his name as a spectral carnival barker in the trip-hop troupe Massive Attack, Tricky has been a master of creeping, crawling mood music that exudes quiet defiance and makes followers consult their dictionaries every so often to reconvene with the precise definition of "crepuscular." For his 11th album, Tricky stays more or less in line — though with a bit of a new persona in tow.
Sean Rowe has been playing a haunted cover of Bruce Springsteen's "The River" on tour this year, usually using only his battered Takamine acoustic guitar, a harmonica and his well-deep, Old Testament baritone voice. It might give an impression — abetted by his impressive beard — that Rowe, a small-town upstate New Yorker, is some Dust Bowl folkie throwback.
Justin Townes Earle's album covers have always offered variations on a theme: For each of his full-lengths, he's posed in a different setting with a different anonymous woman. But for Single Mothers, his fifth album, the newly married Americana fixture keeps his own mug out of the picture altogether and casts a kid in his place.
If there's a Mozart of garage rock, it's Ty Segall. He's put out at least a dozen albums of face-melting, critic-adored low-fi rock, in the style of bands like The Troggs or The Stooges — not to mention his work with other bands and in other styles.
But his newest album, Manipulator, is different: more produced and polished. Segall came to NPR West to talk about the album with NPR's Arun Rath — and play a few songs for us.
Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 7:46 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the gigantic bottle of Marmite we probably shouldn't have ordered on a late-night whim is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on getting your parents into your favorite music.
Erik writes via Facebook: "How do you get your parents to respect the music of today?"
On a hot, humid afternoon, Bob Stewart has called a rehearsal at his Harlem apartment. Six musicians are in a circle in the living room — on one side, trumpet and trombone; on the other, cello, viola and violin; and in the middle, the elephant in the room — Stewart's tuba.
When Anthony D'Amato was a junior at Princeton, he slipped a home-burned CD under the door of a professor — not a professor of music, and certainly no record executive.
It was the door of Paul Muldoon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, critic and poetry editor of The New Yorker, who began to work with D'Amato. Five years later, the student is on the music scene, winning praise for folk-rock songs that demonstrate a plain, sometimes flip poetry of their own.