Music

Syd tha Kyd, the lead vocalist of the neo-soul crew The Internet, got that nickname from a next-door neighbor growing up. That man is still her neighbor, because she still resides in the house she's lived in since she was 2.

The list of its faculty and students is a who's who of 20th-century music: Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the mammoth box someone used to ship us a single bottle of beer is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts on tall folks at concerts.

Mike Flanigin has been a working musician for two decades. His first gig was at a Holiday Inn in Dallas, Texas, followed by a stint in the house band at Antone's in Austin. And for eight years he made his Hammond B3 organ growl and purr for the crowds at the Continental Club Gallery.

Columbia House (actually, the company that has owned Columbia House since 2012) filed for bankruptcy this week, which will mean a great deal to those who were music lovers in the 1980s and '90s, and probably close to nothing to listeners under the age of 30. Columbia House was a mail-order music warehouse, which used cheap (or free) LPs, then 8-tracks, then cassettes and CDs to rope customers into its full-price subscription service.

In the late 1980s, Los Angeles hip-hop group N.W.A created a sensation and controversy with their music, which was labeled gangsta rap. Like the group's story, the making of their much-anticipated biopic, Straight Outta Compton, is filled with drama.

The inimitable harpist and singer/songwriter Joanna Newsom released new music this week, her first since 2010's Have One On Me. Every aspect of Newsom's work is precise and impeccable: her intricate harp work, her striking, delicate vocals and her sweeping lyrics. It's no wonder her records come out four to five years apart — a tapestry as rich as the one she weaves takes time.

David Wax and Suz Slezak, the married couple who form David Wax Museum, have put an extraordinary amount of research and work into their sound.

Pages