Oklahoma music

Amber Knecht / KEXP

"Let's get heavy," Other Lives frontman Jesse Tabish jokes before launching into an explanation of the dichotomies behind the band's new album, Rituals. Conflating old and new styles, while also exploring the balance between humanity's primal nature and an isolating modern world, the Portland-via-Stillwater, Okla., band's densely layered songs still somehow seem light and airy.

Rituals isn't the product of a group going through the motions, either: The group just pared itself down from five members to three (both Josh Onstott and Jonathon Mooney remained and relocated with Tabish), but this is Other Lives' most adventurous set of songs to date. To bring that rich sound to life, the band packed the small KEXP live room with all kinds of instruments — horns, strings, keys, drums, timpani, vibraphone, you name it — for a sensational in-studio performance.


The Oklahoma Historical Society celebrates the launch of 46 Star Records tonight at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Their first release will be unearthed radio sessions of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys on 180-gram vinyl records.

You’re hearing a restored version of a 1949 radio recording of “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” by western swing pioneers Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. It’s one of 12 songs included on Let’s Play, Boys, a compilation of rediscovered songs from the personal transcriptions of Bob Wills.

Kris Payne/Courtesy of the artist

This week's World Cafe: Next artist, John Moreland, is an Americana singer-songwriter from Oklahoma who just released his second album, High On Tulsa Heat.

Before turning to songwriting, Moreland was in a metal band; nowadays, though, his work channels a deep well of emotion and pain. In this segment, you can hear two of his songs, which can also be downloaded here.

Set List:

  • John Moreland, 'High on Tulsa Heat'
  • John Moreland, 'Cleveland County Blues'

This is Sample Size, our weekly new music feature with KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC pop music columnist Matt Carney.

Today, we hear the catchy, raspy-voiced rock from Hop Along, a slight shift in sound from Stillwater band Other Lives, and a dose of R&B and dance sounds from Wet.

Follow Matt & Ryan on Twitter at @OKmattcarney and @KOSUryan.

Emily Ulmer / courtesy of the artist

Every month, NPR Music asks public radio personalities around this country to name a new favorite song and then we feature one of those songs on Morning Edition.

Other Lives left their hometown of Stillwater, Oklahoma two years ago and relocated to Portland, Oregon to record the follow-up to 2011's Tamer Animals. In an exhaustive search for a new musical identity, the band wrote more than 60 prospective songs for their latest album, Rituals. If the lead single, "Reconfiguration," is any indication, the change of scenery did them some good. Like many of their previous efforts, "Reconfiguration" features rolling piano arrangements and lush production, but gone are the obvious folk influences and the echoey sonic imagery of wide open spaces. Moodier and smoother than its earthy predecessors, "Reconfiguration" showcases Jesse Tabish's sultry singing, which is more emotive than on past recordings. And this time around, the echo chamber is reserved for a haunting backing chorus that would give listeners the creeps if the overall arrangement weren't so damn sexy. —Jerad Walker, opbmusic

Larry Hirshowitz / KCRW

After relocating to Portland, Oregon, from their native Stillwater, Oklahoma, Other Lives used the new surroundings for a different perspective on their new album. The result is their third studio release, Rituals, which marries an orchestral rock sound with a classic singer-songwriter sensibility. New songs like "Easy Way" were standouts in their latest visit to KCRW.

"The essence of the Bob Wills sound, and the reason he picked and did what he did, is that it was dance music — period."

Kelsey Stanger / WXPN

To hear JD McPherson say it, he heard Little Richard and there was no turning back. That pioneering hero and the music of Buddy Holly form the basis of the sound of the records McPherson has gone on to make. His song "North Side Gal" caught a lot of attention for his first album, which was made in a bit of a vacuum with nobody having many expectations.

That's not so true for his new one, Let The Good Times Roll. McPherson worked hard to not make the same record again. We'll talk about that process, let him expound on some of his favorite music and mostly hear some fabulous performances from the stage of World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Neil McCarty

Welcome to Sample Size, where KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC pop music columnist Matt Carney team up each week to discuss music news and new music releases.

Today, we look at the poignant songwriting of Courtney Barnett, the title track from the upcoming John Moreland album, and a new dance-pop track from Grimes.

Follow Matt & Ryan on Twitter at @OKmattcarney and @KOSUryan.