NPR Music

Low On Mountain Stage

Oct 24, 2012

Low makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Grand Marais, Minn., in partnership with the North House Folk School. Led by the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Low's ethereal, understated rock sound grew out of a reaction to the grunge music that was in vogue when the band formed; in the early days, Low would turn its amplifiers down to goad audiences into listening.

According to legend, once in each millennium, the Music Gods come together and, after much debate, agree to bestow a single magical gift upon the world — a song or album or project so breathtaking, it leaves throngs of people weeping in the streets at its splendor and forever changes the way we hear music. That time is now, as Jason Lytle and Sea of Bees have opted to cover each other's songs.

Okay, fine: Maybe it's not that special. But it's still cool when a couple of your favorite artists dig each other's music and want to work together.

KCRW Presents: The Tallest Man On Earth

Oct 24, 2012

Watch "1904" here, then check out the entire set at KCRW.com.

Copyright 2014 KCRW-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kcrw.com.

We interrupt this blog to bring you an announcement from the one and only Charles Mingus, the great bassist and composer:

The Best Of CMJ 2012

Oct 23, 2012

Each fall, hundreds of little-known bands descend on New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon. As festivals go, it's one of the best for surprises, since so many of the acts are new and emerging. For the artists, it's a chance to be seen and heard and, hopefully, loved. For the rabid music fan or journalist, it's an overwhelming flood of musical discoveries.

Calexico: A Beautiful Breakup Song

Oct 23, 2012

The Tuscon, Ariz., band Calexico has made a career out of warping genres and musical traditions together into an eclectic, clever, original mix. Drawing upon jazz, alt-country, post-rock and a wide-ranging variety of Latin styles from mariachi to cumbia to Tex-Mex, Joey Burns and John Convertino (along with an ever-rotating cast of supporting players) have crafted a uniquely inclusive vision of indie-rock Americana.

Minnesota, a band featuring singer-songwriter Peter Himmelman, makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Grand Marais, Minn., in partnership with the North House Folk School. Himmelman appeared on Mountain Stage many years ago — way back in 1992 and '93 — but this is his first outing with Minnesota.

Alt-J On World Cafe

Oct 23, 2012

Alt-J (stylized as ∆) may be the most successful new British band of 2012 — a favorite to win the Mercury Music Prize in November and a Top 20 chart phenomenon in the U.K. The group, which chose its name from the mathematical symbol for change, made a splash with its debut album, An Awesome Wave, which came out in September. The record mixes upbeat indie rock and brooding synths with vocals that sound like no one else's in music today.

Roomful of Teeth is an exciting young vocal octet founded just three years ago and directed by Brad Wells. And if the group's name is a little, um, in your face, that's entirely intentional. Their eponymous debut album on New Amsterdam Records (funded via Kickstarter) is a thoroughly 21st-century re-imagining of a capella vocal music — experimental, multi-textured and more than ready to blur the lines between pop and art music.

This installment of the Latin Roots series for World Cafe explores bossa nova music, guided by Latin-music expert Ernesto Lechner. Lechner grew up in Buenos Aires, where his parents' record collection consisted of classical records and a solitary bossa nova LP. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he was immersed in Latin music and subsequently became a music journalist, publishing several books on the subject. Lechner co-hosts the radio show Latin Alternative and works as a contributing writer for Rolling Stone, L.A.

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