Produced by

Recent Episodes and Articles

Listen to Brahms String Quartet No. 1 in C minor Op. 51

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ARTIST: Belcea Quartet

LISTEN:

Belcea Quartet, Brahms: String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51  

GIG: Wednesday night at Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall

The Belcea Quartet is an multinational group – its members hail from Romania, Poland and France. Tonight, they’ll be transporting their Carnegie Hall audience back to their European stomping grounds… with a program of works all originally premiered in Vienna.

Read More

Comment

Revisit 'WKRP,' Now With Its Original Songs

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On one of his first days at WNYC in 2007, longtime Soundcheck producer Joel Meyer scheduled an interview with Hugh Wilson, the creator and executive producer of WKRP In Cincinnati -- the TV show that inspired him to work at a radio station in the first place. Except that interview never happened: A backhoe took out Wilson's telephone minutes before the show went live. Joel's history with WKRP runs deep. He saw the show first with his family huddled around the TV during dinner time, and now he sings the show's theme song to his newborn baby.

Read More

Comment

'Twin Peaks' Is Returning To Television, But What About The Music?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In April 1990, television viewers were welcomed into the distinctive and eerie town of Twin Peaks. The show, created by auteur David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Eraserhead) and Mark Frost  (Hill Street Blues, Fantastic Four) immediately captivated fans with its mysterious plot line, centered on the murder of a young woman named Laura Palmer. 

While its first season was a hit for ABC, after its plotline got increasingly bizarre, the show was cancelled in its second season. But Twin Peaks has lived on -- not only in the cult canon, but through its innovative cinematic aura, bizarre kitschy vibe, and serialized approach. Its impact can be seen on shows like The X-Files, LOST, and even shows like The Sopranos, or this year's The Leftovers.

Equally fundamental to setting the tone of the show was its original soundtrack and theme song, composed by Angelo Badalamenti. The show's original music -- which quickly shifted from charming and innocent to sinister and menacing -- was released on an internationally successful album, and its theme song picked up a Grammy Award for "Best Pop Instrumental Performance" in 1991.  

Read More

Comment

Little May: Lovely And Lonely Folk Pop From Sydney

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Little May makes folky indie pop songs that perch precariously between the spaciously lonely sound of Local Natives and the lovely, soft harmonies of First Aid Kit. The Sydney, Australia trio -- comprised of Hannah Field, Liz Drummond and Annie Hamilton -- began by covering songs like Eagle Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight" in high school, but once they started creating music of their own in 2012, the band quickly made the rounds at big festivals like Splendour in the Grass, BIGSOUND and Laneway.  

Read More

Comment

Thurston Moore: After Sonic Youth, A New Chapter Begins

Monday, October 20, 2014

Following the dissolution of Sonic Youth -- due to a very public separation between Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon -- each member of the beloved and influential band went their separate ways. For most artists fresh from an emotional break up, redefining yourself and finding something new outside the context of the band can come with some growing pains. For Moore, it’s been an opportunity to further explore aspects of his shape-shifting yet identifiable sound in different musical settings. First there was his Beck-produced 2011 album, Demolished Thoughts -- an introspective, almost spiritual acoustic record, full of evocative layers of guitars and strings. Then in 2012, he formed his new band Chelsea Light Moving, which put out its white noise punk debut last year. Now, Moore is back again with another solo effort, The Best Day

Read More

Comment

Interview: Mark Mothersbaugh On 'Myopia'

Monday, October 20, 2014

For most, the name Mark Mothersbaugh conjures an image of men in strange hats and matching jumpsuits playing synthesizers with a robotic gusto. But before his time performing in the influential new wave band Devo, or his work as an acclaimed TV and film composer, Mothersbaugh had his sights set on the visual arts.

Now, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado is presenting a retrospective exhibition which blends the visual and the musical work of Mothersbaugh. In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Mothersbaugh shares his thoughts on the showcase, its accompanying book, Myopia, and his love for blurring the line between multimedia art and music.

Below, view selections from Mothersbaugh's book, Myopia.

A selection from Mark Mothersbaugh's 'Myopia.'
Read More

Comments [1]

Download This: Quando Eu Canto

Monday, October 20, 2014

ARTIST: Sammy Figueroa & Glaucia Nasser

DOWNLOAD:  Sammy Figuero and Glaucia Nasser, 'Quando Eu Canto'

GIG: Monday 9 PM at Zinc Bar

Famed jazz percussionist Sammy Figueroa and Brazilian singer-songwriter Glaucia Nasser joined forces for a perfect balance of great musicianship and soaring vocals in their latest album Talisman recorded in Sao Paulo. Featuring guitarist Chico Pinheiro, pianist/composer Bianca Gismonti and pandeiro virtuoso Bernardo Aquilar this album is full of textures, including track, "Quando Eu Canto." ‘Like peanut butter and chocolate’, this combination of Latin jazz percussion and Brazilian song result in a delicious and unexpected treat.

Read More

Comment

The Visual Art Of Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh; Perfume Genius Plays Live

Monday, October 20, 2014

In this episode: Mark Mothersbaugh is one of the founding members of the band Devo and an acclaimed TV and film composer. But Devo is one small part of a decades-long exploration of what Mothersbaugh considers a kind of cultural “de-evolution." Mothersbaugh’s many different visual depictions of this de-evolution are the subjects of a new book, Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia.

Then: Perfume Genius' newest album, Too Bright, is an electronically-textured telling of painfully personal stories inspired by bullying and homophobia. Hear him perform his single "Queen" and more in the Soundcheck studio.

Read More

Comments [1]

Ten Years Later, William Shatner Is Still No 'Has Been'

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's safe to say that 2004 was a great year for rock thanks to monumental indie rock albums like Arcade Fire's Funeral, The Killers' Hot Fuss and Interpol's Antics -- just to name a few. But that year also brought us an overlooked yet successful album that likely doesn't get mentioned in the same company: William Shatner's Has Been.

Back in 2004, as the title suggests, Shatner was not quite the A-list actor he once was in his Star Trek peak, let alone those T.J. Hooker days. As a longtime thespian and all-around showman, Has Been was not the first time the actor best known for playing Capt. James T. Kirk on TV and in movies had dabbled with music. First there was his delightfully misunderstood 1968 record, The Transformed Man, which coupled cosmic Shakespearean readings and spoken-word interpretations of pop songs like "Tambourine Man" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." Then, in 1978, he hosted The Science Fiction Film Awards where he performed a fantastic and utterly bizarro version Elton John's "Rocket Man."

Read More

Comment

The Budos Band: The Staten Island Afro-Soul Group Isn't Afraid To Get Heavy

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Budos Band may describe its sound as "Staten Island instrumental afro-soul," but trying to unpack the musical elements can be fun challenge. Listen for those polyrhythmic Afrobeat rhythms and deep funk grooves; the jazz-infused solos and soulful melodies; and the sonic experimentation of 1960's psychedelic rock. The Budos Band has done it all in ecstatic live performances that get a crowd moving.

Read More

Comments [2]

Download This: Julianna Barwick, 'One Half'

Friday, October 17, 2014

ARTIST: Julianna Barwick

DOWNLOAD: 

Julianna Barwick, 'One Half'  

GIG: Saturday at The Wick 9:00 PM

Ambient folk artist Julianna Barwick creates her sound by looping her own angelic vocals. She adds minimalistic guitar and piano to create full ambient atmospheres. Currently living in Brooklyn, Barwick was raised in Missouri and credits her sound to rural church choirs. "One Half" comes from her latest album Nepenthe.

Read More

Comment

William Shatner's 'Has Been' Ten Years Later; Marco Benevento Plays Live; That Was A Hit?!? On 'Disco Duck'

Friday, October 17, 2014

In this episode: Writer Dan Ozzi says 2004 was a “monumental year in indie culture.” So why did he recently write about William Shatner’s oddball release of that year, Has Been – a half-sung, half-spoken word collaboration between the Star Trek alum and Ben Folds? Plus, Ozzi dives into some of the other indie releases of that year, from bands like Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio and The Killers.

Then: For his latest album, Swift, keyboardist Marco Benevento collaborated with producer extraordinaire Richard Swift, and sings for the first time. Hear him and his band perform some of those new songs in the Soundcheck studio.

And: Memphis music historian Robert Gordon delves into the unlikely success of "Disco Duck," by local radio DJ Rick Dees.

Read More

Comment

Anthrax's Scott Ian On Thrash Metal, The Yankees, And Beard Conditioning

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The new memoir from Anthrax's Scott Ian is called 'I'm The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax.'

In addition to sporting one of the most famous beards in music, Scott Ian is also a founding member of the band Anthrax. After spending his formative years as a Yankee-loving kid in Mets territory, Ian dove into New York's punk scene and eventually co-founded Anthrax in 1981. (His facial hair was founded not long after.)

Along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, the band would go on to become one of the so-called "Big Four" bands that defined the sound of thrash metal. Now, Ian tells his version of the band's origin story, and details the highs and lows of Anthrax's long career in his new memoir, I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax

In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, he reflects on his most memorable performances, the band's surprising rap-metal crossover hit and his childhood love of Black Sabbath and KISS. 

Read More

Comments [1]

Streets Of Laredo: Crossing Hemispheres With Crazed Cowboy Folk

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Streets Of Laredo -- the band, not the book or the country song -- formed when brothers Dave and Dan Gibson were at something of a crossroads. Dave had put in time with many New Zealand rock bands, but had put that career on hold to run a t-shirt company. Meanwhile, his younger brother began to feel burnt out from his own music projects, and was looking to step away altogether. Dave offered him a job filing shirt orders, and soon, the two began writing songs again -- this time, together. Soon, Dave's wife Sarahjane joined in. After only one hometown show, Streets Of Laredo took the plunge and moved to the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Along the way, the band picked up a few more musicians, and expanded its bi-continental cowboy folk lineup into a sprawling seven-piece ensemble.

Read More

Comment

Video Premiere: Nude Beach, 'For You'

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Some bands have a few songs so immediately fun they can change the air in the room. Nude Beach must have at least 20 of ‘em -- each built to win over anyone in the crowd, no matter their tastes. Looking for scruffy punk bangers or spirit-lifting jangling melodies? Hoping for a few triumphantly ripping glam rock solos? What about some good old Heartland AM radio pop or souped-up muscle car rockers made for open-window drives? On its sprawling and satisfying 18-song double album, 77, the Brooklyn trio’s members -- singer and guitarist Chuck Betz, bassist Jimmy Shelton, and drummer Ryan Naideau -- have got you more than covered.

From that first shuffling drum fill that opens Nude Beach’s latest single, “For You,” that feel-good vibe is especially tangible -- and even more so, when you see that song's smile-inducing new music video.

Read More

Comment

Subway Songs: A Soundtrack From The Ears Of A New York Newcomer

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One night, while waiting on the Grand Central Station subway platform, the cleaning crews non-discriminately sprayed burning hot water on the stairs above where I was standing. A puddle dropped at my feet, splattering in my face. A young woman next to me said, “There’s nothing like the fluorescent lights of the subway to melt away a magical night.” We agreed, and soon exchanged stories of our night.

Since I moved to New York about a month ago, the subway has been an endless supply of frustrated inspiration and, in this case, horror. But, as a newcomer, I still think there’s a certain mystical charm about the subway. There's nothing quite like sharing close quarters and occasional stories with the full spectrum of humanity.

That communion with public transportation is a new thing to me. I'm from Colorado -- where we bike or drive. But here, I've quickly noticed each line has it's own personality. The best way I know to describe a feeling, situation -- or in this case cars full of people strung together, is with music. I've paired songs that I believe match the character of my limited subway commute, music diary style.

What's the soundtrack to your subway line? What songs do you like to listen to? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter at @Soundcheck.

Read More

Comment

Download This: Homeboy Sandman, "America The Beautiful"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

ARTIST: Homeboy Sandman

DOWNLOAD: 

Homeboy Sandman, "America, The Beautiful"  

GIG: Thursday night at Glasslands 8:30 PM

The lyrical talent of the Queens-based rapper known as Homeboy Sandman is on full display on his new record, “Hallways.” Funny, scathing, and always politically engaged – all qualities that show up on the track “America, The Beautiful.” 

Read More

Comment

Scott Ian, 'That Guy From Anthrax' Has A New Memoir; 'Stations Of The Elevated' Revisited; Sinkane Plays Live

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In this episode: In addition to sporting one of music's most famous beards, Scott Ian is also a founding member of the longtime New York metal band Anthrax. The thrash metal pioneer has a new memoir, I'm The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax.

Then: Director Manny Kirchheimer’s 1981 film, Stations Of The Elevated, was an early musical portrait of New York’s subway graffiti culture at its peak in the late 1970s. More than 30 years after its release, the film is being revisited with a run of showings at BAM. Kirchheimer looks back at this documentation of this bygone era – and the film’s soundtrack of music by Charles Mingus.

And: Ahmed Gallab has had a busy year. He directed a musical tribute to the Nigerian synth-funk musician William Onyeabor – a collaboration that included musicians like David Byrne, Joshua Redman and Dev Hynes of Blood Orange. And, Ahmed just released a new album under his moniker Sinkane, Mean Love. He and his band play some of it live in the Soundcheck studio.

Read More

Comment

'Stations Of The Elevated' Fuses Train Graffiti And Mingus

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In the late 1970s, graffiti-covered subway cars were as much a part of New York City's iconic landscape as the Empire State Building. But the art form was mostly despised. Graffiti was criminalized by city officials, erased from subway trains, and ignored by the high-art community. Then in 1977, the radical filmmaker Manfred Kirchheimer documented those painted trains rumbling through the Bronx and Brooklyn -- and forever changed the way we view the medium. His 45-minute film, Stations Of The Elevated, premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1981, is now considered a cult classic among graffiti artists.

Read More

Comment

Hear: Marco Benevento, Live On Soundcheck

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For years, Marco Benevento has created jazz-inflected, post-rock instrumentals which feature him on an array of instruments -- from pianos and keyboards to tape loops and circuit-bent electronics. His music is easily recognizable, full of winding passages and layered electronics and singable, memorable melodies. So for those familiar with Benevento's work (or maybe from Soundcheck's very own theme song, "Eagle Rock"), one thing will immediately jump out with his new record: For the first time, the longtime keyboardist is singing.

Read More

Comment