Produced by

Recent Episodes and Articles

Download: Karen Mantler Trio, 'My Cat Arnold Is Dead'

Friday, April 18, 2014

ARTIST: Karen Mantler Trio

DOWNLOAD

Karen Mantler, "My Cat Arnold Is Dead"

GIG: Tonight at Barbes ($10 suggested)

Karen Mantler’s long singing career contains enough reinvention for six careers. She has a new CD coming out in June, so expect to hear some of that tonight when she plays at Barbes. But she might even play a few songs off her album Pet Project -- a musical homage to her dead cat, Arnold. Which...is why this song is called “My Cat Arnold Is Dead.”

Read More

Comment

Conor Oberst, Live At Gigstock

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Every morning on WNYC, Soundcheck’s John Schaefer offers listeners a Gig Alert -- a profile of one outstanding artist set to perform that night in New York. Now, Soundcheck is presenting Gigstock, a mini-festival featuring another killer double-bill: Conor Oberst and James Vincent McMorrow.

Conor Oberst is best known for albums released under the name Bright Eyes. Since founding the project in the mid-1990's, Oberst has also been a solo artist and a collaborator in the indie super-group Monsters Of Folk, the Omaha punk band Desaparecidos and more. Before he sets out on a world tour with Dawes serving as his backing band and opening act, Oberst is set to release his latest solo record, Upside Down Mountain. Watch him preview all new material live in WNYC's Greene Space, recorded on April 10, 2014.

 

Read More

Comments [2]

James Vincent McMorrow, Live At Gigstock

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Every morning on WNYC, Soundcheck’s John Schaefer offers listeners a Gig Alert -- a profile of one outstanding artist set to perform that night in New York. Now, Soundcheck is presenting Gigstock, a mini-festival featuring another killer double-bill: Conor Oberst and James Vincent McMorrow.

The Dublin-based musician James Vincent McMorrow traveled to a pecan farm in Mexico to make his second album, Post Tropical, which he wrote, performed and produced himself. McMorrow stepped outside the comfort zone established by his acclaimed 2011 debut and embraced R&B, hip hop and experimental sounds. On tour with a backing band, McMorrow will perform solo on The Greene Space stage -- returning to the environmental conditions that led to Post Tropical.

 

Read More

Comment

Hear: R. Crumb And The East River String Band, Live On Soundcheck

Thursday, April 17, 2014

You'll probably recognize Robert Crumb from his artwork -- the prolific cartoonist was a founder of the underground "comix" movement, and illustrated iconic album covers for Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead. What you may not know is that from time to time, R. Crumb sits in on mandolin with the East River String Band, the New York City-based country blues duo of Eden Brower and John Heneghan.

An avid collector and evangelist of old-time blues, jazz and exotica, Crumb joins the East River String Band at the Bell House this Saturday for an evening set at the Brooklyn Folk Festival. Hear them perform some tunes from their newest record, last year's Take A Look At That Baby, in the Soundcheck studio and chat about how this collaboration began.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Live At Gigstock

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

For one night, Soundcheck and the concert calendar Web site Oh My Rockness joined forces to present Gigstock, a mini-festival featuring two freaking awesome bands: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Parquet Courts.

Led by singer, guitarist and lyricist Kip Berman, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart will soon release its third album, Days Of Abandon. Since the 2011 release of the Brooklyn group’s dream-pop influenced album, Belong, the band has re-imagined its sound and its lineup, and describes its latest effort as “joyful and full of light.”

Watch the band preview brand new songs from Days Of Abandon live in WNYC's Greene Space.

 

 

Read More

Comments [4]

Hear: White Hinterland, Live On Soundcheck

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Baby, Casey Dienel's third album under her moniker White Hinterland, arrives after a period of personal upheaval and reinvention. After living in Portland, Ore., Dienel felt stuck and anxious trying to juggle a job and her music. So she took a chance and moved back to her childhood home in Scituate, Mass., spent months assembling a studio in her parents’ basement, and taught herself production techniques from YouTube tutorials.

Read More

Comment

Song Premiere: Eternal Summers, 'Goodnight Goodbye'

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Well, Record Store Day is almost here again, and if you’re someone -- maybe like me -- prone to posting up in line obscenely early to get first crack at the goodies on your shopping list, there’s plenty of special releases to be found this Saturday.

One in particular seems especially enticing: Non-Violent Femmes, a compilation from Kanine Records showcasing previously unreleased tracks from a stunner lineup of many of my favorite female-fronted bands -- Speedy Ortiz, TEEN, Joanna Gruesome, Bleeding Rainbow, and many more. (All tracks are exclusive except Joanna Gruesome.) But you better grab this clear pink vinyl while you can: Non-Violent Femmes is reportedly a one-time-only pressing of 1,000 copies.

Today, we’ve got one of the songs from this fantastic comp by the dreamy punk trio Eternal Summers, “Goodnight Goodbye.”

 

Read More

Comment

Download: William Fitzsimmons, 'Fortune'

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ARTIST: William Fitzsimmons

DOWNLOAD

William Fitzsimmons, "Fortune"

GIG: Wednesday night at NYU's Skirball Center ($25-$36)

The first thing you notice about the Illinois singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons is his enormous beard. That is, until he starts to sing. Then you’ll likely be struck by the honesty of the lyrics and the simplicity of the songwriting that suffuses his new album Lions. A good example is the song “Fortune.” You can catch William Fitzsimmons (and that epic beard) tonight at Skirball Center at NYU.

Read More

Comment

Parquet Courts Play Live At Gigstock

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

For one night, Soundcheck and the concert calendar Web site Oh My Rockness joined forces to present Gigstock, a mini-festival featuring two freaking awesome bands: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Parquet Courts.

Parquet Courts exploded into New York music fans’ collective consciousness early last year, with the release of their blistering post-punk LP, Light Up Gold. The album earned them a mention in Soundcheck host John Schaefer’s “Top Ten Reasons Why New York Music Ruled The World In 2013.” Last fall, the four-piece band followed up with the EP Tally All The Things That You Broke. The band has just released the first single “Sunbathing Animal” from its upcoming full-length album, set to be released this summer.

Watch the young band preview some new material and play some favorites live in the Greene Space at WNYC.

 

 

Read More

Comment

Gigstock: Parquet Courts; The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart; Brooklyn Zine Fest

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In this episode: Last week, Soundcheck and concert calendar site Oh My Rockness joined forces to present the first night of Gigstock, a mini-festival held in WNYC's Greene Space.

Hear and watch The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Parquet Courts each play brand new material from two upcoming albums coming out this spring.

Plus, Matt Carmen and Kseniya Yarosh -- the founders of Brooklyn Zine Fest -- talk about this year's iteration and share some of their favorite zines. 

Read More

Comment

Kiss' Paul Stanley On Being Starchild, Discovering Beethoven And Entering The Hall Of Fame

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Last week at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine took the stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to introduce a band being inducted that evening. 

"Kiss was never a critic’s band," said Morello. "Kiss was a people’s band!" 

 

Read More

Comment

Pick Three: New York City Council Member Stephen Levin

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

As a member of the New York City Council, Stephen Levin represents the 33rd district, which includes some of Brooklyn's hippest, if not hipster-iest neighborhoods: Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Gowanus, and part of Bed-Stuy. It comes as no surprise that he's a big music fan. But Levin is also a musician who, for years, played bass in a band called Stylofone.

So what kind of music does this recovering musician-turned-politician listen to? Soundcheck was curious too, so we invited him to share a few favorite songs as part of our Pick Three series (including a pair of bands with whom he shares a personal connection), talk about bass players, and finally address the pesky rumor that he was a member of MGMT (spoiler alert: he's not).

Read More

Comment

Gig Alert: Hear Juana Molina's 'Wed 21'

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ARTIST: Juana Molina

LISTEN:

Juana Molina, "Wed 21"

GIG: Tuesday evening at Le Poisson Rouge ($20)

The Argentine singer Juana Molina’s recent album Wed 21 was her first in five years. But her strikingly catchy blend of loops and quirky harmonies remains wholly intact. The main percussion on the title track sounds the way a mattress does when kids jump on it. The song might get you jumping too. Juana Molina is at Le Poisson Rouge tonight.

BONUS: Check out Juana Molina's appropriately bizarre video for the song "Eras"...

 

 

Read More

Comment

Kiss Co-Founder Paul Stanley; A Political Pick Three; Roy Nathanson Plays Live

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In this episode: Fresh off of Kiss' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we talk with co-founder Paul Stanley -- known to fans as “Starchild” -- about meeting Gene Simmons, the ear deformity that affects his hearing, writing the unofficial anthem of rock and roll, and why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is important for Kiss fans.

Then: Stephen Levin, New York City Council member for the 33rd district (which includes some of the hipster-iest parts of New York: Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights and part of Bed-Stuy) shares a Pick Three of some favorite new music.

And: Saxophonist and bandleader Roy Nathanson assembles another of his all-star New York bands to play songs that fuse jazz, pop harmonies, beatboxing and poetry. Hear the band play live in the Soundcheck studio.

Read More

Comment

Kristeen Young: Beguiling And Visceral Rock

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

For many, Kristeen Young first made a splash in a performance with Morrissey on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2007, wearing a handcrafted yet futuristic "bubble dress" that could rival anything in Lady Gaga's wardrobe. But more, it was her soaring voice and beguiling stage presence that managed to steal a little spotlight from Moz himself. He's such a devoted fan in fact, that he's frequently handpicked her for a series of tours, including one that begins this May. But Morrissey is not the only fan of Young's music: She's written for and recorded duets with David Bowie and Placebo's Brian Molko.

Now, following her 2011 high-concept EP, V The Volcanic, Kristeen Young is set to drop a new album, The Knife Shift. Produced by frequent Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, it's an intense collection of bold rockers propelled by the furious drumming skills of Dave Grohl. Still, at the heart of these visceral songs is Young's catchy yet operatic vocals and a distinct percussive piano style that has already won over some of music's biggest names.

 

Read More

Comments [1]

Nas: Still 'Illmatic' At Twenty

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nasir Jones -- the hugely successful and influential rap emcee known as Nas -- is one of the greatest musical voices to emerge from New York City. His 1994 debut, Illmatic, announced him as a premier voice in the burgeoning world of hip hop, and it continues to be honored at the top of all-time best-of lists for its unflinching look at poverty, race, class, and spirituality, as seen through the lens of a twenty-year-old resident of a Queens housing project. Five of the album’s ten tracks reached single status. 

Since his debut, Nas has consistently been regarded as one of hip hop's leading lights. These days, he's also known as an entrepreneur, a mogul, and an actor. A new documentary film about the making of Illmatic is opening the Tribeca Film Festival, and the record is being re-released as Illmatic XX.

In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Nas reflets on his early musical influences (including his father, jazz cornetist Olu Dara) and the ways in which his city has changed in the last 20 years.

Read More

Comment

Remembering Fred Ho

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fred Ho, the baritone sax player, composer, and bandleader, died this weekend in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 56. And that tells you nothing you need to know about Fred Ho.

Ho was one of the most colorful characters I’ve come across. Some of that was the clothes. I've never believed that “clothes make the man,” but in this case, the man made the clothes and they reflected who he was. Brilliantly colored and clearly referencing his own Asian roots, Fred’s shirts and jackets were as much a statement of who he was and what he stood for as his music.

But it was more than that: Fred Ho was a powerfully built man with a shaved head and a ready smile. I’d occasionally see him bicycling around Brooklyn -- because he refused to buy a car -- and if he saw me he’d stop and we’d catch up. The last time was probably around five years ago, when he was already two years into his war on cancer, as he insisted on calling it. It was a war he could not win, but that didn’t stop him from fighting it, loudly and publicly.

Read More

Comments [2]

Download This: Tongues In Trees, 'Meri Bhavana'

Monday, April 14, 2014

ARTIST: Tongues In Trees

DOWNLOAD

Tongues In Trees, "Meri Bhavana"

GIG: Monday night at Nublu ($10)

Indie dream pop and Indian rhythms collide in the band Tongues In Trees. The group includes members of the Brooklyn bhangra dance outfit Red Baraat and alt-classical group itsnotyouitsme, so the sound is equal parts Sonic Youth and Sufi trance. Though the song "Meri Bhavana" is the group at its quietest and most contemplative. Catch Tongues In Trees at Nublu tonight.

BONUS: Check out the rhythmic chops on the band's co-founder and drummer, Sunny Jain:

Read More

Comments [1]

Nas On 'Illmatic's 20th Anniversary; Radiolab Looks At Hip Hop, Race And Tastemakers

Monday, April 14, 2014

In this episode: You can call him an entrepreneur, a mogul and an actor. But Nasir Jones -- the hugely successful and influential rap emcee Nas -- is best known as one of the greatest musical voices to emerge from New York City. In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Nas reflects on his 1994 debut album Illmatic -- which now being reissued to commemorate its 20th anniversary -- and a documentary film.

Then: Soundcheck presents a new Radiolab podcast segment called “Straight Outta Chevy Chase,” about Peter Rosenberg of the New York hip hop station Hot 97. Raised in suburban Maryland, Rosenberg hustled his way into an on-air position at the country’s most powerful tastemaker in rap, R&B and more. Now, he’s something of an arbiter of authenticity in the genre, so-called “real hip hop.”

Read More

Liv Warfield: An Edgy And Soulful Voice

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Unexpected, Liv Warfield's new album, is not simply a sophomore album, but a reinvention. It's been seven years since the supremely talented singer and guitarist's debut was released, and in that time, she's honed her craft with none other than Prince, collaborating closely with him and his band New Power Generation. In fact, Prince has acted as a frequent supporter and mentor to Warfield's solo career -- he served as executive producer on this new album, and even co-wrote a few songs.

But the music and vision comes entirely from Warfield, who skillfully blends R&B, soul, and hard-driving rock on The Unexpected. And Warfield has recently won over big audiences thanks her charming stage presence and infectious sound on both Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (pre-Tonight Show) and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Read More

Comments [1]