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Recent Episodes and Articles

We Were Promised Jetpacks: Brooding And Bittersweet Scots

Friday, November 21, 2014

The members of We Were Promised Jetpacks were only 19-year-old University students in Glasgow when they released their moody and emo-ish debut These Four Walls in 2009. 

The Scotland band's third record, Unravelling, reveals substantial maturity amid the diamond-sharp hooks. Recorded in Glasgow with Paul Savage (Teenage Fanclub, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai), it features the acute angles of that producer's past work and also a fuller array of sounds, courtesy of the band's new multi-instrumentalist, Stuart McGachan. His addition comes nearly ten years after the original formation of Adam Thompson (vocals, guitar), Michael Palmer (guitar), Sean Smith (bass), and Darren Lackie (drums / backing vocals).

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Sweater Songs: A Cozy Playlist For A Gloomy Season

Friday, November 21, 2014

It's November, which means those crisp fall days have descended into gloomy, wet and bitterly cold days, and as temperatures quickly drop into that "I never want to leave my apartment ever again" -range, it’s time to stop denying the ever-approaching polar vortex. But if there's one upside to frigid temperatures and bone-chilling winds, it's that glorious feeling of putting on a cozy sweater.

This got us thinking about some songs that capture that unyielding autumnal sentiment and the joy of being enshrouded in knit-blend material. So if you're looking for some tunes to keep you company while cooped up in the house, we've compiled some of our favorite "Sweater Songs" and put together handy Spotify playlist. Put on that big puffy sweater, pour yourself some cocoa, hit play and enjoy.

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A Playlist For Extra-Terrestrial Explorers

Friday, November 21, 2014

With the recent success of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, the tragedy of the Virgin Galactic rocket ship and the release of Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar, the idea of space exploration is once again at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But before we blast off into parts unknown we should first sort out a few things on the ground – like what we will listen to out there. 

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Listen To This: We Were Promised Jetpacks, "I Keep It Composed"

Friday, November 21, 2014

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Esmé Patterson Responds To The Beach Boys In Her New Music Video

Thursday, November 20, 2014

From Elvis Costello's "Alison" to Townes Van Zandt's "Loretta," we're probably all familiar with the stories of the men who wrote songs about their sultry muses and lovers that scorned them. But what about the women behind these songs? On her latest album, Woman To WomanEsmé Patterson decided to give voices to the ladies lost in rock lyrics with a record comprised of response songs to some of our favorite pop hits.

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The Barr Brothers: Delicately Planted Folk Rock

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adjacency is what makes The Barr Brothers tick. In the most literal sense, it was the act of moving in next door to harpist Sara Page that catalyzed Brad and Andrew Barr into a new band. The brothers had moved to Montreal in the wake of the demise of their New England-based avant-rock trio The Slip. Folding Sara's intricate harp runs into their sound, and adding multi-instrumentalist Andrew Vial, the newly consolidated The Barr Brothers created a lush and eclectic folk rock that earned them a Polaris Prize nomination on their first outing. Their sound is in the adjacency of polyrhythmic drums, delicate accents, and sprawling guitars -- a melange that would swamp less capable groups.  

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Emmy The Great Lives Up To Her Name With 'Swimming Pool'

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I first heard Emma-Lee Moss (a.k.a. Emmy The Great) in 2009, when the producer and songwriter Fatboy Slim invited her to be a part of his Brighton Port Authority project. The name struck me as slightly presumptuous. But then I heard her contribution to the album. “Seattle” was cool and elusive and beautiful, and it also featured one of the most poetic descriptions of a sunrise I’ve ever heard in song: "I’ve never seen a blue sky forming / Like a wire warming up America." Brilliant.

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Download This: Chicha Libre, "Guns Of Brixton"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

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Interview: Jessie Ware On 'Tough Love' And Working With Miguel And Ed Sheeran

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's said musicians find writing their sophomore album is harder than the first. But for English singer songwriter Jessie Ware, creating her second album, Tough Love, was as smooth as her soulful voice. She wrote the songs that became her new record in three different cities - -New York, Los Angeles, and her home in London -- at an especially hectic time: in the midst of her engagement and subsequent marriage.

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Download This: Sketches, "Caught In The Storm"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ARTIST: Sketches

GIG: Wednesday night at Cornelia Street Cafe

Collaboration is the driving force behind the Brooklyn-based jazz quintet known as Sketches. Each of their compositions begins when one member offers a tiny musical fragment. The tiny idea is then developed by another member, and finally completed by the band as a whole, democratically. Hear how that process is realized on this track, “Caught in the Storm.”

Sketches will be performing their New York CD release show for their album Volume 2 tonight at Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village.  

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The Touré-Raichel Collective: When Israeli Melodies And Malian Rhythms Collide

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Idan Raichel met Malian guitar virtuoso Vieux Farka Touré in a chance encounter in 2008. Raichel, one of Israeli top-selling pop stars and keyboard player, was already an admirer of Touré's music -- as well as the work of his father, the late Ali Farka Touré -- for many years before they crossed paths at a German airport. And when Touré performed a concert in Tel Aviv, Raichel sat in. Soon thereafter, the two met up in studio for a jam session, recording for three hours, and kindling a strong collaboration that became the Touré-Raichel Collective. 

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Watch: Kimbra, Live In The Greene Space

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Most of us got to know New Zealand singer and guitarist Kimbra from her 2012 duet with the Belgian-Australian singer Gotye, called "Somebody That I Used to Know." In addition to becoming a chart-topping hit, the song also won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and was accompanied by a highly-viewed stop-motion music video that featured both singers' bodies being covered with patterns of paint. 

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Listen To This: Touré-Raichel Collective, "Hodu"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ARTIST: Touré-Raichel Collective

GIG: Tuesday night at Symphony Space and Tuesday afternoon live-stream at WNYC

When Malian guitar virtuoso Vieux Farka Touré first collaborated with the Israeli keyboardist and composer Idan Raichel, they recorded in Tel Aviv, and called the superb resulting album The Tel Aviv Session. The two have gotten together once again -- but this time they recorded in Paris. Care to wager what they called the album? Here’s the song “Hodu” from The Paris Session.

You can see the Toure-Raichel Collective live tonight at Symphony Space – OR  catch a special live stream from our studio at 2 ET

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Jimmy Page Saved Everything So It Didn't End Up On EBay

Monday, November 17, 2014

When you've lived as a rock god for as long as Jimmy Page has, it's useful to have a camera handy. Instead of spilling ever more ink on Led Zeppelin's famous journeys to the land of black magic and sexual excess, Page decided to create a photographic autobiography -- the result of which is his new book, Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page. The guitarist curated more than 600 rare and never-before-seen photos from before, during and after his time with Led Zeppelin, and added his own notes (for example, a picture of a bottle-swilling Page is simply captioned "homeopathic remedy.")

In his extensive conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Page talks about his attempt to play the most-heard guitar solo in the world, how he somehow still has his hearing, and why he never throws anything away.

Also, hear Soundcheck's interview with Robert Plant.

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Download This: Anawan, "Smokes In The Sun"

Monday, November 17, 2014

ARTIST: Anawan

GIG: Monday night at Baby's All Right

Anawan is a 5-piece from Red Hook, Brooklyn, that strives for the avant garde in folk music.  On their website they say that they are trying to carve out an alternative mode of being-in-the-world, and part of that includes completely avoiding social media. Here’s their song, “Smokes in the Sun.”

 

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Until The Ribbon Breaks: Elusive And Cinematic Electronic Pop

Friday, November 14, 2014

Until The Ribbon Breaks has yet to put much music out there, but it's clear even in its few singles and five-song EP, A Taste Of Silver, that the U.K. electronic pop trio has arrived practically fully-formed. There's a dark quality in the music of Until The Ribbon Breaks; it's spare and elusive, yet visually stimulating. You can hear it in songs like "Pressure," which evokes the pulpiness of Tarantino flicks and the eerie cinematic tone of David Lynch films. In fact, singer Peter Lawrie Winfield cut together his own music video for that song using footage from Lynch's 1997 film, Lost Highway. Throughout its songs, the programmed electronic beats are sparse, yet are bass heavy and danceable enough to propel the grinding synths and robotic samples which serve as the bed for singer Winfield's soulful voice.

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The Jesus and Mary Chain: Still Influential, 30 Years After 'Psychocandy'

Friday, November 14, 2014

Zoe Howe's 'The Jesus   Mary Chain: Barbed Wire Kisses' is out now.

As the 1980s became the '90s, a new sound from the UK began to rumble across the Atlantic: Built around countless layers of heavily distorted guitars and fuzzed out, yet melodic vocals, the music made by bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive was eventually dubbed "shoegaze." But anyone who traced that sound back to the source would know The Jesus And Mary Chain, and its groundbreaking album Psychocandy, which is considered by many to be the first and finest in the genre.

While The Jesus And Mary Chain is mostly known in the States for those radio-friendly, poppier songs like "Sometimes Always" and "Just Like Honey," the band had a far grittier reputation back in the U.K.

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The Strange Dream World Of Singer Peggy Lee

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Most don't immediately associate the blues with blonde-haired, alabaster-skinned Scandinavian women. But Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Ray Charles all agreed that when Peggy Lee sang, they heard an unmistakable quality, a tone we've come to call "softly, with feeling." They heard the blues. 

"Peggy had this air of strangeness and mystery about her that you couldn't quite identify when you heard her sing," James Gavin, author of the biography Is That All There Is? The Strange Life Of Peggy Lee, says in a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer. "But there was just something askew about Peggy Lee when you heard her sing that set the imagination awhirl." 

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Video Premiere: High Ends, 'Intoxicated'

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One would think that after years of constant touring, a hiatus between albums would be a welcome respite to decompress from music -- or at least allow time to catch up on a little TV. For Yukon Blonde frontman Jeffrey Innes, it meant getting back to work, writing songs intended for a new collaborative project. But when his friends ended up being busy on the road, the Vancouver songwriter instead recorded the songs himself under a new moniker, High Ends.

For his recently-released debut, Super Class, Innes worked quickly, making sound-rich rockers built around grinding synth textures, clicking electronic beats, and poppy hooks. You can hear it in the single “Intoxicated,” a song about a disintegrating relationship where he can only express his feelings when he’s drunk, and much too late: “When I’m intoxicated, I love you / Everything you do, I’m addicted to your indifference...” sings Innes in the opening lines.

Still, for a song about dependency and heartache, High Ends’ new music video is actually quite cute and sunny.

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Download This: Glen David Andrews, 'NY to Nola'

Thursday, November 13, 2014

ARTIST: Glen David Andrews

GIG: Thursday night at the Lincoln Center

Trombonist and gospel shouter Glen David Andrews was born in the historic New Orleans neighborhood of Treme, considered by many to be the center of the brass band universe. It’s also the namesake of an HBO show, in which some of Andrew's music appears.

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