Produced by

Recent Episodes and Articles

Download This: "I’ve Got You Under My Skin"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ARTIST: Storm Large

DOWNLOAD:

Storm Large, "I've Got You Under My Skin"  

GIG: Thursday night at Joe's Pub

Storm Large got quite a bit of attention as a finalist on the CBS talent-show known as “Rockstar: Supernova,” hosted by Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction fame. Fast forward a few years, and Storm Large is quite a bit more than a flash-in-the-pan TV sensation. Among other projects, she’s led the jazz-lounge act Pink Martini. Download her sultry version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”  

 

Read More

Comment

James: Ruminating On Life And Death And Pop

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Many in the U.S. will remember James for a single song, “Laid” – with its dryly funny, gender-bending video -- which came out on the Brian Eno-produced album of the same name in 1993The British pop band continued on throughout the '90s, putting out a slew of other fine records. But after 1999's Millionaires failed to live up to expectations, and 2001's Eno-produced Pleased To Meet You didn't seem to recapture the band's early magic, James began to fracture and singer Tim Booth went on to pursue a solo career.

Read More

Comments [2]

'The Death Of Klinghoffer' Spurs Protests

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

John Adams' 1991 opera The Death Of Klinghoffer is an operatic telling of a true story about the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled American appliance manufacturer who was singled out by Palestinian terrorists when they hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt in 1985. 

Since its creation, the opera has often ignited controversy -- and the latest production is no exception. This week, the Metropolitan Opera performed the opera for the very first time, as part of a new production running until November 15. Outside of the opera's Lincoln Center home, hundreds of protesters -- including former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani -- gathered to voice their passionate distaste for the opera's choice of repertoire. 

In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, The New York Times classical music and dance reporter Michael Cooper describes the scene on opening night, and explains why the opera is so controversial. 

Read a review from opening night of 'Death of Klinghoffer' from WQXR.

Read More

Comment

Why Has 'Pure Imagination' Been Covered So Many Times?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On Thursday, Oct. 30 Soundcheck is hosting an afternoon Halloween costume party with the band Primus, who will be performing selections from its new Willy Wonka-inspired record. Go here for more details.

The 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is filled with classic and oh-so-memorable songs written by the songwriting duo Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley: "The Candy Man,"I've Got A Golden Ticket," and, of course, "Oompa Loompa" -- which repeatedly serves as thematic interludes for each character. But perhaps no song from the movie has taken on a life of its own more than "Pure Imagination," performed by actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka himself.

 

As it turns out, “Pure Imagination” has been reworked, modified and reinterpreted hundreds of times by an array of artists -- from Lou Rawls to Maroon 5 to Fiona Apple. Even Primus is dipping into the world of reimagination. The delightfully quirky alt-rock weirdos are set to put out Primus And The Chocolate Factory, a new collection inspired by the music original Willy Wonka film -- and even releasing it on chocolate-colored vinyl. 

In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, entertainment reporter Gary Burton explains why "Pure Imagination" has become such a beloved staple, and who has recorded the best, and worst versions.

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

Comments [1]

Eight Must-Hear Bands At CMJ 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wait, hold on, is it really mid-October already? That means this week is probably occupied by one of two things: the World Series or the CMJ Music Marathon -- and in my case, both. This week -- roughly today through Saturday, Oct. 25, give or take a few pre and post-parties -- countless college radio kids, journalists, music industry folks descend upon New York for an endless buffet of hundreds of young and upcoming bands and musicians. And for a city already brimming with endless options and distractions, CMJ can be logistically overwhelming: For me, mapping out a schedule very quickly starts to look like some chaotic collage of photos and notes and string all plastered to my bedroom wall -- like when Claire Danes goes off her meds in Homeland.

When trying to decide where to be and which bands to seek out, you’ll see plenty of recognizable names playing this week, but discovery is sorta the name of the game for CMJ -- and it’s always exciting to come across a new band you’ve never heard of, and fall hard for. Last year alone, I caught sets from some of my now-favorite bands: Perfect Pussy, Pity Sex, Joanna Gruesome, and Hop Along. I came across some Australian songwriter whose glorious guitarwork was only out-shined by her clever, wry wordplay -- none other than Courtney Barnett. And, I also was able to see one of the first shows from the riff-heavy Mary Timony-fronted D.C. band Ex Hex.

So yeah, if you’re in New York, CMJ is the perfect chance to play a little game of fortune-telling. It's fun to try to forecast which young bands playing this year will be even bigger in six months or a year’s time. Not everything is a hit, of course, but if you're lucky, maybe you'll come away having found something new.

And to help get you started, a couple of us at Soundcheck (well, me and our intern who's actually still in college) have combed over the official schedules and less-than-official goings on to pinpoint a small handful of bands we're really excited to check out this year.

Read More

Comment

Revisiting WKRP In Cincinnati; Twin Peaks Is Back, But What About Its Music?; Streets Of Laredo Plays Live

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In this episode: On his last day in the office before departing for a new job, Soundcheck executive producer Joel Meyer interviews the man behind the TV series that made him want to work in radio in the first place -- WKRP In Cincinnati. The show’s being issued on DVD with most of the music from its original soundtrack -- no mean feat, for a show that featured the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney, among many others. We talk with the show’s creator, Hugh Wilson.

Then: Another beloved TV series, Twin Peaks, is making a return to TV after 25 years. Grantland writer Andy Greenwald delves into the music from the original David Lynch/Mark Frost series and speculates about what we might expect musically from Twin Peaks 2.0.

And: Streets of Laredo — the band, not the novel or the cowboy song — formed in New Zealand. But after just one hometown show, they packed up their gear and headed to Brooklyn. Along the way, brothers David and Dan Gibson and Dan’s wife Sarah picked up a few more musicians, and expanded their bi-continental cowboy folk lineup into a studio-packing seven piece. Hear the band perform in the Soundcheck studio.

Read More

Comment

Download This: James, "Moving On"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ARTIST: James

DOWNLOAD:

James, 'Moving On'  

GIG: Tuesday night at Webster Hall

The British rock band James showed such promise in the early 1990s that they enticed famed producer Brian Eno away from his wildly successful experiments with a little Irish band named U2. That record, called Laid, was itself a great success, and the band has been an on-again, off-again affair ever since. It’s on for now, with a new record called La Petite Mort that includes, “Moving On.” 

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