91.5 KRCC MUSIC NEWLETTER

Morning Edition's series called One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

In this installment, Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis talks about living in Atlanta in the early 1980s, when the band The Georgia Satellites hit No. 2 on the pop charts with its debut single. Read DeCurtis in his own words below, and hear the radio version at the audio link.

Every year around this time, members of the All Songs Considered team — including Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton and me — each dredge through nearly 2,000 songs by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, in search of great new discoveries. And every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of acts, many slip past our radar altogether.

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Sinister and piercing, with a heavy lilt of Puberty 2 grunge — if you need a "gui

Harriet Tubman may be the best-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, but a new album highlights another key figure: William Still, who helped nearly 800 enslaved African Americans escape to freedom in the years before the Civil War.

Adrian Bartos and Bobbito Garcia are a world-famous radio and club DJ duo. They hosted a podcast from NPR called What's Good with Stretch and Bobbito. Today, their debut album, No Requests, is out — and there's something undeniably cheeky about that title if you're a couple of DJs.

The latest round of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions were announced today, and Whitney Houston is the only woman honored.

The 2019 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Jan 14, 2020

Below are the results of NPR Music's 7th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (my 14th, going back to the poll's beginnings in the Village Voice). 2019's results provided surprise after surprise. The only predictable winner was in Latin Jazz: Miguel Zenon's Sonero, the alto saxophonist's fifth victory in this category. But Eric Dolphy's Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions upset a "new" John Coltrane album in Reissue/Discovery. Relative newcomer Jazzmeia Horn's Love and Liberation won in Vocal.

Many people have music they love, and whole genres they think they hate. This new year, we're helping you find some new music by bringing in a few folks to help you reexamine different genres. This week, NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to music writer Marissa Moss about why country music skeptics should give the genre a chance.


Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for the iconic Canadian prog rock band Rush, has died. He was 67 years old.

His death was announced Friday by spokesperson Elliot Mintz, who said that Peart died on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif. Peart had been diagnosed with brain cancer three and a half years ago.

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Mac Miller's estate has released the rapper's first posthumous single, "Good News," from the just-forthcoming Circles, out January 17.

Tomorrow is Library Card Registration Day. Never heard of it? Well, that's because poet and rapper Noname made it up.

When she's not recording in the studio, she's often at the library.

"Just going to the library and talking to a librarian and their wealth of knowledge on books and material is so amazing to me," she says.

Noname wants to encourage people to get their own library cards, not just for the free books, but also for the people who can guide you to them.

Pardon the double negative, but The New Pornographers simply can't not write hooks. Since forming in Vancouver in 1997, the band has released 8 full-length albums of glittering pop-rock earworms. The group's latest, 2019's In the Morse Code of Brake Lights, is no exception.

New year, new choices. Call your friends, drink more water, watch movies with subtitles, and listen to more drone and hardcore. I can't help you with the first two, but I can recommend Ana Lily Amirpour's feminist vampire western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night towards the third. (If you're fresh from my year-end All Songs Considered episode — hi there, by the way — I'm here every week with music of both extreme and soothing flavors.)

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A few of KRCC's volunteer dj staff have weighed in with a recap of their top five albums or songs for 2019.  That is saying something considering somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred records were added this year, not counting  semi-new music waiting to join our library!

DR. T (YOUR MUSIC MASTER) - TUESDAY LATE NIGHT - 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.

1.  Jamilia Woods - Legacy! Legacy!                 

Even though 2019 just ended, we're already looking ahead to the albums scheduled to come out in the first half of 2020. From Moses Sumney's upcoming double album to a folk supergroup starring two of the minds behind Hadestown and Fruit Bats, here are some albums we can't wait to hear in 2020.

In Memoriam 2019: The Musicians We Lost

Jan 1, 2020

Heroes of alt-rock and idols of classic Hollywood, jazz luminaries and Pulitzer-winning composers, cult legends and rule-breakers, rising stars and old masters: Music communities around the globe lost dozens of shining voices this year. Here's NPR Music's celebration of some of the musicians who left the world in 2019.

It's common practice for chart-topping Nashville songwriters to see their accomplishments celebrated with lawn signs in front of industry offices, but Jenee Fleenor arrived at Sound Emporium Studios for her NPR interview to see a banner congratulating her on a different kind of milestone. This November, she became not only the first woman to win the Country Music Association's Musician of the Year award, but the first fiddle player to be honored in more than two decades.

Charlie Harding, a songwriter, and Nate Sloan, a musicologist, used to be snobby about pop music. Then, on a road trip, they heard "Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepsen's 2012 earworm, and decided to lean into their backgrounds to try to understand the craft of the song.

"I think, by explaining some of these musical concepts, all the sudden I was able to hear the song in a way I wasn't able to beforehand," Harding says.

In a culture infatuated with the idea of bending time, music lovers may not often consider that such miracles happen constantly in the course of everyday listening. Your life may not literally loop the way Nadia Vulvokov's did in Russian Doll, or toddle from past to present to future like Angela Abar's in Watchmen. But did you ever make a playlist that segues from Lizzo to Stevie Wonder?

In October, NPR Music and public radio music stations around the country launched a new internal site called Live Sessions From NPR Music Stations Across America. With a mix of in-studio performances, playlists, video interviews and live webcasts, Live Sessions features content that the public radio network is uniquely poised to deliver and reinforces public radio's role as an engine of music discovery. We asked our stations to choose their favorite videos of the year and here's what they picked.


This year, Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" turns 25. Her single-item wish list seems to have been the punctuation mark on half a century in which a new, original and secular holiday song became ubiquitous every few years.

The 25 Best Songs Of 2019

Dec 13, 2019

This list was made by writers, editors and producers at NPR Music operating under two rules: Songs had to be released during 2019 and no lead artist was allowed to appear on both this list and our list of the 25 Best Albums of 2019. You can find the rest of our picks for the best music of 2019 here.

There is a very good reason the Latin Grammys were established 20 years ago, and as Stefanie Fernández and I looked back at this year in music, we were reminded of it: The width and breadth of expression within Latin music stretches that single designation beyond its seams.

This happens every week as we share our weekly Alt.Latino playlist with you — but when looking back at an entire year of releases, that diversity overwhelms.

So in our list of the best Latin music of 2019, we did our best to reflect a variety of genres and styles.

The 15 Best Rock Albums Of 2019

Dec 11, 2019

After a decade of genre-blending, globalization and the growth of micro-niches, the definition of rock is very much up for debate. But for us — and for the purposes of this list — it means one thing: Guitars. Big, loud, fuzzy guitars. Sharon Van Etten put out one of our favorite albums of the year and there are some guitars on it. But not really rock and roll.

"Your everlasting summer, you can see it fading fast," sang Steely Dan in their 1973 hit "Reelin' in the Years," "So you grab a piece of something that you think is going to last."

If you believe that 1973 marked the real end of the 1960s as a cultural era, it's a fitting sentiment — the year was the last gasp of an age of possibility, when sunny idealism gave way to economic recession and cynical disillusionment.

Or as Andrew Grant Jackson writes in his fascinating new book, 1973: Rock at the Crossroads:

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On Friday, December 6, the  improvisational guitar genius of Bill Frisell and Julian Lage will ring out at the Ent Center For The Performing Arts.  Known for their own recordings and collaborations with artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams, U2, Nels Cline,  Richard Hell and Voidoids and Chris Thile, Bill and Julian will bring prowess and passion to the stage.

Three years after his death in November of 2016, there's a new Leonard Cohen album. It's called Thanks for the Dance, and it was completed and produced by his son, singer-songwriter Adam Cohen. NPR's Don Gonyea speaks to Cohen about putting together this album, which he says he started with his father — with his father's full intention that his son would finish it after his death. Listen in the audio player above and read on for a transcript of their conversation.

For the fifth year running, All Things Considered's annual musical gratitude chat is back. This Thanksgiving, NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with four different artists, each guest having been named as a reason to be thankful by the previous artist.

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As an unbilled guest, Aretha Franklin was the surprise gift of the 2015 Big Band Holidays concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

As the audio engineer for the Tiny Desk concert series, of course I obsess over how our concerts are experienced — so when I watch someone pull up a session on their smartphone, laptop or tablet, with those tiny and tinny speakers, my heart sinks a little. I'm thrilled people love these concerts as much as we love making them, but they sound so much better when played on a decent sound system, or on headphones.

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