91.5 KRCC MUSIC NEWLETTER

NPR Music's Top 20 Songs Of March

Mar 31, 2020

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

Music affords an escape, takes us back in time to reflect on the present, mirrors our aches and joys and offers serenity. As relentless news about the coronavirus continues, these songs were gifts during difficult times.

"Entirely Different Stars," from Lukas Nelson's newest album, Naked Garden, is a song many people might relate to right about now. It's a fantasy about grabbing that special someone and blasting off to a less troubled planet.

The crowd at Clement's Place is primed. The acclaimed vibraphonist Stefon Harris and his band, Blackout, are onstage in this snug jazz club on the campus of Rutgers University in Newark, N.J. Harris has high ambitions. He seeks to use his instrument and his already considerable reputation to change the way people relate to each other — to create empathy. But on this night, he's also there to play.

This is the most engaging song by Bob Dylan I've heard in decades. As someone who grew up in the era of President Kennedy's assassination, the portrait Dylan paints in "Murder Most Foul" is extraordinary, and takes me back to those days, to my memories of a nation overwhelmed by grief. There's something eerie about this song coming out at this precise moment.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. We recently extended our deadline for entries: You now have until until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 27 to enter the Contest.

In the interest of providing a much-needed musical balm, we redirect the upcoming weekly playlists toward indie musicians who are both reeling economically while dealing with the emotional impact of our current situation.

Sometimes we need to ponder deep thoughts, but other times we need to work out our anxieties through physical exercise on the dance floor — or our living rooms and kitchens, as it may be. We're here for you either way.

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Conor Oberst has kept busy since the last Bright Eyes rec

This week, All Thing Considered is launching a new recurring segment called "Play It Forward." It's a musical chain of gratitude, and it's something we've actually done on the program every Thanksgiving Day for the last five years: I start the chain with an artist that I'm thankful for, and then that musician chooses someone they're thankful for, and then we continue onward with each artist choosing the next link in the chain.

"Nothing to be done."

Estragon's opening line from Waiting for Godot has been spooling around like a tape loop, decaying yet cacophonous, in my head all week. Revisiting a dog-eared copy from high school, Samuel Beckett's play reads like the same piece of music played in two noise-canceled rooms — we the audience experience a melody waver in discord, briefly align, turn out of sorts, and on and on.

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Mar 20, 2020

Jonathan Coulton guides us there and back again in a music parody game about ill-fated journeys throughout history.

Heard on Larry Owens: Sunday In The Park 6 Feet Away From George.

"I just want you to know," Raveena told the NPR office, "that in this space that we're in, you're extremely, extremely loved." I get chills when I think about it now.

You know these artists now, but we were able to watch and champion them before the late night show appearances and sold-out shows across the globe. Here are some of Denver's finest musical acts, before they blew up:

Here & Now’s Tonya Mosley talks with musician Madison McFerrin (@madmcferrin) about her latest songs, and what it means to miss South By Southwest this year for her and other creators.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

You can stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

As rockers enter middle age, is there a graceful way for their music to reflect that same transition? It's a question that Stephen Malkmus has been trying to answer on a string of recent solo albums.

Kassa Overall thinks about sound the way hip-hop producers do: Anything can be transformed into a beat. With a background in jazz — he's played with Christian McBride, Ravi Coltrane and the late pianist Geri Allen — the songs on his new album, I Think I'm Good, also have moments that sound electric and improvisational.

When Duane Allman, the late lead guitarist of the Allman Brothers, played the iconic song “Layla,” his Les Paul Gold Top guitar licks were the highlight.

That guitar was not laid to rest after Allman died. In fact, it will be on stage at Tuesday night’s 50th Allman Brothers reunion at Madison Square Garden in New York.

As a composer, producer, keyboardist and vocalist, Sergio Mendes helped pioneer the bossa nova movement and popularize Brazilian music globally with his band, Brasil 66. In his over 60-year career, Mendes has been one of the most explorative collaborators in world music, working with everyone from the Black Eyed Peas to jazz great Cannonball Adderley. His new album, In The Key Of Joy, is out now.

NPR Music's Top 20 Songs Of February

Feb 28, 2020

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

Aficionados of Tame Impala, the genre-defying brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker, held their breath for half a decade waiting for his newest album, “The Slow Rush.”

Fans can rest assured that they won’t have to stand by for that long again. Parker, the 34-year-old Australian who records and produces all of Tame Impala’s vocals and instruments, says the next record drop won’t take nearly as long because he already has a “flourish of ideas” waiting to be recorded.

The Band generated mythic status from the start. Crashing on the scene as Bob Dylan's anonymous-but-not-for-long backup band on his controversial and thrilling electrified tours of 1965-66, the group emerged fully formed, capable of both intense and experimentalist noise and tight, basic rock and roll.

Canadian-born pop artist Grimes often sings in the voices of imaginary characters; the spirit of her new album, Miss Anthropocene (an evident pun on "misanthropy"), is a malevolent goddess who personifies climate change.

Miss Anthropocene is a dark record, at times almost indefensibly nihilistic, but at its best it recalls modern horror movies like Us or Parasite, which frighten us with a larger purpose in mind — to shock us into rethinking certain attitudes.

As doctors in London performed surgery on Dagmar Turner's brain, the sound of a violin filled the operating room.

The music came from the patient on the operating table. In a video from the surgery, the violinist moves her bow up and down as surgeons behind a plastic sheet work to remove her brain tumor.

Carol Noonan

The Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts is proud to play host to beloved blues musician Keb' Mo' on Wednesday, July 8.  Known for his collaborations with Taj Mahal and G.Love, Keb' has explored Americana, folk, Delta and country blues in his songs.

Members of KRCC will have a chance to win tickets during the Blue Plate Special and Evening Music Mix shows.

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The cold of winter will be warmed considerably on February 27 when G.Love &  Special Sauce return for a much anticipated show at The Black Sheep in Colorado Springs.  Fans will be treated to songs from his latest release, "The Juice" along with classic favorites.  You can look forward to an evening of soul, hip hop, blues, and some foot stompin' harmonica playing.

Justin Bieber Finds His Bliss

Feb 18, 2020

On Feb. 14, 2020, the same day that Justin Bieber's new album was released, YouTube — the platform on which he'd famously been discovered — celebrated its 15th birthday. A cherubic, shaggy-haired Bieber was even a few years younger than that when he started uploading videos to the streaming site.

Harry Nilsson's concept album The Point turns fifty this year; to celebrate, the 1971 animated film adapted from the music will be released digitally and on BluRay for the first time. Nilsson, a beloved if occasionally overlooked writer of late 1960s pop hits, died in 1994, but his strange and endearing fairy tale album still resonates with those that remember it.

For the full story, click here.


Eight years ago this week, singer Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel bathroom. We revisit Jeremy Hobson’s conversation with filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, who profiled the singer in his 2018 documentary “Whitney.”

KCRW’s Anne Litt (@anne_litt) joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson to discuss some of her latest music picks. Litt is program director of music at KCRW.

Music From The Segment

Franc Moody, ‘Skin on Skin”

Watch on YouTube.

Steve Spacek, “Rawl Aredo”

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Last week, we launched the sixth Tiny Desk Contest, our annual search for great, undiscovered musical talent.

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