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2011 Year in Review: The Year's Best Gig Alerts

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Each weekday in 2011, as part of our Gig Alerts series, WNYC's Culture Desk offered up free MP3s from artists playing in the NYC area. Here are our favorite Gig Alerts of the year, along with free downloads from the bands performing -- from Cat Power to Architecture in Helsinki to Melvin Van Peebles.

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2011 Year in Review: Best of Soundcheck Live (The Video Edition)

Monday, December 26, 2011

From pop sensations like Foster the People to world music powerhouses like Tinariwen, WNYC's Soundcheck studios have seen some hot live acts in 2011. But there is no need to go paging through YouTube armed with Boolean search terms. We have assembled our Top 10 (make that Top 12!) Soundcheck music videos from the past year, just for you.

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Chelsea Record Collector Creates Eclectic Christmas Mixtape

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If you’re one of those people who say, “Bah, Humbug!” when you hear yet another version of “Silent Night” on the store muzak systems, give a listen to the eclectic holiday mixtape that Chelsea resident Bill Adler has been doing for close to 30 years.

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Rapper Common Pays Visit to South Bronx School

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chicago rapper Common stopped by Eagle Academy for Young Men in the South Bronx on Monday morning to talk to the school's 500-plus students about how they could achieve their dreams. He also performed two raps. The rapper said he wanted to visit Eagle after hearing about the school while serving on an education reform panel at Lincoln Center last year.

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Matisyahu, Clean-Shaven for the First Time in 10 Years

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jewish rapper Matisyahu shocked fans this week by shaving off his trademark beard. The White Plains artist joined John Schaefer on WNYC's Soundcheck Wednesday to talk about his recent transformation. Watch video of the interview here.

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Live on Soundcheck: The Barr Brothers

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Barr Brothers do interesting things with drums, a harp, a harmonium and more to produce a textured, ethereal sound. Watch the group play "Beggar in the Morning" in WNYC's Soundcheck studios here.

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Live on Soundcheck: Charles Bradley

Friday, December 02, 2011

Charles Bradley was a 51-year-old James Brown impersonator in a Brooklyn club 10 years ago when he met the folks at Daptone Records. Now, "Black Velvet," as he is known is releasing his first album. Watch him perform "Why Is It So Hard" with His Extraordinaires here.

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Jazz Drummer Paul Motian, 80, Dies

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drummer and composer Paul Motian, one of the most influential musicians in jazz, died on Tuesday. He was 80 years old and lived in Manhattan. The cause was complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone-marrow disorder, according to his label, ECM.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha to Open in Qatar

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The tiny Gulf country of Qatar is home to a film festival, a philharmonic orchestra, a modern art museum — and soon, a New York-style jazz club.

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Rapper Heavy D, 44, Dies

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Jamaica-born, Mount Vernon, New York-raised rapper Heavy D died Tuesday after collapsing outside his house in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 44 years old. Watch some videos to remember him by here.

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Live on Soundcheck: Crooked Fingers

Monday, November 07, 2011

Eric Bachmann's new project, Crooked Fingers, has a new album out: Breaks in the Armour. Watch Bachmann and Crooked Fingers performing the song "Typhoon" in WNYC's Soundcheck studio here.

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Gig Alert: Bang on a Can All-Stars

Friday, November 04, 2011

For nearly two decades, the electric chamber music ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars has been creating a rich tapestry of experimental instrumental and mechanical sounds. Download its new unreleased track, "Instructional Video," here.

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The Muppets, The Gremlins and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Take Brooklyn

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

For two weekends in November, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will screen 54 new and old films starring live puppets. The festival's 19 features and 35 shorts will be shown from Nov. 12 through 14 and from Nov. 18 through 20 as part of "Puppets on Film."

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Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon Perform 'History of Rap, Part 3'

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Check out the video here, in which the two mix up lyrics from De La Soul, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Ice Cube, the Fugees and Outkast, among others.

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Gig Alert: Bernie Worrell at the Apollo's Tribute to George Clinton

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The legendary funk keyboardist performs Tuesday night at the Apollo as part of a tribute to the Godfather of Funk. If you can't make it to the show, download "He-Then Holiday" by Worrell's funk-rock fusion group SociaLybrium here.

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Bon Jovi Opens 'Pay What You Can' Soul Kitchen in NJ

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jon Bon Jovi's "pay-what-you-can" charity restaurant, Soul Kitchen, in Red Bank, New Jersey, opened for business on Tuesday. Diners pay what they can, and if they have no money, they can work in the restaurant or perform some community service in exchange for their meal.

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Bruce Springsteen Archives Find New Home at NJ University

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A collection of almost 15,000 objects, magazines, songbooks, newspaper clippings and documents relating to The Boss has found a new home at Monmouth University, located near the Jersey Shore watering holes where Springsteen first performed as a young musician.

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WNYC's Picks for the 2011 CMJ Music Marathon

Monday, October 17, 2011

From Tuesday through Sunday, more than 1,350 bands, DJs and comedians will perform at the annual CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival. Check out WNYC's trippy color-coded map to see our CMJ picks — from En Vogue to Mike Birbiglia to Dum Dum Girls — for each night of the festival.

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Broadway Is All About Revivals and Outer Borough Theaters this Fall

Thursday, October 06, 2011

This season includes revivals (and revise-als), of "Porgy and Bess" and “Follies.” There's also a host of new, small theaters cropping up in the outer boroughs that are producing interesting work for theater lovers who aren't afraid of taking the subway out of Manhattan.

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Live on Soundcheck: Motopony

Thursday, October 06, 2011

After seeing a documentary about the band Dead Can Dance, in which the band said it was able to bring its musical instruments back to life again, Daniel Blue started to call his motorcycle a pony.

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