Every week brings a new batch of new music releases before you've even had a chance to catch up and digest the last ones. So to help, members of the Soundcheck team share some of their favorites of the week, including Lucius, The Dismemberment Plan, and Tim Hecker.
Inspired by Soundcheck producer Katie Bishop's tale of canine separation anxiety woe, today on the show we attempt to get to the bottom of the question -- can music help a dog in distress?
Seattle indie-pop band The Head and The Heart debuted in 2009 with a self-titled album that released on its own. Now, on the brink of releasing a followup record, Let's Be Still, the band stopped by the Soundcheck studios to play us some songs from its new album. We'll bring you the entire session in a couple of weeks, but today, hear a preview: a live performance of the song "Shake."
MTV's Video Music Awards air this Sunday and amongst the most obvious nominees -- Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" -- there are a few hidden gems, including Duck Sauce's "It's You." Director Phillip Andelman give us the lowdown on the video's initial concept and how they made it.
Two luminaries in jazz died this week: Cedar Walton and Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland. Both pianists had long, fruitful and intertwining lives.
Listen to We Partyin' Traditional Style!, the new album from the New Orleans trumpeter, bandleader and BBQ-lover Kermit Ruffins in its entirety.
Listen to an exclusive track stream of "Coney Island" from the ensemble's upcoming album Brooklyn Babylon.
Listen to an exclusive song premiere from violist Nadia Sirota's upcoming album, Baroque.
Hear Desfado, the latest album from Portuguese fado singer Ana Moura, in its entirety.
We ask the Aussie pop star five questions about our hometown, from her favorite park to favorite interaction with a New Yorker.
In an article on Salon.com last week titled “Did the American songbook kill jazz?,” arts reporter Scott Timberg explores the genre’s reliance on standards -- and the idea that constant (and often mediocre) recycling of old familiars like “Autumn Leaves” and “Stardust” has perhaps been the poison slowly sapping the energy out of jazz and its audience for the past forty years.
Soundcheck producer Katie Bishop and digital producer Mike Katzif reveal some of their answers to Soundcheck's 2012 Music Survey, including two pop-based trends that they spotted. Plus, they share their favorite albums of the year -- Punch Brothers' Who's Feeling Young Now? and Exitmusic's Passage. And, John chimes in with one of his favorites from the year as well. See the rest of their survey responses here.
Soundcheck producer Katie Bishop shares her favorite and least favorite music of year.
"He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake."
Yikes. Voiceover from a horror film trailer? No! Those are just some mildly disturbing lyrics from the beloved Christmas classic, "Santa Claus is Coming To Town." Ah, the holidays. Filled with good tidings, joy, presents -- and plenty of unintentionally dark and disconcerting musical lyrics disguised under a blanket of cheery major chords.
This Thursday, Soundcheck contributor Faith Salie joins us to share three holiday songs that give her the willies. We want to know: What holiday songs freak you out?
Leave a comment below, or call us to sing your creepy carol at 866.939.1612.
Hear two new Whitehorse songs "Cold July" and "Jane" from the band's upcoming album.
As the adage goes, "a lady never reveals her age." But then again, terms like "lady" aren't really all that welcome in the world of Free To Be… You And Me, so I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm 26 years old. I was born 14 years after the 1972 release of the feminist children's album that we've been talking about all week on Soundcheck. As a result, I had never even heard of Free To Be until a few weeks ago.
From what I remember, my favorite children's music pretty much avoided the issue of gender entirely, singing instead about animals. There was Raffi's "Baby Beluga," a song about an adventuresome whale that's never identified as a boy or girl, and Red Grammer's non-gendered cows and ducks and coyotes that all had a "Place In The Choir." My favorite cassette tape included a song about a stereotypically male farmer who had 500 sheep, but it was in French. And since I didn’t speak French, well, I had no idea what was going on.
However, as a little girl who was raised in a non-feminist household -- and who gravitated naturally toward the girliest of the girly things in life -- I also listened to plenty of Disney music, with all of its poofy dress-wearing princesses and heteronormative values. But despite a lack of childhood exposure to message-driven music like that on the album Free To Be… You And Me, it was always very clear to me that I could grow up to be anything: a doctor, a lawyer, a musician, whatever. And I also knew that it was really fun to play California Barbie Hot Dog Stand (yes, you read that right) with the little boy from down the street practically every afternoon. He seemed to think it was fine and dandy too.
When I did finally get around to listening to Free To Be just a couple of weeks ago, I was initially struck by how much the sound reminded me of the music from Sesame Street. That makes sense, because the album was produced by Carole Hart -- who, along with her husband Bruce Hart, worked on Sesame Street -- and some of its composers, like Stephen Lawrence, also worked on the show.
I was also quickly impressed by how the album balanced silliness with forthrightness, something that was perhaps lacking in my own animal-heavy childhood music experience. (Seriously, what's up with that?) The spoken word track "Boy Meets Girl," in which two babies (played by Marlo Thomas and Mel Brooks) meet in a hospital nursery and discuss whether they might be boys or girls, is hilarious. But it's also a very direct look at male/female stereotypes. I can't recall anything quite like it from my own childhood.
If you happened to attend any of this year's CMJ Music Marathon in New York City, chances are you came across the name Sinkane. It's the project of guitarist and singer Ahmed Gallab -- who, in the past, has drummed for Of Montreal, Yeasayer and Caribou. The band played six CMJ shows in just three days, and then topped off an exhausting weekend with a release show for its debut album, Mars.
The name "Sinkane" is inspired by Joseph Cinqué, a West African who was illegally enslaved in the mid-19th century and eventually led a slave revolt on the ship Amistad. As Gallab tells host John Schaefer, "Sinkane is a word that I misheard in a Kanye West lyric. I heard the song 'Never Let Me Down' on his first record, and J. Ivy, who's rapping, says, 'Give us, us free like Cinqué,' which I misheard as Sinkane. I created this idea of who Sinkane was in my mind."
Gallab, who was born in Sudan, combines his love of East African soul with his indie pop and dance-ready electronic grooves on Sinkane's debut album. He and his bandmates perform a live set in our studio.
Listen to an exclusive track stream of a song from the upcoming original cast recording of the multimedia chamber opera "Song From the Uproar."
Listen to an exclusive full-album stream of the upcoming album from the Grammy-nominated bassist and vocalist through October 9, 2012.
It turns out that our listeners had a lot to say -- and sing -- about "Hava Nagila."