Writer Maura Johnston talks about some of her favorite music from the summer of 1993, including The Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, PJ Harvey's Rid of Me, The Breeders' Last Splash, and SWV's single "Weak."
Soundcheck continues its look back 20 years ago with music writer Maura Johnston, who shares a few of her favorite album picks from the summer of 1993 including alternative rock albums by Smashing Pumpkins and PJ Harvey. And !!! performs live in the Soundcheck studio.
Maura Johnston reviews “Spectacle: The Music Video'' at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.
In this episode: Writer Maura Johnston joins us to give her take on a new music video exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image – and listeners tell us about the music video that first made an impression on them.
Plus: Brooklyn indie rock quintet Lucius stops by our studio – decked out in festive green – to play live.
And: We talk with composer and musician Clint Mansell, who wrote the music for films like Stoker, Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler.
NPR Music critic Ann Powers joins us to look at what topped her her list in 2012, including one very sexy slow jam. Then, we turn the Soundcheck 2012 Music Survey on its head and asks music writers Maura Johnston and Chris Weingarten about the music that made them writhe in agony this year.
Last week, British boy band One Direction debuted at the top of the U.S. album chart with their album “Up All Night” – a one-two punch for teen idols and British artists alike. Today, we’re joined by Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston and Slate and Rolling Stone music critic Jody Rosen to discuss the cyclical nature of boy bands… and to take an international look at the young heartthrobs singing and dancing their way into tween hearts worldwide.
Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston joins us with three must-listens for this holiday season.
It’s a Christmas pop hit with such ubiquity that hundreds of people have joined a challenge this year to dodge it coming from radios, televisions and choruses this season. Today, we explore the power of The Little Drummer Boy – from its “Carol of the Drum” origins to its ability to bring together David Bowie and Bing Crosby in one very memorable performance. Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston joins us along with challenge founder Michael Peck. Plus, Emmy-winning composer and lyricist Alan "Buz" Kohan joins us to share the story of how the famous David Bowie and Bing Crosby duet of "Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy" came to be.
Lou Reed and Metallica have just released this year’s frontrunner for strangest musical collaboration: Lulu, a 10-song album inspired by the work of German Expressionist playwright Frank Wedekind. We get reactions from Maura Johnston of the Village Voice and Phil Freeman, music writer and editor of RoadRunnerRecords.com. Plus, Maura and Phil help us explore unusual musical partnerships – and they offer their picks of the good and not so good.
Last week, in response to Steve Jobs’ announcement that he’s stepping down from Apple, our host John Schaefer wrote this on his blog: “Steve Jobs has probably had more of an impact on the music world than any other person in the last quarter century - and possibly since Thomas Edison.” Needless to say, not everyone agreed with his statement. Today, we explore just how important has Steve Jobs been to the music world – and, if he’s NOT the most influential person in music in the past 25 years … who is? Rolling Stone managing deputy editor Nathan Brackett and Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston join us to discuss. Plus, we’ll take calls from our listeners.
When historians reflect on the 1990s and popular music, 1991 tends to get all the glory. After all, it was the breakthrough year for Nirvana, the genre-hopping Lollapalooza music festival, and a slate of progressive hip hop artists led by A Tribe Called Quest. But Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston has another year in mind: 1992. In the next installment of our "Year to Remember" series, Johnston joins us to discuss the year that brought us not one, but three classic debuts: Pavement's "Slanted and Enchanted," Mary J. Blige's "What's the 411?" and PJ Harvey's "Dry."
From David Bowie's ever-evolving flaming red 'do to Justin Bieber's perfectly swooped locks, musicians often sport eclectic and trend-setting hair styles. Today, we explore the past and present of iconic hairdos with Maura Johnston, music editor for The Village Voice, and Christina Christoforou, illustrator of the new book, "Whose Hair?" Plus, we'll be joined by hair stylist and creator of the Ziggy Stardust mullet, Suzi Ronson, and musician Mike Score of A Flock of Seagulls-- whose hair we don't quite know how to describe.
Pop lyrics seem to have taken a turn towards the "me" and "I" variety, according to a new study. The study analyzed three decades of songs, and concluded that song lyrics have become more narcissistic in recent years, reflecting current youth culture. Is that really true? Maura Johnston, music editor for The Village Voice, lends her thoughts on this topic.
We want to know: Do you believe you are narcissistic? Take this test and find out.
The Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata pulls “The Sound of Music” into the 21st century. Their mashup album, called “The Hills Are Alive” imagines what might happen if the singing von Trapp family shared a stage with The Jackson Five...Led Zeppelin...and The Klezmatics. They perform live. Plus: music writer Maura Johnston explains what's in store for American Idol's 24 semi-finalists tonight.
American Idol's tenth season has been underway for a few weeks, but tonight the auditions have been whittled down to 24 semi-finalists. Viewers are waiting to see how the singers fare -- and they also have their eyes on this season's new judges. Popdust writer Maura Johnston joins us to explain how this new season is shaping up. Plus, she shares her early favorites.
We debate the pros and cons of being an “earbud person” (gym rats and rugrats) and a “headphone person” (DJs and wannabe DJs). Mark Katz, author of "Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music," explains the evolution of ear wear. And music writer Christopher Weingarten and Maura Johnston, writer for Popdust, defend their preferred mode of listening in a Soundcheck Smackdown.
Last week, the Billboard charts met their first real challenger. The Ultimate Chart is a list that ranks artists and singles not just by sales and airplay, but also by their status on streaming services and social networks. Eric Garland, chief executive of the Ultimate Chart’s parent company BigChampagne, joins us to explain the chart’s genesis. Then: in a Soundcheck Smackdown, critics debate whether any pop chart can quantify success in the digital age. Guests include Maura Johnston, music writer and blogger, and Bill Wyman, editor of the blog Hitsville and former arts editor of NPR and Salon.com.