Hurricanes and oil spills won't stop this New Orleans band. They embrace city's gumbo-like spirit layering each tune with a jillion textures and the odd horn riff. Through it all, they never lose their rock n'roll cred. Take 'Montrez-Vous:' it's got a seriously danceable hard-driving percussion but also includes xylophone, cowbell, maracas, bongos, organ, and a chorus in French. The final track 'Indian Summer' makes time for trumpets, gorgeous vocal harmonies, whimsical lyrics, and messy jam-bandy moments. Worth putting on repeat in any season.
Oh, say can you compose a new anthem?
Well, the jury's still out on that. A few weeks ago we began our listener challenge to create a new national anthem with the hopes that people would write new lyrics and music for song that could take the place of the ...
Richard Holmes tells the story of chemist Humphrey Davy’s experiments with nitrous oxide (a.k.a. laughing gas). It's a wild tale of how the scientist convinced friends — like the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Mark Roget — to be human guinea pigs. Ironically enough, Roget (the future creator of Roget's Thesaurus) had trouble picking words to describe his experience: "I felt myself totally incapable of speaking."
It's almost exactly 150 years since On the Origin of Species was published, so for this week's show we decided to put evolution to the test. We learned a lot of cool facts in producing this hour: did you know the human species was nearly extinct -- dwindling to just 2,000 people -- 70,000 years ago? And if you ever worried about genetic engineering going awry, don't miss the amazing sci-fi short story we commissioned from writer Lydia Millet.
Playlist anxiety this party season? It's The Very Best to the rescue. Fronted by a Malawian Esau Mwamwaya, the band made mixtape history last year with its killer remixes of M.I.A's 'Paper Planes' and Vampire Weekend's 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.' Even without those tunes, the album offers dizzying layers of Afropop and sunny vocals in English and Chichewa over techno dance beats. The title track is a party-starter with its happy mix of textures: a deep heartbeat of a bass line, cowbell, choir-style back-up vocals, and toe-tapping guitar riffs. It just might move you to book a flight to Lilongwe, which is appropriate, because it turns out Warm Heart of Africa is Malawi's tourism slogan too.
No new movie, book, or George Lucas rumor to peg it to, but Britain's Architects Journal decided this week to list its Top 10 favorite buildings from Star Wars. Sure, it's blogger catnip: Top 10 List + Star Wars + architecture = hits from every sci-fi geek and design snob this side of Tatooine. But it's a clever round up, including photos of some real-world buildings, in places like Abu Dhabi and Porto, that appear to have quite a bit of Star Wars DNA in them. As for me, I'm over Brooklyn and desperately trolling craigslist for an Ewok treehouse in Endor.
July in June. We aired one of our favorite Miranda July short stories this past weekend. Then I noticed this video popping up on some of my favorite blogs. It's from July's installation at the 2008 International Triennale of Contemporary Art in Yokohama, Japan. It's thoughtful, funny, wordy, and the tiniest bit pretentious. Hooray for existential art! And it makes me excited to see what she comes up with next.
Yale Graphic design grad student Ely Kim conducts a 1-man dance off to his 100 fave songs. You won't hear more than a few bars of each, but you will want watch all 100 (and marvel at all the great art school interiors from printshops to bathroom stalls). Best of all, guests at your future dance parties will thank you for his playlist. (M.I.A. , Technotronic, Yaz, Lil Mama) Watch. Smile. Repeat.
BOOMBOX from Ely Kim on Vimeo.
Gaze up above any low slung building in LA and this is the view.
Greetings from the other side of the Pacific Rim-- Los Angeles! This winter/spring Kurt Andersen has a special residency at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and we've got some LA-based stories and ...