Music: Transforming Ape to Man

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Monday, August 15, 2011

There’s no doubt about it – humans are musical creatures. But our species might not have been born this way. Today: A neuroscientist explains his theories about the nature-based origins of music. Plus: collaborating author Glen Duncan and musician Stephen Coates, who performs as The Real Tuesday Weld, talk about writing and recording "The Last Werewolf." And: A song of the summer forecast.

Music, Harnessing Nature

In his new book, “Harnessed,” author and neuroscientist Mark Changizi argues that humans aren’t particularly wired for speech or music. Instead, he theorizes that over time we’ve simply developed a culture that "harnesses" nature. Mark joins us in the studio to discuss the evolutionary process that would connect approaching footsteps to Beethoven’s symphonies. 

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The Last Werewolf

The Last Werewolf is both a novel and a new record. The novel is by English author Glen Duncan, and the album was simultaneously created by English singer/songwriter Stephen Coates, who records under the name The Real Tuesday Weld. Duncan and Coates join us to talk about this striking collaboration. And, we’ll hear a reading and musical performance in the studio.

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The Song of the Summer Debate

It’s a fact of life: every summer has its song. As we slog our way through the dog days of August 2011, we pause to examine which hit – from Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” to Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” – might just be the pop anthem of the season. VH1’s Mark Graham joins us to help sort it out.

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Playlist: Music, Harnessed + The Last Werewolf

Click through to see today's Soundcheck playlist!


A Werewolf's Playlist

Stephen Coates really got into this Last Werewolf project.  Maybe a little too into it.  Taking Glen Duncan’s novel of the same name as his inspiration, he’s created not only one of my favorite records this year but also a playlist of werewolf songs.  Now, Soundcheck listeners may remember that we did a “Soundcheck Smackdown” on who has the better songs, vampires or zombies.  Read the listener comments, still posted on the webpage, to see some of the great and not-so-great songs inspired by the various flavors of Undead.  Note too, that even though they were not part of the debate, werewolves got a little love occasionally.  Now, with the full moon having just passed, it seems safe to unveil Stephen Coates’s list of 30 great werewolf songs, plus 1 poem. 

Imelda May

Live on Soundcheck: Imelda May

With her vintage glamour and soulful twang, Imelda May is the newest queen of one of rock and roll’s oldest sounds. Check out a video of her live performance of "Mayhem" in WNYC's Soundcheck studio here.

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Hoodie Allen

Gig Alert: Hoodie Allen

The white, Jewish rap sensation Hoodie Allen brings his flow to Mexicali Live in Teaneck on Monday night. Download his single "The Chase is On" here.


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