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Painting Her Songs In The Air, Imogen Heap Keeps Innovating

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Grammy-winning songwriter has a Midas touch of sorts: Everything she touches turns to tech. Heap speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about her new album and the electronic gloves she used to make it.

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Soundcheck

Watch: Gem Club, Live On Soundcheck

Friday, August 15, 2014

Watch Boston chamber pop band Gem Club perform songs from its latest album, In Roses, in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

Wildcat! Wildcat!: Expansive Pop With Big Hooks

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hear the Los Angeles indie band Wildcat! Wildcat! perform its expansive pop in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

How To Be Smarter About... The Brian Lehrer Edition; Nina Simone; Wildcat! Wildcat! Plays Live

Thursday, August 14, 2014

In this episode: Soundcheck's How To Be Smarter About... series -- about addressing musical blind spots -- continues with WNYC host Brian Lehrer, who tells us a musical topic he’d like to know more on – and we help to fill in the gaps.

Then: Claudia Roth Pierpont discusses her new essay for the New Yorker which explored Nina Simone’s complicated relationship with the civil rights movement and with her own racial self-identification. Pierpont tells Soundcheck about how these issues influenced both the singer’s public persona and works like her perceptive song “Four Women.”

And: Hear the infectious, expansive synth pop of Wildcat! Wildcat! as the L.A. band performs songs from its debut, No Moon At All, in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Junior Brown

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Inventive country legend is at City Winery this evening. Listen to 'Apathy Waltz'  

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Soundcheck

How To Be Smarter About... Jay Z; Frank Sidebottom On The Big Screen; Agnes Obel Plays Live

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In this episode: During the late ‘90s, Sirius XM host Mario Correa was listening to singer-songwriters from the Lilith Fair circuit -- and he completely missed out on the debut of Jay Z. As part of Soundcheck's How To Be Smarter About... series, we attempt to bring him up to speed on the global rap star’s rise to power, his must-hear tracks and why we can no longer use the hyphen in spelling his name.

Then: From the Residents to Daft Punk to Deadmaus, there’s been a long history of musicians who cover up their true identities by wearing masks. But even so, the British performer known as Frank Sidebottom stood apart. The comedian and singer known for his signature papier-mâché head is the inspiration for the new film Frank starring Michael Fassbender. Journalist and author Jon Ronson talks about being a member of Frank Sidebottom’s band back in the ‘80s -- and why he decided to bring Frank’s story to the big screen.

And: The Danish singer and pianist Agnes Obel has become an unexpected phenomenon, with tens of millions of YouTube views for her eerie, beautiful, classically-informed art pop. Hear her perform songs from Aventine live in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

How To Be Smarter About... Tour Riders; The Creative Power Of Musical Duos; The Rosebuds Play Live

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In this episode: We’ve all heard the story about Van Halen’s famous anti-brown M&M tour rider. But, what is a tour rider, anyway? Why do bands have them? And what happens if their demands aren’t met? As part of Soundcheck's How To Be Smarter About... series, Jack “Skippy” McFadden, talent buyer for Austin City Limits Live, fills us in about what he does to keep artists happy backstage.

Then: The idea of the “genius” has existed for centuries – singlular people who stand out for their brilliance or ingenuity in a particular field. But a new book aims to broaden that scope, and take a look at not the lone genius, but at creative pairs. Author Joshua Wolf Shenk talks about his book, Powers of Two, and about history-altering musical duos.

And: The Rosebuds got its start a little over ten years ago, and along the way, the duo -- Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp -- got married. Their 2011 album, Loud Planes Fly Low, chronicled the end of that marriage -- a breakup which, surprisingly, didn't break up the band. Since then, The Rosebuds has continued making music and just released its latest album. Hear the band perform songs from Sand + Silence in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

Agnes Obel: Stark And Seductive Chamber Pop

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hear the Danish pianist and composer perform songs from her ornate and  album, Aventine, in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Larkin Grimm

Monday, August 11, 2014

Beguiling and colorful singer is at Cake Shop tonight. Listen to 'Paradise & So Many Colors.'

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Soundcheck

Pick Three: Tori Amos

Monday, August 11, 2014

After 22 albums, including her latest, Unrepentant Geraldines, the acclaimed and influential singer-songwriter reflects on three songs from her childhood that she still carries with her today.

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Soundcheck

How To Be Smarter About… Riot Grrrl; Tori Amos Picks Three; Somi Plays Live

Monday, August 11, 2014

In this episode: Soundcheck kicks off our “How To Be Smarter About…” series with a look at the feminist punk movement known as riot grrrl. Sara Marcus, author of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, clears up misconceptions and drops some knowledge on producer Katie Bishop.

Then: Singer-songwriter Tori Amos is back in New York this week on her Unrepentant Geraldines tour and stops by the Soundcheck studio to share three songs that left a lasting impact on her.

And: In 2011, the New York-based vocalist and songwriter Somi traveled to the Nigerian city of Lagos. Now, her experiences and observations from her 18-month stay are reflected on her latest album – fittingly titled The Lagos Music Salon. Hear her perform live in the Soundcheck studio.

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First Listen: Imogen Heap, 'Sparks'

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sparks documents a fruitful time for one of popular music's most curious explorers. But it also captures how, in the 21st century, art, technology and life meld to make whole new narratives.

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First Listen: Kimbra, 'The Golden Echo'

Sunday, August 10, 2014

She's working with refracted echoes of sounds that came before, but Kimbra makes them golden on her second album. Throughout The Golden Echo, she has a grand time testing the limits of her music.

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First Listen: Orenda Fink, 'Blue Dream'

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More than half the songs on Blue Dream feature the word "love" somewhere, and every moment of Fink's performance sounds as if it's being sung into someone's ear, not a microphone.

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All Things Considered

Your Favorite Songs, Abridged

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Top 40 radio station in Calgary, Alberta, is promising listeners "twice the music" — by cutting the length of its songs in half.

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Soundcheck

Lera Lynn's Sophisticated And Shimmering Country

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Nashville-based singer-songwriter's new album, The Avenues, signals an evolution in sound and lyrical maturity. Download a brand new track from the album, "Out To Sea." 

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Tashaki Miyaki

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Los Angeles dreamy lo-fi trio is at MoMA tonight. Download 'I Came.'

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Soundcheck

In The Valley Below's Sunny And Subversive Synth Pop

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

In The Valley Below could probably just do bright synth-pop, but what you get instead is something slightly more subversive. The Los Angeles duo's upcoming album, The Belt, isn't out for a few weeks yet, but the band has already unveiled a handful of songs with killer hooks and edgy guitars.

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Sister Sparrow

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Explosive funk band performs at Madison Square Park tonight. Download 'The Long Way.'

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Soundcheck

Watch: Somi, In The Studio

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

When you hear Somi's globe-spanning music, you can hear her past come to life. The Illinois-born musician spent 18 months living in Nigeria -- where she collected the ideas that form her new album, The Lagos Music Salon. Watch Somi perform in the Soundcheck studio.

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