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All Things Considered

Putting A Name And Face To A Famous Voice

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Aloe Blacc sang two of the past year's most ubiquitous singles. So why haven't you heard of him?

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Soundcheck

Soundcheck’s Guide To The Allman Brothers; Gregg Allman; Laura Cantrell Plays Live

Friday, March 07, 2014

The Allman Brothers are set to kick off its famed yearly New York City residency at the Beacon Theater tonight. To mark the occasion, we offer Soundcheck’s Guide to The Allman Brothers -- a look at the band’s long history for both beginners and big fans.

Plus, we revisit a favorite session with Gregg Allman, from back in 2011.

And: We listen back to another recent session with singer, songwriter -- and occasional Soundcheck guest host -- Laura Cantrell, who plays songs from her new album No Way There From Here live in the studio.

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Fresh Air

Pharrell Williams: Just Exhilaratingly Happy

Thursday, March 06, 2014

To hear G I R L, you'd think Pharrell's world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic.

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Soundcheck

Music Maps Show Country United Under Jay Z, Divided Over Luke Bryan

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A U.S. map purporting to show each state's favorite musician has been riling up the internet commentariat. Soundcheck talks to the maker of the map and finds out why everyone's reading the thing wrong.

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Soundcheck

Rosanne Cash: Following The River, The Thread, And The Road Home

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Hear the country music legend play songs from her acclaimed new album, The River & The Thread, which will surely be one of year's best country and Americana albums.

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Soundcheck

Rosanne Cash On 'The River And The Thread'; Music Maps; Hip-Hop Paintings

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

In this episode: Rosanne Cash’s new album, The River And The Thread, takes inspiration from a series of trips down to Dyess, Arkansas, to help restore her father Johnny Cash’s childhood home. Those trips gave Cash and her husband and songwriting partner, John Levanthal, an opportunity to explore Highway 61 and conjure up the old South in their new songs. Hear Cash and Levanthal perform live in the Soundcheck studio.

Then: If you’ve been on Buzzfeed or Facebook recently, you’ve probably seen the article “This Map Shows Every State’s Favorite Band.” It’s interesting for two reasons: One, it’s surprising that in the era of global superstars and digital connectedness there are still regional differences in music taste. And two: it isn’t remotely what the map’s creator, Paul Lamere, was trying to show.

And: British artist Amar Stewart talks about his series of paintings that portray hip-hop stars like Biggie, Questlove and Mary J. Blige as royals -- 17th century royals.

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Soundcheck

Elijah Wood: Fake Piano Player, Real DJ, And Sometimes Actor

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

For his new film, Elijah Wood plays an acclaimed concert pianist who must tackle an unplayable piece while simultaneously battling wits with a homicidal sniper in the audience. Wood talks about being a fake piano player, a real DJ, and his favorite new music.

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Hundred Waters Shines A Strange Light In Darkness

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A video for the brand new song "Cavity," from the band's second album, out May 27, uses a single flashlight to create an eerily beautiful landscape.

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Soundcheck

Knee-Jerk Reaction: Get Happy! Pharrell's Back With 'G I R L'

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Pharrell Williams dominated 2013 with appearances on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and his own track "Happy," the Soundcheck team put on their Pharrell hats and took the record for a spin, and have these first impressions. 

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Soundcheck

Elijah Wood On 'Grand Piano'; Les Claypool's Duo De Twang Plays Live

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

In this episode: To a generation of movie fans, actor Elijah Wood may always be Frodo. But he’s also a big music fan, which comes in handy in his new movie Grand Piano, in which he plays a famous but troubled classical pianist. He talks about faking it on the keys in the movie and about dabbling as a DJ in real life.

And: Either as the bass player and frontman for the genre-defying band Primus or his myriad side projects, Les Claypool is known for constantly stretching the sound of what his bass guitar can do. Hear Claypool and his long time musical partner Bryan Kehoe play songs from their new collaboration under the name Duo de Twang.

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Jessica Carvo

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The charming, soulful New York singer, songwriter, and actress performs tonight at Mercury Lounge.

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Soundcheck

Why We Move To The Beat (Beat Not Required)

Monday, March 03, 2014

People move to music in a wild variety of ways. But research is showing that there is some consistency to the ways in which people move -- even when a beat isn't readily identifiable. Soundcheck talks to music researcher Mariusz Kozak of Columbia University to find out more.

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Soundcheck

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: South Africa's Music Ambassadors

Monday, March 03, 2014

The globetrotting South African choir, best known for its work on Paul Simon's Graceland, play some songs from its beautiful new album live in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

Why We Move To Music; Ladysmith Black Mambazo Plays Live

Monday, March 03, 2014

In this episode: One! Two! Three! Four! Everybody loves a good toe-tapper. But have you ever wondered why we humans move to music? And why some unfortunate people can’t seem to find the beat? Columbia University music professor Mariusz Kozak tells us what he’s learned about why we physically respond to sound.

Then: The globetrotting South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo is best known for its work on Paul Simon's Graceland. The group, which now includes the founder’s grandson, performs songs from its beautiful new album in the Soundcheck studio.

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Listening In Reel Life: The Pop Music Inside The Oscar Nominees

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Original songs and scores aren't the only music worth paying attention to on Oscar night. Pop music is woven deeply into the performances and plots of many of the year's best movies.

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Soundcheck

Looking Back At 40 Years Of 'Free To Be... You And Me'

Friday, February 28, 2014

If you were a kid in the 1970's, or if you raised kids during that decade, you probably spent time with Free To Be... You And Me. The seminal album and popular television special was jam-packed with catchy songs, but also contained very progressive messages about gender roles, feminism, tolerance and how it's not always easy being a kid.

Later in March, the Paley Center For Media celebrates the LP, the book and television program, so in honor, Soundcheck looks back some of our favorite moments from our three-part series marking the 40th anniversary of the record.

First, we speak with the Emmy Award-winning TV producer Carole Hart, who co-produced the record and the 1974 Afterschool Special by the same name. Hart shares the story behind the album -- and the controversy it engendered. Plus, we hear from cultural historian Lori Rotskoff, who co-edited a new essay collection called When We Were Free To Be: Looking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made.

Then, we look back at the record's attempt to challenge gender stereotypes and promote tolerance. We explore the impact those now-40-year-old messages had on a generation of children and their parents, as well as the album's limitations. We also examine what child psychologists now believe -- and promote -- when it comes to children and gender. 

And finally, we chat with some of the people behind the music found on the album: Emmy-winning composer Stephen Lawrence, who wrote the album's title track as well as "Sisters and Brothers" and "When We Grow Up" and lyricist and composer Carol Hall, who wrote "Parents Are People," "Glad to Have a Friend Like You" and "It's All Right to Cry."

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Soundcheck

Soundcheck Smackdown: Is The Ukulele Lovely, Or Just Lazy?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is the ukulele a charming, portable composer's dream... or a twee novelty whose time has passed? Vulture writer Jesse David Fox, and Ben Greenman, contributing editor to The New Yorker, enter a Soundcheck Smackdown to decide.

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Soundcheck

Natalia Clavier: Pop With Globe-Spanning Influences

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Natalia Clavier's new album Lumen reflects the bustle of Brooklyn, through the lens of her former homes in Buenos Aires and Barcelona. The sometimes-singer of Thievery Corporation performs a stripped-down set of her genre-defying songs in the Soundcheck studio.

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Dom La Nena

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Raised in Europe and South America, she brings her cello and soft pop to Joe's Pub tonight. Download the track 'No Meu Pais.'

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Soundcheck

Watch: Courtney Barnett, Live On Soundcheck

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On her superb 2013 record, The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas, Courtney Barnett sings of long-winding and darkly comedic tales and matter-of-fact observations. Watch the Australian songwriter and her band play in the Soundcheck studio. 

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