Thursday, June 19, 2014
This segment originally aired on Aug. 30, 2013.
Kurt Braunohler recently released his debut album through Kill Rock Stars -- an indie label that also has on its roster bands like The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney, Deerhoof, and Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. But Braunohler’s album, called How Do I Land? isn’t just a first for him – it’s also the label’s first-ever comedy album.
The comedian and host of the podcast The K Ohle with Kurt Braunohler joins us to share three tracks in our series Pick Three, and to talk about the confluence of music and comedy, his college punk band (called "Como Safeway") and how writing standup comedy is like writing songs.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Hear Speedy Ortiz perform live in the Soundcheck studio.
Monday, June 16, 2014
In this episode: Ministry might have started off playing new wave and synth pop in the 1980s, but it evolved into one of the most important industrial rock bands of all time. Ministry's frontman Al Jourgensen has been there through it all, and tells it all in his memoir Ministry: The Lost Gospels According To Al Jourgensen. Jourgensen discusses his insane life and talks about what the future holds for the band.
And: There’s plenty to unpack in the wry, confessional lyrics of Speedy Ortiz -- the solo-moniker-turned rock band of singer and guitarist Sadie Dupuis. With lines like "Spent the summer on crutches and everybody teased / except for this one friend I almost forgot" (“No Below”), Dupuis lets us in, revealing her distinctively sharp point of view -- equal parts hilariously self-deprecating and brutally honest.
And: A narcocorrido is a popular type of Mexican song that glamorizes and celebrates outlaw drug traffickers. Those songs -- and the culture they celebrate -- are at the heart of Shaul Schwarz's recent film, Narco Cultura. In an interview with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Schwarz talks about the burgeoning genre, its history, and the ongoing Mexican drug war.
This is an encore edition of Soundcheck.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
The Teen Age is still a relatively new band with only a few songs released so far. But the group has already made some waves thanks to its blown-speaker rockers, shoutable choruses, and reckless exuberance. That woozy youthful energy is on full display in the new music video for “Stop,” from the band’s debut EP, Ways To Adapt.
Friday, May 09, 2014
In this episode: Ministry might have started off playing new wav and synth pop in the 1980's, yet it evolved into one of the most important industrial rock bands of all time. Ministry's frontman Al Jourgensen has been there through it all, and tells it all in his new memoir Ministry: The Lost Gospels According To Al Jourgensen. Jourgensens discusses his, frankly, insane life and about what the future holds for the band.
Then: The Northhampton, Mass. pop punk band Speedy Ortiz performs songs from its debut record Major Arcana, and an early, then still-untitled version of "Everything's Bigger," from the just-released EP Real Hair, in the Soundcheck studio.
And: Shaul Schwarz, director of the gripping new documentary Narco Cultura, talks about exploring two very different sides of the outlaw-fueled culture that has grown up around Mexico’s drug wars.
Thursday, May 08, 2014
The Pogues streaked to stardom in the mid-1980's with an infectious blend of punk aggression and Celtic melody. The band's accordion player, James Fearnley, has just released his memoir in the U.S. and reflects on a dozen years with the notoriously pugnacious and booze-fueled band.
Francine Prose Picks Three; White Hinterland Plays Live; Perfect Pussy On Gender, SXSW And Kool Keith
Friday, May 02, 2014
In this episode: Author Francine Prose recently released a novel called Lovers At The Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 -- a kaleidoscopic portrait of one very complicated woman's life and those affected by it in the lead-up to World War II. She joins us to talk about the actual Parisian club and Henry Brassai photograph that inspired her tale -- and shares three songs that helped her get into her characters' heads while writing it all down.
And: Musicians and songwriters on Soundcheck often say that “getting out of your comfort zone” is a good way to create fresh and surprising work. For Casey Dienell, who records under the name White Hinterland, getting out of her comfort zone meant scrapping her new album (twice), moving back to her hometown, and building a studio in her parents’ basement. Hear the dynamic songwriter perform songs from that album, Baby, in the Soundcheck studio.
Then: The noise-punk band Perfect Pussy, led by singer Meredith Graves, recently lent Soundcheck host John Schaefer a pair of earplugs and let loose in our studio. Watch them play in the Soundcheck studio and talk about everything from the term “cisgender” to Kool Keith.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
In this episode: Last week, Soundcheck and concert calendar site Oh My Rockness joined forces to present the first night of Gigstock, a mini-festival held in WNYC's Greene Space.
Hear and watch The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Parquet Courts each play brand new material from two upcoming albums coming out this spring.
Plus, Matt Carmen and Kseniya Yarosh -- the founders of Brooklyn Zine Fest -- talk about this year's iteration and share some of their favorite zines.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Record collector, music producer, and authority on Soviet punk rock Bryan Swirsky joins host John Schaefer for another look at Russian culture and music during the winter Olympic games.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
In this episode: With Valentine’s Day coming up Friday, Soundcheck asked That Was A Hit?!? regular Mario Correa to bring in a few love songs that, really, had no business on the pop charts. From disaster movie themes to songs about potential threesomes, we take a listen.
Then: Bryan Swirsky has been digging up, researching, and translating Soviet-era underground punk records for a decade. He’ll join us to talk about the differences between Siberian and Yugoslavian and Ukrainian punk groups, and why their forgotten musical legacy is important.
And: Singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom Brosseau performs “Cradle Your Device” and more in the Soundcheck studio.
How To Get Your Mind Around Pussy Riot; Jason Isbell Plays Live; David Fricke On Guitar Hero Mike Bloomfield
Thursday, February 06, 2014
In this episode: From Russia With Soundcheck continues with a look at the political Russian performance art collective Pussy Riot: While the members of Pussy Riot were serving their sentence in a labor camp, journalist Masha Gessen painstakingly researched the social and political conditions that led a group of otherwise “ordinary” young women to stage a protest that galvanized Russian society. Gessen talks about Pussy Riot and the book Words Will Break Cement.
Then, Jason Isbell -- a former member of Drive-By Truckers -- landed on many best of 2013 lists with Southeastern, an album filled with emotion, regret and one super-bad night in a Super 8. Isbell has since gotten sober -- and married the singer and fiddler Amanda Shires. The duo perform in the studio.
And: Mike Bloomfield is rock's greatest forgotten guitar hero, says Rolling Stone's senior editor David Fricke. Fricke reflects on Bloomfield's lasting legacy, as documented in a new box set.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
In this episode: From Russia With Soundcheck week continues with Regina Spektor, the Moscow-born, the New York-based indie-pop star, who schools us about a personal hero, the late Soviet-era singer Vladimir Vysotsky.
Then, a look at "Samizdat" -- the name given to an underground, DIY counterculture that was a huge part of life in the old Soviet Union. There's an exhibit of Samizdat artifacts consisting of pamphlets, books, cheap cassettes and more collected at George Washington University's Gelman Library. The exhibit's curator, Mark Yoffe, explains the movement.
And, Brooklyn band Hospitality performs songs from it's second record, Trouble, in the Soundcheck studio.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Another year, another vanished venue. This weekend, Williamsburg's D.I.Y. music space 285 Kent closed its doors for the final time with a rousing sendoff party. New York Times pop music critic Jon Caramanica was in the audience for the farewell show, and he explains why 285 Kent was a special spot on the NYC music map.