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Soundcheck

Bill Withers On Being A Man; Animator Ralph Bakshi; Owen Pallett Plays Live

Thursday, May 15, 2014

In this episode: Anna Sale, the host of WNYC's new podcast Death, Sex & Money, joins Soundcheck to discuss her recent conversation with Grammy Award-winning singer Bill Withers, including Bill's thoughts on the Kardashians, his creative process and more.

Then: Animator Ralph Bakshi famously earned the first “X” rating for his 1971 debut feature, Fritz The Cat. Since then, his raunchy, unlikely takes on race, sex, religion, war, and, of course, rock ’n’ roll have made him a celebrated figure in the world of animation. Bakshi reflects on his career, why he dedicated a whole film to the history of American pop music, and a current retrospective of his work at BAM Cinema.

And: Violinist Owen Pallett started his career recording music under the name Final Fantasy; these days, Pallett releases albums under his own name – and has become a key contributor to the band Arcade Fire. Hear Pallett perform music from his newest album, In Conflict, live in the Soundcheck studio.

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Kelis: From 'Milkshake' To 'Food,' A Soulful Reinvention

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kelis Rogers is nothing if not versatile. A trained chef and singer best known for her 2003 hit, "Milkshake," Kelis combines her two loves in a new album called "Food". Hear her perform in the studio and talk jerk ribs with Dan Pashman, host of WNYC's Sporkful podcast. 

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Kelis Talks 'Food'; Boy George's Return

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In this episode: Boy George became a global pop music and fashion icon in the 1980's as the frontman of the English band Culture Club, known for hits like “Karma Chameleon,” “I’ll Tumble For Ya” and “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” Hear Boy George talk about his latest album, This Is What I Do, which has been hailed as "the comeback album of the year." 

And: Singer-songwriter Kelis Rogers, who's also a trained chef, is best known for her 2003 hit "Milkshake." But on her new album, Food, the R&B artist combines her two loves to make a delicious reinvention. Hear Kelis perform in the Soundcheck studio, and talk with Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful podcast.

 

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My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection; Liv Warfield Plays Live; Calle 13’s Residente

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In this episode: New York librarian Sarah O’Holla is on a mission: to listen to each album in her husband’s vinyl record collection -- all 1500 of them. She’s chronicling her journey on the blog My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection, and even though it’s only a few months old, it has divided some readers.

Then: After releasing an unsuccessful first album, R&B singer Liv Warfield was ready to leave the music world behind. And then, Prince called. Now a member of his backing band The New Power Generation, she performs songs from her new Prince-produced album in the Soundcheck studio.

And: Calle 13 co-founder Rene Perez Joglar, (a.k.a. Residente) talks about Multi Viral -- the group’s latest album which includes vocals from Uruguayan poet Eduardo Galeano and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

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James Vincent McMorrow, Live At Gigstock

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Watch James Vincent McMorrow play live from WNYC's Greene Space as part of Gigstock.

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Soundcheck

Liv Warfield: An Edgy And Soulful Voice

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hear singer and guitarist Liv Warfield play songs from her Prince-produced album, The Unexpected, in the Soundcheck studio.

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Watch Kelis, Eagulls, More Play SXSW

Friday, March 21, 2014

Watch select performances from NPR Music's South By Southwest Showcase at Stubb's in Austin, Texas including R&B star Kelis.

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Nina Simone's Civil Rights Legacy

Friday, March 21, 2014

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we take a closer look at Nina Simone -- an icon whose story is complex, and whose contributions to the struggle for civil rights are indisputable.

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'A Man Called Destruction': The Mercurial Genius Of Alex Chilton

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Alex Chilton -- leader of Big Star and eventually triumphant elder statesman of alternative music -- is the subject of a sprawling new biography by Holly George-Warren.

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Pick Three: Mesfin Fekadu

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In this latest installment of Soundcheck's Pick Three series, Mesfin Fekadu, a music reporter for Associated Press, highlights some favorite songwriters who have found great success as singers themselves -- including one of the most ubiquitous names in pop music right now, Pharrell.

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Ashanti Aiming For Her Comeback; Ralph Ellison’s Record Collection; Bear’s Den Plays Live

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In this episode: As a franchise player for Murder Inc. Records in the early 2000s, R&B singer Ashanti was the voice behind Top 10 hits like "What's Luv" and "Always on Time." Now independent, she just released her first solo album in more than five years. She talks about her new songs, growing up on "Strong Island" and her upcoming gig at Manny Pacquiao’s next fight.

Then: Ralph Ellison, author of the acclaimed novel Invisible Man, left behind a huge record collection after his death in 1994. Now, the collection is on display at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Artistic director Loren Schoenberg talks about what we can glean about the man from his LPs.

And: British trio Bear’s Den built up a cult following for their three-part harmonies and their DIY approach - right down to hand-stamped CDs. They play an acoustic set in the Soundcheck studio.

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Gig Alert: JuiceBox

Friday, March 07, 2014

Young soul-funk band play at Friends & Lovers tonight. Download "Occupy My Heart."

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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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Producer Salaam Remi's Orchestral R&B

Friday, January 24, 2014

Salaam Remi -- the producer best known for his work with Grammy-winning R&B singer Amy Winehouse -- talks about why he decided to step out of the studio and into the spotlight on his debut solo album, 'One: In The Chamber.'

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Soundcheck

Pauline Black, The Queen Of Ska; MiWi La Lupa Plays Live; Salaam Remi's Orchestral R&B

Friday, January 24, 2014

In this episode: Pauline Black, frontwoman for the influential British band The Selecter, discusses growing up multi-racial and adopted -- and talks about the socially conscious music movement known as 2 Tone ska.

Then, MiWi La Lupa, a sideman who's played with David Byrne and Red Baraat turns to songwriting on his latest solo album. Hear him and his band play songs from New Way Home, in the Soundcheck studio.

And, Salaam Remi -- the producer best known for his work with Grammy-winning R&B singer Amy Winehouse -- talks about why he decided to step out of the studio and into the spotlight on his debut solo album, One: In The Chamber.

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Watch: Charles Bradley, Live On Soundcheck

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Watch soul singer Charles Bradley perform songs from Victim Of Love with his band in the Soundcheck studio.

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There Were No Black Artists With Number One Singles In 2013

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

In 2013, not one black artist scored a No. 1 single, while white artists even sat atop the R&B chart for most of the year. Pop chart analyst Chris Molanphy and Daily Beast columnist Keli Goff help us understand how and why 2013 was so unprecedented.

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Soundcheck

Hear: Lakecia Benjamin, Live On Soundcheck

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Hear jazz saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin and her band perform in the Soundcheck studio.

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Bobby Womack's Soulful Career; The Story Of The Fender Rhodes

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

In this episode: Over his long and legendary career, soul singer, songwriter and guitarist Bobby Womack has been responsible for countless timeless songs. Last year's superb album, his 11th, The Bravest Man In The Universe, was co-produced by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell and it's considered one of his best and most inventive efforts yet. In a lengthy interview with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Womack reflects on making the new album, playing with and writing for countless icons in music, and much more.

Plus: Since the 1970's, the Fender Rhodes has become a staple of jazz, rock, pop and R&B. Gerald McCauley, the author of the comprehensive new book Down The Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story, talks about how the instrument was invented and why artists -- like Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Ray Manzarek and more -- embraced it.

 

 

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Knee-Jerk Reaction: Soundcheck On Beyoncé's Surprise New Album

Friday, December 13, 2013

For those who went to bed at a sensible hour last night, you likely awoke this Friday morning to discover Beyoncé dropped an entire new album overnight. From the Soundcheck team, reactions range from "it's a visual delight!" to "I’m not hearing many up-tempo playlist contenders." 

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