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.
Friday, April 25, 2014
In this episode: The legendary R&B and blues rock band The Holmes Brothers plays songs from their brand new album, Brotherhood, in the Soundcheck studio.
Then: The most recent novel from Daniel Alarcon, At Night We Walk In Circles, was named on many year-end best-of lists in 2013. The Peruvian-born, Alabama-raised, San Francisco-based author was recently named one of the best 20 Writers Under 40 by The New Yorker. But he's also a music fan, and shares this three-song playlist of a few of his favorite tracks.
And: William Onyeabor released eight albums between 1977 and 1985. But, since then, the Nigerian musician has dropped off the map and we know next to nothing about him. But now this ultra-rare music is getting a new spotlight thanks to Eric Welles-Nystrom of the record label Luaka Bop, who helped assemble the recent compilation, Who Is William Onyeabor?, and Sinkane's Ahmed Gallab, who is one of the music directors of two upcoming tribute shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
In this episode: Twenty years ago today, Kurt Cobain -- the lead singer for influential ‘90s rock band Nirvana -- was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gunshot. He was 27. Seattle music writer Charles R. Cross, who has authored several books about Kurt Cobain, reflects on the lasting impact of the young artist.
Then: Charts guru Chris Molanphy explains how two songs by Herman's Hermits hit No. 1 in 1965 -- “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” and “I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” as part of Soundcheck's series That Was A Hit?!?
And: Hear jazz violinist Regina Carter reach back to her roots with her band as they perform songs from her latest album, Southern Comfort, in the Soundcheck studio.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Kris Bowers won the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition Award. Hear him play songs from his debut album Heroes + Misfits -- which blends together jazz, hip hop and R&B influences -- in the Soundcheck studio.
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.
Monday, January 20, 2014
In this episode:Throughout the 1950's, '60s and '70s, The Staple Singers created a unique mix of gospel, folk, and rock, earning legions of fans and countless musical devotees. And at 74, Mavis Staples is still winning Grammys and singing for large audiences around the world. Music critic Greg Kot chronicles the extraordinary legacy of the Staples family in his new book, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers, And The March Up Freedom's Highway.
Then we revisit a 2010 interview and studio session with Mavis Staples upon the release of her Grammy-winning album You Are Not Alone.
And Broken Bells -- the project of James Mercer of The Shins and Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse) -- perform "Holding On For Life," a new song from the highly-anticipated upcoming album After The Disco, plus an older favorite, in the Soundcheck studio.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Throughout the 1950's, '60s and '70s, The Staple Singers created a unique mix of gospel, folk, and rock, earning legions of fans and countless musical devotees. And at 74, Mavis Staples is still winning Grammys and singing for large audiences around the world. Music critic Greg Kot chronicles the extraordinary legacy of the Staples family in his new book, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers, And The March Up Freedom's Highway.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
In this episode: If you don’t know who Paul Williams is, here’s a short bio: he wrote Three Dog Night’s “An Old Fashioned Love Song” and Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection”; he won an Academy Award; he played a starring role in the 1977 film “Smokey and the Bandit”; and he worked with Daft Punk on their most recent album. Oh yeah, and he’s also the President of ASCAP. Williams talks about his long career in show biz.
Then: There’s a reason that they call Charles Bradley the “Screaming Eagle of Soul.” Hear the soul singer and his band perform songs from his new album, Victim Of Love, in the Soundcheck studio.
And: We talk with the co-founder of a company called Royalty Exchange that lets musicians and songwriters sell their royalty income to investors. Why would they do that, you ask? We find out.
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.
Friday, December 27, 2013
In this episode, Soundcheck revisits a few favorite segments:
First: The documentary Muscle Shoals tells the story of two historic recording studios based in Muscle Shoals, Ala., where Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers and many others created now-legendary sessions. The film’s director Greg “Freddy” Camalier and FAME Studios founder Rick Hall discuss the film and the studio.
Then, two members of Southern rock godfathers Lynyrd Skynyrd -- original member Gary Rossington, and vocalist and guitarist Rickey Medlocke -- talk about about its storied history behind hits like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird” and discuss their most recent projects.
And, hear Jason Isbell and his band, The 400 Unit, perform in the Soundcheck studio in a session recorded in April 2011.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By Katie Bishop : Producer, Death, Sex & Money
Thursday, December 05, 2013
A new compilation chronicles ten years of lesser-known Twin Cities funk and R&B that set the stage for Prince. The curator behind Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound, and one of the featured artists talk about the Minneapolis music scene of that time.