NPR Music

When it comes to maligning the news media, Morrissey has few peers. As he sings in "Spent The Day In Bed," a song from his most recent album Low In High School: "I recommend that you stop / watching the news / because the news contrives to frighten you / to make you feel small and alone / to make you feel that your mind isn't your own."

When Rory Graham was 19 or 20 years old, he sang in public for the first time. And he didn't really think there was anything special about his voice. Turns out, the world disagrees.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Gifts

7 hours ago

Whether you're looking for gift ideas or simply looking for an hour of fine music, we have the perfect blend, featuring Cherish the Ladies, Nicola Benedetti and Pete Clark.

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In September, WGBH traveled a few hours west on the Mass Pike to capture Brooklyn-based Big Thief performing live at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, Mass.

It was just another sad story on the Los Angeles evening news: a homeless man in his mid-50s, found stabbed to death in a park in the San Fernando Valley, his body in a pool of blood behind the softball fields. It took several days for him to be identified as Frederick Smith, a musician known to friends, fans and colleagues as "Freak," someone who had left an indelible mark on the epochal '80s hardcore punk scene of Washington, D.C.

Pat DiNizio, a singer and songwriter who made popular rock songs as the leader of The Smithereens, died on Tuesday at age 62, his fellow band members say. No cause of death was provided.

In this session we welcome JD McPherson, the Oklahoman who made retro rock sound modern with "North Side Gal." There's a reason his new album Undivided Heart & Soul sounds different. McPherson uprooted his family from Oklahoma to Nashville, Tenn., and ended up making the new album at the historic RCA Studio B — whose walls have soaked up music from major country acts for decades. Elvis, Charley Pride, Floyd Cramer: They all recorded there. In fact, the studio is a museum in the daytime.

Last summer I took my daughter to Vans Warped Tour for the first time. She'd been clamoring to go since the first time she'd walked into a Hot Topic store and bought a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the band Black Veil Brides; deeply devoted to that band and its sweetly philosophical, doe-eyed singer Andy Biersack, she'd even had their album cover painted on her eleventh birthday cake. By age 13 she'd become utterly versed in current pop-punk and grunge-indebted metal, shouting along to her playlists of Neck Deep and Attila songs in the car.

I know it seems absurd and headline-grabbing, but honestly this song is going to be the high bar to hit for guitar-driven, brokenhearted love songs in the coming year.

While independent bands don't quite have the ability to make the earth stand still like Queen Bey — we all fall short of the glory, etc. — one lesson learned from the surprise-album release is how an artist and a fan trust each other. Album announcements, artwork announcements, teasers for single premieres, the actual premiere, a video for the same single, a teaser for the second single — you can understand why some artists who have been at this a while would rather skip the industry cycle and go direct.

Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter, collectively known as Penny & Sparrow, are pin-drop performers, the kind which silence rooms with impeccable songs and storytelling that unfolds like a dream. The duo has amassed a devoted following in six years, and traveled from Austin, Texas to Muscle Shoals, Ala., now splitting its time between the two musical centers.

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Ever hear a song that you know you've heard performed by another artist and wonder: Who did it first? Well, we are tackling that question in an ongoing series, "Me and My Shadows," where we pair original songs with covers that might just blow your musical mind.

Some covers bring together artists from completely different sonic worlds, like The English Beat's ska take on Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' Motown classic "Tears of a Clown." Other covers make you hear a song you've heard many times before in a totally new way — see Aurora's take on David Bowie's "Life on Mars."

Seattle trio Dude York's new holiday album, Halftime For The Holidays, begins with a goofy, rocking breakup song about a familiar scene: You go home for the holidays and see an ex, realize you still have all the same friends and overthink your every move.

Should you buy him a gift? If you leave the party early, are you letting him win? What glittery dress will make him miss you, but also assure him you've moved on?

What do you get when you cross an Australian post-punk drummer with a lute player who is the descendant of Greek musical royalty? Easy: Today's guests Xylouris White!

Xylouris is George Xylouris, from a famed family of musicians based in a mountain shepherding village on the Greek island of Crete. George has been a professional musician since he was 12.

White is Jim White, an Australian post-punk drummer with a deft touch, able to go from thunderous to tender on a dime. Jim held it down in the instrumental trio Dirty Three, and has also backed Cat Power and PJ Harvey.

Despite having visited the Tiny Desk three times, and traveling to the tunnels beneath Fort Adams State Park, Jeff Tweedy has brought only a fraction of his many musical permutations to NPR Music during our first 10 years.

Seth Glier On Mountain Stage

Dec 5, 2017

Seth Glier has an otherworldly voice, which explains why Mountain Stage guest host Michael Cerveris admits to lingering perhaps too long outside of Glier's dressing room, listening to him warming up.

Part of the fun of stepping into an old-time diner is getting swept away by love songs of decades past. Gems made in the 1940s like Lena Horne's "'Deed I Do" and Ella Fitzgerald's "I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling" capture the casual exaltation of swooning in a crush's footsteps. What makes them resonate is a combination of simplicity and sincerity: Having a crush is an all-consuming weightlessness that leaves you flushed, no matter how fortuitous it may be.

Luna On World Cafe

Dec 4, 2017

Around the time Luna announced it was breaking up back in 2004, lead singer Dean Wareham said, "This is what bands do." But you can bet any fan of Luna's dreamy, moody sound was secretly hoping they would undo it. And after about a decade, Luna did. (Or: undid.)

The Resilience Of Victoria Williams

Dec 2, 2017

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

Around the turn of the millennium, hardcore had to reckon with its weirdnessand the weirdness of — becoming a viable and commercial force. At The Drive-In played the Late Show with David Letterman, Thursday's "Understanding In A Car Crash" was in regular rotation on MTV2 and The Blood Brothers' absolutely manic ... Burn, Piano Island, Burn was produced, by nü-metal diviner Ross Robinson, for a major label.

Since Fleetwood Mac released its debut album nearly 50 years ago, there have been many incarnations, comings and goings, couplings and uncouplings. But here's a new combination — Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie have released a record together!

The Mountain Stage 34th Anniversary Show

Nov 29, 2017

Watch as Mountain Stage With Larry Groce celebrates 34 years of live performance radio with sets from Joe Henry, John K. Samson, Nellie McKay and The Mountain Goats.

Jade Bird On World Cafe

Nov 28, 2017

There is no way to know — at least not from the depth and maturity of her music — just how young Jade Bird was when she wrote the songs on her new EP. She tells us in this session that she just turned 20, and that many of her songs were written when she was 17 or 18! She may be young, but the London-based singer-songwriter tells us she draws inspiration from an older crowd: Neil Young, Bob Dylan, even Son House.

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