The instrumental music San Francisco's Scott Hansen makes as Tycho splits the difference between post-rock's melodic architecture and pop ambient's immersive, uplifting environments. Hansen's aims felt a little harder to grasp on the sprawling Dive, the 2011 predecessor of his fourth album as Tycho, Awake. The latter is a slickly constructed album that finds him streamlining both his setup and his aims — the sounds he uses and how he deploys them are more considered and purposeful.
Heavy psychological difficulty is a hot theme in chart-topping hip-hop these days, with artists like Eminem and Rihanna making Al-Anon worthy testimonies to codependency, and Macklemore vying for soberest man in all of pop. Joining them could be Seattle's Raz Simone — he's part of a scene within the local rap sphere there looking to do national numbers, a new ambition in the city, post-"Thrift Shop."
Philippe Jaroussky cuts a masculine figure on the cover of his new album, Farinelli: Porpora Arias, but you might do a double take upon hearing the music. The arias the French opera singer performs on this release were written in the 18th century for a castrato — a boy singer castrated to retain his high singing voice through adulthood.
So I'm driving down the road when I hear this incredible voice coming out of my car speakers — part Janis Joplin, part Nina Simone — and I wonder, "Who is she?"
That day, I'd ripped a number of CDs onto my phone and didn't remember which record this was. Upon a quick glance at my phone during a traffic light, I discover the name Asaf Avidan. Next traffic light, I look it up and I see a picture of a skinny, handsome white male. I figure that's a mistake — that I must have typed the wrong name — so I wait to get home.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. It's Carnaval in Brazil - that time of the year when people take to the streets and celebrate before the austerity of Lent begins. And while you may think the Rio de Janeiro when you think of Carnaval, we're going to take you north to Recife. It's considered one of the most diverse carnivals in Brazil. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Recife.