Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:02 am
We started this series of polls, like so many of the things we write and think about, with a simple water cooler conversation. After learning that the entire NPR music team loved Paul Simon's Graceland, we began to wonder whether it's possible to make a top ten list of albums everyone can agree on.
It's gotten to that point in the dog days of August where the air is stale and nothing seems to be moving. But sometimes all it takes to snap me out of a late-summer heat coma is the sound of a new and electrifying voice — like that of Lianne La Havas.
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 9:36 am
The North Carolina sextet Delta Rae first caught my attention with its swampy track "Bottom of the River." The group came to our studios with a setup unlike any other band we've hosted at KCRW: a metal trashcan, a large chain and many pairs of drumsticks. Four members of Delta Rae sing lead, while everyone in the band joins in to create a cacophony of bluesy, gospel-tinged pop music, complete with stomping feet.
Fresh Air's Terry Gross has been listening to jazz singer Susie Arioli since she first heard Arioli's 2002 album Pennies From Heaven. Arioli is Canadian and has a big following there, but she's not well known in the U.S., and hasn't toured in many American cities. So when Arioli and her longtime guitarist and arranger, Jordan Officer, stopped in for an in-studio concert and conversation, Gross was thrilled.
Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 4:14 pm
Wolf Larsen's life is a complicated mix of mysterious and nearly debilitating health issues and desire to dig deep in art for meaning and hope. Wolf Larsen is the stage name (and pen name) of the singer and writer Sarah Ramey. In 2008, Ramey served as the personal blogger for Obama's presidential campaign and is currently writing a book — The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness — due out in 2013 under her own name. Her new record as Wolf Larsen, Quiet at the Kitchen Door, is a bedroom recording, a project that began as a way to deal with her illness and solitude.