Music

Holiday Music
1:03 am
Tue December 18, 2012

'What Christmas Means' To Soul Singer KEM

Of "Christmas Time is Here," Kem says, "It's one of those songs that I hear and it's like, 'I wish I wrote that.' "
Anthony Mandler Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:07 am

For KEM's What Christmas Means, the R&B singer wanted to cover several aspects of the season: the birth of Christ, for one, but also Christmas as a "romantic holiday."

"You spend time cuddled up by the fire, warm and cozy with your wife or your husband," KEM tells NPR's David Greene. "You spend more time being intimate with shopping — we're doing things with the kids, we're together. There's a lot of sincerity, a lot of warmth."

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Mountain Stage
2:57 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Dr. Dog On Mountain Stage

Dr. Dog.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 8:38 am

The oddball rockers in Dr. Dog make their second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded in partnership with the Marshall Artists Series in Huntington, W.V. Combining an unapologetic love of 1960s pop with a shambling indie-rock aesthetic, Dr. Dog has earned a loyal and growing audience.

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All Songs Considered
2:28 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Question Of The Week: What Are Your Holiday Music Memories?

Members of the Victorian State Youth Brass Band of Australia during an attempt to set a world record by playing Christmas carols for 40 straight hours.
William West AFP/Getty Images

I played trumpet in my high school band and wasn't very good. I held the thing down, sort of like a clarinet, and played out of the corner of my mouth. It sounded like I had a kazoo wedged in the tubing. But nobody else in my school was very good either, so I still managed to spend a lot of time at first chair.

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World Cafe
1:54 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Next: The Henry Millers

The Henry Millers.
Courtesy of the artist

Naturally, the New York band The Henry Millers takes its name from the author, who was famous for creating his own genre of literature out of an assortment of preexisting ones. Miller was also notorious for his books' often-explicit sexual content, which was deemed illicit enough for his work to be banned in the U.S. While The Henry Millers' bright, buoyant songs aren't likely to cause a scandal, the band does share Miller's penchant for drawing from different styles — its debut album, Daisies, is equal parts indie-rock, folk and synth-pop.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:16 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Alt-J: Tiny Desk Concert

Alt-J Tiny Desk Performance NPR 2012
Lauren Rock NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:47 pm

There's mystery in the music of Alt-J: The band's songs are wrapped in enigmatic textures, with swift shifts in arrangements inside every song and an oddness to the drums. Mere glimpses of lyrics are discernible, even after listening over and over — and if you can decipher the words, the meanings don't necessarily follow immediately. Still, those words reside at the core of Alt-J, and they're cinematic and stunning and sometimes brutal.

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