"Give life back to music," coo the robots on the first track of Daft Punk's new album, Random Access Memories, which showed up yesterday on iTunes after a long period of near-hysterical anticipation and advance marketing. Does the veteran Parisian dance music duo succeed in doing this on its first album in eight years?
Exitmusic's Passages was one of 2012's darkest and most arresting ambient rock albums. Now, the band returns with an equally transfixing new video for one of the album's standout tracks, "White Noise."
We kick this week's show off with a lot of noise from filmmaker (and past guest DJ on All Songs Considered) Jim Jarmusch and his gloriously gritty side project called SQÜRL. The band, with Carter Logan and producer/engineer Shane Stoneback, originally formed to score the 2009 Jarmusch film The Limits Of Control. SQÜRL has a new, self-titled EP coming out this month and we've got a preview cut called "Pink Dust."
In this installment of World Cafe, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (the stage name of Will Oldham) and Dawn McCarthy perform their own versions of classic Everly Brothers songs — as heard on their latest album together, What the Brothers Sang.
If you heard the Dawes song "Just Beneath the Surface" and said, "Somebody's been listening to their old Jackson Browne albums," you're not exactly insulting Dawes. The band has actually backed Browne on tour — and Browne has sung backup on at least one of its songs — so you could say that Dawes comes by its riffs and phrasing honestly.
Subway entertainers are a mixed bag, but in the arts mecca of New York City, they're often overqualified — so much so that bands and other musical acts need to audition to even set up underground. And those are just the "official" performers.
Laura Stevenson describes herself as an "unfunny Woody Allen," which is another way of saying that her work channels her obsessions with death and doubt. On her third album, Wheel, she finds a way to make it all sound downright jaunty.
Stevenson came to her more folk leanings from roots in punk, as well as a musical family; her grandfather, choral director Harry Simeone, was responsible for "Little Drummer Boy." Listen to two songs from Wheel on this page.