Singer-songwriter Holly Williams makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Williams' lineage is as close to royalty as country music can get — her grandfather is Hank Williams, and her father is Hank Williams Jr. — but her voice as a songwriter and singer is uniquely her own.
The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds.
The three brothers in the Southern rock band Pontiak could tear the roof off any coliseum with their arena-sized riffs. Hailing from rural Virginia, the Carney brothers — Van, Jennings and Lain — have crafted a long string of albums filled with fuzzy, feedback-laden neo-psych stoner jams since forming Pontiak a decade ago.
Now we hear from a man who says a relationship he built with a prison inmate changed his own life for the better. Actor Hill Harper documented his friendship and the advice he shared in his book "Letters to an Incarcerated Brother." When we spoke with him about the book last year, we also spoke with him for the regular feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we invite some of our guests to tell us about the songs they've been listening to. And he told us about what he listens to when he wants to unwind.
The Final Four is set. The No. 1 overall seed Florida Gators take on the upstart Connecticut Huskies this Saturday, followed by a matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Kentucky Wildcats.
These programs obviously have great basketball pedigree, but did you know that each of these schools have ties to some of our favorite musicians? Take this quiz to find out how the college scenes in Gainesville, Storrs, Madison and Lexington have shaped your iTunes collection.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:06 am
Music is an aural medium, but the two musicians represented on this album have careers defined, at least in part, by visuals. Valentina Lisitsa, the 44-year-old Ukrainian-born pianist, revived her stalled career by uploading videos of herself playing Chopin to YouTube. After millions clicked, she landed a record deal.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:53 am
Erika M. Anderson appreciates the flickering quality of meaning. She likes the sparks that fly off sounds, igniting constructive confusion: the buzz that makes an old synth sound like a guitar, or the way an acoustic beat can crash into an electronic one to make a whole nervous system of rhythm. She's also into wordplay, starting with the name of her ongoing project EMA — an acronym that could stand for a government agency but, read another way, is a feminine name. Then there's the title of her second album, The Future's Void, with its odd, homonym-like instability.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:11 am
There's nothing wrong with music that doubles as an outpouring of joy: sing-along choruses, ecstatic vocals, outsize emotion — a positive outlook on life, generally speaking. If that's your thing, Protomartyr is here to spill it all over the front of your nice, new shirt, possibly scalding you in the process.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 1:54 pm
Nothing is perfect, but some things nearly are, and Todd Terje's song "Inspector Norse" is one of them. It's the sound of pure faith in human kindness, a full glass of champagne at the inaugural beach party — before it all goes wrong, before you get blistering sunburn and an endless hangover and curse the loser who robbed you of what could have been the best summer of your life. Even if all of that does happen, you can just hit play the first day of the next summer. Same effect.