Popular Music

Nik Carman (right) records "Wagon Wheel" at Studio Anatomy, accompanied by his brother, Andrew, on guitar.

Interlochen Public Radio is your source for the arts from northern Michigan. Whether you're looking for new music from northern Michigan artists or NPR's First Listen, you'll find the stories here.

Inside Sajaegi, K-Pop's Open Secret

3 hours ago

Last fall, Malvo, an indie K-pop artist, was walking to the parking lot after a long day. He had just finished a show at a university festival near Seoul, South Korea. In the lot, a middle-aged man approached the musician, saying he had a "marketing opportunity" for Malvo and his songs. He didn't give his phone number, or his name.

Frank Hicks' initial plan was to open a motorcycle repair shop and parts business, a side job to the body shop he ran down in East Bottoms — an outpost along the Missouri River marked with train tracks, warehouses and industrial businesses in Kansas City, Mo.

To attract more customers to his new, hard-to-find business, Hicks started hosting parties featuring live music and free yard beer; they grew so popular that he began booking them regularly and charging $10 admission to cover costs. He eventually applied for the appropriate licenses and permits and became a legitimate bar.

The music sounds, at first, like it belongs in a power yoga studio: electronic and rhythmic, rising and falling like breaths. But then a higher pitch juts into the mix, and the strains of sound diverge, becoming faster-paced and a bit more like electronic dance music. The rise and swell fluctuates, not entirely predictable. The artists at work are, ostensibly, plants: a philodendron, two schefflera and a snake plant.

Chris Dave And The Drumhedz: Tiny Desk Concert

9 hours ago

"If you've never been to a Drumhedz show... ...we're gonna take you on a quick journey as if you're going through a record store," Chris Dave told the NPR Music offices at the top of his set, "picking up different genres of music and putting it in your bag."

When Archers of Loaf reunited in 2011 for a series of shows, members of the '90s indie-rock band looked downright elated onstage. Eric Bachmann, in particular, fed off the energy of the crowd with a giddiness that contrast his gruff exterior. But rather than blithely dive into the studio after renewed purpose, the band wisely waited until it had more to say.

In 2014, we created a music contest in hopes of discovering unknown artists we otherwise might not get to hear. Each year since, thousands of unsigned musicians from across the country have sent us videos of themselves performing their original songs in true NPR Music fashion: behind a desk. Our winner gets to play a Tiny Desk concert and then goes on a victory tour of sorts with NPR Music. We call it the Tiny Desk Contest.

The Po' Ramblin' Boys On Mountain Stage

Feb 20, 2020

Birthed in the shadow of Dollywood at the tourist mecca that is Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg, Tenn., The Po' Ramblin' Boys play a spirited and aged brand of straight-ahead, Monroe-style bluegrass.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The acorn must crack in order for the seedling to sprout. That's the energy I felt when I saw Rashad Becker, a German mastering engineer and artist, perform his own music live at London's multi-venue MODE Festival back in September. The setting was a gutted building in the middle of the city's shopping district, which added its own layer of dissonance.

Morning Edition's series One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

Watching Elisapie perform, her intensity is undeniable. I feel it in her gaze, in her deep, soulful bellow. Elisapie is a Canadian singer and songwriter born in Salluit, on the northern tip of Quebec. Her lyrics, most often sung in her native Inuktitut as well as English and French, touch on her life as an adopted child and on meeting her biological mother. Now, as a mother herself, she sings about what it must have meant to her own mother to give up her child. Elisapie left her birth-village, Salluit, as a teenager and headed to Montreal, leaving her community and her sick mom.

As doctors in London performed surgery on Dagmar Turner's brain, the sound of a violin filled the operating room.

The music came from the patient on the operating table. In a video from the surgery, the violinist moves her bow up and down as surgeons behind a plastic sheet work to remove her brain tumor.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

One of hip-hop's brightest young stars has died according to his record label. Bashar Jackson, who performed as Pop Smoke, was 20 years old. The details surrounding his death are still emerging. NPR Music's Sidney Madden joined me here in the studio to talk about Pop Smoke's music and legacy.

SIDNEY MADDEN, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.

SHAPIRO: For those who don't know his music, who was Pop Smoke, and what space did he occupy in the hip-hop scene?

Bashar Jackson, better known as the Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles during what appeared to be a home invasion. He was 20 years old.

While the Los Angeles Police Department would not identify Jackson by name as the victim in Wednesday morning's shooting, NPR confirmed his death through his record label, Republic Records.

It started somewhat humbly on Saturday, Feb. 14, 1970. Valentine's Day.

Madison McFerrin is almost like a hypnotist: She creates expansive, atmospheric grooves that grow and bloom, layer by layer. It's the kind of music pulls you in before you even realize just how much is going on. And she does it all with just her laptop, a loop station and her voice.

How can one mourn a parent whose harsh judgments frame childhood? This question haunts Philip Kennicott's Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

For decades, Go-go has been the unofficial music of Washington, D.C. But today, its status becomes official when the city's mayor signs some legislation.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Wind me up.

DJ and producer Andrew Weatherall, a titan of underground dance music, died Monday in London at age 56. The cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, according to a statement released by his management.

Weatherall started producing in London in the mid-'80s, and was known for a wicked sense of humor — and for blending an eclectic mix of genres.

The music duo perform songs from their self-titled debut album, which draws on the music of the '30s and '40s. "There is a timeless quality to these old standards," Vilray says.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

What better way to spend a beautifully sunny, long weekend than indoors on a liquid diet watching movies in a fever-induced haze? (Mashed potatoes and gravy count as liquid, right?) Between comfort viewings of Bob's Burgers and King of the Hill, I caught up on my queue.

Justin Bieber Finds His Bliss

Feb 18, 2020

On Feb. 14, 2020, the same day that Justin Bieber's new album was released, YouTube — the platform on which he'd famously been discovered — celebrated its 15th birthday. A cherubic, shaggy-haired Bieber was even a few years younger than that when he started uploading videos to the streaming site.

You ever been to a party and, for some reason, it's hard to get a handle on the vibe of the room? I'm not talking about the visual representation of who's there (or who's not), but more the collective energy surging through the space is just ... off.

It's taken me a few years, but through my vast research, I've concluded that eight times out of 1o, this amorphous feeling is a consequence of the DJ switching up their music selection too quickly. You can always spot a rookie DJ by an ill-timed switch up. You gotta be able to transition accordingly.

Almost without trying, Snoh Aalegra has an unforgettable presence. Strolling into NPR's music department on the day of her Tiny Desk Concert debut, the striking Iranian-Swedish singer donned Off-White Nike Dunks, baggy jeans, dewy skin and a sleek ponytail, carrying herself with the kind of camera-ready, cool-girl aura that silenced a mass of people waiting for her. Even with all that, the moment she started to sing is when the real beauty shone through.

Pages