NPR Music

The Record
1:03 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Do We Really Need Bob Dylan And Van Morrison Box Sets?

Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and The Band's Robbie Robertson (from left to right) onstage in 1976. The performance was filmed for Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz.
United Artists Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 6:09 pm

How much does any musician's outtakes, sanctioned for release years after the fact, enlarge our understanding of their canonical work? Depends on the artist; depends on the work. Sometimes they serve a shadow function — unissued songs that, had they come out the first time around, would have fundamentally rewritten the artist's story. Sometimes they simply present alternate routes to the same basic end-point. And sometimes they should have stayed in the damn vault.

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The Record
2:14 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

A Rational Conversation: Manager Amaechi Uzoigwe On Surprise Album Releases

Courtesy of Def Jam Records

"A Rational Conversation" is a column by writer Eric Ducker in which he gets on iChat or Gchat or the phone or whatever with a special guest to examine a music-related subject that's entered the pop culture consciousness. It previously appeared at The Daily Swarm.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Daughter: Tiny Desk Concert

Daughter performs a Tiny Desk Concert in August 2013.
Chloe Coleman NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:04 pm

Daughter first popped up on our radar when we heard the London band's song "Landfill" while preparing for SXSW early last year: Achingly pretty and melancholy, the track builds to an absolute gut-punch of a line — "I want you so much, but I hate your guts" — that conjures a pitch-perfect mix of gloom, desire and hostility.

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The Record
8:04 am
Sat October 19, 2013

How To Read This Year's Rock Hall Nominations

Chic in 1977. From left to right, Bernard Edwards, Norma Jean Wright, Nile Rodgers and Tony Thompson.
Gilles Petard Redferns

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 5:24 pm

If you look beyond the headlines that greeted this week's announcement of 16 nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — Nirvana, a foregone conclusion for first-round induction; KISS, long snu

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Matt Ulery's Loom: Tiny Desk Concert

Matt Ulery performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in August 2013.
Chloe Coleman Chloe Coleman/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:05 pm

The next time you go to see live jazz in a club, and the band is playing original compositions, look closely in front of the musicians. Sometimes there'll be stands holding sheet music. There's nothing wrong with this per se, especially if the music is a bit complicated. But sometimes there'll be no need for stands, as the musicians have memorized the material. It's impressive, but it also signals a certain commitment, one borne of having rehearsed and performed together often. You frequently see this in tight bands that know what they're doing.

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The Record
4:06 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

A Remake Of D'Angelo's 'Untitled' Video Asks Still-Unanswered Questions

D'Angelo in his video for "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," right, and Brendon Urie, in Panic! at the Disco's video for "Girls/Girls/Boys."
Courtesy of EMI and Atlantic Records

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 2:13 pm

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The Thistle & Shamrock
12:00 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

5 Songs That Will Shoogle Your Hurdies

"Shoogle your hurdies" is a Scottish phrase that essentially means "shake your booty."
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:55 pm

If music makes you shake your booty, you're sure to shoogle your hurdies to these tracks. Before you go looking for an online Scots dictionary, enjoy Fiona Ritchie's handpicked set of irresistible tracks with Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul from the U.S., Scotland's Capercaillie and The Chair, and from Ireland T with the Maggies and Arty McGlynn. There's no point in even trying to sit still.

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A Blog Supreme
2:23 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Five Songs By The 'Rhodes Scholar' Keyboardist Of Hip-Hop

Keyboardist and producer Bob James' 1970s work helped to establish the sound of smooth jazz — and lives on in hip-hop samples galore.
Courtesy of the artist

Professing love for Bob James' music can yield a side-eye in some circles. Jazz purists routinely view the keyboardist's 1970s period as a progenitor to smooth jazz — an idiom they frequently react to as if it were a sign of the apocalypse.

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All Songs Considered
1:51 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

The Good Listener: How Do I Name My Band, Anyway?

Hoobastank has sold more than 10 million albums. Does it really matter what you call your band?
Courtesy of the artist

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the new Pokemon 3DS games that have zombified our once-expressive children is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, tips on how to name one's band.

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The Record
3:04 am
Thu October 17, 2013

The Year Onyx's 'Slam' Crashed Pop Radio

Onyx in an undated photo. From left to right, Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, Suave and Big DS.
Al Pereira Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 10:23 am

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