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Music features, reviews and "first listens" from NPR.  For WUNC's music programs,  Back Porch Music.

They're celebrating Down Under. Today is Australia Day, a holiday marking the arrival of British ships at Sydney Harbour in 1788. A perfect day then to salute something truly Australian, something that speaks of national pride, austere landscapes and even the darker side of Australian history — the music of Peter Sculthorpe, who died last year at age 85.

What the Icelandic art star Bjork has accomplished at the intersection of pop and the avant-garde cannot be summed up in one detail, but one thing to focus on is the way she sings the word "emotional." Climbing it like one of the cliffs she often evokes in her pastoral lyrics, she lets it open up like a vista on its central, circulatory "o." The word becomes a Valkyrie's cry, a statement of purpose both sacred and humanly thrilling.

In a raucous and revealing panel discussion at New York City's Ace Hotel, the stars and creators of Comedy Central's Broad City interviewed all three members of the newly reunited rock band Sleater-Kinney Friday night.

The Thistle & Shamrock: New Year Sounds

Jan 20, 2015

Prepare your way for the year ahead with a fresh musical start and a chance to discover artists whose careers are destined to gather momentum in the coming months.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Before Rubblebucket played its Tiny Desk Concert, its members asked if they could bring a confetti cannon. And, though I said no — dear coworkers, I really do care about you — the band still brought a fun mix of brass and brash to the Tiny Desk.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Winter Heat

Jan 19, 2015

Hot instrumentals and passionate vocals from Kirsty MacColl, Salsa Celtica and Kila offer the perfect insulation against winter's chill.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pill popping, pot smoking, back-stabbing, bed hopping and tantrum throwing — now we're talking classical music! At least that's what the new Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle would have us believe is all in a day's work for orchestra musicians. The 10-part series is based on a tell-all book of the same name published a decade ago by oboist Blair Tindall.

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