NPR Music & Concerts

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

Mud has a way of capturing the popular memory of a music festival. After stormy weather hit this year's massive TomorrowWorld, an electronic dance music gathering held in Chattahoochee Hillso, Georgia on September 25-27, images circulated online of self-identified festival goers sleeping, stranded, on the soggy ground. Organizers of the event, which last year drew 160,000 people, ultimately closed off the final day to anyone not among the estimated 40,000 on-site campers.

Deqn Sue rose above a crowd of close to 7,000 entries and almost won our Tiny Desk Concert Contest earlier this year. I so loved her song and her performance of "Magenta" that I invited Deqn Sue — along with her producer, Kelvin Wooten — to my desk to perform that song and more.

Death And The Iron Maiden

Oct 5, 2015

Bruce Dickinson isn't through just yet. It is the end of a 12-hour press day where the Iron Maiden vocalist has been answering a multitude of questions, most concerning the iconic heavy metal band's 16th full-length album, The Book of Souls. It is a task that requires a kind of Zen-like patience, yet the 57-year-old is noticeably unfazed, excited to spend the better part of an hour talking about his passion for music — and for life.

Lianne La Havas: Tiny Desk Concert

Oct 2, 2015

In 2012, my kids introduced me to Lianne La Havas' debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough? One play and I was hooked; I've been a fan ever since. Her music works for any activity, any emotion.

Join host Fiona Ritchie and multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Brian McNeill as they share conversation and music at the Swannanoa Gathering in the North Carolina mountains.

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The Internet is both an anomaly and a sign of the times. No, not the actual Internet you're using to read this text, though that Internet is pretty special, too. In this case, The Internet is an L.A. band led by Syd The Kid (vocals/production) and Matt Martians (keys/production), with assists from Pat Paige (bass), Jameel Bruner (keys) and Chris Smith (drums).

In a town known for "keeping it weird," the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Ore., doesn't immediately stand out. But it's got plenty of character below the surface.

The interior of this 100-year-old brick building is striking — high ceilings are accented by two gorgeous antique chandeliers, and massive arched windows line the walls. But ask concertgoers what they think the most interesting feature is and one always stands out: "I hate to say it, but the flooring," Katy Stellern says, laughing.

As technology rules the sound of the day, it's good to be reminded how powerfully a single voice can transmit deep emotion. Joan Shelley made one of the most beautiful records of the year with just her voice and two guitars.