NPR Music & Concerts

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

Late in 1968, it was astounding to me how one of the best-loved bands could create one of the least-liked songs. It was "Revolution 9," near the end of The Beatles' sprawling White Album.

But then, I was only 7 years old and, frankly, those eight minutes of chaotic sounds and mumbled words were positively frightening. And who was that guy who kept intoning "number nine?"

"It could have spelled the end for us."

Last month, two seemingly unrelated tech music business announcements were made that have the potential to reshape the creative dance-music marketplace online. First, Apple Music announced its new partnership with digital distributor Dubset that would allow the streaming service to post DJ sets that contain certain copyrighted material, a practice that until now has faced many legal and financial hurdles.

In Florist, Emily Sprague and fellow Catskills friends sing quiet, delicate songs filled with vivid memories. "Vacation" is about growing up and learning about love.

Like when I used to ride roller coasters with my dad

When a swimming pool in a hotel

Was a gift from God

Like, love, we're like a family

I don't know how to be

"Cool And Refreshing" finds Sprague singing about the childhood memories that we lose one by one.

This Saturday, April 30, marks the fifth anniversary of International Jazz Day, a celebration organized by UNESCO to celebrate jazz across the globe. To do our part, we're highlighting some of our favorite jazz musicians to play behind Bob Boilen's desk. Rising stars, young virtuosos, NEA Jazz Masters and veteran ensembles alike have played in NPR's D.C. offices. Here are five standout jazz performances at the Tiny Desk.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The Thistle & Shamrock: Wayfaring Strangers

Apr 27, 2016

The Thistle & Shamrock marks host Fiona Ritchie's Celtic-Americana event at this year's TradFest, Edinburgh's annual showcase of traditional arts and culture, by retracing the musical migration from Scotland through Ulster to Appalachia. Hear music by Patrick Street, Tim O'Brien, Jean Ritchie and more in this week's episode.

I could walk by Peter Frampton on the street and not recognize him. His long blond hair, which shines like a halo on his album Frampton Comes Alive! may be gone, but as soon as he sat behind the Tiny Desk and began singing, 1976 came rushing back. I worked in a record store the year Frampton Comes Alive! came out, and it was one of those records that seemed to have universal appeal. We sold a ton of copies of that double live album and I can still remember the label and number (A&M 3703) from having written it on countless sales tickets.

A Beyoncé album release is now a communal experience. Who among us (and if you're here reading this, you're one of us) made it through this weekend without a conversation, typed or yelled, about her intent, her intonation, her read, her past, her bat, Serena, Tina, Etta, Warsan, Pipilotti, Zendaya? Whether you love her, hate her, or stay strong in your neutrality, our exchanges are kind of the point. This is what art makes us do. No doubt our opinions are in some places monetized and our vocalization of them surely buoys the price of Lemonade on up to $17.99.

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