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The State Of D.C. Hardcore

Mar 24, 2016

Rob Watson was ready for something new.

At 9 p.m. on a Friday in February, Watson was standing outside of La Casa, a micro-church and community center — whose main chapel is the size of your parents' spacious living room — nestled next to a tienda in Washington, D.C.'s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Inside, a hardcore punk band called Unknown Threat had just taken the stage.

"Y'all still read books, right?" Prince asked from the balcony of Manhattan's Avenue Club on Friday night, knowing what the jubilant response would be from the crowd of publishing folks, journalists and VIPs gathered below.

The evening's occasion was the announcement that Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House publishing, had purchased the rights to the enigmatic 57-year-old music legend's memoir, which is expected sometime in 2017.

The most meme-able moment of Michelle Obama's keynote event at yesterday's South by Southwest conference and festival came when she responded to a question from her friend Queen Latifah by crooning a few bars of the Motown weeper "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday." The novelty of a first lady si

The Thistle & Shamrock: Irish Pairs

Mar 16, 2016

Duos playing in the Irish tradition frequently make direct and honest musical statements. In this week's show, hear pairings of voices, guitars, fiddles, flutes and other acoustic instruments.

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Prolific and multifaceted British composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies died Monday at age 81 at his home in the Orkney Islands, off the northern coast of Scotland. His death, from leukemia, was reported on the websites of both his publisher and his management company.

While I sat on the floor watching Graham Nash play The Hollies' 1966 hit "Bus Stop," I caught a glimpse of the same transistor radio I had as a kid when that song filled the AM radio airwaves. It was surreal and beautiful.

Gaelynn Lea, the winner of NPR's second annual Tiny Desk Contest, makes music like nobody else. Her sounds are steeped in the deep melodies of great Irish fiddle tunes, but her performance and singing style aren't traditional. More than 6,000 artists submitted videos in which they performed an original song behind a desk of their choosing with the hope of winning a chance to play a Tiny Desk concert at NPR. Gaelynn Lea was the overwhelming favorite of our six judges.

I'd already been thinking a lot about George Martin. I've spent the last year writing a book about the songs that changed the lives of musicians, and in the introductory chapter I offer my own selection. "A Day in the Life," by The Beatles, changed the way I think about music. It's a song George Martin, who died on Tuesday at the age of 90, had a clear hand in.

Experience the massive impact of the small harp, which has built international momentum in Celtic roots music since the 1970s, thanks to artists like Alan Stivell, Savourna Stevenson and The Poozies.

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