NPR Music & Concerts

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

There are nine spare, simple songs on Julien Baker's debut album, Sprained Ankle, and every one of them is sad. In fact, she came to the Tiny Desk with an untitled new one — since given the name "Funeral Pyre" — and she appropriately introduced it as "Sad Song #11." But Baker's shimmering electric-guitar picking, the purity of her voice and the yearning way she sings make each of her songs lovely and memorable rather than merely somber.

The Thistle & Shamrock: 'The Witness'

Mar 4, 2016

In this episode of The Thistle & Shamrock, host Fiona Ritchie talks with writer Jamie Jauncey about the role of music in his novel The Witness. A pianist himself, Jauncey also shares the music of his life and introduces compositions inspired by his book.

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These four musicians made their first record together a decade ago, but for many of us, 2016 will be the year Lake Street Dive becomes a household name. The appeal of this band of New England Conservatory friends lies in their warmth in harmony and comfortably styled songs — sometimes tilting toward soul, often rocking danceably on a new collection of songs called Side Pony.

Artists shine given restrictions and limitations. Subtlety and nuance are more easily found in minimalism than excess. That's the beauty of Brushy One String, whose sound is made by one big fat E-string and a voice so rich and full, all it wants is a bit of rhythmic and melodic underpinning.

We're about 300 emails and one month in. We started with seven people and swelled to eight, though the composition of the group has changed a little bit.

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