WUNC Music

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

On this episode Eric Hodge talks with Sam Herring of Future Islands about their song 'Doves' from the album Singles.

Herring says 'Doves' is a song that took some time for the band to get right.

Listen to the episode here:

There's a perception these days (not entirely unfounded) that country music rewards its male performers for following a particular formula. The combination of gleaming, rhythmic Top 40 hooks, flirtatious frat-party swagger and small-town backdrops has served as a pattern in the industry, largely because it works., and artists who helped lay out the template, like Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt, have contributed mightily to the growth of country's millennial fanbase.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

This time Eric Hodge sits down with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver to discuss his song 'Perth' from the album Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

Vernon describes 'Perth' as an awakening. It's a song about being born and also losing a loved one.

In the early 1920s, before he became an icon of the American songbook, composer Cole Porter wrote the score for a protest ballet. The production, called Within the Quota, criticized restrictive immigration laws that had been passed by Congress. According to Princeton music professor Simon Morrison, who rediscovered the score two years ago in Yale's Porter archives, the show opened in New York at a time of fearful backlash against Polish, Greek and Australian immigrants arriving in the U.S.

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

One day after a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed at least 22 victims and wounded dozens more, police have identified a suspect: Salman Abedi, 22, who also died in the attack. The Greater Manchester Police says it's investigating whether anyone helped to carry out the attack.

Of course it's a story about death and Seattle music.

I woke up this morning after bad dreams last night, only to find the real nightmare — that Chris Cornell of Soundgarden was dead. As with all these losses it seems surreal, untrue, unimaginable. But there it is.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Chris Cornell, the unmistakable voice and frontman of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, died overnight in Detroit at the age of 52. He was discovered just past midnight at the MGM Grand Detroit, according to police.

The office of the Wayne County Medical Examiner on Thursday determined the cause of his death to be suicide by hanging, noting that a full autopsy has yet to be completed.

The celebrated Brooklyn four-piece Grizzly Bear has released another new song, "Mourning Sound," and given the upcoming album from which it's taken a name and a release date: Painted Ruins will be out on August 18. It's the band's first since Shields in 2012.

Before last week, the Brooklyn-based punk band PWR BTTM was widely regarded as a promising, emerging rock act. Its two members, Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, both of whom identify as gender non-binary, had made a name with catchy songs that, in part, celebrate those identities, bolstered by actions such as requesting gender-neutral bathrooms be provided by venues where the band was booked to play. Last Wednesday, May 10, accusations of sexual assault against Hopkins began to circulate on social media.

An image of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange
Alex Loops

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

For this episode, Eric Hodge sits down with Chapel Hill's Mandolin Orange to discuss their song "Wildfire" from the album Blindfaller.

"Wildfire"  is a bit more political than the average Mandolin Orange song. Andrew Marlin says that with this song he wanted to speak his mind on what racism in the South means these days.

Courtesy of The Artist

Durham-based musician Kamara Thomas knew she wanted to be an artist at a young age. But she grew up in a Christian fundamentalist household that frowned upon artistic expression.

Rolling Stone magazine turns 50 this year, and co-founder Jann Wenner has written the foreword to a new book celebrating the anniversary. Wenner started Rolling Stone in San Francisco in 1967 with $7,500 of borrowed money, donated office space and some used typewriters. He was a 21-year-old Berkeley dropout who was into all the great music coming out in the year of the "Summer of Love" — and he wanted to create a magazine that took rock and roll seriously.

Rhiannon Giddens' new solo album, Freedom Highway, is an exploration of African-American experiences, accompanied by an instrument with its own uniquely African-American story: the banjo.

The nominations are in for the 16th annual Americana Awards, to be held Sept. 13 in Nashville as the signature event of AmericanaFest — and in at least one category, they tell a tale of how this progressive yet traditionalist community is rising to the political challenges of a complicated historical moment. Four of the five releases in the Album of the Year category have protest at their core, demonstrating how the genre is stretching itself even as it builds on long-established artistic family ties.

A rock star makes it big, gets hooked on substances and lands in rehab. The rest of the artist's career is viewed as a comeback. Recognize this pattern? Well, Mike Hadreas, the heart of the band Perfume Genius, is a rock star in reverse — because his career started in rehab.

Country music icon Loretta Lynn suffered a stroke Thursday night and is recovering in a Nashville hospital.

A post on Lynn's Facebook page said that she fell ill at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., but that she expects to make a full recovery.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

This time, Eric Hodge sits down with Chapel Hill's Mipso to discuss their song "Water Runs Red" from the album Coming Down The Mountain.

When the reunited LCD Soundsystem played five nights at Brooklyn Steel in early April, the band brought along two new songs, delighting a legion of dedicated followers who have been clamoring for new material. Well, now James Murphy and company will release those songs at midnight — "and I mean, literally, midnight," he writes in a lengthy post on Facebook (embedded below). "Wherever you are.

What did we do to deserve new songs from both Paramore and HAIM? We are truly blessed this day.

Perhaps you're a person who buys festival wear but finds Coachella too plebian. Perhaps you find other music festivals off-putting because you can't bring your own yacht. Or maybe you just think it sounds awesome to hang out on an island in the Bahamas and you have a few thousand dollars to blow.

Last week brought a flurry of news about a new batch of unreleased Prince songs — six, to be exact, culled from sessions the late star had recorded between 2006 and 2008 — most of which remain unreleased after Prince's estate obtained an injunction blocking their distribution.

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