Popular Music

Nik Carman (right) records "Wagon Wheel" at Studio Anatomy, accompanied by his brother, Andrew, on guitar.

Interlochen Public Radio is your source for the arts from northern Michigan. Whether you're looking for new music from northern Michigan artists or NPR's First Listen, you'll find the stories here.

The world has had the better part of a week now, and through a bloated holiday weekend, to digest Jay-Z's latest album, 4:44. With 10 songs spread over 36 minutes, the album wields brevity without sacrificing breadth. Its sound, crafted wholly by producer No I.D., is surprisingly cloudy and narcotic, while Shawn Carter's lyrics are reflective and bent steadfastly toward honesty.

Most people love to sing, but in Estonia, they take their singing very seriously. At the Estonian Song Festivals, for example, over 30 thousand singers routinely show up to form one gigantic chorus. Among the Baltic country's smaller, professional vocal ensembles, the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is considered one of the world's best. When the group releases a new album, fans of choral music listen up.

You have a video like this, admit it: awkward leaps across the screen, moodily staring into the camera, flailing on the ground, all the while lip-syncing to your rock star dreams. Granted, you probably wouldn't become Nirvana.

Hippo Campus is a band made up of Minnesota 20-somethings who got swept up in the rock and roll lifestyle directly out of high school. After releasing a pair of EPs in 2015, the band has now put out its debut full-length, Landmark.

Tight, angular, surprising melodies leap from the songs on the new album. Hippo Campus' growth since its earlier work is evident right away; the band now boasts a less frantic sound and more mature songwriting.

Have you ever done anything for 24 hours straight other than binge-watch Game Of Thrones before a new season starts? This guy spun a fidget spinner for a full day, so you know, the sky's the limit. Endurance tests now just seem like excuses to sit on your butt and get praise for it.

A mysterious photograph appeared across various social media platforms Monday morning, depicting three dashing women — two in cowboy hats, one holding a pair of spectacles — lounging at a wooden table teeming with the evidence of a long night out. NEW BAND ALERT: BERMUDA TRIANGLE, the caption read. Anyone attuned to the Americana scene recognized the one in the middle: Brittany A. Howard, the main rule-breaker in Americana music's most exciting band of this century, the Alabama Shakes.

Chance The Rapper knew he wanted to try a different approach for his Tiny Desk performance, so he decided to do something he said he hadn't done in a long time. He wrote a poem. More specifically, he wrote a poem in the short time it took him to ride from his hotel in Washington, D.C. to the NPR Music offices. Calling it "The Other Side," Chance debuted it in the middle of his remarkable set, reading from his notes written out in black marker on sheets of typing paper.

Though known first and foremost as a band, Public Service Broadcasting is as much a historical project as it is a musical one. Founded by J. Willgoose, Esq., the English trio uses archival material, whether it be film footage or radio broadcasts, to write new songs around. "We can try and tell the stories from the past with new music — try and bring new dimensions to it, I suppose," Willgoose says.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

This? This is James Brown.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT PANTS")

JAMES BROWN: One. Two. One, two, three.

MCEVERS: That song plus these songs - what do they all have in common?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT PANTS")

There are a few lines from the oft-covered song "México Americano" that sum up the experience of millions of folks in the U.S. and have always seemed to me to be the ultimate expression of patriotism:

Por mi madre soy Mexicano. (From my mother I am Mexican.)

Por destino soy Americano. (By destiny I am American.)

NPR Music's Songs Of The Summer 2017

Jul 4, 2017

Since its premiere in 1918, Gustav Holst's symphonic cycle The Planets has effectively defined the informal genre of "music about space." But more recently, four prominent artists from different musical realms collaborated on a cosmic exploration of their own. It culminated in Planetarium, which was released earlier this month.

Rhiannon Giddens Speaks For The Silenced

Jul 3, 2017

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In this session, we've got something special. It's a mini-concert by Real Estate recorded at the 2017 NON-COMMvention in Philadelphia. It features songs from its new album, In Mind, released earlier this year, plus a couple of older favorites.

What role does music play in our national dialogue about immigration? Six young musicians, rooted in six different countries, gathered at Ellis Island, and in Manhattan, to explore that question in a new composition inspired by Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

Why Does The Electric Guitar Need A Hero?

Jul 2, 2017

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Many people know the protest songs of the 1960s and '70s, born of the civil rights movement and the social and political upheaval sparked by the Vietnam War. Today, hip-hop has taken the lead in protesting police brutality and the injustices suffered by the poor — but a new generation of folk artists is also creating music that might not always sound like the protest songs of yore.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROAD TRIP")

SECRET AGENT 23 SKIDOO: (Singing) It's time for a road trip, my family and me. Out on the roadway, no place I'd rather be.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRIBECA SONG, "GET LARGE")

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ON THE ROAD AGAIN")

WILLIE NELSON: (Singing) On the road again.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Adele is again suffering the effects of damage to her vocal cords, she announced in a Facebook post Friday night. As a result, she canceled the final two shows of her world tour. The performances were to take place at London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and would have capped off a four-date run there.

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