Arts & Culture

Ways to Connect

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins' duo album, Everybody Knows, marks the long-deferred continuation of a story that started nearly half a century ago. But the title track brings closure to a musical relationship that goes even farther back.

The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women

Jul 24, 2017


140. Norah Jones

The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women

Jul 24, 2017


130. Teena Marie

The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women

Jul 24, 2017


120. Anita Baker

The Shins have been a constant part of NPR's musical DNA for much of the 21st century. The group's poetic pop has shown up in something like 25 stories on our website, not just because many of us are longtime fans, but also because our listeners love them.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Jazz musicians, almost by definition, seek an active dialogue between the impulsive and the rational. For some, the terms of that negotiation become a central feature of their art. Dan Tepfer is one of those: a pianist and composer who sees improvisation as the ideal expression of freedom within a framework.

Recorded in Music City at RCA's legendary Studio A, Jason Isbell's latest album, The Nashville Sound, tackles issues like race and privilege, anxiety, sobriety, hope and family. (Isbell is married to Amanda Shires, a talented fiddle player and singer-songwriter who is also a member of Isbell's band, The 400 Unit; they have a toddler named Mercy.)

The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women

Jul 24, 2017

This list, of the greatest albums made by women between 1964 and the present, is an intervention, a remedy, a correction of the historical record and hopefully the start of a new conversation. Compiled by nearly 50 women from across NPR and the public radio system and produced in partnership with Lincoln Center, it rethinks popular music to put women at the center.

NOTE: Each day this week we'll be rolling out a series of videos from Sylvan Esso that comprise the duo's upcoming visual EP, Echo Mountain Sessions.

A few years ago, my friend Jill Sternheimer and I started a conversation one night while driving around the streets of New Orleans. Both of us are music nerds, and we regularly attend the kinds of musical retrospectives that have become common in this age of historical exploration via tribute shows and historical playlists. Jill, in fact, often organizes such shows at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, where she is the director of public programs. I sometimes write about them, and often ponder how music history's being recorded and revised in the digital age.

We're recapping Season 7 of HBO's Game of Thrones here on Monkey See. We'll try to turn them around overnight, so look for them first thing on Mondays. And of course: Spoilers abound.

There are some themes in Alisyn Camerota's new novel that may sound familiar: A young upstart reporter is trying to make it at a national news network run by a ratings-obsessed media mogul. And then there's a female senator, firmly rooted in the establishment, going up against a political newcomer, fresh from Hollywood. Camerota started writing this book many years ago, but the events of 2016 make Amanda Wakes Up feel particularly prescient.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Jada Pinkett Smith On 'Girls Trip'

Jul 23, 2017

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

You probably have a mental image of what NASA's space missions look like — rockets blasting off into the sky, fiery clouds of exhaust after liftoff — but what do they sound like?

In Sam Kean's previous nonfiction books, The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb, the bestselling pop-science writer tackled the topics of the periodic table and DNA, respectively. His new book, Caesar's Last Breath, goes after something equally as essential. Subtitled Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, it's a conversational and illuminating view of the history and inner workings of Earth's atmosphere — what comprises it, how we've harnessed it for better and for worse, and what it means to us going forward as a civilization.

The next Game of Thrones could be a sci-fi epic set in Africa.

On Monday, Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor posted an announcement on her Facebook page:

"I'm finally free to announce this: My World Fantasy Award winning novel WHO FEARS DEATH has been optioned by HBO and is now in early development as a TV series with George R. R. Martin as executive producer. Note: This did not happen overnight. It's been nearly 4 years coming."

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We are coming to you this weekend from Detroit from member station WDET. We came because 50 years ago, parts of this city went up in flames.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club. They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.

The new film Detroit depicts the beginning of the riots and one of their most horrifying events: the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young black men were killed (some would say executed) by white police officers.

Bassem Youssef was a successful surgeon in Cairo when he was inspired — thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show — to start his own satirical show on YouTube. Al-Bernameg was a hit, and Youssef received the highest honor in comedy: being forced to flee his country by a military dictatorship. He's now the subject of the documentary Tickling Giants.

Any self-respecting comics fan cringes at the phrase "comics aren't just for kids anymore." But any self-respecting comics fan also has to admit there are some great kids' comics out there — especially right now.

Before I left for San Diego Comic-Con this week, I checked in with Lucy Strother, a fourth grade teacher in Philadelphia whose students just love comics. "We have like a comics and graphic novels bin in the library and it's perpetually empty because the kids are so obsessed with comics and graphic novels," she says.

Every month, NPR Music asks our friends from public radio stations across the country — hosts, music directors and writers — for the new songs they simply can't stop listening to. Sometimes they're hot tracks that have dropped just the week before, and sometimes they're songs that have taken a couple months to slow-burn into our memories. Either way, the result is a mix that's perfect for the moment.

What To Watch While On Vacation

Jul 22, 2017

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

I'm off next week. There's just too much TV to watch. Actually, I'll probably watch nothing. What might I miss? We'll turn now to Melanie McFarland, TV critic at Salon.com. She joins us now from member station KUOW in Seattle. Melanie, thanks for being back with us.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Mark Campbell is one of the most prolific and celebrated librettists in contemporary American opera. But, as he recently told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum, not everyone thought his latest project was a good idea.

Life Lessons (With Zombies) In 'Minecraft: The Island'

Jul 22, 2017

Okay, let's get this out of the way right from the start. The Island, the new book by Max Brooks (yeah, the guy who wrote World War Z, the very good zombie book that got turned into that not-very-good Brad Pitt movie) is about Minecraft. The video game Minecraft.

And not a non-fiction book about the creation of Minecraft and its impact on society. Not a guide to playing Minecraft (although, in a weird way, it kind of is). It's a novel, set in the Minecraft universe.

Pages