Arts & Culture

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There's a brilliant new instrumental project from violinist Andrew Bird. Echolocations: River takes its musical inspiration from landscapes and environments with distinctive acoustics.

Today we have a film of Andrew Bird performing under the Hyperion bridge in Los Angeles's Atwater Village. An earlier Echolocations project was recorded at the Coyote Gulch canyons of Utah in 2015. Andrew wrote us to explain how these compositions take shape.

Bobby Osborne is trying to find his way back to the lakeside home where he first heard "Rocky Top," the song that would define his career as one half of the Osborne Brothers, one of bluegrass' most popular and innovative groups.

Lawrence Rothman is one of the most interesting artists to come on our radar this year. The Laurel-Canyon-based artist channeled their journey of self-discovery into some incredibly catchy songs on their debut album. "Wolves Still Cry" was fantastic live, and the lyrics are worth a closer listen.

SET LIST

  • "Wolves Still Cry"

Photos: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW.

In France today, nothing else matters. Johnny Hallyday is dead.

The French rock star, who died at 74 of lung cancer at his home outside Paris Wednesday, had a career spanning 57 years. He sold more than 100 million albums, but was little known outside his own country. USA Today once called him "the greatest rock star you never heard of."

Retrospectives and tributes have poured in, and France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe paid tribute to Hallyday in Parliament.

The Room (2003) has been called the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in the movie, and it has since developed a cult following. Around the country, fans flock to midnight screenings.

Actor James Franco also found himself drawn to The Room. In 2014, after reading a nonfiction book about the film's creation (called The Disaster Artist) Franco knew he wanted to turn the movie's backstory story into another film.

Bette Smith grew up in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn: Bedford–Stuyvesant, pre-Mayor Giuliani. Her father was a church choir director who once had to protect his kids by running out of the house waving a two-by-four. He taught Bette to sing. He also taught her that a career in music outside the church was wrong, and it wasn't until after he died that Bette really pursued music. She'll tell the story of coming to that decision, and what she imagines her late parents might think of what's she's doing now.

Despite having visited the Tiny Desk three times, and traveling to the tunnels beneath Fort Adams State Park, Jeff Tweedy has brought only a fraction of his many musical permutations to NPR Music during our first 10 years.

Chicago-based singer and poet Jamila Woods sat down with Vocalo's Reclaimed Soul host Ayana Contreras to talk about her debut album HEAVN and the spiritual, social and political themes behind it.

"Through my poems and songs, I ask more questions than I try to nail down answers," Woods says. "I think art is a good way to free your mind up and make things more complicated."

The Thistle & Shamrock: Music Migration

Dec 6, 2017

Join host Fiona Ritchie as she uncovers the deep roots across several generations that run under a family tree of songs from the British Isles and Ireland to the Southern Appalachians.

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

The rage inspired by dots on plates requires us to warn readers of some rather salty language used in this story.

Dots of sauce. Scribbles of jus. Globs of honey. Plops of purée. Squiggles of sriracha. Should we go on? Schmears of chocolate. Squirts of squid ink. Trickles of coulis. You get the idea. It's Pollock on a plate. Plating at its finest — and most formulaic.

It has created a wave of awareness and brave confrontations over sexual harassment and assault, taking down powerful men in the process. And now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2017.

On its cover, Time called the people behind the movement "The Silence Breakers." Its story features women and men who have spoken out — including activist Tarana Burke, who started the hashtag 10 years ago.

Singer Johnny Hallyday, known as the "French Elvis," for his role in popularizing rock 'n roll in his country, has died of lung cancer at age 74.

The Ooz, the title to King Krule's latest album, is the perfect name for his music. It conjures, in my mind, a word mashup of "cool" and "jazz." The music is eerily evocative with lyrics that talk about the sorts of depression singer and guitarist Archy Marshall has dealt with in his young life. And, at 23, he has a lot to say on the subject.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated, Dec. 8, 8:20 a.m. ET with a subsequent statement from James Levine and James Lestock.

New allegations of sexual assault have been made against James Levine, the music director emeritus of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and its conductor for over forty years. Levine was suspended from his position over the weekend, and now, with more allegations made public, repercussions for the lauded musician are continuing to pile up.

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

This summer, everything was going according to plan for Audrey Degraaf and her wife.

Classical music has never lived in a bubble. For centuries, it's always found common ground with folk music.

Enter, the Danish String Quartet.

Two major network news divisions are addressing problems at the organizations after unrelated incidents. ABC News President James Goldston denounced his own journalists on Monday for a botched story about the federal investigation of President Trump's inner circle. NBC News is facing skepticism from staff as the organization addresses the backlash over the Matt Lauer sexual harassment scandal.

Tank and the Bangas' live show never fails to make an impression.

The first time the NPR Music team encountered the band, it was early 2017 and our staff was sifting through entries to our Tiny Desk Contest. It's easy to disappear into a crowd of more than 6,000, but the band's entry immediately distinguished itself through its palpable joy and arresting charisma and was, not long after, named the winner of our contest.

Ask The FCC

Dec 5, 2017

From late night TV to your Twitter feed, the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality is a hot topic.

The FCC has been reversing and revising a number of regulations, bringing a new level of attention to a federal body that’s usually not the subject of so much public debate.

The numbers are in. Spotify has released its year-end round up of the most-listened to music on its platform, revealing new leaders in a sea of familiarity.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Politics Of Myanmar's Changing Tea Culture

Dec 5, 2017

Pulling low wooden stools out from under a short square table, a group of longyi-clad men sits down at an open-air tea shop in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. One man makes a kiss-kiss noise and calls out an order to the young waiter. Moments later, porcelain teacups filled with steaming laphet yay — sweet Burmese tea carefully mixed with black tea, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk — start to hit the table, and the men's conversation begins.

In this session, we've got Bootsy in the house, baby! Bootsy Collins has a new album, his first in six years, called World Wide Funk. Bootsy grew up in Ohio and turned to the bass as his instrument because his older brother Catfish grabbed the guitar first. The two had a group together, and later became James Brown's backing band, The J.B.'s.

ADULT SWIM

There is only one duo who can adventure through time and space, and still debate about political correctness...That is Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith, from Adult Swim’s animated hit "Rick and Morty." Rick is a genius scientist. His grandson Morty? Well--he’s in high school. Together, they use portal guns and other wacky inventions to save the multiverse from hyper-intelligent dogs and cannibal mantis-people. Show co-creator Dan Harmon sat down with Celeste Headlee recently to discuss the success of the show.

Seth Glier On Mountain Stage

Dec 5, 2017

Seth Glier has an otherworldly voice, which explains why Mountain Stage guest host Michael Cerveris admits to lingering perhaps too long outside of Glier's dressing room, listening to him warming up.

Part of the fun of stepping into an old-time diner is getting swept away by love songs of decades past. Gems made in the 1940s like Lena Horne's "'Deed I Do" and Ella Fitzgerald's "I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling" capture the casual exaltation of swooning in a crush's footsteps. What makes them resonate is a combination of simplicity and sincerity: Having a crush is an all-consuming weightlessness that leaves you flushed, no matter how fortuitous it may be.

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