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Rank #87 in Performing Arts category

Arts
Music
Performing Arts
Music Interviews

Soundcheck

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #87 in Performing Arts category

Arts
Music
Performing Arts
Music Interviews
Read more

Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.

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Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.

iTunes Ratings

101 Ratings
Average Ratings
74
15
4
3
5

Incredible

By bermudajune - Jan 09 2019
Read more
The most interesting podcast on contemporary music.

The best music interview show ...

By Yoko134 - Oct 27 2014
Read more
Soundcheck’s John Schaefer is one of the best interviewers in the business.

iTunes Ratings

101 Ratings
Average Ratings
74
15
4
3
5

Incredible

By bermudajune - Jan 09 2019
Read more
The most interesting podcast on contemporary music.

The best music interview show ...

By Yoko134 - Oct 27 2014
Read more
Soundcheck’s John Schaefer is one of the best interviewers in the business.
Cover image of Soundcheck

Soundcheck

Latest release on Aug 04, 2020

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Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.

Rank #1: Ed Helms, on Making Old-Timey Magic for The Whiskey Sour Happy Hour

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Banjo player, comedian, actor, and musician Ed Helms has combined music and comedy in an online show for the pandemic era, The Whiskey Sour Happy Hour, presented by The Bluegrass Situation. He joins John to talk about making old-timey magic, with music performed by the featured artists like Aubrie Sellers and her mother Lee Ann Womack, multi-instrumentalist Robert Ellis and his glorious robe, and Helms himself. Plus, a discussion of that scene of Helms playing the sitar in the Christmas party episode of The Office.

The Whiskey Sour Happy Hour benefits MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund and personal protective equipment and supplies through Direct Relief. Future guests include Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, Jerry Douglas, and more surprises in store. The Whiskey Sour Happy Hour airs at 8PM EDT via YouTube on May 13. The previous three episodes (April 22, 29, May 6) are also archived on The Bluegrass Situation's YouTube channel

May 07 2020

29mins

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Rank #2: Bandleader, Comedian, and Beatboxer Reggie Watts (From the Archives)

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Vocal artist, comedian, actor, beatboxer, musician, and bandleader Reggie Watts is versatile and unpredictable. But to watch him do his thing live, is even more extraordinary. He's masterful at looping layer upon layer of beats and rhythms, melodies and countermelodies, entirely with his voice, to create a dense and soulful, hip-hop-infused sound. And his hilarious lyrics seem to be pulled out of thin air, improvised with impossibly quick wit. Watch Reggie Watts demonstrate his brilliant skills in an improvised performance in studio in this 2014 performance from the archives. 

May 14 2020

31mins

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Rank #3: The Mighty and Relentless Groove of the Funky, Afrobeat Band Antibalas

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The 12-piece plus Afrobeat orchestra known as Antibalas (Spanish for "bulletproof") first made its reputation with hard-hitting, politically charged music in the style of the Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti. In the more than 20 years that they've been playing together, the Brooklyn collective served as the house band and musical directors for the Broadway show Fela!, in addition to being the house band at Carnegie Hall at tribute shows performing the music of Paul Simon (2014), David Byrne and Talking Heads (2015) and Aretha Franklin (2017).

The music of Antibalas comes from an adventurous place where one might find horn-heavy funk, Afro-Cuban music, the loping rhythms of Ethiogroove, Caribbean dance, punk rock, and extra-planetary cosmic jazz all sharing the same playground. For their latest record, Fu Chronicles, Duke Amayo (lead singer, percussionist and composer) and Antibalas founder/baritone saxophonist Martín Perna look back to pre-gentrified Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when Antibalas and Daptone Records "spawned out of Amayo’s kung fu dojo.” (Amayo is a senior master of the Jow Ga Kung Fu School of martial arts. -Bandcamp) Antibalas joins us in-studio to play some of the new tunes. - Caryn Havlik

Fu Chronicles by Antibalas

Feb 14 2020

33mins

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Rank #4: The Dark Drone of Dublin Folk Miscreants Lankum, In-Studio

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The quartet of “Dublin folk miscreants” called Lankum reworks traditional folk songs so that they are infused with an “urban punk” vibe as well as some psychedelic drone. Made of brothers Ian Lynch (uillean pipes, tin whistle, vocals), Daragh Lynch (vocals, guitar) alongside Cormac Mac Diarmada (fiddle) and Radie Peat (harmonium, accordion, vocals), the band deconstructs and reassembles traditional Irish songs, allowing them to grow and breathe, yet bathing them in a dark and raw energy. Lankum’s press makes no bones about their wide-ranging interests in Krautrock to drone to ambient to Brian Eno, and describes them as “born of years criss-crossing the folk, squat and experimental scenes. The band plays some of their distinct drone-folk, in-studio. - Caryn Havlik

Set list: "Katie Cruel," "Bear Creek," "Rocky Road to Dublin"

Stream this Web Extra, "Rocky Road to Dublin" from Lankum:

Here's a video of their song, "The Young People":

Mar 16 2020

36mins

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Rank #5: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (From the Archives)

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Actor, author, and comedian Steve Martin released his debut album as a banjo player in 2009, but he first picked up the instrument as a teenager and later incorporated it into his hit stand-up act during the 1970's. He joined us back in 2011 with his band from North Carolina, the Steep Canyon Rangers, playing songs from his Grammy-nominated album, Rare Bird Alert, in this session from the archives. (Recorded live in The Greene Space)

May 11 2020

25mins

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Rank #6: Gypsy Jazz Guitarist Stephane Wrembel's Hot Django-Inspired String-Swing

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French-born, NYC-based jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel, a leading player and improviser in "gypsy jazz," has recorded with mandolin legend David Grisman, toured with master violinist Mark O’Connor, and famously wrote a theme song for a Woody Allen film, Midnight In Paris. The Gitane guitar company has even named a model after him. 

Wrembel honed his "gypsy jazz" skills in Roma campsites in the French countryside and has championed music of the brilliant Belgian-born Romani-French guitarist Django Reinhardt, hugely influential for his small ensemble works with the violinist Stephane Grappelli in the Hot Club all-string band in the 1930's. Guitarist Stephane Wrembel brings his small ensemble to perform impressions of Django Reinhardt tunes, and hopefullly Wrembel’s original compositions, in-studio. - Caryn Havlik

Set list:

    Tea For Two Apocalypse
    Dark Eyes (Les Yeux Noirs)

Watch the session here: 

Jan 09 2020

35mins

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Rank #7: Montreal Cellist Rebecca Foon Lifts Her Voice in Concern

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Rebecca Foon, the cellist, producer, composer and climate activist, is a central part of the Montreal new music scene. She's a former member of Thee Silver Mt. Zion, co-founded the progressive chamber band Esmerine, and created albums of cello and electronic soundscapes under the name Saltland. But her new album features a lot more piano, other instruments, and the the quiet kick of her own cello-like voice. The album’s called Waxing Moon, and it’s come out under Rebecca Foon’s own name. Cellist and pianist Rebecca Foon performs some of this new material, in-studio. 

Watch the session here:

Mar 19 2020

37mins

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Rank #8: Best of Soundcheck 2019, Part 1

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Hear some of the best performances from the Soundcheck Podcast series from 2019, like the tropical psych-rock from NYC-based quartet Combo Chimbita and the slamming wordplay in work by London's Kate Tempest, a poet, rapper, and spoken word performer. There's also collaborative music from soul singer Emily King and chamber band yMusic. Then, Baltimore-based electronic duo Matmos share some of their sampled "audio gold" mines from the sounds of nothing but plastics. Plus hear the crafty chamber-jazz by drummer Allison Miller, and her all-star band, Boom Tic Boom.

Dec 26 2019

33mins

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Rank #9: Oldies of the Future (From the Archives)

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In recent years, oldies radio stations have inched further into the future - and have begun to focus on favorites from the '70s (and even '80s) rather than from the '50s and '60s. So we wondered, forty years from now - in 2052 - will songs of the '90s, '00s and '10s make it onto oldies radio? What will be in heavy rotation - and what will be left off of the playlist? We ask Chris Molanphy - author of the "100 & Single" Billboard charts column in the Village Voice – and we talk with Scott Shannon - who was, back in 2012, a WPLJ host and creator of the syndicated radio network The True Oldies Channel - about the state of oldies today. 

Check out Chris Molanphy's playlist (chronological listing):

Twenty songs we’ll still be hearing on oldies radio in 2052

by Chris Molanphy

(In chronological order by original release)

1. Sir Mix-a-Lot, “Baby Got Back” (1992) – This hit was underestimated by critics in ’92, compared with Arrested Development’s “Tennessee”

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 1)

2. Pearl Jam, “Yellow Ledbetter” (1992) – An example of how classic-rock acts are eventually remembered for a song that wasn’t their biggest radio hit.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 97)

3. Radiohead, “Creep” (1993) – Still their U.S. biggest hit, and though they’ve recorded greater albums this is still most likely to be in rotation decades from now.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 34)

4. Snoop (Doggy) Dogg, “Gin and Juice” (1994) – Because a great line is a great line, and “With my mind on my money and my money on my mind” is a great one.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 8)

5. Mariah Carey, “Always Be My Baby” (1996) – She was the biggest pop star of the ’90s, but a lot of her hits got burned out long ago; this one hasn’t.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 1)

6. Sublime, “What I Got” (1996) – Because bros and stoners, like it or not, are going to have a new “The Joker”/”Slow Ride.”

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: N/A—Airplay chart peak No. 29)

7. Blur, “Song 2” (1997) – Sports will still be the way we hear a lot of pop songs.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: N/A—Airplay chart peak No. 55)

8. Backstreet Boys, “I Want It That Way” (1999) – Great song; but also the Chinese brothers’ lip-dub (2005) was one of YouTube’s first viral videos—the future of hits.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 6)

9. Eminem, “Lose Yourself” (2002) – He won an Oscar for it, essentially because it’s this generation’s “Gonna Fly Now”/“Eye of the Tiger.”

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 1)

10. Coldplay, “Clocks” (2002) – Every generation has its easy-listening songs.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 29)

11. The White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army” (2003) – Because you can’t stop a good bassline, even when it’s actually played on a guitar.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 76)

12. The Postal Service, “Such Great Heights” or Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps” (2003) – One of these will be the “Just Like Heaven” of our era—the hipster love song.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: N/A, No. 87)

13. OutKast, “Hey Ya!” (2003) – Burned out in its heyday but will probably never die.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 1)

14. Kelly Clarkson, “Since U Been Gone” (2005) – It will be the Millennial generation’s “sass anthem,” akin to “Respect” or “I Will Survive”

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 2)

15. Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy” (2006) – Because of its malleability as a song; decades hence it might be a folk classic.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 2)

16. Rihanna, “Umbrella” (2007) – It’s the lyrics: beneath its hip-hop exterior lie the bones of an old-time, sentimental love ballad.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 1)

17. Beyoncé, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (2008) – Weddings alone guarantee this a permanent hit-parade spot.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 1)

18. Jay-Z, “Empire State of Mind” (2009) – Rap’s Frank Sinatra ensured himself decades of royalties with his own Yankee-game-worthy perennial.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 1)

19. Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (2009) – Its nonsense lyric is “wamp-baba-lula” worthy; its video is a classic.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 2)

20. Taio Cruz, “Dynamite” (2010) – I’ve never met a kid under 10 who doesn’t love it, and they will all be in their fifties in 2052.

(Peak on Billboard’s Hot 100: No. 2)

Mar 30 2020

23mins

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Rank #10: Party Horns and Drums of Red Baraat, From Brooklyn Bowl

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The group Red Baraat has become synonymous with a raucous good time, a celebratory mix of bhangra – the dance music of the Punjab region, New Orleans horns, go-go and a bit of hip-hop besides. They’re led by drummer-composer Sunny Jain, who plays the dhol, a traditional two-headed drum slung over the shoulder. A talented and energetic army of horns, guitar, and percussion instruments rounds out the lineup, wedding the bhangra roots of the dhol to a N’awlins brass funk ‘n’ street party. The band played a set for us at Brooklyn Bowl in June 2019 and it ruled. Enjoy. (-Caryn Havlik)

Set list: 

    Mast Kalander Tunak Tunak Tun Shruggy Ji Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna Gaadi of Truth

Jan 02 2020

40mins

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Rank #11: Orchestral Pop Band San Fermin's Enchanting Grandeur

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Brooklyn-based orchestral pop outfit San Fermin has a reputation for grand and enchanting music. Led by songwriter and composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone, and joined by new collaborators Attacca Quartet and harpist Lavinia Meijer, as well as talented vocalists and bandmates who play violin, trumpet, sax, percussion, and guitars, San Fermin's latest, ‘Cormorant I,’ is both a search for the profound and a dose of nostalgic reflection. Although the full record combines the elegance of chamber music and the immediacy of pop songs, they play some stripped-down versions of these tunes in-studio.  - Caryn Havlik

Watch the session here: 

Nov 04 2019

28mins

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Rank #12: Katie Gately's Spectral Electronic Songs, In-Studio

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In her music, singer and producer Katie Gately delivers spectral singing, layers of electronics, and an array of unusual sampled sounds for an effect that is unsettling, yet somehow inviting. Her latest record, Loom, was created in reaction to her late mother's illness, and is a lovely and challenging soundworld into which she poured her heart. Katie Gately performs some of these songs, in-studio.

Watch the session here: 

Mar 09 2020

36mins

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Rank #13: Black Violin Challenges Stereotypes With "Classical Boom" Sound

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From J.S. Bach to Biggie Smalls, Shostakovich to Nas, and the odd Tchaikovsky or Imagine Dragons, the classical-meets-hip-hop duo Black Violin continually challenges stereotypes with their music. Composed of classically trained violist and violinist Wil Baptiste and Kev Marcus, Black Violin combines musical ingredients of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and classical to create a distinctive sound that is described in their press as “classical boom.”

Black Violin's Wil and Kev also connect with more than 100,000 students throughout the year as TurnAround Artists, part of a national education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. They are championing accessible music education through student engagement and public performances, with the aim of inspiring kids to pursue careers in the arts. 

Black Violin plays music from their latest, Take The Stairs, in-studio.

Watch the session here: 

Dec 19 2019

35mins

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Rank #14: Omar Sosa and Yilian Cañizares Reinterpret Cuban Roots, In-Studio

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Pianist Omar Sosa grew up in the Afro-Cuban tradition, studied jazz in America, and now lives in Barcelona. Yilian loves to go back to her Cuban roots but refuses to be locked into stereotypes. Together, these two Cuban artists living outside their homeland blend Afro-Cuban roots, jazz, and Western Classical music in work inspired by the important influences of water – and called AGUAS Trio. Omar Sosa and Yilian Cañizares (Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles) play live in our studio.

Watch the session here: 

Feb 20 2020

34mins

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Rank #15: Robbie Robertson Leans In the Direction of Noir

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Canadian musician, film composer, and songwriter Robbie Robertson is probably best known as the lead guitarist in The Band. He’s written written a wide variety of music over the years, not just for The Band. On the release of both the score for The Irishman and his first solo record in years, Sinematic, Robertson talks us through several main events.

Dec 02 2019

35mins

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Remembering Leon Fleisher, An American Original

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On Sunday, pianist Leon Fleisher passed away at the age of 92. In the 1950s and early 60s, Fleisher was one of those classical musicians who was genuinely famous beyond classical music circles. Then disaster struck, and Fleisher was forced to reinvent himself – at least twice. His story is one for music fans (and possibly sports fans, of which Fleisher was one) of all stripes, and he told it over a couple of visits to the Soundcheck studio. 

Celebrate an American original with this special memorial edition of the Soundcheck podcast.      

Aug 04 2020

27mins

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Pianist and Singer Benjamin Clementine (From the Archives)

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With his dramatic voice, his elliptical but emotive songs, his classically-derived piano playing, and his striking presence on stage, British artist, poet, vocalist, composer, and musician Benjamin Clementine occupies a singular place in the music world – somewhere between art music and pop. Clementine's debut album At Least for Now won the 2015 Mercury Prize; he was named knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2019, and together with his spouse and artistic/musical partner, Flo Morrissey, has put out music with as The Clementines earlier in 2020. He joined us at our piano back in 2016 to play music from that Mercury Prize-winning record. (From the Archives.)

Aug 03 2020

35mins

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Sad Dream Pop by Canadian Band, Dizzy

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Juno Award-Winning pop band from Oshawa, Ontario Dizzy consists of three brothers, Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer and their friend, lead singer Katie Munshaw. They make self-described “Sad Dream Pop” drawing on the intimate and detailed drama of “all the lousy things being a human entails -being jealous of your friends, pushing away the people you love most, being afraid of aging and death and on and on and on.”  Dizzy connects from Canada to play new music from their sophomore record, The Sun and Her Scorch, live, from their basement quarantine bubble. 

Jul 30 2020

26mins

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Alt-R& B From Steven A. Clark: A 'Lonely Roller' No Longer (From the Archives)

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Miami-based Steven A. Clark grew up in the shadow of Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. There was little about his time there that suggested the sweeping musical sound brewing in his head; he received the distinction of "Most Quiet" in his high school yearbook. Clark broke the silence in 2012 with a well-received indie release cheekily titled Fornication Under Consent of the King (check the acronym), and in 2015, he dropped his major-label debut, Lonely Roller. He's released another full-length since then, 2018's Where Neon Goes to Die, a shiny and glitzy number, which may hide darkness underneath.

The title track from 2015's "Lonely Roller" sets the thematic and emotional stage: an immediately danceable tune that location-checks Las Vegas in the first line. You'd be forgiven for thinking Clark is embarking on an album of sleek but soulless dance-floor bangers, but his voice pierces the gated drums and cavernous reverb on songs like standout "Can't Have," and reveals a sharp observational eye and emotionally capacious lyricist.

Listen to Steven A. Clark play songs from Lonely Roller in-studio from this 2015 session.   

Jul 27 2020

29mins

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Emmy The Great: Elegant Pop And Poetic Wordplay (From the Archives)

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Emmy The Great has always had a way with words. Her big break came in 2009 when she contributed the song “Seattle” to the Brighton Port Authority, an album by famed producer Fatboy Slim that also featured such heavyweights as David Byrne and Iggy Pop. The London-based singer-songwriter showed her fascination with the U.S. in “Seattle,” which had as poetic a description of sunrise as you’ll ever hear in a pop song: “a blue sky forming like a wire warming up America.” In 2011, her second record, Virtue, spawned the single “Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture),” which found Emmy “standing in the afterglow of rapture with the words the rapture left.”  Skip to 2015, and Emmy The Great was living in Brooklyn and finishing her third full-length. While the wordplay was as strong as ever, there was an increased depth and elegance of texture. 

Emmy the Great has just released the 2020 single, "Dandelions/Liminal" in advance of her October record, April. For this Soundcheck Podcast, Emmy The Great and her band play songs from the 2015 EP, including the haunted single “Swimming Pool,” in-studio. (From the Archives, 2015.)

Set List:

    "Swimming Pool"
    "Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture)"
    "Social Halo" 

Jul 23 2020

29mins

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Wynton Marsalis on Arts in the After-Times (Future NYC)

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Trumpeter, composer, and educator Wynton Marsalis is arguably the most famous jazz musician of our time – though few would actually argue the point. He’s won multiple Grammys and in 1997 became the first jazz composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for his piece Blood On The Fields, a work about two slaves and their difficult journey to freedom. Born into one of the great families of New Orleans jazz, Marsalis has been closely tied to New York, and particularly to Lincoln Center, since the late 80s. He is the longtime visionary force behind Jazz At Lincoln Center; and his work has included both diverse live performance projects and a deep, ongoing concern with education, especially with bringing jazz and classical music to children. 

In partnership with Gothamist and their Future NYC series, host John Schaefer consults with Wynton Marsalis as he considers arts possibilities in the after-times, touching on full participation and the ways to question institutional curation. Marsalis would like to see increased engagement with the arts - inviting folks to participate, creating the will to participate, and building community. Practically speaking, that might mean lowering ticket prices, offering classes and encouraging curiosity. Wynton Marsalis shares his ideas for this Soundcheck Podcast. 

Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) is hosting its first virtual free Summer Jazz Academy now through August 1. Students of any level (ages 12 and up) can go to jazz.org for more information. 

Cecile McLorin Salvant, Wynton, Nduduzo Makhatini and more heavy hitters are providing free classes throughout.

Jul 20 2020

28mins

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Scottish Hip-Hop Group Young Fathers, In-Studio (From the Archives)

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zYoung Fathers defies labels in its songs. A tapestry of electronic music, rock, pop, and R&B, the alternative hip-hop group crafts songs as unique as its multi-ethnic background, which spans Scottish and West African lineages. Producer 'G' Hastings and vocalists Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole all met in Edinburgh, Scotland as teenagers, and later formed the band in 2008, named after the fact that each member has the namesake of their fathers, hence, Young Fathers.

But Young Fathers true breakout came six years later, in 2014, with its Mercury Prize-winning second record, Dead. On their 2015 record, White Men Are Black Men Too, the group pushed ahead with a status quo-challenging aesthetic and message. Young Fathers subverts conventional views on race with their unique, vocally layered sound of organized chaos. It's a winning sound and original point of view that has won over fans and critics alike. Young Fathers performed in-studio for the Soundcheck Podcast. (From the archives.)

Set List:

    "Rain Or Shine"
    "Old Rock n Roll"
    "Shame"

Jul 16 2020

26mins

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Songs Without Words by Guitarist Yasmin Williams

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Yasmin Williams reinvents the guitar with a dazzling array of two-handed techniques, hammering, bowing, and percussion effects – but all in the service of the music. Music that dances, and, in its own way, sings. Her next full-length album, Urban Driftwood, both a beautifully melodic and, of course, percussive affair, is due out in the fall of 2020. Yasmin Williams shares her latest songs without words – featuring all her multi-tasking limbs - remotely, from her home in Virginia. 

Jul 13 2020

30mins

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Robert Glasper Experiment with Bilal (From the Archives)

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Robert Glasper draws together his parallel passions for hip hop and jazz on his 2012 release, Black Radio. In addition to his formal jazz training, the pianist has long navigated the nebulous territory between the two genres – working with artists like Q-Tip, Kanye West, and Erykah Badu. In 2012, The Robert Glasper Experiment (featuring Casey Benjamin, Derrick Hodge, and Chris Dave) joined us for a live set in the Greene Space with a special guest – “Black Radio” collaborator and Grammy-nominated R&B artist Bilal. (From the archives.)

Jul 09 2020

31mins

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The Weather Station's Intimate Folk (From the Archives)

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The Weather Station's 2015 record Loyalty features eleven songs with that most laudable quality of sounding like they are being sung directly to the listener, and recorded in a small quiet room. Which is all the more remarkable for the fact that the album was actually made in a large tumbledown French chateau outside of Paris. But the intimacy captured on the record is no accident. It's the sound of The Weather Station principal Tamara Lindeman and just two multi-instrumentalist accomplices, who make every guitar flourish and drum rattle sound purposeful and in-its-place. The huge, hushed emotional terrain of the record is as sweeping and rolling as Lindeman's Canadian homeland, with songs like "Way It Is, Way It Could Be" inviting the listener like an open road. 

Setlist: "Shy Women", "Floodplain", "Way It Is, Way It Could Be"

Jul 06 2020

27mins

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Leon Bridges: Polishing The Golden Era Anew (From the Archives)

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Nostalgia permeates the blood running through Leon Bridges' debut album, Coming Home. It's unusual for a 25-year-old to be so plugged into the Golden Age of soul and R&B, but with an expansive online music education and an influential mother from the era, it's hard not to be. The Fort Worth native's music is haunted by Sam Cooke's swaying rhythms and Nat King Cole's smooth romance, yet Bridges doesn't get lost in wistfulness. 

The album outlines a world in vintage bass lines and delicate percussion. It's colored in by velvet vocals and vibrant horns ("Brown Skin Girl," "Smooth Sailin'"). Heartfelt songwriting carries a touching tribute to his mother in "Lisa Sawyer." Throughout, Bridges dusts off Golden Era motifs and brings them into the 21st century with radiance and fresh musicality. (First aired in 2015.)

Setlist: "Coming Home," "River"

Jul 02 2020

21mins

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The Continuing Aural Adventures in Kaki King's Guitar Family

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Guitarist Kaki King is perhaps best-known for her virtuosic instrumental guitar compositions and extended technique, but she’s also written songs, chamber music, and film scores. She’s come up with innovations that change the nature of the guitar itself; she taps, she bends, she projects onto the guitar body, and now she has added a bridge called a Passerelle to her guitar. A Passerelle is a bridge that turns any regular six string guitar into a twelve note zither-like creation that can produce sounds reminiscent of the Japanese koto or Chinese guzheng, and sounds really cool when she bends the note.  

She uses the Passerelle on her new album Modern Yesterdays, made at the beginning of March in the year 2020, as the entire world changed. The album was perhaps not what she set out to make, but it is a guitar record with lots of sound design, influenced by the pandemic. Some of the pieces might also be related to her latest multimedia work, “Data Not Found” which involves projections onto a special guitar which, when certain notes are played, triggers certain images or visuals. (Coming soon, in the after-times.)

For this Soundcheck Podcast, Kaki King joins us to discuss Big Issues like getting COVID19, the mysterious creative process, and fingernail care. She also nerds out about her family of fretted instruments (guitars, modified guitars, high-strung guitar, harp guitar), and plays some new songs.  

Set list:

“Teek,” ”Puzzle Me You” “Doing the Wrong Thing”

"Teek"

"Puzzle Me You":

"Doing the Wrong Thing"

Jun 29 2020

35mins

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Trent Reznor And Atticus Ross On The Sound Of 'Gone Girl'

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Trent Reznor is a thoughtful composer and meticulous sonic manipulator. With Nine Inch Nails, he has constructed ominous, seething and often abrasive songs and dense albums built upon infinite layers of sounds, invoking feelings of pain, rage and doom. And together with British composer, audio engineer, and longtime collaborator Atticus Ross, he has scored David Fincher's The Social Network (2010), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) -- which won a Grammy, and in 2014, Gone Girl. For that film, their icy ambient music perfectly fits the story's unsettling mood, adding dissonance, and noise amid the gorgeous electronic synths and lush orchestrations. 

For this Soundcheck Podcast, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross reflect on how their musical chemistry translates onto the screen. Plus, they talk about the processes behind their ongoing collaborations with director David Fincher, and how their work with bands Nine Inch Nails and How To Destroy Angels informs and is informed by their film compositions. (Originally aired in 2014.)

Jun 25 2020

45mins

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Jake Blount Transforms American Roots Music

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Jake Blount is a singer, fiddler, banjo player, and scholar of old time American music –he’s especially interested in the deep roots of the African-American music of the southeast, where his own family is from. And given that this is Pride month, it’s probably worth mentioning he’s a board member of the group Bluegrass Pride as well. Jake has just released his first full-length album, called Spider Tales – a reference to Anansi, the West African trickster figure who takes the shape of a spider. The album is full of unusual old tunes as well as new takes on songs you might think you knew well. Jake joins us -remotely, of course-  to play a few of them for this edition of the Soundcheck Podcast. 

Set list: 


    "Where Did You Sleep Last Night"
    "We’re Going to Hunt the Buffalo"
    "Roustabout"

"Where Did You Sleep Last Night":"We’re Going to Hunt the Buffalo":  "Roustabout": 

Spider Tales by Jake Blount

Jun 22 2020

29mins

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The Relatives: Gospel Funk In The Greene Space (From the Archives)

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In the early 1970's, veteran Dallas gospel singer Rev. Gean West and his brother Tommie formed The Relatives, a band that pulled together traditional gospel and soul with psychedelia and funk and earned a reputation for their fiery live shows. While the band toured nationally, they recorded only three singles, apparently pressing small batches of 45's that never seemed to get any traction outside of North Texas. And unfortunately after recording their final session with legendary engineer Phil York in 1975, the band disbanded in 1980.

Still, miraculously, The Relatives' music lived on, and those singles, along with that previously unreleased session, were compiled on the 2009 anthology, Don’t Let Me Fall. That release helped bring The Relatives back together and led to their 2013 album, The Electric Word (Yep Roc), which was The Relatives' first recording in over 30 years. They lost two of their original members in 2016, and their 2016 release, Goodbye World, was the last recording to feature Rev. Gean West. Revisit this extraordinary live set, recorded in 2013, in The Greene Space. 

Jun 18 2020

33mins

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John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats Takes It Back to the Boombox

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Songwriter, guitarist, bestselling novelist, former nurse, and the mastermind behind The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle delivered an April surprise: a boombox album of songs. As he writes on The Mountain Goats Bandcamp page, "pandemics call for wild measures" - and this was one thing he could do to offset the cost of a cancelled spring tour. The album was inspired by the Pierre Chuvin book A Chronicle of the Last Pagans, and recorded with his trusty boombox to cassette, with stories - "told in beautiful, unnerving, specific detail because he is a very good writer" (John Hodgman, 2012.) John Darnielle shares the story of making said boombox record while in quarantine, and a brand new song from his porch in North Carolina. 

Watch: "Last Gasp at Calama"

Watch: "The Great Gold Sheep" 

Songs for Pierre Chuvin by The Mountain Goats

Jun 15 2020

37mins

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Celestial Hymns By Pedal Steel Guitarist Luke Schneider

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You might have heard the weepy twang of Nashville-based Luke Schneider playing pedal Steel with Margo Price, or more recently with Orville Peck. But Schneider has just released a new record of experimental and dreamy drone music for the end of the world, called Altar of Harmony. No matter how unrecognizable it might sound, this is ambient atmospheric music made with only the pedal steel guitar (a 1967 Emmons Push/Pull pedal steel guitar, to be precise), and processing (shout-out to Electro-Harmonix pedals.) Luke Schneider joins us from the Third Man Records Studios to play some of these hypnotic and meditative creations. 

Set list: "anteludium," "mundi tuum est," "Billie’s Song"

Jun 11 2020

34mins

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British Artist Jessie Ware Finds Her Spotlight (From the Archives)

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English singer-songwriter and podcaster Jessie Ware's profile has grown very quickly into stardom in just a few years. With her new album, What's Your Pleasure?, due this June 2020, we revisit a studio visit from 2014, on the release of her second album. Written in three different cities - -New York, Los Angeles, and her home in London- Jessie Ware's Tough Love showcased Ware's skill as a songwriter and singer, while maintaining her South London charm amid the spotlight. 

In a conversation with host John Schaefer, Ware gives some behind-the-scenes stories about making Tough Love -- from collaborating with Miguel, to writing a song with Ed Sheeran in 30 minutes, to hanging out with Benny Blanco's bulldog and eating, a lot. 

Jun 08 2020

25mins

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John Cale's 'Shifty Adventures'

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John Cale made rock history as a founding member of The Velvet Underground in the 1960s. He's also a composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He's long been a part of the musical avant-garde, working with the first of the so-called minimalist composers, and later with people like Brian Eno. He sings and can play guitar, bass, keyboards and viola. 

Cale dropped by with his band in 2012 to perform songs from his album Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood and to talk about his days with The Velvet Underground and working with Andy Warhol. 

Jun 04 2020

34mins

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Composer and Producer Emily Wells Scales Back to Elemental

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Violinist, singer, keyboardist and drummer Emily Wells is a producer and composer capable of producing a full band sound; her series of “symphonies” turned her voice and live-looped violin, drums, percussion, and effects into a one-woman orchestra. In 2019, she released her swirling and dramatic chamber-pop collection, This World Is Too _____ For You, complete with a string quintet and French horn. Now, Emily Wells has revisited some of those grand cinematic songs on her latest record, In the Dark Moving, which she recorded last summer as a project to hear the essence of those songs stripped down to voice and guitar.

With Nina Simone on the wall of her home studio, Emily Wells joins us to share these songs in their most elemental form, along with a new song written this March - “I’m Numbers.” 


    "Rock N Roll Man"
    "Come on Doom, Let’s Party"
    "I’m Numbers" (Written while sheltering in place in March 2020)

Jun 01 2020

32mins

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Incredible

By bermudajune - Jan 09 2019
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The most interesting podcast on contemporary music.

The best music interview show ...

By Yoko134 - Oct 27 2014
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Soundcheck’s John Schaefer is one of the best interviewers in the business.