Music

Tiny Desk Concerts
10:51 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Suzanne Vega: Tiny Desk Concert

Suzanne Vega performs at a Tiny Desk concert in January 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

In pop-music circles, Suzanne Vega is known almost entirely for two songs from the late 1980s: the child-abuse ballad "Luka" and a song that launched literally dozens of dance remixes, "Tom's Diner." But Vega has been making vital, inventive music the entire time — much of it folk-based, though her sound has taken many smart detours along the way — and is about to put out her first album of original material in seven years, Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles.

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Favorite Sessions
4:03 am
Mon February 10, 2014

KEXP Presents: John Doe With Mike McCready

John Doe and special guest Mike McCready of Pearl Jam perform at KEXP in Seattle.
Jim Bennett KEXP

We were already excited to have legendary musician John Doe of the pioneering punk band X join us in the KEXP studio, so you can imagine our surprise when he walked in with the also-legendary Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. Doe's musical partner, Exene Cervenka, caught a cold during the Seattle stop for the band's cleverly named "X-Mas 2013″ tour, so Doe called on his old tourmate from 1999.

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First Listen
7:03 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

First Listen: St. Paul And The Broken Bones, 'Half The City'

St. Paul and the Broken Bones' new album, Half the City, comes out Feb. 18.
David McClister Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 10:08 am

About a year ago, I saw St. Paul and the Broken Bones perform at a tiny club in Tuscaloosa, Ala., called the Green Bar. The Birmingham band's six members squeezed onto the stage, looking like ragtag school kids. Singer Paul Janeway, nerd-tastic in spectacles and a Sunday suit, unfurled a handkerchief. He started to croon, then shout and wail.

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First Listen
7:03 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

First Listen: Lydia Loveless, 'Somewhere Else'

Lydia Loveless' new album, Somewhere Else, comes out Feb. 18.
Patrick Crawford Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:11 am

"Take me far from this tainted world where statistics murder dreams, where art, beauty, love, everything's money," begins a quote printed inside the packaging for the latest album by singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless. The words belong to 19th-century French symbolist-decadent poet Paul Verlaine — not a common touchstone among country-rockers, although the sentiment is one most musicians have likely felt. (It gets nicely echoed in a poem Eric Church recites on his latest record).

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First Listen
7:03 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

First Listen: Lost In The Trees, 'Past Life'

Lost In The Trees' new album, Past Life, comes out Feb. 18.
DL Anderson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:10 am

Lost in the Trees founder Ari Picker studied film composition at the Berklee School of Music — an alternate career path that couldn't be better suited to the music he makes now. A film composer, even more than a bandleader, creates work with a constant awareness of the audience's reaction to it, and thus has a keener sense of how to craft that reaction.

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