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#XPN5050: 1970

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, David Dye is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1970.

Some might say that 1970 really started in 1969. In August of 69 at Woodstock, the youth and pop culture celebrated with three days of peace and music at Woodstock, marking an historical moment. Santana, who performed at Woodstock would release their debut in August 1969, but in 1970 they released Abraxas. The Beatles would release their final album together, Let It Be in 1970. That same year, however, Paul would release his solo debut. Beatle George would release the now classic triple album, All Things Must Pass, and Ringo Starr would play drums on John Lennon’s solo debut album.

Singer-songwriters in 1970? No shortage here. Simon & Garfunkel released Bridge Over Troubled Water, Neil Young released After The Gold Rush, Van Morrison dropped Moondance and His Band And The Street Choir, and Cat Stevens released Tea For The Tillerman, and Mona Bone Jakon. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were still very much on our minds with Deja Vu, Stephen Stills went solo, and Joni Mitchell released Ladies Of The Canyon. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Quatro Crazy” by Y La Bamba

Photo by Steffannie Walk | Courtesy of the artist

Y La Bamba is the musical nom de plume of Luz Elena Mendoza. Menodza formed the group in 2006 in Portland, Oregon, and created an eclectic mix of folk, ethereal pop, and traditional Latin music. The daughter of immigrants from Michoacan, Mexico, she’s worked with an evolving cast of players on her records, however at the heart of Y La Bamba is Mendoza’s musical vision. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 1990

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Robert Drake is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1990.

For those of you who are into the math, 1990 was 29 years ago. 1990 was a year marked by influential songs from all genres on the musical spectrum. Sinéad O’Connor released I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got and her #1 single “Nothing Compares 2 U” topped the charts around the world. Sonic Youth released Goo with an appearance by Chuck D of Public Enemy, the hip-hop group who released their own album in 1990, the ground breaking Fear Of A Black Planet. Continue reading →

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NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest is back for 2019

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest | Courtesy of NPR Music

It’s that time of year again. The time for unsigned artists across the country to break out their video cameras, warm up their vocalizers and come up with the most original and captivating original musical performance from behind some sort of desk. “Why?”, you ask?  Because NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest is back for 2019, awarding one lucky winner a visit to NPR headquarters to play their very own Tiny Desk concert, and then come on tour with NPR Music with support from our sponsor, Blue Microphones.

Today at SXSW, NPR Music announced the return of the popular Contest. And for the first time ever, it’s open to artists 18 years and older. Over the past four years the Contest has received more than 22,000 entries from artists and bands across all 50 states. Continue reading →

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Karen O & Danger Mouse share “Turn The Light” from collaborative album Lux Prima

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O has teamed up with producer Danger Mouse for a new collaborative album, Lux Prima, that comes out this Friday. We’ve heard two singles over the last couple months, “Woman” and the album’s title track,” and ahead of the release they’ve shared a third one, the 90s R&B-inspired “Turn The Light.” Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2011

For fifty weeks over the next year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Julian Booker is putting the musical spotlight on the year 2011.

It was only eight years ago, but the songs of 2011 still have a lasting impact today. Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” Bon Iver’s “Holocene.” The Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling.” Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out.” Dawes’ “Time Spent In Los Angeles.”

The War on Drugs released Slave Ambient, James Blake debuted with his self-titled album, and TV On the Radio released their fourth LP, Nine Types of Light.

Continue reading →

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A new / old Joni Mitchell book will collect poetry and paintings from 1971

Joni Mitchell | photo by Larry Hulst | via Pitchfork

Think of it like a zine, or a visual / textual version of a mixtape you’d make for friends. In 1971, not long after her iconic Blue album was released, Joni Mitchell made a hundred copies of a book called Morning Glory on the Vine as a holiday gift for her nearest and dearest peers and collaborators. A collection of poems, lyrics, and watercolor paintings, the book will be made available to the public for the first time on October 22 via Houghton Mifflin publishers. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Black Keys’ brand new three-minute ripper “Lo / Hi”

The Black Keys | photo by Alysse Gafkjen | courtesy of the artist

Akron, Ohio rock two-piece The Black Keys have released their first new song in five years. “Lo / Hi,” out now via Nonesuch, is a three-minute ripper with a “Spirit in the Sky” style fuzzrock riff and a hammering refrain that is destined for immediate heavy rotation (but don’t worry — it’s not a song you’ll tire of easily). Continue reading →