SXSW required watching: Alt-J live in concert from Stubb’s (playing a sold out show this Thursday at TLA)

Alt-J lead vocalist Joe Newman from Stubb's in Austin. (Photo by Adam Kissick for NPR)
Alt-J lead vocalist Joe Newman from Stubb’s in Austin. (Photo by Adam Kissick for NPR)
Alt-J played SXSW this past week as part of the NPR Music showcase along with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Waxahatchee, and Cafe Tacuba. Alt-J put on a mesmerizing performance and if you’re not yet convinced about what all the fuss is over the Mercury Award winning UK band, watch their performance below from the concert. You can download the full set here. Alt-J play a sold out show this Thursday night at the TLA.


SXSW Dispatch: An NPR Music knockout with Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more

The NPR Music Showcase at Stubb's ( clockwise from left: Waxahatchee, Nick Cave, Cafe Tacvba, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) | Photos by John Vettese
The NPR Music Showcase at Stubb’s ( clockwise from left: Waxahatchee, Nick Cave, Cafe Tacvba, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) | Photos by John Vettese

NPR Music‘s annual showcase at Stubb’s BBQ has become a coveted ticket at South By Southwest, and last night’s bill was a knockout. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds gave a stunning, electrified performance of songs from their new Push the Sky Away; Philly’s Waxahatchee played a hushed and intimate indoors set; Mexico five-piece Cafe Tacuba rallied the outdoor crowd with song and dance; and Yeah Yeah Yeahs notched the energy up even further, premiering songs from their new LP Mosquito and taking a deep-digging trip into their back catalog.

The capacity crowd was teeming with excitement for Cave, who’s an expert at constructing a mood. “We’re going to start with a rather long song,” Cave said, pointing to the dusky sky as they took the stage. “Hopefully, by the time we finish, it will be dark.” Continue reading →


Watch two new videos from Angel Olsen; hear her Folkadelphia session

You’ve got to give it up for our compatriots at NPR Music for this cool collaborative music and film project featuring the music of Angel Olsen.  A group of artistic minded friends- Angel Olsen, Randy Sterling, Ashley Connor, and Zia Anger- worked on producing two music videos, one for “Tiniest Seed,” a track from Olsen’s buzz-inducing HalfWay Home (2012), and one for a new rockier song “Sweet Dreams,” which is available on her forthcoming “Sleepwalker” 7”. Both videos almost perfectly encapsulate the mood and feel of the tracks, a necessity for a musician who lives and dies expressing emotions.

Last year, the Internet was abuzz with glowing reviews of Olsen’s sophomore release Half Way Home and rightly so, for her emotive singing, honest lyrics, and rawness of spirit resounded with many listeners (including this one). Folkadelphia was lucky enough to capture to record a few songs while Angel was in Philadelphia, which is available here for streaming and download.


Stream the David Byrne & St. Vincent album, Love This Giant in full via NPR Music (XPN Welcomes to the Tower Sept. 27th)

Photo by Andreas Laszlo Konrath courtesy of the artist

David Byrne and St. Vincent (Annie Clark) release their debut album, Love This Giant on September 11th. WXPN Welcomes them to the Tower Theatre on September 27th; purchase tickets here. Stephen Thompson of NPR Music says:

Love This Giant brings Byrne and Clark together in provocative and frequently exciting ways, thanks in part to a slyly funky horn section and an overarching sense of brainy boldness. Though they swap lead-vocal duties, Byrne’s jittery, globe-trotting eclecticism tends to overshadow Clark’s efforts, in part because the horns’ volume forces her guitar work out of the foreground. But Byrne sounds more invigorated than he has in years, and as one of the best young singers, arrangers and guitarists in the business, Clark possesses a craftsmanship-intensive oddness which meshes nicely with his.

Listen to Love This Giant in its entirety via NPR Music here.


Stream the entire new Yeasayer album via NPR Music (playing Union Transfer in November)

Yeasayer release a new album, Fragrant World, on Tuesday, August 21st. You can listen to the album in its entirety here via NPR Music. NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson writes this about the album:

Fragrant World functions on many levels: It’s bound to inspire some bang-up dance remixes, in spite of (and, let’s face it, because of) the swirling, searching layers of gloom sewn into its margins. Inspired equally by R&B records and Blade Runner, it’s the sort of record that rewards a bit of exploration, but it never forgets to dole out fun, easy payoffs along the way.

WXPN Welcomes Yeasayer to Union Transfer on Friday, November 16th. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, download “Henrietta” from the new album.


Listen to Santigold’s new album, Master Of My Make-Believe, via streaming audio at NPR Music

Philly-born Santigold’s sophomore album, Master Of My Make-Believe, is set for release on May 1st (via Downtown and Atlantic Records). Earlier this month, she announced a series of tour dates in support of the release, including a performance at the Trocadero on Tuesday, May 8th. From NPR Music:

As uncompromising in her own way as M.I.A., whose music attacks more viscerally, Santigold seems ambivalent about most everything she touches on Master of My Make-Believe — especially success, if “Fame” is any indication. Even the profanity-laced “Look at These Hoes” seems to straddle the line between loathing material excess and embracing it; in that case, the result feels deadpan to the point of half-heartedness.

With its frequent nods to island rhythms — and the aid of collaborators from old standbys Diploand Switch to Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O — Master of My Make-Believe has a sprawl to it that belies its 38-minute run time. As a result, whether a given song comes out as a jolt (“Freak Like Me”) or a trot (“Pirate in the Water”), Master of My Make-Believe feels packed and filling. But fun has been edged out of the equation a bit, in favor of an emphasis on ferocity and artistry that’s increasingly hard to deny

You can read the full write-up and listen to the album in its entirety here.


Listen to Joan Osborne’s Free At Noon concert at World Cafe Live (4/6/12)

From NPR Music:

Joan Osborne has just returned to the national stage with an album of her favorite blues and R&B songs, Bring It On Home. The collection, co-produced with guitarist Jack Petruzzelli, features tracks made famous by Muddy WatersRay CharlesAl Green andOtis Redding.

Osborne offered her interpretations of these classic cuts during a webcast from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Friday, April 6.

You can listen to the performance in its entirety here.


Listen to “It All Means Nothing,” the new single from Screaming Females (performing Feb. 15th at Long In The Tooth Records)

The members of Screaming Females have just released the leadoff single to the band’s upcoming album, Ugly (due April 3rd on Don Giovanni Records). You can listen to the track below (via Rolling Stone). Last month, the New Brunswick-based punk trio stopped by the NPR Music office to record a Tiny Desk Concert, which you can also check out below. Screaming Females performs at Long In The Tooth Records on Wednesday, February 15th.

It All Means Nothing by WeGetPress


Listen to Craig Finn’s Tiny Desk Concert (via NPR Music)

The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn—who, as we mentioned earlier today, will headline a double-header of XPN Welcomes shows at Milkboy Philly on Friday, March 9th—recently recorded a Tiny Desk Concert, which has just been posted to the NPR Music site. From NPR Music:

[O]n his new solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, Finn kicks himself free from the crutches of rock. It’s a sad sort of breakup record, barren and broken and informed by the wisdom of age, but his instantly recognizable speak-singing ramble remains. Finn’s starker side is, of course, nicely conducive to stripped-down arrangements behind Bob Boilen’s desk at the NPR Music offices: All these mournful, inward-facing songs (including the unreleased “Jeremiah’s Blues”) really require is Finn, his acoustic guitar and the indispensable pedal steel of Ricky Ray Jackson.

You can watch the video below; you can also read the full write-up and download the audio over at NPR Music.