Episodes
Singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson documents the turbulent and heavy stuff of life with warmth and fierce intensity. The multi-instrumentalist offers an album, “written as a sort of purge and a prayer,” of dynamic contrasts, clasping hands with blistering rage and working out how to deal with fear and pain. Laura Stevenson plays tunes remotely with her band from her self-titled 2021 record. Set list: “State,” “Don’t Think About Me,” “Sky Blue, Bad News” Watch "State":
Published 08/05/21
The jazz drummer Jaimeo Brown formed his trio Transcendence back in 2013 – their first album, also called Transcendence, was built around samples of old southern singing married to an inventive mix of blues, jazz, and distant echoes of hip hop. Jaimeo Brown’s Transcendence released Work Songs in 2016, which takes more sampled sounds from America’s past and uses them as the template for a new series of songs. Actually, the samples extend well beyond the States this time, but the song “For Mama...
Published 08/02/21
Forró In The Dark's music is meant to be played under the cover of night. The band is named after forró, a type of Northeastern Brazil dance music. The New York based Brazilian ex-pats give traditional music an update with jazz, rock, psychedelia, folk and charismatic and attentive rhythms. Since their formation in 2002 (beginning as a birthday entertainment for lead singer, Mauro Refosco), Forró In The Dark has worked with musicians like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Thom Yorke's Atoms For...
Published 07/29/21
Olivia Chaney is part of the latest wave of British folk music, although her definition of “folk” is as likely to include Baroque music, Norwegian jazz, and original songs as it is old murder ballads or sea shanties. Chaney plays an assortment of instruments, including guitar and piano, and has a strikingly pure vocal tone. Her debut full-length, The Longest River, is on Nonesuch Records, and while performing a brief set at a Nonesuch 50th anniversary event in 2014, she so impressed her...
Published 07/26/21
In Appalachia, a "holler" is a colloquialism for a valley or "hollow." So not only is the band name Quiet Hollers a fun oxymoron, it's also a sly shout-out to the band's roots in Kentucky. The group says it makes "weird, sad music for weirdos like you." But they named one of the standout songs from their 2015 self-titled record "Aviator Shades," which might just mean they're going for something cool and even sexy. They share their tunes in live setting, in-studio.
Published 07/22/21
Guatemalan-born, Mexico City-based cellist, singer, producer, and songwriter Mabe Fratti creates music using electronics, voice, and cello, and the sounds of nature. Fratti has a mighty array of effects, turning the cello into sound source capable of drone, full feedback squeals, percussive plucky samples, and talks about how she is "addicted to improvisation." Her latest soundscapey, outer-worldly album is called Será Que Ahora Podremos Entendernos? (Will We be Able to Understand Each Other...
Published 07/19/21
The Brooklyn-based orchestral collective known as The Knights began as an informal gathering of friends to play late night chamber music. Founded by brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen, the Knights have grown into a variable ensemble that brings the element of surprise back into orchestral concerts. Sometimes that’s in the way they present the music, and sometimes it’s in the music itself, like their collaboration with composer Andy Akiho. Andy’s main instrument in the steel pan, something...
Published 07/15/21
Pulling from soul and funk, psychedelic rock and punk, New Orleans brass bands and "Gypsy-reggaeton," Mucca Pazza's repertoire is can be a bit proggy (Yes, Weather Report, Rush) and perhaps hard to march to. Chicago’s “interdisciplinary instrumental music and performance ensemble” – or circus-spectacle alt marching band joins us in-studio. (From the Archives, 2015.) 
Published 07/12/21
British quartet Sons of Kemet blends jazz, Afrofuturism, electronic music, hip hop and Caribbean rhythms in their music and is composed of sax/clarinet player and composer Shabaka Hutchings, tuba player Theon Cross, and two drummers - Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick. Their latest album Black to the Future comes packed with urgent social commentary, and Sons of Kemet artfully brings the fiery hot dance-jazz party to bear. They offer these remote performances from London. Set list: "Hustle," "Pick...
Published 07/08/21
Swedish psychedelic rock outfit Dungen plays instrumentals from their recent score to the silent film The Adventures of Prince Achmed, and other tunes. (From the Archives, 2017.) 
Published 07/05/21
The English outfit called Public Service Broadcasting builds its records around archival and documentary sounds, then layering in live drums, guitar, banjo, bass flugelhorn, and electronics. Their 2015 album The Race For Space was full of voices from the Apollo moon missions; and their 2017 album, Every Valley, is built around documentary sounds of the mining communities of southern Wales – the boom and its subsequent collapse. Public Service Broadcasting performs live in our studio with a...
Published 07/01/21
On the face of it, Red Baraat is a dhol-driven big band full of brass instruments and drums (both the dhol and drumset keep the groove going), rooted in Bhangra music (Punjabi dance music), who bring a party with them wherever they go. On their l2018 record, Sound the People, they combine the sounds of South Asian diaspora, along with jazz, hip-hop, psychedelia, and a bit of Caribbean music, to draw attention to issues of migration, colonialism, and our current political climate. The record...
Published 06/28/21
The Argentine singer/songwriter and brilliant producer of experimental off-kilter folk-tronica, Juana Molina, has a former life as a well-known comic actress. She embraces that playful humor and explores ancient folk legends involving bone on her latest record, Halo. The ever-changing electronic textures feel mysterious, and are full of shadows, but with a sense of devious fun, even at the risk of being morbid. Juana Molina joins us to play some of these fantastical (and fantastic!) tunes...
Published 06/24/21
Lute-based and percussion driven, the rugged duo of Cretan lauto player George Xylouris (scion of one of Greece’s most revered musical families) and Australian drummer Jim White (he’s played with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, PJ Harvey, Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, and Dirty Three) perform groove-based, improvisatory music that is both grounded in Cretan tradition- the island has a great history of singers, lyra players, and other folk musicians – and fused with the rugged vitality of raw rockenroll....
Published 06/21/21
Composer, pianist, and vocalist Samora Pinderhughes writes urgent, poetic and immersive music that responds to the times and fits neatly into no genre, all while putting his heart right on the table. Samora Pinderhughes plays some of these intimate and revolutionary songs remotely: recent work from his Black Spring EP, along with new work from his song cycle “Grief.”
Published 06/17/21
France-based Cameroonian musician Blick Bassy’s quiet and beautiful songs fall somewhere on the spectrum of blues, folk-soul, and pop, and embody a deep reverence for the traditional music of Cameroon and other parts of Africa. On his latest record, 1958, dedicated to the memory of Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié and the other heroes of Cameroonian independence, Bassy embraces a listener (mostly in his ancestral language of Basaa) over minimal cello, trumpet, trombone, keyboards, and electronic...
Published 06/14/21
Mumbai-born singer, composer, bandleader, and ultra-marathoner Priya Darshini is based in Brooklyn. Her musical studies range from Indian Classical music and ghazals (devotional songs) to jazz, and she has experience in Mumbai indie rock bands and on Bollywood film soundtracks besides. Darshini takes a cross-cultural approach to song for her original compositions from her Grammy-nominated debut record, Periphery. She joins us with a band that includes hammered dulcimer, bass, and...
Published 06/10/21
Poughkeepsie, New York-based Ellen Kempner (who performs as Palehound) and L.A.-based musician Melina Duterte (who performs as Jay Som), have joined forces as Bachelor – a friendship, not just a band. They play songs from their collaborative debut album, Doomin’ Sun, which combines vivid imagery, adventures in production, and an intimate sense of comfort. On June 10, the duo will present and perform at their first concert, Doomin’ Sun Fest, a livestream whose line-up includes Tegan &...
Published 06/07/21
New York’s own gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have roots in Eastern European folk and Brecht-ian cabaret, along with punk and dub. With a band that usually includes accordion, fiddle, horns, percussion, jangly and electric guitars, Gogol frontman Eugene Hutz leads the turbo-charged “avalanche of rage-turned-joy,” whipping up frenzied crowds all over the world in every savage live performance. Their latest record, Seekers & Finders is coming for us all, and even features Regina Spektor as a...
Published 06/03/21
The singer Ala.Ni has a cosmopolitan background: born in Britain to parents from Granada and now based in Paris. So it perhaps shouldn't be a surprise that her music is varied too. And yet, Ala.Ni’s forthcoming debut album, called You And I, is nothing but surprises. Often sounding like a long lost artifact of the mid-20th century, her striking voice goes from torchy jazz to intimate pop to atmospheric vocalise. Ala.Ni made her American radio debut, with guitarist Marvin Dolly in our studios,...
Published 05/31/21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have each – in their own separate ways during their separate careers – been reinventing the sound of the banjo. Bela has drawn on jazz, classical, rock, folk, and world music; Abigail is fluent in Mandarin and has used her voice and banjo to draw connections between Chinese and Appalachian music. Together, though, this husband and wife team has released a couple of albums that really go for the old fashioned front porch sound. Their 2017 record is Echo In The...
Published 05/27/21
Nashville-based Montreal-born Scottish-Grenadian-Canadian multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, poet, mother, and runner Allison Russell (Birds of Chicago, Our Native Daughters, Po’ Girl) presents her autobiographical record, Outside Child, which sees her  breaking the cycles of abuse and violence and celebrating having found her chosen community and chosen family. Allison Russell and her band - some of the members of her musical community- play some of these songs from Outside Child remotely.
Published 05/24/21
Japanese-born, NYC-based pianist and composer Erika Dohi, is also one half of Contemporary Music Duo RighteousGIRLS. Her new record I, Castorpollux (37d03d) deals with duality, the idea of a “split self”–in works that float between composed and improvised music, as well as Dohi’s exploration of her Japanese-American identity, as well as pondering the idea of the multiverse, where there are alternate selves in parallel universes [as in Haruki Murakami’s novel 1Q84, or Spider-Man: Into the...
Published 05/20/21
Old Sea Brigade is the work of Nashville-based, Georgia-born musician Ben Cramer, who makes atmospheric Nashville-informed indie folk, infused with 80s synthpop and jangly guitars. "Cramer’s feathery vocals dovetail nicely with the guitars’ indie-rock-in-the-aughts sound," and the melodies are enhanced with warm synths and hazy production (John Schaefer). Old Sea Brigade plays songs from his new album Motivational Speaking, remotely.  
Published 05/17/21
Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra crafts cinematic, lush, long-form rock, with such detail about the characters, that it makes the stories even more believable on the songs from their latest record, The Million Masks of God. The band’s songwriting duo of Andy Hull and Robert McDowell, invokes the poem that inspired the album’s title, “Gold Leaves” by G.K. Chesterton, and talks about trying to find connections to the divine or the things that are in the way when searching. Hull and McDowell...
Published 05/13/21