Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 10:56 am
The "Graffiti Park" in Austin, Texas, is stunning from any angle: Essentially a giant public canvas, the staggered façade on Baylor Street is constantly refreshed with new eye-popping murals by aerosol artists. When the members of Now, Now met us there, they were good enough sports to haul their guitars and amplifiers all the way to the top.
Experimental folk-rock singer Joseph Arthur appears on this episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Though Arthur appears solo (as he almost always does), a listener might assume he's backed by a full band. Arthur uses his mastery of digital looping machines, harmonizers and distortion boxes to create a lush, multi-layered background for his songs — culminating with his five-and-a-half-minute spoken-word tune "I Miss the Zoo."
Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 9:58 am
Here's a pairing that raises the question: "Why hasn't this happened before?" The Bad Plus have been a revisionist cover band and today mostly make original piano trio music sui generis. Bill Frisell is the quintessential jazz collaborator: The guitarist, making the second of three appearances at this year's Newport Jazz Festival, is down for anything involving good musicians, and can be counted on to execute it well. Together, they paid tribute to one of their mutual heroes, the late drummer Paul Motian, in a set comprised mostly of his haunting compositions.
Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 4:16 pm
In its 21-year career, Enslaved has stayed ahead of the curve. While defenders of the orthodox black-metal sound have a field day hating modern-day mold-breakers like Wolves in the Throne Room and Deafheaven, Enslaved was tearing down Valhalla with Pink Floyd-ian psychedelia and '70s prog-rock back around 2000's Mardraum.
Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:41 am
A classic male singer, Kurt Elling has an old-school vibe to everything from his mannered stage banter to his declamatory, full-chested delivery. But he isn't afraid to write brainy, twisty lyrics over an obscure jazz number, or take a pop song back to the drawing board. He can do a lot with his voice, you see, and the band featuring long-time collaborator Laurence Hobgood, a pianist, helps to set the stage.