Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:58 am
A few years back, the band Low sold T-shirts emblazoned with a fine unofficial motto for its music: "I don't like cool, I like beautiful." For the four women who make up Warpaint, those two qualities aren't mutually exclusive: The L.A. group's swirling sound is full of mysterious buzzes and coos, and there's a sense of everything-in-its-right-place grace and impeccability to it, yet the songs themselves never feel icy or distant.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:58 am
The opening lament on Tom Brosseau's new Grass Punks is as old as the hills: You don't pay attention to me anymore. In a thin, reedy voice that grows more vulnerable as the song unfolds, Brosseau confronts the reality that he no longer commands his beloved's attention. He's been supplanted not by a new affair, but by the smartphone: "I long for you to hold me in your arms," he sings, "but instead, you cradle your device."
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:02 pm
The prime minister of Ireland showed up for The Gloaming's first gig; that's how big the supergroup's formation has been for fans of Irish music. Here at NPR Music, Bob Boilen and I have been waiting anxiously for the band's first album ever since The Gloaming made its U.S. debut at globalFEST in January 2012.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:01 pm
The bracingly political Florida punk band Against Me! has been a going concern since 1997, but Transgender Dysphoria Blues can't help but feel like a debut: It's the group's first album since singer Tom Gabel came out as a woman. Now named Laura Jane Grace, she still barks her lyrics with fiercely assertive intelligence — with a voice as yet largely unchanged from the one in the band's earlier work — but Against Me!'s subject matter can't help but be turned on its head.
Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 10:00 pm
Roses are beautiful and alluring, but they're often seen in the saddest of settings: hospitals, funerals. The music of Gem Club is a bit like that, mixing beauty and melancholy. One makes you appreciate the other, so it's a dynamic that works perfectly on the band's second album, appropriately titled In Roses.
Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:33 pm
In a concert and ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized its 2014 class of Jazz Masters.
The honor is the highest federally supported award for jazz artistry; those recognized receive a $25,000 grant and a tribute performance. The event was webcast live on the NEA's website, XM Satellite Radio and WBGO.org, as well as on NPR Music.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
The U.S. and other world powers have agreed on a plan with Iran to start rolling back parts of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Secretary of State John Kerry says the deal goes into effect later this month.
When it comes to American foreign policy, the hot topic this week wasn't Syria. Instead, pundits and commentators of all types were furiously debating how President Obama handled the wars in his first term. That was thanks to retired Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' new book "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War." Even though the book hasn't hit stores yet, critics of the White House have been crowing over Gates' unvarnished critique of President Obama and Vice President Biden.
In 2005, Rosemary Mahoney was assigned to write a magazine profile of the woman who started Tibet's first school for the blind, Braille Without Borders.
Sabriya Tenberken, who is blind herself, traveled to Tibet as a young woman and found that blind children there had no access to education, which motivated her to set up a program. During college in Germany, where she grew up, Tenberken also developed the first Braille script for the Tibetan language.
Who should be eligible to receive an award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? And if that definition becomes flexible, what does that do to the mission of the award itself?
That's a question worth asking as the NAACP Thursday unveiled a huge roster of nominees for its 45th annual Image Awards — a ceremony long thought to be a way to honor African-American performers who are often ignored by mainstream Hollywood awards contests.
The United Nations announced this week it is no longer updating the Syrian death toll, which has surpassed 100,000, because it cannot accurately confirm the number of dead due to chaotic conditions in the country. But Syrians are still being slaughtered, and the fighting has gotten more complicated than ever.
It's not just President Bashar Assad's government army versus the rebels. The rebels are also battling rebels, and civilians are often the casualties, including a male nurse from Aleppo.
Pope Francis continues to shake up the Vatican establishment. Today, speaking from his studio window to followers in St. Peter's square, he announced 19 new cardinals from some surprising places, the AP reports.
Francis did not name any cardinals from the United States and chose instead to represent poorer nations.
Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 1:52 pm
Iran and six world powers will begin implementing an interim agreement designed to pause parts of Iran's nuclear program.
The White House said that beginning Jan. 20, Iran will begin eliminating its stockpile of "higher levels of enriched uranium and dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible."
In return the the five permanent members of the United Nations — the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K. and France — plus Germany will ease some sanctions on Iran.