Music

The BET Awards, like black America, is never a monolithic affair.

"I'm terrified as usual. Absolutely terrified," Radiohead leader Thom Yorke told the BBC ahead of the band's headlining performance at Glastonbury on Friday night.

Yorke's nervousness translated into a typically transcendent concert with a recording that actually does it justice, too. (Live recordings always tend to be a little light on the low end, but let us abandon nitpicks).

Head here and start at 28:25 to hear the beginning of the band's set.

A week after opening to a tepid critical response and accusations of historical inaccuracies from actress Jada Pinkett Smith — as well as a misinterpreted Internet joke that had many searching in vain for the appearance of an iPhone in the film — the Tupac Shakur biopic All

This post was updated on Sunday, June 25 at 3:50 PM.

When you're a group that's performed together for more than seven decades, it might be a daunting task to keep crafting music that feels fresh. No doubt that hill is even harder to climb when you're working within a tradition like gospel, with its well-loved, and well-worn, harmonic and lyrical conventions. Yet the singers who make up Blind Boys of Alabama have always risen to the challenge with utter grace — and the group's forthcoming album, Almost Home, places a capstone on that history.

It's now officially summer, which means it's time to kick back, pour out a glass of rosé and listen to the ever-timeless Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, by composer Felix Mendelssohn. The German composer wrote the Overture (Op. 21) when he was only 17, but by then he was a seasoned composer with numerous operas and string symphonies under his belt.

Earlier this month, the New York Philharmonic's outgoing music director Alan Gilbert said goodbye to his orchestra in a series of concerts. Today, he is saying hello to a brand new job in Hamburg, Germany.

Margaret Moser, Queen Of Austin, Is Dancing In The Light

Jun 22, 2017

June 18 was the beginning of a weeklong Open House at Tex Pop, the South Texas Museum of Popular Culture — a storefront wedged between a head shop and convenience store in an aging strip center at the corner of Margaret and Mulberry in San Antonio. Inside, in the largest of three rooms, museum founder and director Margaret Moser is seeing her first visitor of the day, Kathy Valentine. In an adjacent room, Moser's mother Phyllis Stegall and a niece greet arrivals as they wait their turns.

Mozart And 'The Peanut Vendor' In Havana

Jun 22, 2017

Last month, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein was in Cuba preparing for her current North American tour with an orchestra of young musicians from Havana. She fondly recalls one very hot rehearsal.

Anita Pallenberg Was No Simple Muse

Jun 20, 2017

Arguably, no single rock musician has had a greater ripple effect on both men's and women's fashion than Keith Richards. Things that shouldn't have made sense — from Nudie suits and scarves as belts, to cheetah-prints and graphic striped trousers mixed with polka dots — always looked effortless on him. Unbeknownst to many at the time, it was Anita Pallenberg's closet from which Richard was pulling.

Now here's a creative way to promote your upcoming symphony season and up your brand: Strap your conductor in a motion capture suit, switch on a dozen high-tech cameras, and get an artist to translate the data into kaleidoscopic shapes and colors.

Members of the Asian-American rock band The Slants have the right to call themselves by a disparaging name, the Supreme Court says, in a ruling that could have broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied in other trademark cases.

The Slants' frontman, Simon Tam, filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office kept the band from registering its name and rejected its appeal, citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits any trademark that could "disparage ... or bring ... into contemp[t] or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead," as the court states.

On the heels of his historic induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (and amid unconfirmed rumors of new arrivals to his family), Jay Z has announced his thirteenth solo studio album, 4:44, to be released on June 30.

After releasing two new songs, playing them on Saturday Night Live, and not being totally stoked on a set of vinyl reissues, LCD Soundsystem has annou

A Band Apart

Jun 19, 2017

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How does a scientist become a principal timpanist at the Met?

Jason Haaheim gets that question all the time. The 38-year-old is a former nanotechnology researcher, with a master's degree in electrical engineering. But four years ago, he made a major life pivot: to play professionally with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

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And now to music news. For the past 48 hours, one topic has dominated social media. And I mean, it's not technically news. It's kind of about waiting for news. NPR music senior editor Jacob Ganz is here to bring us up to speed. What's going on, Jacob?

The music of Penguin Cafe is like no other. Its origins date back to the early '70s, within fever dreams Simon Jeffes had that were brought on by food poisoning. In those dreams he imagined a dispassionate world "where everyone lived in big concrete blocks and spent their lives looking into screens. In one room, there was a couple making love lovelessly. In another there was a musician sat at a vast array of equipment, but with headphones on, so there was no actual music in the room." Eerily accurate.

"[Bob] Seger's absence from digital services, combined with the gradual disappearance of even physical copies of half his catalog, suggest a rare level of indifference to his legacy," Tim Quirk wrote for NPR Music in late March in his feature, "Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?"

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So 30 years ago this summer, video games made their orchestral debut. It was a performance in Tokyo. It was the first time that music from a videogame was performed live, was from the Japanese game "Dragon Quest." And this trend has carried on ever since.

A Look Back At Monterey Pop, 50 Years Later

Jun 15, 2017

In the 21st century, destination music festivals seem like a dime a dozen. But just 50 years ago, there was only one: the Monterey International Pop Festival, which featured more than 30 artists and bands playing over the course of three days in the summer of 1967.

Monterey Pop set the template for all the huge rock festivals that would follow — Woodstock, Coachella, Bonnaroo and all the rest — and its influence would spread even further via a documentary, Monterey Pop, that was helmed by D.A. Pennebaker and would set a gold standard for concert films.

For more than half a decade Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been an inseparable creative duo, racking up record sales and Grammy awards. But the premiere of "Glorious" — the first single from Macklemore's new, unnamed album — comes today with news that the Seattle rapper's next release will be a solo effort.

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