Music

The Joshua Tree, the album that made U2 global megastars, turns 30 this year. To mark the milestone, the band will perform the seminal album in its entirety at several live performances scheduled throughout the year, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo in June.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Smokey Hormel's great-grandfather George Hormel started the famous meat company bearing the family name. His grandfather invented Spam. But Hormel — and yes, Smokey is his real given name — says he was never much interested in the family business.

Classical composers have long had their patrons: Beethoven had Archduke Rudolph, John Cage had Betty Freeman. For contemporary opera composers, there's Beth Morrison. She and her production company have commissioned new works from some of the most innovative emerging composers today.

Georges Prêtre, the French conductor with a seven-decade career that included close associations with Maria Callas and many of the world's top orchestras, died Wednesday in France at age 92.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.

Swedish pop artist Jens Lekman is back with his first new album in nearly five years. The singer, known for his darkly comical storytelling, says he'll release the calypso- and disco-inspired Life Will See You Now later this year. In making the announcement he shared the album's first single, "What's That Perfume That You Wear?," a playful, up-tempo tale about lost love and the ways a certain smell can spark a rush of memories.

Brian Eno's new ambient work, Reflection, is just that: 54 minutes of what sounds like plinking chimes, rippling vibraphone and deep synth tones mirroring a parallel world. Released on Jan.

John Grant is not your run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter. He's a superstar overseas, but he's relatively unknown in the U.S., where he was born. He lives in Iceland and speaks four languages. He's openly gay. And he's HIV positive, as well as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

Ben Johnston doesn't follow the rules of music. Sure, he's got degrees from two colleges and a conservatory. But from an early age, Johnston heard music differently. When he was growing up in Georgia, he questioned the standard scales he was taught in school. "I played by ear and I invented my own chords," he says.

In the last week of 2016, Songs We Love is featuring just a few of the songs that, for whatever reason, never got their due this year.

The clarinet and guitar are common enough instruments, but you've probably never heard them sound quite like this. In the hands of guitarist Golfam Khayam and clarinetist Mona Matbou Riahi, the instruments breathe together in music that borrows melody and improvisation from their Iranian homeland and classical structures from the West.

George Michael: A Father Figure For Political Pop

Dec 27, 2016

Sunday, January 1, 2017 @ 11 a.m. on 91.3 & 92.7
New Year's Day From Vienna 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JINGLE BELLS")

FRANK SINATRA: (Singing) Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

"What did you get from Santa, honey?"

We dropped a classic today (what)
We did a tablet of acid today
Lit joints with the matches and ashes away
SKRRRT! We dash away
Donner and Dixon, the pistol is wrapped on the way

One of the most celebrated of all Christmas traditions comes to HQR News and Classical HQR on Christmas Eve, Saturday at 10 am: The annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, live from King's College in Cambridge, England. Please join us for this joyous celebration, heard on both stations at 10 am, and repeated on Classical HQR at 5 pm.

Trent Reznor promised new Nine Inch Nails material by the year's end, and has now delivered with Not The Actual Events. The EP, recorded with co-conspirator and now official band member Atticus Ross, is among Reznor's heaviest and most manic work. "Branches/Bones" and "The Idea Of You" team with chaotic punk, and the industrial doom of "She's Gone Away" and "Burning Bright (Field On Fire)" rivals Godflesh in its gloomy clank.

The shopping's almost done. Menus are planned. The relatives are relatively under control.

Just one thing's missing from your holiday checklist — music.

Instead of fumbling through dusty CDs, LPs and cassettes, how about a click-of-the-mouse playlist of classical, and classy, holiday music?

There should be something here for just about everyone: plenty of Christmas carols, a few Hanukkah favorites and some off the beaten slope items.

Return To Daddy

Dec 22, 2016

If there was one moment in Houston on Saturday night that brought meaning and context to Aphex Twin's first U.S. performance in eight years, it was when the storm arrived, about 30 minutes in.

Gucci Mane has had a roller coaster of a career. Born Radric Davis, he grew up in his grandfather's house in a small town in Alabama. He made his name in Atlanta, over time becoming a central figure in Southern rap and a mainstay on commercial radio. But his successes were interrupted by time in jail.

Grouper's music exists between the hues of memory, reflected in quiet swirls of guitar and Liz Harris' voice. Her most recent album, 2014's Ruins, stripped away much of the ambiance (to chilling effect) and played with environment as an instrument.

The 32nd class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, announced by the organization Tuesday, include its first solo rapper, giants of alternative and album rock, and a stalwart protest singer. Also being inducted are a pair of extremely influential producers, one with his signature band and one by himself.

In Memoriam 2016

Dec 19, 2016

Music suffered heavy losses in 2016, a year like no other in recent memory. We bid unexpected farewells to the very brightest stars — David Bowie and Prince — but we also lost masters from every corner of the music world, from classical composers and jazz greats to world music superstars, soul singers, country giants, prog-rock pioneers and record producers. They left us with unforgettable sounds and compelling stories. Hear their music and explore their legacies here.

(Credits: Tom Huizenga, producer; Mark Mobley, editor; Brittany Mayes, designer)

In hundreds of cities across the U.S. –- and a few abroad, too –- tuba and euphonium players are gathering for an annual tradition: TubaChristmas. The mandate of the event is simple: Gather a group of tuba and euphonium players and play holiday songs. Its scope, however, is large: These gatherings can include hundreds of tuba players, and this weekend alone, there are more than 60 TubaChristmas events from Hattiesburg, Miss, to Las Cruces, N.M. to San Ramón, Costa Rica.

Gospel singer Joe Ligon died Sunday at the age of 80. He was the electric and vibrant frontman for the Grammy award-winning group Mighty Clouds of Joy, which helped bring gospel to the mainstream.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is back with an incredibly infectious new song called "Fireproof." It's the first single from the band's upcoming full-length, The Tourist, due out Feb. 24.

"Fireproof" is a thumping, synth-heavy look at how naive people can be. "I know it's hard to win," sings frontman Alec Ounsworth. "But how could I have thought that we'd ever lose."

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