WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

Lars Gotrich

We started a tradition a couple years back where we invite musicians in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW music festival to sing us a lullaby.

After much criticism around last year's round of '70s rockers and no women, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for the class of 2017 this morning, which include first-time nominees Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, Bad Brains, Joan Baez and Depeche Mode.

There are rhythms that guide us. The syncopated funk of go-go music internally recognizes the everyday juggle of life by bouncing different parts of the body in staggered time. The motorik rhythm — a 4/4 tempo with an accent on each beat — is linear in its drive, but pulsing with tension. For its part, the feel John Fogerty dubbed chooglin' has always been tied to both an undulating rock 'n' roll rhythm and a philosophy of keeping life free and easy.

Three silhouettes stretch across the flat earth, facing each other at a tense distance. Heat squiggles through the air like baby snakes dancing in the sand. The one facing west is long and cracked like old leather, his face determined but his eyes wet with worry. In a rush to claim his bounty, he's replenished his bullet belt, but has left his gun in the room where his antenna'd lover lies. He is thinking about last night, knowing it was likely his last.

In the early 2000s, Glassjaw was a square peg in a round hole — a dynamic post-hardcore band pitched to a mainstream audience caught somewhere between spiky-haired aggro-metal and swoop-haired screamo. Still, Glassjaw's New York hardcore bona fides were hard to dispute, Daryl Palumbo's nerve-wracking voice could shred and salve on a dime, and the band's melodic subversion and occasional Latin rhythms flew Faith No More's freak flag while also throwing down some grooves.

As it stands right now, the current D.C. hardcore/punk scene doesn't dwell too much on its past. It's there, it exists, but few seek out the sonic lineage left by Dischord Records in the '80s and '90s, which has proved crucial to the area's revitalization. Two Inch Astronaut, however, has never been shy about picking up the torch. The D.C. post-hardcore band's youthful enthusiasm has become more steadied over the years, and with its forthcoming third album Personal Life — produced by none other than J.

InTechnicolour works in that strain of stoner-metal that's less atmospheric and weed-fueled and more progressive — you know, for the kids who banged heads to Kyuss and nerded out on Rush. It's well-trod territory, with more than a decade of records looking to ISIS' Panopticon, Mastodon's Leviathan and Baroness' Red Album. On its debut EP, InTechnicolour's members don't so much reinvent the wheel as rebuild it.

Pinkish Black swings moods like none other. Since 2010, the Fort Worth, Texas, duo has stuck to synths, drums and Daron Beck's Gothic croon without the urge to expand — but it evolves expansively anyway. Bottom Of The Morning, the band's third record, all but abandons Pinkish Black's previous metallic tendencies for the eerie heft of '70s Italian horror-movie soundtracks (think Goblin or Ennio Morricone on a sinister jazz kick).

When listeners aren't writing to NPR to comment on a story, they mostly just want to know what music was played between segments. We call those buttons or breaks or deadrolls, and they give a breath after reporting a tragedy, lighten the mood after you most definitely cried during StoryCorps, or seize a moment to be ridiculously cheeky. How could you not play Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" following a story about why women shiver in the office?

Pages