WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

Different Radio Music

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.

In the summer of 1997, when All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer sat down with Colin Greenwood and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead to talk about the band's new album OK Computer, it sounds (in retrospect) like none of them – not our host nor the guys in the band – entirely knew what they were sitting on. O'Brien and Greenwood cracked jokes, gently brushed off questions they didn't care to get into and attempted to explain why this album was so different from the band's previous two releases.

Ah, the feelgood aura of The Beach Boys. We know it so well we just sorta melt into it – drifting into the idyllic reveries of "In My Room" and "God Only Knows," hardly focusing when one of those hot-wired surfing songs erupts from the radio. It's like a direct circuit to the brain: Hear those harmonies and in 3-2-1, there comes the little dopamine squirt affirming all is right with the world.

Holly Macve's voice seems to hover from era to era, coming to rest somewhere between the lonesome twang of Patsy Cline and the moodily modern slur of Lana Del Rey. Macve's songs lope and shimmer at a lazy pace, but they never lack drama, even as she holds herself motionless.

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.

Algiers new album The Underside Of Power is one of 2017's most ambitious and intense records. I love it — but sometimes I have to just have to hit pause. There's a fierceness both in subject and sound and source, including speeches from Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers, bold and dark lyrical imagery of death and rage, sounds of people weeping, drones, chimes and what at times feels like the entire history of rock, gospel and R&B wrapped into fifty-one minutes. There's a lot to unpack here.

Jade Jackson, who released her debut album, Gilded, on Anti- Records in May, grew up in a small town in central California. Her parents played music constantly and shunned the internet — and if you want to raise an original songwriter, that is a great start.

Jackson's debut, produced by Mike Ness of Social Distortion, is filled with songs that make you stop and shake your head every time she drops another line that rings true. I almost want to keep her a secret — but word is getting out, so hear the complete session in the player above.

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