Usually, the whispers start after rock groups have been around for a while, as die-hard fans begin to worry about their beloved band getting stale. Despite its incredibly long run, Wilco has escaped that fate, and managed to stay fresh since 1994. It just released its eighth studio album in 17 years, and the first issued on Wilco's own dBpm Records label. The Whole Love represents a new peak for the critically acclaimed sextet.
Jenny Lin is a pianist who doesn't mind downsizing. She typically plays eight-foot Steinways in concert halls that seat hundreds. But for this performance, we squeezed her into a corner, behind Bob Boilen's desk, and gave her a Korg electronic keyboard that weighs about 20 pounds. That's a good sport.
It's rare to see a world-renowned pianist willing to make such a sacrifice, but that's how strongly Lin feels about getting the music out there, knowing that (with even more downsizing) folks could watch her perform this Tiny Desk Concert on their iPhones.
Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 7:37 am
The story of Beirut, the sweetly melancholy musical venture of Zach Condon, is like something out of a movie. The New Mexico native dropped out of college in 2006 to focus on writing and recording music. He produced Gulag Orkestar, celebrating old-world weirdness and nostalgia with bawdy Balkan organ pumps and trumpets. The album sparked a meteoric rise for the young artist.
The Brooklyn dream-pop band Milagres might bring to mind some juggernauts of the past: "Here to Stay" calls to mind Arcade Fire and R.E.M., where the certified slow jam "Glowing Mouth" conjures Prince's Purple Rain deep cut "The Beautiful Ones." Don't be mistaken, though — Milagres is rightfully hard to pin down.
Often, you only need to hear a few lines to know you're listening to a Fountains of Wayne song. "Richie and Ruben," from the new album Sky Full of Holes, introduces its title characters as the kind of hapless losers the band loves to write about: "They opened up a bar called Living Hell / Right from the start, it didn't go too well / They didn't have the vibe or quite the right clientele."