music | Connecticut Public Radio


Matthew Kenwrick (Flickr Creative Commons)

A Group of Hartford Students have been invited to perform at the Summer Olympic Games in London. But with only four weeks to go, funding the trip is becoming an issue:

The Real Ambassadors are the jazz choir at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. The 14 member group was selected by the London Olympic Organizing Committee from thousands of ensembles worldwide who applied for the opportunity.

Fiona's Back and Swedish Synth Pop

Jun 26, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're sampling tracks from the latest releases from Swedish synth pop songstress iamamiwhoami, and piano rock warrior Fiona Apple.

Chion Wolf

Each year WNPR picks one day in the run on the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven  and moves both Where We Live and The Colin McEnroe Show to the lobby of The Study, a downtown hotel.

Thrashy, Metallic Hardcore and Dreamy Hip Hop Beats

Jun 19, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're observing the dreamy, atmospheric sounds of hip hop beats from the new Clams Casino instrumental compilation. We're also giving the new Black Breath album a go, Sentenced to Life--not to mention trying out new tracks from Recondite, Grizzly Bear, and Fiona Apple.

Jill Sobule Live!

Jun 14, 2012
Chion Wolf

[Featured on the Audio to the left: A one-hour conversation and performance with and by Sobule in which she sings "Jetpack" and "Heroes" and some rarities.]

Eerie Mountains and Some Experimental Cumbia

Jun 6, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're sampling a series of tracks from the new Mount Eerie album, Clear Moon. It's the most serene release to come from the longstanding experimental folk and rock project. We'll also be laying out a gauntlet of tracks from new singles and forthcoming albums. Be on the lookout for names like Savages, Slugabed, Ondatropica, and more!

Kate Callahan and "Two Doors"

May 31, 2012
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Kate Callahan has been a fixture in the Hartford music scene for years - now she’s out with her first new album in six years.

The new record is called “Two Doors” - and as usual with Kate’s music, the songs are delicately arranged, her voice is clear as a bell, and the themes are big: Gender roles, creativity, spirituality, love.  And in the title track alone, she tackles capital punishment and reincarnation.  

Weirdo Rock and Hardcore R.A.P.

May 29, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're exploring the latest albums from weirdo rockers Dope Body, and we'll be sampling some hardcore hip hop off Georgia rapper Killer Mike's new album, R.A.P. Music.

Glitchy Electronics and Dreamy Pop

May 22, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're sampling the latest releases from Beach House and Squarepusher. We'll also be trying new tracks from Girl Unit, Luke Abbott, and Fergus & Geronimo.

Flickr Creative Commons, The National Infantry Museum and Soldie

Donna Summer would have been a great pop singer in any era, but she happened to come of age in disco. 

I'd go further than that and say that Donna, because she was a first class talent, lifted disco up out of what it had been -- a swamp of backbeats and heavy production -- and almost single-handedly said: This can be great music if somebody great sings it.

JD Lasica (Flickr Creative Commons)

D.W. Griffith's 1915 film, the Birth of a Nation is both acclaimed and reviled. It's acclaimed for its cinematic innovations and technical effects. It's reviled for its extremely racist view of African Americans and its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan.

Chion Wolf

I once heard a story about Liza Minelli talking to a fellow singer about her approach to a song called "Bobo's Bar and Grille." It's a Kander and Ebb song and not one of their really memorable ones. Anyway, it turned out that Minelli had an explanation, a motivation, a strategy for how to sing every word of the song. And when she got to the end of all that she said: "Or" --dramatic exhalation of cigarette smoke -- "you could just sing the damn thing." Actually, she said something a little more colorful than "damn thing."

Tropical Electronics and Some Neo-Psychedelics

May 16, 2012

This week on the needle drop we've got new tracks from Animal Collective, Four Tet, and TNGHT. We'll also be exploring tracks from the latest albums released by the Flaming Lips, OFF!, and Lone.

Gibson Guitars and the Kalamazoo Gals

May 15, 2012

Quinnipiac University law professor John Thomas teaches health and intellectual property law during the day. When he's not doing that though, he's a guitar geek. He collects, studies and writes about guitars and his latest venture has him looking at World War II-era Gibson Guitars.

Thomas said that Gibson's advertisements of the time, "promised that Gibson would not build guitars until the boys came back home." Thomas looked through Gibson's shipping ledgers though and counted nearly 25,000 guitars. 

Heavy Rock 'n' Roll and Hardcore Hip Hop

May 8, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we've got a deep look into two new albums from Torche and Billy Woods. D.C. MC Billy Woods' latest album is a hardcore hip hop mutation that'll grit teeth and chill spines with it's aggressive personality and gritty imagery. Torche's latest effort, Harmonicraft, is about the catchiest album of loudrock tunes you'll hear this month.

Experimental Hip Hop and Battles Remixes

May 1, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're trying out new tracks from R. Stevie Moore, St. Vincent, and Dweller On the Threshold. We'll also be scoping some new remixes of material from Battles' 2011 album Gloss Drop, and a full set of songs from the new Death Grips album, the Money Store.

Chion Wolf

There are many versions of the so-called "Proust questionnaire," which is meant to tease out a portrait of a person based on hopes, dreads, likes and dislikes.

I just filled out one on the website of Vanity Fair, a publication which has put many hundreds of famous people through its own version of the Proust questionnaire. The site crudely analyzed my answers and suggested the people I most resembled were Dustin Hoffman and James Brown -- but the former much more than the latter.

Where We Live: Mike + Ruthy

Apr 20, 2012
Thomas Schmaidt

Mike and Ruthy are a folk and blues duo from Woodstock New York, who’ve been playing together for thirteen years.  They’re also a married couple - with a young son and another child on the way.

Their music spans the wide spectrum of “Americana” - featuring fiddle, banjo, guitar and tight harmony singing.

They have strong ties to the music scene all over New England and Upstate New York - and their new release, just out this week, is an homage to New York City.  

Flickr Creative Commons, Travis Isaacs

You could easily become what producer Patrick Skahill calls "the music nerd whom nobody talks to at parties" by spending an hour a day geeking out on podcasts.

Today -- with our music mavens Wally Lamb, Eric Danton and Joan Holliday coming in -- I was scrambling to sound just a tiny bit hipper and I stumbled across a podcast called Indie Music Sampler, which some guy does from a corner of a bedroom in a condo in -- yes -- a western suburb of Portland -- with a baby blanket tacked to the wall to reduce echo.

Brand New Singles and Some Freakish Folk

Apr 17, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're dishing out more new singles than usual, touching down on teaser tracks from forthcoming albums by Squarepusher, Off!, mewithoutYou, and more. We'll also be dishing out some freakish tracks from the new Big Blood album, Old Time Primitives.

A Yale School of Music student is competing in an unique competition to earn a solo with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Kristan Toczko is one of eight semi finalists competing in a YouTube Concerto Competition. They're featured on the PSO's website, which calls this competition the first of its kind. The public is encouraged to vote until April 30. Those votes will choose up to four finalists who will then audition in person for PSO Conductor, Manfred Honeck. The winner receives $10,000 and two solo performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra this fall.

BADBADNOTGOOD is Not Bad at All, and Zammuto's New LP

Apr 10, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we try out the latest set of tracks to be released by Zammuto. It's the first album the produer and singer-songwritier has written since leaving the experimental folk outfit the Books. We'll also be listening to the new BADBADNOTGOOD album, BBN2. The Toronto jazz outfit has greatly improved its sound and playing since its debut album last year.

Experimental Funk Hop and Some Neo-Classic Rock Tunes

Apr 3, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we've got some experimental hip hop from the new THEESatisfaction album. We'll also be listening to Zeus take a rock 'n' roll time machine back to when Queen, Big Star, and the Beatles ruled the school.

Sad Songs and Hardcore Consistency

Mar 27, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're sampling tracks from forthcoming albums by Zammuto and Death Grips. We'll also be diving into the latest albums from New York post-hardcore outfit Unsane, and Austrian singer-songwriter Soap&Skin.

Southern Hip Hop and Schizophrenic Rockers

Mar 22, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we're serving up loads of new tracks from forthcoming albums erupting from the underground. We'll also be featuring the many musical masks of the Men. The band's new album showcases everything from instrumental country to raw garage punk. Big K.R.I.T's mixtape will get a feature as well. It's the third free album the Mississippi MC has released in the past three years, and he's sounding better than ever.

Authors of The One and Find Fix Finish

Mar 22, 2012
K Sandberg/flickr creative commons

A UConn cardiologist weighs in on the statin controversy. The remarkable life of soul music performer James Brown. And, a U.S. counter terrorism expert reveals how our new policies resulted in Bin Laden's capture. Can we stay safe?

Chion Wolf

One of the many nice things about working here at WNPR is that our chief engineer Gene Amatruda actually seems to like setting up our studio for concerts. And every time Gene does it, the studio sounds a little better. I caught some of String Theorie on Where We Live last week, and I was knocked out by the sound.

Flickr Creative Commons, kubotake

I grew up thinking I didn't like Irish music, because I thought Irish music was "Danny Boy," "Dear Old Donegal," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," and "McNamara's Band." I was well into what passes for my adult life when I started to hear both Irish traditional music -- they call it "trad" back home -- and the contemporary music that builds -- with care and respect -- on the rhythms and idioms of the old jigs and reels and ballads and songs. And I was fully in love.

Heavy Metal and Dreamy Pop Rock

Mar 7, 2012

This week on the Needle Drop, we sample tracks from an album of heavy metal throwbacks from Washington band Christian Mistress. We'll also be sampling new tracks from Death Grips, Royal Headache, and the underground R&B outfit THEESatisfaction.

Wikimedia Commons

One theory is that Supreme Court justices are supposed to be seen and not heard. Or, put another way, read ... but neither seen nor heard.

They're supposed to be inscrutable. That's just a theory. Antonin Scalia has never had much use for it. He gives speeches. He grants interviews. He even, last year, met with the Tea Party caucus within the United State congress -- one twig on the judicial branch telling some leaves on the legislative branch, what he thinks about the way they do their jobs.