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All Songs Considered
9:46 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Song Premiere: Portal, 'The Back Wards'

Portal's vocalist, The Curator.
Dijana Krv Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:49 pm

I once made the mistake of listening to Portal with the lights off before bed. Other than the night following my near-victory at a fried-chicken-eating contest, I'd never had such messed-up dreams in my life.

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A Blog Supreme
9:41 am
Fri January 18, 2013

5 Blues Songs That Feel Your Midwinter Chill

Muddy Waters, c. 1979.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 9:21 am

In the Northern Hemisphere, January is typically the coldest month of the year. If we can somehow drag ourselves through the month, things will begin to turn around and we'll be on the road to springtime. But January often feels as if it'll never end.

So as we slog through the cold rain and snow, awaiting January's demise, here are five blues songs to help get us through the winter.

Deceptive Cadence
9:28 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada, who has just been named as the next music director of the Houston Symphony.
Martin Sigmund courtesy of the artist
  • After a five-year search that encompassed some 50 contenders, the Houston Symphony has announced its new music director: Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The 35-year-old Colombian trained in Vienna and will take over from the retiring Hans Graf, who is departing at the end of this season.
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It's All Politics
9:25 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Key Player In '94 Assault Weapons Ban: 'It's Going To Be Much More Difficult' Now

President Clinton speaks to a member of the House on Aug. 11, 1994, lobbying for votes for the crime bill.
Marcy Nighswander AP

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 7:36 am

President Obama's proposed renewal of a ban on assault-style weapons is expected to be based on the legislation approved by Congress in 1994 that expired 10 years later.

But when the first assault weapons ban was approved — outlawing 19 specific weapons — it was a very different time, and Congress was a very different place.

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From The NPR Bookshelves
8:53 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Brush Up For The Inauguration With Books By And About The Obamas

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
Ron Sachs-Pool Getty Images

As the nation gears up for the second inauguration of President Obama, NPR Books dove into the archives to find some of our favorite interviews with biographers of the first family. Here, you'll find profiles of the president's mother and father, an exploration of Michelle Obama's ancestral roots, and a portrait of the president and first lady's relationship. You'll also find books written by the Obamas themselves.

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