It's always an adventure to ask NPR Music's resident metalhead and "outer sound" maven, Lars Gotrich, for song recommendations. Sometimes, doing so can lead down a path of impossible listening — banshee wails over blast beats, recorded inside what appears to be a toilet tank — but it can also lead to awesome epiphanies like Darkest Era or Deafheaven.
Before Japandroids reached the popularity they've earned today, guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse had to endure some ups and downs. In the beginning, the duo gave up the search for a lead vocalist and third member, deciding instead to split vocal duties. This turn of events ended up affecting the band's dual but equal decision-making process — even the band's name is a hodgepodge of ideas from each member.
This summer, while athletes prepare for the Olympic Games in London, music lovers are getting ready for the "Olympics of Choral Music." Officially called the World Choir Games, this Herculean singing competition features hundreds of choirs from around the world. This year is the first time it will be held in the U.S. — in Cincinnati, starting Wednesday.
Catherine Roma, conductor of women's choir MUSE, says her philosophy is more about musical excellence than competition. After witnessing the 2010 Choral Olympics in China, she saw something that surprised her.
Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 11:39 am
Brooklyn-born Aaron Copland was an American original in more ways than one. It's not just his music, with its openness and simple elegance. It's that he expected ballet dancers to act like cowboys, pianists to play blues and orchestra players to accompany political speechmaking. His Lincoln Portrait, composed during World War II, matches words from our 16th president with symphonic music.