Music

Boise State Public Radio Music can be heard in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley at 90.3FM, and across parts of southern and central Idaho, providing outstanding music, arts and cultural programming on air and online.

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Not just classical, Boise State Public Radio Music brings you jazz, americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, celtic and more. 

Below, you'll find a curated selection of the news and stories behind the music.  Posts about new releases, hit songs, and conversations with respected artists from a broad range of backgrounds.

 

NPR Music's Top 10 Albums Of September

Sep 30, 2019

September saw solo debut albums from women who have helped redefine their respective scenes: Brittany Howard's genre-agonistic (but wholly Brittany Howard) Jaime and The Highwomen's self-titled shot across country music's bow, featuring Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris,

NPR Music's Top 20 Songs Of September

Sep 30, 2019

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

Surel's Place is an artist residency and workshop studio that brings in artist from around the country. This month’s artists are from a Rhode Island music group "No-No Boy" and will perform their music -- inspired by the history of Japanese internment camps from WWII -- in Garden City Sept. 25. Musican Julian Saporiti and collaborator Amelia Halvorsen joins Idaho Matters to discuss their time in Idaho.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The frontwoman of Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard, has just released her first solo album.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRITTANY HOWARD SONG, "HISTORY REPEATS")

The other day, I went down to the National Mall here in Washington, D.C., and heard the sound of hope in sweet, strong, young voices.

A youth choir and chamber ensemble from Haiti are on a U.S. tour that's taken them from Maine to Manhattan to Kentucky over the past month. This stop was in a lush garden of the Smithsonian museums. The tour is meant to showcase Haiti's rich musical heritage — and to raise awareness of the country's rebuilding efforts.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

The Neave Trio met in college and through their love of music, decided to celebrate some of the best living composers in the world. They focus on "Composers who happen to be women" and will play on Friday September 20 in the Velma V. Morrison Recital Hall. Listen to their story in this Idaho Matters Segment.

When the first enslaved Africans landed on American shores in 1619, their musical traditions landed with them. Four centuries later, the primacy of African American music is indisputable, not only in this country but in much of the world. How that music has evolved, blending with or giving rise to other traditions — from African songs and dances to field hollers and spirituals, from ragtime and blues to jazz, R&B and hip-hop — is a topic of endless discussion.

Alabama Shakes singer and guitarist Brittany Howard has just released her masterpiece. Jaime, her debut solo album,is a complex, deeply personal and genre-defying examination of spirituality, identity and survival. On this week's New Music Friday, we attempt to peel back its many layers and explore the life-stories behind the music. We've also got sad bangers from Tove Lo, the late-'60s, Laurel Canyon pop of Andrew Combs, a profoundly beautiful and poignant debut solo LP from Mountain Man's Molly Sarlé, a posthumous album from the legendary Algerian singer Rachid Taha and more.

The “people’s poet” isn’t one for sitting on the sidelines and staying silent.

British singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg has been at music and politics for more than 35 years. While some might view the two subjects as separate, he’s dedicated much of his music to social change and grassroot causes.

There may be more theremins than pieces of furniture in Marc Chouarain's apartment on the classic Parisian street Rue Montorgeil. The multi-instrumentalist, film composer and rare instrument enthusiast believes he has one of the biggest theremin collections in the world and invited us over to learn about the the very first electronic instrument.

This essay has been excerpted from the forthcoming book Liner Notes For The Revolution: Black Feminist Sound Cultures by Daphne A. Brooks, which will be published by Harvard UP in 2020.

Director Ken Burns has told the story of America through the lens of the U.S. Civil War, baseball, jazz and the war in Vietnam. Now, he's telling it again through the soundtrack and the struggle of country music.

Mary Lou Williams seemed to learn early that playing piano would keep her alive.

Maybe she realized this at age six, when she started venturing to her white neighbors' homes to play piano for them. As Williams later recalled to the journalist John Wilson for the Jazz Oral History Project at the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies, she got the neighbors to stop throwing bricks into her family's house by giving them private concerts.

On this month's Station Breaks, you can check out an experimental hip-hop trio and an infectious combination of new wave, disco and indie rock. Oh, and two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner launches his music career with a new song.

Stream the NPR Slingshot Spotify playlist, which lists all the songs from this installment of Station Breaks, a perfect opportunity to enjoy and discover big songs by not-so-big bands (and also Jeremy Renner).


"It's soul music without the sex," says Bruce Watson, general manager of the stalwart Mississippi indie label Fat Possum, of the new, gospel-focused imprint that he and Big Legal Mess Recordings are just getting underway.

Historians and critics have pored over the recordings of these jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Stan Getz so exhaustively, it might feel like they've left no stone unturned. And yet, fans are seeing a slew of exciting new discoveries lately from these and other artists — so-called "lost" albums by some of the biggest names in jazz.

As one of the most beloved singers of the 20th century, Ella Fitzgerald was admired around the world. She was also one of the most acclaimed, earning a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master award; a National Medal of Art and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, 14 Grammy Awards and honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Howard Universities.

Nashville's star-making machine has been the subject of countless articles, several films and six seasons of a prime-time soap opera — but there are plenty of emerging music-makers who operate at the fringes of that world, or well beyond it. Some value indie-style self-reliance, while others tap into popular movements that transcend geography. Here's a roundup of some of these artists' compelling recent offerings, in the midst of perfecting their angles on an array of styles.

A lot of the albums out this week deal with self-discovery and deep reflection on the nature of being human. The members of MUNA look at aging and personal growth on their latest, Saves the World; Lower Dens weighs the madness of a country driven by competition; and the country super group The Highwomen releases its highly anticipated, self-titled album, one that celebrates the power of women while pushing back on the unwritten rules that have allowed men to dominate country radio for so long.

Someone is late for the conference call, so the music starts. "Well, I've been sitting here all day," the song begins, sort of croony, with a vaguely country affect — the kind of opening that leads you to expect there is, somewhere, an ex-lover who probably isn't coming back. A certain variety of pining. But then, a few bars in, a turn: "Yes I'm waiting on this conference call, all alone. And I'm on hold, yes I'm on hold... I hope it's not all day, ey!"

A-WA is made up of three Israeli sisters, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim. This melodic trio of Jewish women of Yemeni descent women emphasize mixing their culture's traditions with forward-thinking modifications to sound, visuals and ethos. The sisters are known for eye-popping music videos that challenge gender stereotypes. Picture women in traditional robes that are neon pink while off-roading across a barren desert. The trio's sound is just as distinctive.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

All right, it's Tool time. Today, progressive metal band Tool releases its first album in 13 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEAR INOCULUM")

TOOL: (Singing) Immunity long overdue. Contagion, I exhale you.

NPR Music's Top 16 Songs Of August

Aug 30, 2019

Stream: Spotify, Apple.

NPR Music's Top 12 Albums Of August

Aug 30, 2019

August, traditionally, is slow month for media. Hollywood takes a (brief) break from blockbusters and gets ready to roll out autumn's big movies. The music world didn't get that memo, giving our ears much to love.

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