NPR Music

Few singers can command an audience's attention quite like Albin Lee Meldau. When I first saw him perform, at a church in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest last March, it felt like the entire audience was on the edge of its seat, hanging on every twisted word. His voice is breathtaking, soulful, thunderous and impossible to ignore.

Chester Bennington, one of the lead singers for the band Linkin Park and a former singer for Stone Temple Pilots, has died. His death was confirmed to NPR Thursday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, which said that his body was discovered at a house in the 2800 block of Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles and that investigators are currently on the scene. The death is "being looked at as a possible suicide at this time," according to Brian Elias of the coroner's office. Bennington was 41 years old.

Beth Ditto is a force of nature. Her incredible voice and charming personality earned her dance-punk band Gossip an international following, and those same qualities now drive her solo career. We hosted her for a live KCRW session to celebrate the release of Fake Sugar, her full-length debut under her own name.

SET LIST

  • "Oo La La"

Photo: Mark Leibowitz/KCRW.

Who would doubt that Michael McDonald could still sound groovy and relevant while ushering the musical feel of 1978 into 2017? Only a fool.

By now, we've been living with the popular archetype of the singer-songwriter for half a century or so, and multiple generations have worn their grooves into it, accumulating familiar lexicons along gender lines. We learned to expect our troubadours to work with particular personas, settings and themes, depending on whether they were women or men. Depictions of self-discovery through restless rambling were often heard as expressions of masculinity, while femininity was more closely associated with craving a settled existence and valuing intimate attachments.

Pardoner can't stop saving us from 'blah' punk. That's what Uncontrollable Salvation means, right? Or maybe Pardoner's some kind of Judge Dredd, a combination of judge, jury and savior whenever a perp is making lame punk crossed with '90s alt-rock.

Carlos Santana turns 70 years old Thursday. It's difficult to wrap my head around that: To me, as to so many other fans, he'll forever be the just-turned-22-year-old grimacing and grooving at Woodstock in August 1969.

Seratones On Mountain Stage

Jul 20, 2017

Shreveport, La., quartet Seratones makes its debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston, W.Va. Imagine if Yma Sumac's birdlike vocals carried Nirvana's guitar riffs in a run-down garage in Louisiana, and you'll get a sense of the psych-soul-rock produced by these musical hell-raisers. Given frontwoman A.J.

When history ranks 2017 among hip-hop's wonder years — and from the sounds of the previous six months it certainly qualifies — Vic Mensa's long-awaited full-length debut will be a big part of the reason why. The Chi-town native has created a work in The Autobiography that's equal parts confessional and confrontational, gut-wrenching and uplifting. Steeped in a personal story arc that envelopes Mensa's hometown, it echoes with the pain of a generation.

Pages