NPR Music

Willie Nelson And Jackie King On Piano Jazz

Jul 21, 2017

Richard D. James loves to clear the vaults. A couple years ago, he sent Aphex Twin fans on a scavenger hunt through a series of anonymous SoundCloud accounts, where he had uploaded 200 old tracks and demos leading up to the release of Syro. Then he deleted them.

On Tuesday, two separate lawsuits were filed against Spotify in Nashville's federal court over a single issue. Both Bluewater Music, an independent publisher and copyright administration company, and Robert Gaudio, a founding member of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – and a songwriter behind the enduring hits "Sherry" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" — accuse the streaming service of improperly licensing song compositions.

Since H.E.R.'s 2016 debut, Volume 1, there's been a smokescreen surrounding the anonymous singer. She's lights down low, sunglasses on, a curly head of hair seen from behind. Her music is the opposite. Vulnerable and honest, her new EP, Volume 2, explores the best and worst parts of intimacy. But "I Won't" finds H.E.R. at an important transition point: outside of any intimacy at all.

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.

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