The brainchild of composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone, who enlists a large cast of musicians to help make his vision a reality (including Allen Tate, a singer with a distinct baritone croon), the indie-pop ensemble San Fermin earned instant acclaim for their ambitious 2013 self-titled debut. And although the band's cast has continued to rotate, with singers Rae Cassidy and Charlene Kaye entering and exiting the fold since their debut, the band's vision has remained untamed. 2015's "Jackrabbit" and 2017's "Belong" were both as soaring and brightly arranged as that first outing.
The band last played Milwaukee in early 2018, with a pair of intimate shows at the Back Room at Colectivo. This week the Pabst Theater Group announced that they'll be back for a show Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Turner Hall Ballroom.
That show could feature new music, too. "San Fermin recently announced their signing to Sony Music Masterworks and released their new single 'The Hunger,' indicating the arrival of the next chapter and more new music to come," a press release teased.
88Nine is proud to present the show. Tickets go on sale Saturday at noon. You can stream "The Hunger" below.
Since it dropped in April, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" has been an inescapable hit. The song's massive blow-up is at least partially thanks to TikTok: the social media platform that launches viral stars 15 seconds at a time, and what writer Alyssa Bereznak called the "future of the music industry" in a recent article for The Ringer.
TikTok, which has over hundreds of millions users and is especially popular among teenagers and young adults, is driven by machine learning and, as Bereznak explained to NPR's Audie Cornish, viral "challenges," often based around music. Using the mobile app, TikTok users watch and post 15-second videos that incorporate and respond to a piece of a song; for instance, in the "Old Town Road" challenge, video-makers suddenly appear in cowboy gear the moment the beat kicks in.
Other up-and-coming artists have also found a foothold in TikTok's format. In videos set to the first 15 seconds of Supa Dupa Humble's song "Steppin," users play along with the repeated opening lyric "I don't know" until they arrive at a visual punchline. Blanco Brown's TikTok hit, "The Git Up," is a country trap-song with dance instructions (in the vein of "Cha Cha Slide" or "Macarena") for lyrics.
"I think the users are looking for high drama in a short amount of time," Bereznak says. "You know, you only have 15 seconds to make your video compelling -- so that lends itself really well to bubblegum-pop music, and to trap music, which often has really intense mood shifts or beat drops."
While TikTok users are crafting their videos to fit the punchy songs spreading on the platform, musicians are also tailoring their songs to suit the format. Supa Dupa Humble, for example, once played Bereznak a piece of his upcoming song featuring an old-school landline tone. "He himself imagined, 'Oh, this will be great for phone challenges. That's the prop that's gonna show up in these videos,' " Bereznak says, paraphrasing the artist.
Beyond motivating artists to write challenge-conducive songs, Bereznak suggests, TikTok marks -- and may further influence -- a shift towards increasingly short-form music. "I think the issue here is that the music industry itself is shifting away from stories being told in albums and it's moving to stories being told in songs," Bereznak says. "People care a lot more about singles, because playlist culture is very strong, and people can decide what songs they want to listen to ... so that means the labels are kind of having to focus a little bit less on the overall artistic development of a singer or songwriter, and focus more on these quick-hit singles.
"Artists are very savvy, and they know that they need to rise above the noise," she says. "And in some cases, that means catering to the latest hot social network."
Savvy media strategies aside, Bereznak says TikTok-born musical phenomena can still be celebrated for the fun they inspire. "It might not be music that touches you deep in your soul, but it definitely evokes a certain type of emotion, and I think that's the most important thing with art," she says. "It's very uplifting, it can be moody at times; it makes you want to move, it makes you want to participate in a movement. If that's not good music, I don't know what is."
Listen to the full interview at the audio link.
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Just a few days after their first-ever Summerfest performance, Bon Iver just announced that they will release a new album titled "i,i" on Aug. 30 via Jagjaguwar. The band teased the album in a trailer that dropped a little over a week ago.
Recording over a long time at April Base in Wisconsin but finishing at Sonic Ranch in Texas allowed us to feel confident, comfortable, and completely free of distraction. The sense of community around the record grew through honest, generous inspiration within the group of artists involved in the creative process of the record. The thirteen new songs on "i,i" complete a cycle: from the winter of "For Emma, Forever Ago" came the frenetic spring of Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and the unhinged summer of "22, A Million." Now, fall arrives early with "i.i."
The band also shared two new songs "Faith" and "Jelmore" from the upcoming album.
Los Dells bills itself as the largest Latin music festival in America. That might sound like an audacious claim for an event in the Wisconsin Dells, but so far it's had the lineups to back it up.
This afternoon Los Dells announced its lineup for this year's festival Aug. 31-Sept. 1, and once again it doesn't skimp on star power. Ozuna, Logic, Carlos Vives and El Fantasma will be joined by Farruko, Sebastian Yatra, Natalia LaFourcade, Jessie Reyez, Jesse & Joy, Lunay, Fuego and more. You can find the complete lineup on the poster below.
Fans who missed Willie Nelson's Outlaw Music Festival at Summerfest this year will have yet another chance to catch the 86-year-old country legend. Nelson's Farm Aid festival is back, and it will return to Wisconsin for a concert at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy on Sept. 21. Wisconsin last hosted Farm Aid in 2010 at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
This year's lineup is typically impressive. Performers include:
Dave Matthews (with Tim Reynolds)
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Additional artists will be announced later this summer. Given Wisconsin's dairy economy, Farm Aid's cause hits close to home.
"With devastating weather, low prices and harmful farm and trade policies, America's family farmers are facing immense challenges to hold on to their farms. It's not right ... family farmers are essential for all of us," Nelson said in a statement. "By bringing our festival to the heart of the struggle, we will stand side by side with farmers. At Farm Aid 2019, we'll highlight solutions and show our support for family farmers' contributions to our health, economy and environment."
Tickets go on sale Friday, July 12, at 10 a.m., with ticket prices ranging from $54.50 to $249.50.
Who would've thought that American Football's fruitful reunion would include a children's choir at the Tiny Desk?
Twenty years after a self-titled debut that featured one heartbroken mixtape-worthy song after another, American Football is writing some of the best music of its career right now. Once an emo trio from Central Illinois, American Football brought its expanded band to the Tiny Desk, including a vibraphonist, backing singer and, yes, six children from a D.C. choir.
American Football's thoughtful and expansive return has yielded two self-titled records in just three years. This set culls from LP3, as it's colloquially known, as Pure Bathing Culture's Sarah Versprille steps in to sing backing vocals for "Every Wave to Ever Rise" and takes a verse on "Uncomfortably Numb," whose recorded versions feature Land of Talk's Elizabeth Powell and Paramore's Hayley Williams. These spacious songs acts as revelatory meditations on what it means to grow older in love and relationships, with lovers and family.
For "Heir Apparent," we reached out to members of the Children's Chorus of Washington to sing the coda's quiet mantra. When the 12-to-14-year olds asked frontman Mike Kinsella what the song meant, in order to capture the right emotion, he told them, in so many words, that it was a sad song, but that he'd like them to wear paper crowns while singing it. Just a touch of Kinsella irony, as he grinned ear-to-ear and they sang, "Heir apparent to the throne / The king of all alone."
"Every Wave To Ever Rise
Mike Kinsella: lead vocal, guitar; Nate Kinsella: bass; Steve Lamos: drums, trumpet; Steve Holmes: guitar; Cory Bracken: vibraphone; Mike Garzon: melodica, percussion; Sarah Versprille (of Pure Bathing Culture): vocals; Mallory Valmon: vocals; Amelia Lashway: vocals; Jenna Loescher-Clark: vocals; Marika Clark: vocals; Taylor Bowen-Longino: vocals; William Ekrem: vocals
Producers: Lars Gotrich, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kara Frame, Beck Harlan, Bronson Arcuri, Jeremiah Rhodes; Production Assistant: Paul Georgoulis; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Today brought more evidence of that, when the band shared a trailer for... well, we're not 100% sure what it's for, but it sure seems like the type of thing a band does right before they release a record.
Never let it be said that Justin Vernon doesn't have a sense of humor. The minute-long video mocks his woodsman image with a pastiche of naturalistic images set against snippets of some of Bon Iver's most beloved song. There's also a ridiculous voiceover fit for a state tourism campaign: "Sincerity is forever in season."
The video ends with a succession of credits and words that devoted fans can have all sorts of fun reading into, but the two most meaningful ones seem to be "Keep it Restaurant" (an album title perhaps?) and the words "coming soon." So, yeah, there's probably an album on the way.
We asked our panel of public radio writers one question: What is your favorite album of 2019 so far? There were so many ways to answer: we've heard albums that feel germane to our time, that allowed us to escape, that reconfigured a beloved artist's roots or that signaled the next wave of sound. But ultimately, what we have here are the No. 1s as picked by some of the biggest ears in the country, the albums that we just can't stop listening to, even when time, algorithms and unending news cycles demand otherwise.
So you won't find a ranked list, or any reason to wonder about behind-the-scenes jostling for higher spots -- there will be plenty of time for spirited debate in December. In the meantime, it's time to find your new favorite album.
Aldous Harding is a remarkably expressive songwriter and performer. Her lyrics often resemble dramatic portrait paintings with poetic imagery, but with clear-headed vision. Producer John Parish helps keep the music clear of effects and that allows Aldous Harding's vocal nuance to remain front and center, right where it belongs. --Bob Boilen
After experimenting on last year's LP, Oxnard, Anderson .Paak returns to his regularly scheduled soulfulness on Ventura. From the bars to the features, everything feels natural and less forced, proving we just need to let .Paak cook. --Bobby Carter
Celia Cruz always emphasized Cuba's African heritage, even when it wasn't popular. West African vocalist Angélique Kidjo digs deep into that DNA for Celia, a musical gift for wannabe musicologists, as well as folks who just want to get their Cuban dance groove on and celebrate everyone's favorite Cuban aunt. --Felix Conteras
Recorded over two weekends at Coachella last year, Beyonceé's live album connects intellectually and socially, with fresh takes on some of her biggest hits. Plus, "Before I Let Go" offers a new dance challenge. Let the Beyhive rejoice! --Maya Eaglin
Big Thief's third full-length is at once as timidly vulnerable as rustling blades of grass and as powerfully raw as a river tearing over stones. Brilliant musicianship abounds, but Adrianne Lenker's surreal lyrical world of love and loss steals the show, with "hound dogs crowing at the stars above" and moths "crying... through fruit bats' eyes." --Paul Georgoulis
Billie Eilish When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Combined with the production talents of her brother Finneas O'Connell, Billie Eilish takes on the airs of the Brothers Grimm, rewriting pop fairy tales into biting, bouncing cautionary electro-stories with moody loops and skittering synth. In this storybook, Billie Eilish is the anti-hero for whom we've been waiting. --Joni Deutsch, WFAE
Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars takes us beyond the boardwalk and the dust bowl -- heading to the sonic space where Nashville and Southern California met in the 1960s and '70s. The cinematic feel of the album has a starring role, too, with a lush soundtrack of strings, horns and pedal steel. --Sarah Wardrop, WFUV
Carly Rae Jepsen once looked like a prototypical one-hit wonder, with an inescapable breakthrough track ("Call Me Maybe") that exuded frothy novelty. Seven years later, she's putting out albums like Dedicated, a 15-song dynamo that seems to roll about a dozen hits deep. Every song here works, whether it's about lost love ("Julien"), found love ("Now That I Found You") or self-love ("Party for One"). --Stephen Thompson
How many ways can you pluck a violin - or a viola, or cello? A lot, as it turns out, in the Attacca Quartet's terrific album of music by Pulitzer winner Caroline Shaw. A violinist herself, Shaw reimagines language for the classical string quartet with inspiration from old masters and plenty of pizzicato. --Tom Huizenga
Dogrel is the remarkable debut from a young Dublin band that bonded over their love for poetry and verse over pints at the local pub. Fontaines D.C. makes the mundane transcendent and the discrete universal, delivered with sensitivity and the gritty grime you want out of a great rock band. --Kevin Cole, KEXP
Previous entries from Hayes Carll have represented a sliding scale of exuberance and introspection. What It Is mines both emotions and way more. There is love and gratitude, coltish uproar and canny sensibility. The album was co-produced by Allison Moorer, with whom he just tied the knot. --Jessie Scott, WMOT Roots Radio
Is inner clarity achievable when everyone's broadcasting all the time? That's one of the questions Heather Woods Broderick, longtime compatriot of Sharon Van Etten and others, explores on this pensive, expansively orchestrated gem. Songs confronting past and present life choices unspool with a wise, becalmed grace - making introspection seem not simply alluring, but necessary. --Tom Moon
Titled after a Jamaica Kincaid story, Helado Negro's sixth album is a worn instruction manual for moving through the world with hope. "Brown won't go / Brown just glows," Reberto Carlos Lange notes, among other lessons learned the hard way. He fills the space between words with memories of sounds, blips of consciousness in the slow waking up to oneself. --Stefanie Fernández
How would a computer-generated being respond when networked into that most deeply human art form, group singing? Sometimes, on PROTO, the answer feels spiritual, sometimes uncannily sensual; sometimes it feels like science fiction. Holly Herndon's work goes deep by challenging the assumption that those categories are different. Herndon's music shows us that's where we already are. --Ann Powers
This is easily one of the most remarkable debut records of 2019. Jade Bird sings with strength, passion, anger and irony. In the song "Lottery," Bird guts out the refrain, "You're betting on me." And yep, that's exactly what we're doing. --David Brower, WUNC
James Blake captures the heart-flutters of new love with Assume Form, an album that shows the gloomy synth wiz blossoming into a hopeless romantic. Features from Moses Sumney, Travis Scott and Andre 3000 add contemplative counterpoints, but Blake shines in moments of sentimental reverie. --Nastia Voynovskaya, KQED
On Jamila Woods' second album, she expresses her admiration for proud people of color - Miles Davis, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Eartha Kitt - through anger, sharp messaging and her own ancestors. Embedded with hope and humor, and wrapped in enduring melodies, Woods mines the past in a way that feels futuristic. -Jeff McCord, KUTX
Neil Leifer's iconic shot of the triumphant Muhammed Ali lording it over Sonny Liston personifies boxing superfan Jenny Lewis' On the Line as her very own declaration of independence: making peace with her roots while casting an artful wink at the angels and demons cheering her on in the corner. --Ginny Mascorro, KXT
We hold this truth to be self-evident: All organists are not created equal, for Joey DeFrancesco is the best Hammond organist on the planet -- strike that, in the universe. In the Key of the Universe honors pioneering forefathers of free jazz -- saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders appears on three tunes -- while saying something new about this music of spiritual transcendence. --Matt Silver, WRTI
Always pushing himself to build upon his sound and excellent songwriting, Josh Ritter teamed up with Jason Isbell to produce Fever Breaks. Recorded with the 400 Unit, Ritter soaks up the rock to reshape his penetrating songs. --Bruce Warren, WXPN
Each instrument and vocal line sync together beautifully in the sonic jigsaw puzzle that is Lux Prima, the extraordinary collaboration between Karen O and Danger Mouse. --David Hadel and Malayna Joy, NV89
Kayhan Kalhor & Rembrandt Frerichs Trio It's Still Autumn
This gorgeous and evocative album will be perhaps best savored after the fall equinox, but it's just too beautiful to hold off on sharing. Iranian composer and kamancheh (spike lute) virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor teams up with pianist and composer Rebrandt Frerichs, bassist Tony Overwater, and drummer Vinsent Planjer for a magical two-part outing: "Dawn" and "Dusk." --Anastasia Tsioulcas
When Kehlani sings, "Here's to being honest," at the outset of While We Wait, she sets a roadmap for the R&B mixtape. Characteristically vulnerable and starkly introspective even in its playfulness, the 24-year-old's fourth project showcases some of her softest work ("Footsteps") alongside some of her most biting ("Nunya"). --Rosalind Faulkner
GREY Area starts with the boom bap of "Offense," ends on some of the dreamiest sounds in "Flowers" and, in just over a half an hour, you're left wondering, "How did I get here, and why was the ride so enjoyable?" Little Simz' new album is from a woman who knows exactly what she wants and god help you if you get in her way. --Jill Hopkins, Vocolo Radio
Lizzo is smart. Lizzo is funny. Lizzo is beautiful. Lizzo is a star. Lizzo writes bangers. She knows it. You know it. Let's just say it. Cuz I Love You is the gas-up album we need in the world. --Justin Barney, Radio Milwaukee
Megan Thee Stallion is the most energizing force in rap right now. After years of cyphers in her native Houston and growing her fanbase online, the MC has reached mass appeal with Fever. Pick any track and listen as Meg's bars fuse together nerdcore, meme-mining, braggadocio and slick sex appeal to subvert misogyny with an almost-dizzying delivery. --Sidney Madden
Melissa Aldana, a Chilean-born tenor saxophonist, has the elusive ability to balance technical achievement against a rich emotional palette. Visions, her finest album, was inspired by the inner life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo; it's a brilliant showcase for a band that includes this year's breakout star, Joel Ross, on vibraphone. --Nate Chinen, WBGO
When your soul needs to sing, who cares about album cycles? This new EP comes less than a year after the Australian band's debut. "Real Thing," in particular, takes in the joyous wailing of a group constantly gobsmacked by the tiny wonders of a bus ride. --Phil Jones, WERS
The National has spent decades in self-reflection, questioning connection and seeking answers. Eight albums later, she responds. Women take the wheel in I Am Easy to Find, driving the band's narrative to undiscovered territories. The effort is direct, yet complex, unfolding a messy universe that is becoming wiser with perspective. --Stacy Buchanan, WGBH
"We worry about your health, so you don't have to." In addition to crafting a fully-realized debut album, Nilüfer Yanya imagines an entire conceptual world built around a menacing self-care program. Pressing play on Miss Universe will entertain the listener with an eclectic mix of bulletproof pop-rock songs, so they won't have to entertain themselves. --Beau Brady, KOSU's The Spy
Orville Peck's Pony might be the most engaging and eerie album to come along in quite some time. With a haunting croon that adds to the mystique, Peck mixes a classic country sensibility with nostalgic ballads and a contemporary gothic vibe. --Benji McPhail, Colorado Sound
Our Native Daughters Songs of Our Native Daughters
Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah and Leyla McCalla answered to the trend of fedora-and-suspenders-clad white folksingers, by dropping this stunner of a folk collection. Each exquisitely performed tune has been pulled from -- or inspired by -- deep, overlooked, oppressed black tradition. It is best heard by listening closely. --Kim Ruehl, Folk Alley
On the Boston-based trio's third album, Palehound digs deep into connections: between friends, between lovers, between parts of the self. Songwriter Ellen Kempner complements her impressive guitar riffs with searing, soul-searching and solace-providing lyrics, including on standout "Aaron," one of the most affecting love songs I've heard in recent memory. --Marissa Lorusso
With all due respect to Kawhi Leonard (and Drake), fellow Toronto underdogs PUP beat the Raptors to the Cinderella story with a come-from-behind win earlier this year. On Morbid Stuff, the band levels up, channeling monotony, anxiety, nihilism and dread to cathartic effect, earning a victory lap in the process. --Lyndsey McKenna
Once a psychedelic post-punk band mining gothic grooves, Rakta digs for more harrowing, ritualistic sounds on Falha Comum. With motorik rhythms, hypnagogic noise and moans echoed to cracking walls, the Brazilian duo approaches something closer to the meticulous mayhem of Goblin's Suspiria soundtrack, offering creepazoid emanations from a subterranean plane. --Lars Gotrich
Resavoir is a diverse collective from Chicago, under the direction of trumpeter Will Miller (Whitney, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne). The band's debut is both accessible and deep in its musical sensibilities, a blend of neo soul-jazz and elegant instrumental hip-hop. The aesthetic here is ethereal and beautiful, warranting repeated listens. --Matt Fleeger, KMHD
Sharon Van Etten returns after a five-year break between albums and completely dismantles everything fans have loved about her music: acoustic, singer-songwriter reflections are out; monster beats, jagged synths and dark undercurrents are in, as she sings about the joys and terror of parenthood, growing older and letting go of the past. This record is a triumph. --Robin Hilton
Much like her creative agency, Saint Heron, Solange's When I Get Home represents a visionary's carefully crafted musical design -- an architectural exploration of trappy rhythms, luscious melodies and jazz-tinged harmonies. It's an album that complements solitude or friendship, joy or sadness -- it completes any experience at anytime. --Suraya Mohamed
Eraserland brims with moments that will stop you in your tracks. Grappling with depression, Timothy Showalter was ready to hang up his hat when his friend, My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel, urged him write. The result is a cosmic tour-de-force, but the true beauty lies in songs like "Keys," the languid spaces where there's room to breathe. --Desiré Moses, WNRN
Various Artists Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990
In 1980s Japan, an economic boom left corporations flush enough to pair their products with original music, and the composers getting those commissions were savvy to the work of Western experimenters like Brian Eno and sensitive to the encroaching bustle of city life. The result was a canon of calming, immersive music that seems to hum with its own consciousness. --Daoud Tyler-Ameen
For Titanic Rising, Natalie Mering mined the rich textures of 1960s and '70s pop -- plinky autoharp wallpapering, rubbery and sunset-colored guitar solos, crescendos as tall as typhoons -- and tumbled those gems into one of the most finely constructed albums of the half-year. Mering spun her influences into a modern reckoning utterly her own, full of dark humor and optimistic realism. --Andrew Flanagan
Nothing drives home the dystopia of 2019 like Hiding Places. Billy Woods hammers the last nail in this decade's coffin while illustrating the winter of our discontent over Kenny Segal's sedated beats. And when he eulogizes the loss of innocence on album highlight "A Day in a Week in a Year," it's as if we're all that penniless kid in a dollar-movie arcade: "F****** with the joystick / Pretending I was really playing." --Rodney Carmichael
Walk Through Fire is an exhilarating full-length introduction to Yola, a vocal powerhouse and veteran of U.K. studio and stage work whose vision for her own music, achieved in collaboration with Dan Auerbach, encapsulates country-soul lustiness, plushly orchestrated pop transcendence and a range of expression both subtle and striking. --Jewly Hight
It's fashionable to eulogize the concept of genre these days, especially in the wake of Lil Nas X's meme "Old Town Road." If that's really the case and the future contains only "popular" and "niche" music, give Yves Jarvis his "Best Niche Album" Grammy right now. There's no way to categorize The Same But By Different Means without selling it short. --Otis Hart
The driving force behind the Alabama Shakes, singer Brittany Howard will headline the Riverside Theater on Wednesday, Sept. 18. That's just a few days before she'll release her solo debut solo album, "Jaime," on ATO Records on Sept. 20.
You can stream her new single "History Repeats" below.
The record is named after Howard's sister, who died of cancer when they were teenagers. "The title is in memoriam, and she definitely did shape me as a human being," Howard said in a statement. "But, the record is not about her. It's about me. I'm pretty candid about myself and who I am and what I believe. Which is why I needed to do it on my own."
Tickets for her Riverside Theater show go on sale Friday, June 28, at 10 a.m., but you can get them early, on Thursday, June 27, at 10 a.m. using the 88Nine pre-sale code 88NINE.
Elvis Costello and the Imposters will return to Milwaukee for Tuesday, Nov. 26, show at the Miller High Life Theatre. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 28, at 10 a.m., but you can win a pair before they go on sale by listening to 88Nine.
It's been an eventful couple years for Costello. After recovering from surgery for throat cancer last year, he released his 30th studio album, "Look Now," to some of his strongest reviews in years. The record features songs co-written by Carole King and Burt Bacharach.
On his fall tour, titled "Just Trust," Costello will be showcasing material from that record and his entire songbook, accompanied by some of the musicians featured on "Look Now": keyboardist Steve Nieve, drummer Pete Thomas, bassist Davey Faragher and singers Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee.
You can watch the band perform "Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter," co-written with King, below.