Public Radio Market presents the best of the products featured on your favorite public radio programs.
Unorthodox Jukebox by Bruno Mars
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All Things Considered: Bruno Mars Goes Anyplace And Everyplace On ‘Jukebox’
Weekend Edition: Bruno Mars: Singing His Own Songs, At Long Last
NPR’s The Record: Bruno Mars Is More Than Your Average Pop Star
In October 2012, Mars premiered the first single, “Locked Out of Heaven,” from his highly-anticipated sophomore album Unorthodox Jukebox. On October 20th, Mars made his comeback to national television when he joined the elite club of hosts and performers for Saturday Night Live alongside the likes of Mick Jagger, Justin Timberlake and Elton John. Mars not only showcased his comedic talent to the millions watching, but also debuted the first live performance of “Locked Out of Heaven” and premiered a brand new song, “Young Girls,” from the historic stage in New York City.
For Unorthodox Jukebox, Mars and his songwriting/production team The Smeezingtons (Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine) partnered with heavyweight producers including Jeff Bhasker, Mark Ronson and Diplo to create the 10-track album.
Paradise Valley by John Mayer
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World Cafe: John Mayer On World Cafe
Weekend Edition: John Mayer on Getting his Voice Back
All Things Considered: John Mayer: Restoring An Image, And An Instrument
Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and musician John Mayer returns with his new album Paradise Valley, which he produced with longtime collaborator Don Was. The first single is the track Paper Doll. This album coincides with John’s first US tour in three years, which will hit 40 cities from July 6th through early October.
Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 by Bob Dylan
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NPR: First Listen: Bob Dylan, Highlights From ‘Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)’
Fresh Air: Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait Now in Vivid Color
If Bob Dylan’s long career as a genius of the American spirit has taught us anything, it’s that one fan’s trash is another one’s treasure. “I never looked at songs as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ only different kinds of good ones,” he once said. Dylan’s music, from the magpie folk of his early years to the historically conscious balladry of his current albums, has always reminded us that our legacy includes not just ennobling beauty, but also minstrelsy, dirty blues, sentimental sappiness and rama-lama-ding-dong.
Nowhere is Dylan’s ability to see the whole patchwork tapestry of our musical culture more evident than in the music he made in the very early 1970s, when he was running from his own burdensome greatness and jumping into the great scrap heap of American musical tradition.
During this period, Dylan produced one album, Self Portrait, that landed like a wet blanket and another, New Morning, that only partially redeemed the reputation he’d seemed so eager to escape. Yet Dylan’s efforts from these years — highlighted on the latest in his ongoing Bootleg Series, titled Another Self Portrait (1969-1971), out August 27 — now seem prescient. This music is perfect for a 21st century in which taste hierarchies are fast dissolving and everybody realizes that there never was a pure “folk” or “country” or “blues” or anything, only massive borrowing and boundary-crossing and fruitful playing around.
The Electric Lady by Janelle Monáe
All Things Considered: 'Electric Lady' Janelle Monae On Creating The Unheard
World Cafe: Janelle Monae
The Current: Janelle Monae performs live in The Current studio
The Current: Album Review: Janelle Monae, ‘The Electric Lady’
As she began the audacious task of following up on her acclaimed debut LP The ArchAndroid - an album that topped critic’s lists in 2010 all over the world - she took along some trusty, brave companions: the original music producers of The ArchAndroid, Nate “Rocket” Wonder and Chuck Lightning of Wondaland Productions. And together they crafted a new strain of jamming music they called “ish.” In the hip hop community, “ish” is a euphemism for the profane four-letter word for excrement, but as Monáe explains, they set out, like proverbial alchemists, to turn lesser substances into gold.
"This entire project was produced by Wonder & Lightning. We set out to make a soundtrack for the Obama era, something that spoke to the beautiful, majestic and revolutionary times that we’re living in. The musical language we’re speaking now is called ish. In the African-American community, we’ve been turning left-overs (like chitlins) and social depredation (like poverty) into delicacies and fine art for years. So we just set out to turn the rubbish all around us into something beautiful. Ish is the bowtie on the funk."
From the sound of The Electric Lady, ish is an urgent and dangerous form of dance music, rebel music that forces one to fight, jam, and fall in love. Like on The ArchAndroid, the sonic textures of the album are varied, and the past and present come together to explode and create a mind-blowing future for pop and soul music. For example, wondrous strings reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield and Bernard Herrmann orchestrations abound, Hendrixian guitar solos soar, Outkast-like raps float over punk rock riffs; defiant socially-conscious lyrics extol the virtues of soul-searching and fighting for change, while the funk simply melts your speakers: 808s boom and Prince-like synthesizers squiggle in your earhole, making it veritably impossible to just sit still.
Hesitation Marks by Nine Inch Nails
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All Songs Considered: Watch The David Lynch-Directed Nine Inch Nails Video
The Current: Hesitation Marks Review by Barb Abney
All Things Considered: Trent Reznor - “I’m Not The Same Person I was 20 Years Ago
Review by Barb Abney, host of The Current
Just a couple of years ago, Trent Reznor put Nine Inch Nails on indefinite hiatus in order to work on other projects, including How to Destroy Angels — his band that features his wife (former West Indian Girl vocalist) Mariquen Maandig — and musical composition work for video games and movie soundtracks. At the time of the announcement, I know I threw myself a giant goth-flavored pity-party! Sure, I enjoyed the other projects as much as I could, but something just wasn’t the same.
On Feb. 25, there was much rejoicing when Trent announced an upcoming NIN tour. I couldn’t contain my excitement!
The new NIN album, Hesitation Marks, feels like a familiar friend. I swear there are synthetic sounds that ONLY Trent Reznor or Atticus Ross know how to make — you hear these sounds exclusively on NIN records! And this one is chock-full of those moments, as well as the sounds that give Hesitation Marks a career retrospective vibe.
You’ll hear some of the industrial-edged angst of earlier works like Pretty Hate Machine orThe Downward Spiral on “Find My Way” and “In Two”; some of the dancier material that harkens back to the With Teeth remixes on “Copy Of A” and “Disappointed; and the artsy indulgence of The Fragile can be heard on “While I’m Still Here” and its follow-up, “Black Noise.”
I’m so thrilled to be listening to new Nine Inch Nails that it’s virtually impossible to be critical of it, though I found myself scratching my head on the album’s first and last tracks. The first, “The Eater Of Dreams,” is less than a minute of building fuzz that starts off sounding like the beeps on a heart monitor but which quickly just builds into fuzz. The last track, “Black Noise,” seems like it was accidentally cut from the tune before it, “While I’m Still Here.”
This CD features the most King Crimson-like sounding guitar work on a NIN record; it’s on the tune “All Time Low” thanks to Adrian Belew himself, who helped out on the recording of Hesitation Marks but will not be joining the band on the road, sadly.
I keep listening hoping to pick out the voice of Lindsay Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac fame) in the background, but he seems to be buried pretty deeply in the layers. I’ll keep trying.
"All Time Low" feels like my favorite song on the CD thus far, but "Copy Of A" is a close second and reminds me a lot of the repetitive phrases in "All The Love In The World" fromWith Teeth. The beat of “Everything” is so upbeat that once the truly heavy parts of the song kick in, they feel like sunshine and rainbows. And if you need a shot of moodiness, you’ll get that in “Find My Way.”
Trent Reznor may not have changed the face of music on this CD. But he reminds us of just how many times he HAS done so.
Love in the Future by John Legend
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One of the industry’s most innovative artists, John Legend returns after five years with his much-anticipated fourth solo album, Love in the Future. Taking R&B/soul to the next level, Legend creates an immersive experience about romance, love, hope, commitment and optimism.
Doris by Earl Sweatshirt
NPR’s The Record: Why You Should Listen To The Rap Group Odd Future, Even Though It’s Hard
NPR’s The Record: The Tyler Interview: Silly, But With A Purpose
Doris comes three years after Earl Sweatshirt’s debut mixtape, Earl, introduced the world to one of the most talented and exciting voices in music. During the time that has passed, Earl attended a reform school in Samoa returning with a stronger artistic focus and a more mature outlook on life. To create Doris Earl worked with producers such as Pharell, RZA, BADBADNOTGOOD, Tyler, The Creator, and more while also receiving guest verses from Odd Future cohorts Frank Ocean, Domo Genesis, and Tyler, The Creator as well as LA-based rappers Vince Staples, Casey Veggies, and Mac Miller.
The Civil Wars by The Civil Wars
Mountain Stage: The Civil Wars on Mountain Stage
NPR Music: The Civil Wars, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2011
NPR Favorite Sessions: The Civil Wars: A Match Made In Nashville
All Things Considered: The Civil Wars’ Joy Williams On The Duo’s Fragile Bond
NPR’s The Record: Watch The Civil Wars Live Up To Their Name In A Behind-The-Scenes Video
All Things Considered: The Civil Wars: A Chance Meeting, An Internet Sensation
The Civil Wars’ highly anticipated sophomore self-titled album is the follow up to the three-time Grammy Award-winning duo’s acclaimed debut, Barton Hollow.
The Civil Wars was recorded in Nashville between August 2012 and January 2013. Charlie Peacock was once again at the helm as producer for the album. Additionally, Rick Rubin produced the duo’s performance for the track “I Had Me a Girl” in August of 2011. Peacock later completed the track by producing the instrumentation and mix.
The album was recorded amidst a grueling touring schedule, exhausting workload and a growing disconnect from their families. Personal statements from band-members Joy Williams and John Paul White can be viewed at the band’s official website.
Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke
Morning Edition: Robin Thicke, Beyond His Breakout Hit
The first single, ‘Blurred Lines’, features T.I. and Pharrell. Born in Los Angeles, Robin taught himself to play piano at the age of 12 and by 16 was writing and producing songs for artists like Brandy, Color Me Badd, and Brian McKnight. By the age of 21, he had written and produced songs on over 20 gold and platinum albums including Michael Jackson, Marc Anthony, Pink, Christina Aguilera and others. Since then, he has maintained a very successful career as a solo artist.
Bakersfield by Vince Gill and Paul Franklin
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On Point: Vince Gill & Paul Franklin
Fresh Air: Vince Gill and Paul Franklin Ain’t ‘Foolin’ Round’ with the Bakersfield Sound
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me: Vince Gill Plays Not My Job
Twenty-time Grammy Award-winning artist Vince Gill and famed steel guitarist, Paul Franklin, pay tribute to the Bakersfield sound by performing songs from two of Bakersfield’s sons: Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
"This is just as much a guitar record for me as it is a singing record," Gill says. "But it was fun for me to sing a whole record of the greatest songs ever. I guess what I’m real proud of is that when it’s one of Buck’s songs, I sing it very much in that vein. And the Haggard songs are very much in the vein he sang. With Buck’s songs, you won’t find much vibrato in my vocals, and with Merle’s, it will come down to a low note and that quiver."
Cold Fact by Rodriguez
The Current: The Rodriguez interview
The Current: Searching for Sugarman the radio documentary
Talk of the Nation: How A Detroit Flop Became South Africa’s Superstar
MPR News: 'Searching for Sugar Man' tells story of Rodriguez, the unaware rock star
Weekend Edition: Rodriguez: Forgotten In America, Exalted In Africa
World Cafe: Rodriguez on World Cafe
World Cafe: Rodriguez’s ‘Cold Fact’ Returns
NPR Review: An Unwitting Folk Hero Finds A Spotlight At Last
Folksinger “Sixto” Diaz Rodriguez became a spectacular success across the Atlantic after releasing Cold Fact in 1970. The record was hailed as a psychedelic folk masterpiece, filled with colorful depictions of the Detroit inner city.
Searching for Sugar Man - Rodriguez, a singer from 1960s and ’70s Detroit, Rodriguez who had some of the lyric quality of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but a voice like James Taylor. “Cold Fact,” the first album from Rodriguez, layered his aching voice over Motown horns and strings. But even after a major buildup, “Cold Fact” never became a hit in the United States. Bootlegged copies made the album, and the singer, a legend in a South Africa which was then in ferment over apartheid. Then his fans heard that the short, sensational career of Rodriguez had ended spectacularly. What really happened is the subject of a new documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man.”
Tim Russell: Man of One Thousand Voices
A Prairie Home Companion: Earl’s School of Accents
The third installment of A Prairie Home Companion's bestselling series from The Royal Academy of Radio Actors is almost here! Following the successful collections featuring Tom Keith and Sue Scott, this brand new release shifts focus to the incomparable Tim Russell.
Fans of A Prairie Home Companion know him as Garrison Keillor’s grumbling sidekick Dusty in public radio’s favorite cowboy serial “The Lives of the Cowboys.” They also know him as the exacting maître d’ of the Café Boeuf. One minute he’s mild-mannered Tim Russell; the next he’s George Bush or Julia Child or Barack Obama or Arnold Schwarzenegger or John McCain or Michael Bloomberg.
No matter what hairpin turn, crazy curve or unexpected plot-twist America’s favorite radio variety show might take, this man of a thousand voices has yet to be stumped.
American Kid by Patty Griffin
World Cafe: Patty Griffin
Favorite Sessions: Don’t Let Me Die in Florida
Tiny Desk Concert: Patty Griffin
New West Records is proud to present Patty Griffin s 2013 album, American Kid. The album, co-produced by Griffin and Craig Ross, is her seventh and first for New West. It is her first album of mainly new material since the acclaimed Children Running Through in 2007. In between then and now, she made the Grammy Award-winning Downtown Church in 2010 and became a member of Band of Joy alongside Robert Plant.
Magna Carta Holy Grail by Jay-Z
The Record: Jay-Z’s ‘Magna Carta’ Is A Fait Accompli
Morning Edition: New Jay-Z Album Tests The Musician And Samsung
Fresh Air: Jay-Z: The Fresh Air Interview
The newest album by hip-hop megastar Jay-Z finds the entertainment mogul adjusting to fatherhood. The top-notch production and long-list of notable collaborators (including Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Rick Ross and Pharrell Williams) ensure that Magna Carta Holy Grail will be another platinum record to add to Hov’s impressive résumé.
One True Vine by Mavis Staples
All Things Considered: For Mavis Staples, ‘One True Vine’ Brings Together Kindred Spirits
Talk of the Nation: Gospel Legend Mavis Staples Comes ‘Full Circle’
The Current: Album Review - One True Vine
Coming off the huge success of her first collaboration with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy — the Grammy winning You Are Not Alone — Mavis Staples wanted to make their second album together both a continuation of the joyous spirit of the first, and an evolution. With new song offerings from Alan Sparhawk of Low, Nick Lowe and three Tweedy originals, One True Vine is at once a darker and more uplifting album, anchored by reinventions of two ’70s classics — Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That?” and the Staples Singer’s “I Like the Things About Me.”
Tweedy and Staples have constructed a dense narrative arc, that starts with the literal soul searching of Sparhawk’s “One Holy Ghost” and Tweedy’s “Jesus Wept, ” and then breaks wide open with Nick Lowe’s soaring “Far Celestial Shores,” a song he wrote for Mavis after touring together with Wilco. After that, the album builds to full tent revival mode, as the dark night of the soul passes and joy arrives in the form of Mavis’s glorious voice. Closing out with Tweedy’s rapturous title track, One True Vine truly builds on the promise of You Are Not Alone, and will delight the myriad fans discovering Mavis for the first time though her Grammy wins and performances, her White House performance in the tribute to Memphis Soul and the glorious second act of this American icon.