Music

Arts & Culture
1:00 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Making Music In The Streets of Plymouth

Jacob Stern, fiddler for the Crunchy Western Boys.
Sean Hurley

Last Saturday Plymouth joined 800 cities around the world to celebrate Make Music Day. The general idea - music performed by anyone, anywhere they like.  

Bob King has a day job but he hosts open mics at Tony's Restaurant on Thursdays. Today, he's standing in front of Thomas Roberts Hair Salon playing some of his favorite songs.

"It must be beautiful for people to walk around town and hear a different song every ten feet."

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Word of Mouth
11:39 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Word Of Mouth Voted Best N.H. Radio Talk Show

Our brand new badge of honor.

We are so proud to have been voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show by the readers of New Hampshire Magazine.

Six years after launching Word of Mouth, we still feel like upstarts and appreciate our listeners coming through. Thank you!  It's pleasure to bring you stories that spark curiosity and wonder about the world around us, and will continue spreading interesting information the best way we know how: through Word of Mouth.

And not only was Word of Mouth voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show, but NHPR was voted Best FM Radio Station!

With all that in mind, here is a look back at some of your favorite Word of Mouth stories from the past year.

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Word of Mouth
1:18 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

6.19.14: Bonobos, Granite State Music Festival, And Found Footage

Credit Mark Dumont via Flickr Creative Commons

There’s a film festival coming to New Hampshire, but it’s not what you might expect. Instead of featuring independent films by aspiring artists, this festival will screen videos that have been stuffed into storage bins and garbage cans. Today we have a conversation with the curators of the Found Footage Festival. But first, biologist Frans de Waal on altruism, empathy, kindness and ethics among bonobo chimps. Plus, we catch you up with the Granite State Music Festival, coming to Concord this weekend.

Listen to the whole show and click Read more for individual segments.


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Word of Mouth
2:57 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

The Other Songs Of The Summer

Credit butler.corey via Flickr Creative Commons

There’s always debate about what will be the ‘song of the summer,’ a title usually determined by airtime and download statistics. But what about all the other songs that deserve a chance at becoming your summer anthem? Here is an alternative summer playlist, with songs from all across the board. Pick your favorite and listen until you get sick of it, hopefully sometime around September.

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Word of Mouth
12:01 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

6.16.14: The Song Of The Summer & The Worst Songs From The World Cup

Credit Kaytee Riek via flickr Creative Commons

According to the calendar, it’s still spring for a few more days, but some music critics have already anointed the song of the summer. Today on Word of Mouth we’ll reveal the warm-weather anthem you’ll be hearing all summer long. Plus, for soccer-loving countries, the World Cup inspires passion, patriotism, and songs, bad ones. We’ll listen to a selection of the worst songs also inspired by the World Cup, from around the world.

Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments.


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Word of Mouth
1:45 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

What Is "Twee"?

Flower crowns: Twee. Children with adult expressions: even more so.
Credit Waponi via Flickr Creative Commons

We spoke with Marc Spitz about his new book Twee, in which he tries to give a comprehensive and explanatory history of “the gentle revolution.”

(You can hear that conversation here.)

The tenants of Twee are varied but they come down to this: there is darkness in this world that can only be overcome by cultivating passions that foster beauty and evoke a sense of innocence, goodness, and childhood.

In other words, when the world gets scary, just put a bird on it.

As with any cultural movement, the question of Twee can spark long debates (and trying to sort through “Twee vs. Not Twee” makes an awesome party game). To get you up to speed, here’s a handy list of things that are definitively Twee. As Twee defies categorization, we present this to you as a holistic experience, books mixing with music mixing with…hairstyles?

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Word of Mouth
1:36 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

6.9.14: Understanding Twee, Michael Blum, And Comedian Todd Glass

Credit laverrue via Flickr Creative Commons

We are in the midst of a cultural movement…it’s called Twee and boy is it precious. Today we look into the gentle revolution that is Twee…from artisanal pickles to Wes Anderson films, why this retro wish for innocence is thriving. Then, we hear from a local jazz musician who has just released his debut album to good reviews. He has a long career ahead of him since he’s only 20 years old. Plus, a conversation with comedian Todd Glass. He’s been performing stand-up since 1982, but he made his boldest move in 2012 when he came out publicly as gay on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


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Word of Mouth
2:42 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

6.07.14: The Power of Music

Credit Molly Donahue

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s nothing quite as divisive as the movie musical. Word of Mouth goes behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture. Then, a conversation and in-studio performance from David Kontak, a New Hampshire musician who makes instruments out of found objects. Plus, Sean Hurley shares the story of a band that deliberately created the world's most endangered song.


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Word of Mouth
1:56 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Memorable Moments From Movie Musicals

Credit prongsie_babie14 via Flickr Creative Commons

No matter your opinion on them, grand musical numbers are notorious earworms. Here we’ve compiled some of the most famous, beloved, and recognizable movie musicals. Go on, sing along, everyone else will too.  

Top Hat (1935)

This was the first screenplay that was written specifically for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, though they would go on to do at least 6 more movie musicals together. The movie helped to save RKO from bankruptcy with $3 million in box office revenues and it was only beaten by Mutiny on the Bounty, which would go on to win the 1935 Best Picture.  

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Word of Mouth
12:20 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

5.29.14: Movie Musicals And David Kontak, Live From Studio D

Credit DMY/sandbox via Wikimedia Commons

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s nothing quite as divisive as the movie musical. We go behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture. Then, a conversation and in-studio performance from David Kontak, a New Hampshire musician who makes instruments out of found objects. Plus, Sean Hurley shares the story of a band that deliberately created the world's most endangered song.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


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Word of Mouth
12:11 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

5.21.14: The Veterans Writing Project, Music Rivalries, And Making "Exile On Main Street"

Credit By London Records. (Billboard page 25 1 May 1965) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a soldier, an army officer, and then a Foreign Service officer Ron Capps experienced five wars in ten years, and came home with severe PTSD. Today on Word of Mouth, he discusses founding the Veterans Writing Project, and the power of the written word in coping with the psychic wounds of war. Then, from Scottish bag pipes in the mid-18th century to Metallica in the mid-2000s, we’ll take a brief tour through the history of music as a weapon of war. Plus, a diehard Oasis fan is forced to admit that the band’s rivalry with Blur has unfairly colored his perception for the past 20 years.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments


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Word of Mouth
2:26 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

5.8.14: Defending Millennials, Wheelchair Motocross & 'I Didn't Type This Article'

Credit Acumen Fund via flickr Creative Commons

"No man ever steps in the same river twice" - Heraclitus, pre-Socratic Greek philosopher

While the philosophy of Heraclitus and his pre-Socratic peers is debatable, fans of Word of Mouth can attest that they never listen to the same WoM show twice. Ideas change. Concepts Change. Times change. Even when the segments stay the same, the takeaway, the emotion, the value in context of your life can change. Today, we bring you new ideas, old sound with new meaning, and new sound with retrospective importance. So join us, scholars of WoM, for today's show, and share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments

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Word of Mouth
12:11 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

5.1.14: Space Farming, The Birth of 'Cool', Caspar BabyPants, The Bitter Barista & The Audio Orchard

Credit via nasa.gov

Make a lunch date today with your loyal friend, Word of Mouth. We're revisiting some favorites from the last year, and our nostalgia is set to max capacity. Kicking off the show are two stories about farming. In space. Then hit the juke box and press play for a segment on the origin of 'cool'. Speaking of cool, Chris Ballew of the band The Presidents of the United States of America talks about his family friendly musical persona Caspar Babypants. Then, the internet can provide a place for venting about Ventis. Wrapping up the show, Producer Zach Nugent shares his latest picks for The Audio Orchard.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
12:39 pm
Sat April 26, 2014

Classic Video Game Music: From Bosses To Beats

Credit Coleman via flickr Creative Commons

Classic video game music evokes a special kind of nostalgia, a mixture of childhood whimsy laced with pixel-fueled frustration. For musicians, sampling video game music adds an extra layer of fantasy in otherwise hardcore genres like rap and metal. Spin even compiled 50 Rap Songs Based on Video Game Samples (Some are NSFW. All are awesome). In metalcore, sampling video game music resulted in an entirely new genre in the late 1990s at first jokingly called NintendocoreWizards and Warriors is pretty great, as are most of the songs by Horse the Band. Themes from the NES and Super Nintendo eras are especially popular. I tapped into my Nintendo nostalgia for some of the best classics (and admittedly my favorites):

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Word of Mouth
1:56 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

4.8.14: Debunking A Painting's Origin Myth, Medieval Teens, & Loudon Wainwright

Students contemplate Pollock’s "Mural", the star work from the University of Iowa Museum of Art collection on display at the Figge, while the UIMA cleaned up after massive flooding.
Credit Courtesy of the University of Iowa Spectator. March 2010

From the Mona Lisa to the Sistine Chapel, sometimes the story of how a work of art was created is as important as the work itself. Today on Word of Mouth, breaking down the myth behind a breakthrough Jackson Pollock painting

Also today, Game of Thrones fans know that kids and teenagers play a prominent role in the series: think evil King Joffrey. We’ll tease out fact from fiction, with a look at what life was really like for young people in the Middle Ages.

Plus, singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright approaches his own late middle age.

Listen to the whole show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:09 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

The Audio Orchard For March

Credit Sara Plourde

Each month producer Zach Nugent handpicks his favorite new songs for a playlist called 'The Audio Orchard'.

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Word of Mouth
12:55 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

3.31.14: Oculus Rift, The Sabermetric Revolution, Audio Orchard, Dinosaurs & The "Pee Bus" Project

Credit upenn.edu, Sergey Galyonkin, Phill Roussin & Ian Thomson via flickr Creative Commons

Facebook is making headlines once again with its two billion dollar acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR. Today on Word Of Mouth, a look into why the social network has put so much stock in virtual reality. And it’s opening day for the Red Sox as they take on the Baltimore Orioles today. Fans are hoping this year’s roster will bring them to the World Series again, but how much can we really predict at this point in the season? And are stats the final word?

Producer Zach Nugent has been scouring record stores for the best new music offerings in a new segment we're calling The Audio Orchard.

Then we talk with a National Geographic columnist who argues for lifelong love of  dinosaurs.

Finally, NHPR environmental reporter Sam Evans-Brown brings us the story of a UNH "pee bus" project. Urine, it turns out, can be pretty useful.

Listen to the whole show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Johnny Cash: The Lost Album

Back in the 1980's, Johnny Cash recorded an album that never saw the light of day; his record company at the time, unceremoniously shelved the project. Lucky for all you Johnny Cash fans, Legacy Recordings got a hold of the long forgotten dusty tracks and released them. Virginia spoke to Robert Baird, music editor for Stereofile about the new/old album, Out Among the Stars. You can hear that interview, right here.


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Word of Mouth
11:43 am
Tue March 25, 2014

3.25.14: Walter Kirn, Snake Oil, Johnny Cash & "MFA Versus NYC"

Credit via amazon.com, Chris Devers and Heinrich Klaffs via flickr Creative Commons & nplusonemag.com

No fooling: today's show deals with some dangerous imposters. It's not all lies and deception, however. We also have some "lost" sounds from the man in black himself. Finally, Chad Harbach talks about his controversial essay about making it as a writer. Grab your headphones and turn up the volume; we've got the stories behind the stories.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
11:25 am
Mon March 24, 2014

3.24.14: Democracy of Germs, Permafrost Virus, Darth Vader Courthouse & Josh Ritter

Credit Penn State, Kat Masback & Ricky Brigante via flickr Creative Commons and Josh Ritter

Today on Word of Mouth we're exploring the macro influences of the micro world. Then 99 Percent Invisible brings us a story about a menacing courthouse. (Perhaps a phantom menacing courthouse?) Finally, a conversation with Josh Ritter, whose album The Beast in its Tracks was recently released.

Listen to the whole show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:02 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Sex Ed By The Dashboard Light

Credit Ben Miller via flickr Creative Commons

The talk” is a rite of passage for many young Americans. It often happens either too soon, too late and usually leads to hilarious tales of awkwardness between parent and child. But when it comes to the real nitty-gritty of sex education - that’s when the classroom takes over, for better or worse. For Word of Mouth senior producer Maureen McMurray, it was probably for worse.

Listen to what just might be the most awkward talk about the birds and the bees ever told.


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Word of Mouth
2:48 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Best Songs For St. Patrick's Day

Credit via thechieftans.com

Top o' the mornin' to ya, lads and lasses! Ahem. We'll drop the attempt at authentic brogue, but our St. Patrick's Day continues with a playlist that has enough Irish inspiration to make up for it. We reached out on Facebook to find out what tunes you play to celebrate St Patrick's Day. 

Click Read more for our top St. Patrick's Day songs!

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Word of Mouth
1:01 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

3.17.14: Redeployment, Prosthetic Drum Arm & Paddy Moloney

Credit via philklay.com

Happy St. Patrick's Day, the day when everyone gets to be Irish! Doff your green cap, sip (or chug responsibly) your green drink, and tune into Word of Mouth. Slàinte! 

Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
1:12 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

3.6.14: Daylight Saving Time, Marissa Nadler, Revolving Doors, Wood & Animal Tracking

Credit Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth wishes you a happy Daylight Saving Time! (Can you believe it's this Sunday already?) But why exactly does the practice of changing our clocks even exist? We explore the ins and outs of Daylight Saving (without the extra "s") with a guest who wrote the book on it. Then Zach Nugent talks with Marissa Nadler whose most recent album was released in early February. We take an architectural turn with a look at the invention of revolving doors followed by a hot architectural commodity: wood. Finally, producers Logan Shannon and Sam Evans-Brown bring us a story about a wild winter activity. No, not skiing or boarding, but animal tracking.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.!

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Word of Mouth
12:37 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Marissa Nadler

Credit Marissa Nadler

The Boston Globe describes Marissa Nadler's  voice as “an intoxicating soprano drenched in gauzy reverb that hits bell-clear heights, lingers, and tapers off like rings of smoke."

On Sunday, March 9th, Marissa Nadler will be performing at the Portsmouth Book and Bar. Producer Zach Nugent spoke with Marissa and asked why her new album is called July, when her music is often described as dark, sparse, and even frosty.


Word of Mouth
2:27 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

The Many Genres of Drone

Credit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via flickr Creative Commons

The cosmos is full of noisy wonders including, strangely enough, black holes that have been emitting drone sounds for millions of years. And art truly does imitate nature in the genre of drone music. Marcus Boon wrote about drone for Boing Boing, and despite a knee-jerk reaction to pass it off as potentially annoying, it turns out that drone music is pretty popular.Popular enough, even, to have several sub-grenres.

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Word of Mouth
2:59 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Blank On Blank: Janis Joplin On Rejection

Credit blankonblank.org

Four days before she died, on September 30, 1970, Janis Joplin was interviewed about rejection by Howard Smith. Blank on Blank remixed and animated the interview. In context, it is both sad and enlightening about Joplin's life and views. Her unapologetic attitude toward critics is both admirable and unsettling. Unsettling because of the amount of criticism she faced and that, like anyone who faces rejection, "in my insides, it really hurts if someone doesn’t like me."

Word of Mouth
1:41 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

2.26.14: Rejection, Fake Shemps, The WOM Love Song & Lake Street Dive

Credit Marc Moss, Tony Alter & Atemisa ., via Flickr Creative Commons and lakestreetdive.com

Today's Word of Mouth is brought to you by: Rejection. All artists have been there, feeling confident about a submission only to find out that someone  "regrets to inform" them that their work has been denied for publication.  Well, Word of Mouth is here to commiserate with rejection letters from literary greats. Then, what do film studios do when forced to substitute an actor? Use fake shemps, of course. Taking a musical turn, we revisit the Word of Mouth love song and the fantastic listener submissions. (Really, they're awesome!) Finally, the band Lake Street Dive released their fourth LP 'Bad Self Portraits' last week, we'll dig up an interview we did with the band from 2012.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


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Word of Mouth
4:46 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

2.20.14: Anatomy Of An Actor, "So-And-So Is Typing", Pearl And The Beard & Interspecies Love

2.20.14: Anatomy Of An Actor, "So-And-So Is Typing", Pearl And The Beard & Interspecies Love
Credit Bill Ohl, Hatmanu florin, & whittlz via flickr Creative Commons and Pearl and the Beard

Today's Word of Mouth broadcast delves into the hows of character creation. Then we speak to the creator of everyone's favorite chat feature. You know, the one that says "So-and-So is typing." (Thankfully he doesn't leave you hanging on those three little dots...) We leave acting and writing for a musical treat with the band Pearl and the Beard. Finally, it's all about the cute with the author of a new book about interspecies relationships.

Listen to the full show, and click Read More for more on each segment.

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Word of Mouth
2:45 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Calling All Musicians: Help Us Fix Our Terrible Love Song!

Credit Broke-now, via Flickr Creative Commonsw

 Update:

Wow! The submissions keep coming in, and they're AWESOME! Scroll to the bottom of this story to listen to the epic covers of Taylor's terrible, terrible love song.

If you'd like to submit your own version of our love song, upload it to SoundCloud or YouTube and share it with us on our Facebook page!  Or, you can email an MP3 to tquimby@nhpr.org, and we'll make sure to include it in our post. 

Love songs, which by their very nature tend towards the melodramatic and saccharine, are ripe for parody.  We at Word of Mouth thought it would be fun to compose a love song using only chart-topping lyrical clichés – so we asked for your suggestions, and then set to work.

It turned out to be a humbling experience.  Love songs, which may sound to the layman as though they consist entirely of extra-long notes, flamboyant R&B runs, and an excessive use of the word ‘forever’, are MUCH harder to make than one might think.

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