Music

The Many Genres of Drone

Mar 5, 2014
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.

Blank On Blank: Janis Joplin On Rejection

Feb 26, 2014
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."

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.


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.

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.

Word Of Mouth: 2.15.14

Feb 14, 2014
Taylor Quimby (flowers by Sara Plourde)

Valentine's Day may be over, but Word of Mouth is still in the mood. We poured all the love we have to offer into our Saturday show. Listen to the full show and read more about each segment below.

Doug88888 via Flickr Creative Commons

As editor of The New York Time’s “Modern Love” column since 2004, our guest Daniel Jones has read over 50,000 love letters.  Well, not love letters exactly, but letters about love.  Okay, and most of them aren’t actual physical letters, but emails.  Which says a lot about the state of romance in 2014, given how much of it sparks, burns, and is often extinguished from behind a computer screen.  Technology’s impact on modern love features heavily in Jones’ new book “Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject with the Help of 50,000 Strangers”.

Love Is A Battlefield: Round 3

Feb 12, 2014
Sara Plourde / NHPR

Results for round 2 are in, and oh how the mighty have fallen! In the love category: Etta James narrowly beat out The Righteous Brothers and Paul McCartney handily vanquished Billy Joel. In heartbreak battles, Bonnie won out over Smokey and Adele, poor sweet Adele, was positively trounced by none other than Bill Withers. Something tells us she would probably understand. Shocked by the results? Let us know on our Facebook page, so we can all commiserate together.

Listen to the list of songs below, and then vote right here!

Round Three begins NOW!

Love Is A Battlefield: Round 2

Feb 11, 2014
Sara Plourde

Results for round 1 are in, and the competition is heating up! Tempers of love are flaring in the Word of Mouth cube. Senior producer Maureen McMurray was none too happy to hear  Etta James' At Last is moving on to Round 2 over The Beach Boys' God Only Knows. Producer Taylor Quimby was concerned about the fate of Van Morrison's Sweet Thing.  And it turns out that nothing compares to Someone Like You; Adele managed a slim victory of Sinead O'Connor. What songs are you sad to see left behind? Comment on our Facebook page, then vote for the remaining contenders.

Listen to the list of songs below, and then vote right here! Round Two begins NOW!

Love Is A Battlefield: Round 1

Feb 10, 2014
Sara Plourde

Here it is, you lovebirds, you. The Word of Mouth sappy song bracket. Pat Benetar had it right. Love is a battlefield, and we've laid it out for you to see. At least, the songs. On one side, the songs of love. Ballads of the heart. Musings of adoration. Ruminations of... OK you get the idea. On the other side, songs of heartbreak. Those tear-inducing slow jams no one can resist.

Listen to the songs below, and then vote right here! Round One begins NOW!

The Winter Olympics are in full swing, and among those going for gold at Sochi are eight New Hampshire residents. Today on Word of Mouth, we’ll go back to the days before lifts and lodges to find out why a tiny state with icy mountains has produced so many champs. Also, last night marked the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’  first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, an event that drew the largest audience for any program in the history of television up to that time, and has remained burned into America’s collective memory. We’ll take a deeper look into the start of Beatle-mania.

Word Of Mouth's Super Sappy Bracket Contenders

Feb 7, 2014
moriartys via flickr Creative Commons

Dim the lights, pour a glass, and press play; Word of Mouth is about to woo you. We reached out for the sappiest songs on Facebook and Twitter and compiled the best of the best. Naturally, the next step is to make love a competition, right? Get ready, because your submissions are going head-to-head in our super sappy bracket. Who will come out on top? Love or Heartbreak? Bill Withers or Bill Withers? Before voting begins, take some time to get to know each song.  Check out the contenders, and prepare to fall in love.

Word Of Mouth Seeks Love Song Clichés

Feb 6, 2014
amanky via flickr creative commons

... and long walks on the beach. Really, though. We need your help to find the most overused and overcheesed love song clichés to create one majorly sappy song. Do you have that lovin' feeling? Then leave some love on our Facebook page. Just as Michael Bolton couldn't live without his love, Word of Mouth can't live with you. *Sob*.

Word Of Mouth 2.1.14

Jan 31, 2014
Taylor Quimby

Happy February! This Word of Mouth Saturday show has all you need to satisfy your midwinter radio cravings with new ideas about audio, the wacky world of internet horror lore, and more. Enjoy! And beware.

Timely Words For Pete Seeger

Jan 30, 2014
scarlatti2004 via flickr Creative Commons

More than a musician, folk legend Pete Seeger influenced generations of Americans through both song and activism, often using one to fuel the message of the other. The power he invested in music helped promote his peaceful messages. Recently, producer Zach Nugent spoke to Nick Panken of the band Spirit Family Reunion. Nick had some timely praise for the folk singer who recently died:

1.29.14: Power Of Audio

Jan 29, 2014
Michael D Spencer

Audio: it can be both poetic and powerful. Its influence is undeniable, but what happens when we need to be concerned with limiting its intake while simultaneously expanding our auditory horizons? Today on Word of Mouth: the ear-plug debate, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, the band Spirit Family Reunion, and continuing the Rethink 2014 series with a conversation about, you guessed it, radio.  Listen to the whole show below or keep scrolling to listen to individual segments.

In February, 1995, violinist Roman Totenberg performed with the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra. He joined NHPR ahead of the concerts on our Perspectives program and spoke with host Laura Kiernan.

Taylor Quimby (weeping out of frame)

Can't help singing along to your favorite sad songs in the shower, the car, or from the middle of a crowded street?  Looking for something to help you dwell on your latest breakup, or summon your personal demons?  Want to put something on the stereo that will dull your roomate's perversely happy attitude?  Word of Mouth has the playlist for you. 

Sara Plourde

This is “Rethink 2014”, presenting ways of challenging our habits and assumptions and the status quo. Today: paying for creative content. It’s the axiom of the era: you can find anything on the internet--for free!  The challenge has been figuring out how artists, writers, musicians and content makers get paid for their work. Take the music streaming service Spotify. Sure, users can discover new artists and find a lot of great music, but Spotify is under fire for failing to compensate the artists who make that music. In an opinion piece for the The Guardian last October, David Byrne wrote, “If artists have to rely almost exclusively on the income from these services, they'll be out of work within a year.” Maybe the big-name musicians have it wrong. We bring you the story of an unknown songwriter who is raking in the Spotify royalty checks, one song at a time. PJ Vogt of On The Media’s new TLDR podcast and blog, has the story.

Help Us Name Our Children's Song!

Jan 14, 2014
Zach Nugent

Our interview with Chris Ballew, also known as Caspar Babypants (also the frontman for the band The Presidents of The United States of America!) made us want to try and write a children's song.  SO WE DID! But we need your help naming it.

via presidentsrock.com and babypantsmusic.com

The Presidents of The United States of America - the same band responsible for the enigmatic 1995 hit single “Lump”  - is releasing their 6th studio album in February, their first since 2008.  Since then, PUSA’s frontman Chris Ballew has been keeping himself busy making music geared towards an entirely different generation of listeners: the three and four year old set!  Under the alias “Caspar Babypants”, Chris has released 7 albums of children’s music, including a collection of Beatles tunes.  In this interview Chris explains why he started making music for families, how “being a parent is a little like being in a penitentiary in 1887”, and gave us a preview of songs off PUSA’s new record!  

Recycled Percussion

In 2009 the New Hampshire based “junk rock” band Recycled Percussion successfully made it to the final round of NBC’s show “America’s Got Talent”. For their final performance the four piece band pounded away on assorted junk as water rained down on them and strobe lights flashed in rhythm. After coming in third place in the competition out of 100,ooo acts, Recycled Percussion landed a headlining show in Las Vegas where they’re still going strong. This Thursday the band will finish up a string of homecoming shows at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Our guest is founding member of Recycled Percussion and Legacy X Justin Spencer.

Affendaddy via flickr Creative Commons

Maybe it’s the repetition, or maybe the obligatory cheeriness, but there’s something about hearing holiday songs that you don’t like that rankles much more deeply than other assaults on the senses.  We asked listeners to share their favorite seasonal tunes on our Facebook page, along with the ones they hate.

mariahcarey.com

The song, “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey was released in 1994, and has become a Christmas standard, consistently topping the billboard holiday charts. Despite the sleigh load of holiday albums released every winter, there hasn’t been an original holiday single with the staying power of Mariah Carey’s hit for nineteen years.

So, has our culture stopped welcoming new holiday songs? Has our Christmas carol quota been met?  Chris Klimek, is here to weigh in, his article for Slate:  “All I Want For Christmas Is A New Christmas Song,” pretty much says it all.

Shannon Brinkman / preservationhalljazzband.com

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, one of New Orlean’s most legendary bands, will be rousing the crowds at The Music Hall in Portsmouth this Saturday with its “Creole Christmas” show… a joyful mix of Christmas tunes, jazz standards, and original music that busts out of the nutcracker and King Wenceslas mold. 

Ben Jaffe is creative director and sousaphone player for the band and joined us from the road.

SamsungTomorrow via flickr Creative Commons

Whether scoping out plasma-screen HDTV’s, or picking up a PlayStation 4, consumers upgrading their entertainment systems this Christmas are generally looking for products promising a better picture, superior sound, or next-generation graphics.  We’ve come a very long way since the VHS and Atari 2600.  So far, in fact, that one may wonder how much better the visuals, sound and graphics on entertainment systems can get – and would the casual user even be able to tell the difference?  

Joining the conversation about where entertainment technology can go from here is Jamin Warren – founder and editor-in-chief at Killscreen, a videogame arts and culture magazine, Slate music columnist Carl Wilson, and, David Ewalt, contributing editor at Forbes.

millerfarm via Flickr Creative Commons

The relatively unknown song "Daylight" by Brooklyn-based band Matt and Kim was featured in a 2009 Bacardi commercial, and by the following year went gold, selling over 500 thousand copies and sweeping Matt and Kim into the mainstream. Not so long ago, selling your music to ad agencies was considered the lowest form of selling out, a sure-fire way to lose hard-core fans. Today many musicians see it as the only way to make a living. And fans, for the most part, seem to be turning a blind eye. 

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Not sure how you're going to muster the energy to rake another pile of leaves this weekend? Let us make the chore a little easier by distracting you with a solid hour of public radio encouragement. The Word of Mouth Saturday show is carefully designed to take you on a sound odyssey that's perfect even if you decide to forgo the leaf raking for another day.

On this week's show:

  • Please don't send shoes: Jessica Alexander makes the case for sending money instead of food or clothing when disaster strikes.
  • Why is Sweden so good at pop music? Nolan Feeney outlines the many reasons Sweden is a country of hit makers. We dare you to not get "The Sign" stuck in your head.
  • Talking about death: It's not an easy subject, but a new Showtime series, "Time of Death" approaches the taboo with unflinching realism. Jaweed Kaleem from the Huffington Post, and Miggi Hood, co-executive producer of the series join us to talk about death.
  • The Warren Commission 50 years later. Justice Richard Mosk was a 23-year-old attorney when he became the youngest member of the commission established by President Johnson to investigate the murder of JFK and his assassin. He tells us about the commission and why conspiracy theories can be harmful.

via The Land of Abba

Two decades have passed since Swedish quartet Ace of Base picked up Abba's mantle. Their single, 'The Sign,' topped U.S. charts and cemented a permanent place on pop playlists for decades to come.

Ace of Base also ushered in the so-called 'Swedish Miracle,' an era between 1990 and 2003 when music royalties earned by Sweden from foreign markets were twice as much per capita as royalties paid to songwriters and performers in the U.S. Today, Sweden is the world’s number three music exporter.

Nolan Feeney writes and produces for The Atlantic's entertainment channel, where he asked “Why Is Sweden So Good at Pop Music?”

Linus Bohman

Listening to Word of Mouth's Saturday broadcast is like sitting around a campfire and chatting with a bunch of super-smart, super-interesting people.  So go sharpen a stick, grab your bag of marshmallows and pull up a log - here's what's coming up this hour:

  • The Science of Superstition:  Psychologist Stuart Vyse explains the collective power of the Red Sox beards.
  • MORE COWBELL!!!  From Strauss to Def Leppard, writer Lori Rotenberk traces the musical history of the cowbell.
  • A Grimm Cinderella Story:  Author Adam Gidwitz shares the original gruesome version of the classic fairy tale, and explains why Disney has done the Brothers Grimm a disservice.
  • #NoFilter: Brian Ries, social media guru for The Daily Beast, on how a growing number of private dealers are legally selling guns on Instagram
  • WHEN JELLYFISH ATTACK!  They're clogging nuclear reactors, capsizing ships, wiping out fish populations, and causing cerebral hemorrhages... So basically, jellyfish are scarier than sharks.  There, I said it.  Quartz reporter Gwynn Guilford explains.

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