Music

Classic Video Game Music: From Bosses To Beats

Apr 26, 2014
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):

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.

The Audio Orchard For March

Mar 31, 2014
Sara Plourde

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

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.

Johnny Cash: The Lost Album

Mar 25, 2014

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.


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.

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.

Best Songs For St. Patrick's Day

Mar 17, 2014
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!

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.

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.!

Marissa Nadler

Mar 6, 2014
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.


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.

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