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First Listen: Nels Cline Singers, 'Macroscope'

Nels Cline Singers' new album, <em>Macroscope, </em>comes out April 29.
Mimi Chakarova
Courtesy of the artist
Nels Cline Singers' new album, Macroscope, comes out April 29.

Nels Cline is a gateway drug in the best of ways. He's known as the guitar player for one of America's best bands, Wilco. His crazy performances, filled with static shrieking and string bending, have led fans to the other side of music. It's a style that interweaves jazz, progressive rock and noise.

Nels Cline started doing all of this long before joining Wilco, and continues it these days with his own project, The Nels Cline Singers, a group that actually has no singers. They are instrumental travelers.

Their latest record, Macroscope, features bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Scott Amendola, and includes Nels' wife Yuka C. Honda (Cibo Matto) on keyboards. The songs start off deceptively gentle and quiet, but sometimes that's just the warm up to the insanity and sonic adventures that follow.

Macroscope is at times a frightening and enlightening journey. (The eight-minute "Wedding Band" is a fine example of that). It's a record that has no boundaries, and an album with the musicianship to make that a memorable experience.

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In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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