Music

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

To look at the members of Neon Trees — their technicolor clothes, skinny ties, hair bleached and lacquered into gravity-defying shapes — you might fairly place them in the same musical lineage that spawned bands like Duran Duran and The Killers. (They've toured with both.) But the culture from which the musicians emerged is a story unto itself.

Born in Kiev a little more than 40 years ago, Valentina Lisitsa came to America in the early '90s to work as a concert pianist.

Dan Wilson On World Cafe

Apr 25, 2014

Dan Wilson is originally from Minneapolis, where in the 1980s he formed the beloved band Trip Shakespeare with his brother Matt. That group evolved into Semisonic, which scored major hits in 1998 with "Closing Time" and "Secret Smile."

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the two quart-size tubs of barbecue sauce is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on recording and trading live shows for our private enjoyment.

The creators of pop music are usually able to break down the fundamentals of their craft — that search for the clever rhyme, the killer beat, the singable chorus. They are less articulate, understandably, about the other quest, the one that powers those everyday searches: the pursuit of ecstasy in sound. There's something almost paranormal about that part of the creative process, yet we know those moments, instantly, when we hear them.

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Michael Lerner, drummer for the band The Antlers. Lerner is on the short list of current favorite drummers. His work is always melodic, never too busy or indulgent. But he also never settles for the straight up four on the floor. I found the fills he selected for this week's puzzler to be... challenging. But see what you think.

Heavy Rotation is a monthly sampler of public radio hosts' favorite songs. Check out past editions here.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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