Music

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:

What do you do when your favorite metal band "goes soft"? Take to the message boards? Subtweet until the mounting "favorites" validate your rage? Or do you open up to the sound? In the new issue of the monthly metal print magazine Decibel (No.

Vijay Iyer On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Apr 24, 2014

Pianist, composer, improviser and 2013 MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer has built a career of making musical connections. Increasingly recognized as one of the most inventive musicians working today, he received an interdisciplinary Ph.D.

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