NPR’s Song of the Day

Courtesy of the artist
June 15, 2012 | NPR · Soul music is rooted in gritty perseverance, so pairing up stalwarts Bettye LaVette and Charles Walker works on so many levels, it’s a miracle it hasn’t happened until now. “Yours and Mine” is an exhilarating affirmation of the power to prevail.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 14, 2012 | NPR · “Candy Girl” sounds like a shoegazer’s modern take on Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” — the song that soundtracked the makeout scene in Top Gun. Cool but still beautiful, it’s touching, revealing and almost painfully intimate.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 13, 2012 | NPR · Ambiguous words, delivered with earnest passion, lend special power to “Airline Living.” It’s the sort of song that’s sure to force different meanings onto different people, depending upon their place in life and state of mind.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 12, 2012 | NPR · In “That Time Is Gone,” guitarist, part-time lead vocalist and pop-music legend Peter Holsapple lays bare the anxiety of re-assembling an act that was never much more than a cult phenomenon.
 

Ryan Russell
June 11, 2012 | NPR · In few words, “Be Good” profiles two people who love and trust each other deeply, who share their dreams and secret shames, but who would rather shotgun beers together than make out.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 8, 2012 | NPR · “Dark Steering” flirts subtly with the sounds of modern dubstep, mixing them with atmospheric squeals and detailed drum programming. The result is an unbelievably fitting soundtrack for a life-or-death motorcycle race through neon-lit city streets.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 7, 2012 | NPR · In his strangely affecting, minimalist rock paean “We Are All Teenagers,” Fite sketches out a spare electric riff with a reverb-y ’50s rock air as he nails the adolescent unease that lingers into adulthood.
 

Jonathan Magowan
June 6, 2012 | NPR · From The Money Store, “I’ve Seen Footage” seems to run the beats from Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing” and Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” through a rusty meat grinder. Meanwhile, MC Ride catalogs the paranoia and police brutality that drove him to the insanity the song exemplifies.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 5, 2012 | NPR · Singer-songwriter Nick Zammuto spent most of the ’00s as one half of the experimental folk duo The Books. In “Idiom Wind,” working at the head of a new project, he tells the story of a man who needs to get his hands dirty.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 4, 2012 | NPR · The hook in “Broke It, Buy It” is insidiously catchy enough to ricochet through your head for days. Levy concludes with the implication that our inability to accept our failings causes more unhappiness than the failures themselves as we chase retail solutions — “we broke it, so we buy it.”
 

 

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News

AFP/Getty Images
July 31, 2014 | NPR · About 58 percent of California is currently in the worst of the four drought levels used by experts, in conditions normally seen only once every 50-100 years.
 

AP
July 31, 2014 | NPR · The truce is set to begin at 8 a.m. local time Friday. Envoys will also travel to Cairo to negotiate a possible longer peace deal.
 

Xinhua/Landov
July 31, 2014 | NPR · China has been a big and growing market for U.S. corn. But then farmers started planting a kind of genetically engineered corn that’s not yet approved in China, and the Chinese government struck back.
 

Arts & Life

Well Go USA
July 31, 2014 | NPR · The very prolific James Franco directs a Cormac McCarthy adaptation that struggles to overcome a repulsive main character with whom it’s almost impossible to empathize.
 

IFC Films
July 31, 2014 | NPR · The drama War Story is trying to wrap itself around both a personal story of a traumatized journalist and some larger social issues. Despite a strong central performance, it succeeds only partially.
 

Courtesy of Sundance
July 31, 2014 | NPR · The eight-part drama that begins Thursday stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a British baroness with an Israeli passport. She’s a fearless actor in a show full of kidnappings, seductions and betrayals.
 

Music

July 31, 2014 | NPR · Harvest Records used to be known for having a strong link to the progressive rock sound of 1970s London. After laying dormant for years, the label is back, and looking for a new identity.
 

Courtesy of Jerry Graham Publicity
July 31, 2014 | NPR · The New York rapper on the music industry — from sitting on the shelf, to refusing deals, posthumous releases to sales expectations — music journalism and taking risks, personal and professional.
 

July 31, 2014 | WPLN · Sometimes the kids you hear on records for kids aren’t really kids. In fact, there’s a crew of adult singers in Nashville that specializes in sounding young — very young.
 

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