Listen

Music News & Reviews

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


You either get The Grateful Dead or you don't, to the point where it's virtually impossible to explain. So why bother?

Anyone who caught the national television debut of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats on The Tonight Show recently witnessed something special: the arrival of a force of nature. The song was titled "S.O.B." Rateliff, backed by his gritty band — which comes complete with an organist and a horn section — veered from whispery pleas to ecclesiastical howls.

All hail pop rock! Few categories in contemporary music are more maligned, yet what resides within this one can be tremendously energizing, adventurous and fun.

Pavement's minor MTV hit, "Cut Your Hair," came out in 1994, and the song's offbeat, ramshackle charm introduced the cult indie band to a broader audience. It also marked the end of an era. Pavement had been releasing records for five years at that point, most of them shaggier and noisier than the weirdly winning "Hair." Yet despite the absurdity and abrasiveness at its heart, the band had been swept into the alt-rock mania of the mid-'90s. The Secret History, Vol.

WCBE proudly presents First Aid Kit at The Newport Music Hall On Tuesday, July 21st!  The Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg are now touring in the U.S. in support of their critically acclaimed release Stay Gold and will be making a stop in Columbus!  Doors are at 7PM and Andy Shauf supports!

Tune in during the weekday music programs 9:15AM-3PM for more chances to win tickets to the show! 

It's all waiting for you on 90.5FM Columbus, 106.3FM Newark and on line at www.wcbe.org!

SweetWater's Heady Peddlers - Ohio Summertime Concert series presented by WCBE  will run every Wednesday July 15th - Aug. 26th!

Say the name "Les Paul" to anybody born after 1960, and they'll probably think you're talking about an electric guitar. But the musician and inventor, who was born 100 years ago Tuesday, was also an accomplished jazz guitarist. Paul was never happier than when playing for a live audience.

It seemed as if he'd go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It's what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road. King died Thursday night at home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old.

It took Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell nearly four decades to get around to making their first duets album, Old Yellow Moon, and just two years to follow it with The Traveling Kind. Their collaborative debut may have swept two of the biggest awards in their genre — a Best Americana Album Grammy and Album Of The Year at the Americana Awards — but there were more powerful incentives for them to team up again.

WCBE proudly presents the return of Southern Culture On The Skids to the Rumba Cafe on Sunday, May 3rd!  The D-Rays will open up at 7PM! 

The raucous trio out of Chapel Hill, N.C., consists of Rick Miller, Dave Hartman and Mary Huff  who have been putting out their rock n' roll sounds since 1983 with their latest dance mix 12" from SCOTS and the B-52's Fred Schneider, "Party At My Trouse",  which came out Feb 10, 2015!

WCBE proudly presents Australian singer-songwriter Stu Larsen as he returns to the Rumba Cafe for a show on Friday, May 1st! 

He's out on the road in support of his debut full length release Vagabond and will be joined by Natsuki Kurai and Matt Sander in Columbus!

Be sure to listen to the weekday music programs 9:15AM-3PM for chance to win tickets to the event!

It's all waiting for you on 90.5FM Columbus, 106.3FM Newark and on linet at www.wcbe.org/listen!

WCBE proudly presents the return of Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers to Columbus on Saturday, April 25th at The A&R Music Bar

WCBE proudly presents Ryan Montbleau along with his band on Sunday, April 26th at Woodland's Tavern

WCBE proudly presents Robben Ford at the Park Street Saloon with Colin John on Friday, April 17th!

The five time Grammy nominee and guitar virtuoso's tour for his brand new release Into The Sun is currently underway and we're looking forward to a night of great blues, jazz and rock in Columbus!

SRO tickets available HERE!

WCBE proudly presents Gangstagrass on Thursday, April 16th at the Rumba Cafe with local musician Stephanie Jeffreys to kick things off at 8PM!

WCBE proudly presents the return of the experimental country/folk group Blitzen Trapper

WCBE proudly presents the return of River City Extension to Columbus!

The Toms River, NJ group are touring in support of their brand new release "Deliverance"... the long awaited follow up to 2012's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger". 

They'll perform Sunday, April 12th at The Basement with Cold Fronts and Emily & The Complexes!

www.rivercityextension.com

www.promowestlive.com

WCBE proudly presents the Americana group The Vespers at the Rumba Cafe on Sunday, April 12th at 7PM!

The Nashville, TN group are out on the road with their third studio release "Sisters And Brothers" and will be making a return to Columbus!

www.thevespersband.com

www.columbusrumbacafe.com

WCBE proudly presents the return of Martin Sexton to The Newport on Thursday, April 9th! 

Jim Lauderdale
Michael Weintrob

WCBE proudly presents Jim Lauderdale with local musician Erica Blinn for a special performance at Woodland's Tavern on Wednesday April 8th... doors are at 8PM and show time is at 9PM! 

WCBE proudly presents Chesapeake VA's acoustic rock/alt folk outfit The Last Bison along with Nashville's modern folk band Neulore at The Rumba Cafe on Monday April 6th at 8PM! 

WCBE proudly presents the return of two of Columbus' finest local acts for a hometown show on Saturday, April 4th at The Columbus Athenaeum

There are four official members of Houndmouth: guitarist Matt Myers, keyboardist Katie Toupin, drummer Shane Cody and bassist Zak Appleby, all of whom also pitch in with the singing and songwriting. But far more people than that contribute to their second album, Little Neon Limelight. Only artful alt-roots producer Dave Cobb, recording engineer Vance Powell and mastering engineer Pete Lyman pop up in the credits, though.

It'd be inexact to describe Matthew E. White as a reluctant frontman, but up until the advent of Fresh Blood, his excellent second album, "rock star" wasn't exactly how he saw his future in music. His plan was more quixotic than becoming a successful singer-songwriter: He was starting a label, called Spacebomb Records, in the manner of Motown or Stax or Studio One, with a band and production team in-house. (Literally — his drummer is his roommate and their attic is Spacebomb Studios.)

Working as a music journalist means that some days you get to tell people, in breathless prose, about an incredible new record you've discovered. On other days, you have to tell people that an artist you've followed and respected for years is no longer living. That part is never any fun. Listening to the hushed, elegantly spare Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, I found myself transported back to the period right after Smith died, of apparently self-inflicted stab wounds, in 2003.

In his rockabilly history Go Cat Go!, ethnomusicologist Craig Morrison describes the typical cradle of rock 'n' roll: a community hall reconfigured to serve as a nightclub for a night. "There might be Christmas lights strung across the back of the stage, tables and chairs around the perimeter of the room, food available for purchase, and maybe booze," Morrison writes. A jittery, ambitious band plays as loudly as possible, in order to be heard over the din of all the flirting, fighting and dancing.

He asks a lot of questions, this José González.

He opened his last album, 2013's band project Junip, with a thought experiment Nietzsche could love: "What would you do if it all came back to you?" The song, "Line Of Fire," dwells in a mood of idle 3 a.m. musing; González tosses out existential/metaphysical conundrums like he's feeding bread to ducks — casually, without worrying much about concrete answers.

Two stretched concepts made the rock 'n' roll coming out of Sun Studios in the 1950s unlike other music of its kind: time and space. In a shabby little room near downtown Memphis, Sam Phillips gave the men and kids he recorded all the room in the world. "Spontaneity" was Phillips' mantra, which was particularly potent for the youngest Sun cats.

What does it take for a work of art to become an intervention? In music, any reinterpretation alters the original, if only because different fingerprints touch it. But certain lineages — folk music, for example — are built on the bones of those retellings. Whoever owns a song for a period of time connects it to her lived experience and the world in which she lives, and it changes. It might also change the world, or a small part of it.

Pages