Yo La Tengo: ‘When We Let The World In, It Can Be So Profound’

l2It can take years for a musician to discover his or her voice. But in the meantime, they find themselves by discovering the music of other artists. With a wide-ranging catalog spanning 30 years, Yo La Tengo is its own band, but the trio has become just as noted for its huge repertoire of cover songs.

Yo La Tengo’s new album, Stuff Like That There, features covers from the well-known (Hank Williams, Cat Stevens, The Cure) to the obscure (Antietam, The Special Pillow). Before serving as Morning Edition‘s in-house band, they sat down with NPR’s David Greene to talk about adapting to other artists.

Did you all have a goal in mind when you took “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure into the studio?

Ira Kaplan: I’m not sure we were going for anything specifically. I think the sound of Georgia singing that song — we all respond to that and wanted to play in a way that was supportive of her. In fact, when we were recording it, it actually took us a little bit of trial and error. At first, Dave Schramm was playing electric guitar, as he does on every

The One Real Problem With Rolling Stone’s ‘Greatest Songwriters Of All Time’

l 1Lots of magazines do big lists, but few rely on them as heavily as Rolling Stone does. The magazine cranks out a list for just about every aspect of popular music. All promise authoritative, canonical overviews of various elements of the art; at their best, these offer context and critical insight, helping readers fill gaps in their knowledge.

The lists have become a lucrative part of the Rolling Stone brand. They’re also instant controversy magnets. So it is with the latest one — devoted to The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

Right on cue, this list — which was sponsored entirely by Apple Music (raise eyebrow over editorial independence here) — has generated its share of dissonance. In some Internet precincts, howls of outrage can be heard over certain regrettable omissions: No Jim Morrison! No Nick Drake! No Warren Zevon! No Public Enemy! (Curiously, though, The Notorious B.I.G. is represented.) No Pink Floyd! No John Mellencamp! How could they?

Elsewhere, the indignation has to do with the artists who were included: What is R. Kelly (ranked on the list at no. 80) doing on the same list as Holland-Dozier-Holland (15)? Taylor Swift

Lil Wayne In New Orleans: Hot Boys, History And Homecoming

9n6a3763_wide-d8254c68fde71e4c64808d3174d3b22df2fbfe54-s800-c85More than 20 years into Lil Wayne’s career, the froggy-voiced, diminutive rapper is hardly ever described as an elder statesman. But as he bounded through a nearly three-hour set at Friday’s Lil Weezyana Fest, a performance held fittingly at Champions Square, the outdoor plaza next to the Mercedes Benz Superdome built to commemorate the Saints Super Bowl-winning 2009 team, the dreadlocked artist merely skimmed his biggest pop victories, like “Lollipop” and “Love Me,” songs that have made him a bankable headliner worldwide. He hadn’t performed in his hometown for close to six years and the eponymous showcase, marking the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, had been billed as a homecoming, an official reunion of the Hot Boys, the group with which he received his first success.

We’d have to wait to get to all that, though. The star didn’t hit the stage until almost two and a half hours after the crowd packed in, anticipation wilting in the 80 degree heat. As I navigated back and forth between the general admissions scrum pressed elbow to elbow dozens of yards from the stage and the VIPs in the bleachers staged to their

In Classic Pop, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar Finds A New Voice

For nearly two decades now, Dan Bejar — the mind behind the enigmatic rock enterprise Destroyer — has put out albums that double as propositions to consider what this thing called Destroyer has been and what it might continue to be. There have been a good number so far, including the new Poison Season, the 11th full-length release under the beguiling Destroyer name. The project started as a more or less standard indie-rock affair, with a tweedy bohemian slinging words in a bare bones fashion that couldn’t have been less “destroyer”-like. (One imagines a big metal band, or at least some brute rock fantasia.) But Bejar’s existential restlessness quickly became part of the arrangement, leading to swerves and zags through which he has managed to make himself sound somehow interesting and new with every shape-shifting move — always with suggestive questions implied. Lines of inquiry surrounding Bejar this time: Crooner? Conniver? Unlikely but also surprisingly convincing champion of the classic American songbook?

For a songwriter with a puckish bard persona and a highly idiosyncratic voice (some might say harsh, biting, distancing, adenoidal), Bejar has come to think surprisingly agreeably about singing in recent years. “There are traditional song structures in Destroyer,

Jazz Guitar Innovator And Inventor – Les Paul Did It All!

Les Paul was born June 9, 1916 in Waukesha, Wisconsin and is one of the most widely known names for millions of guitarists throughout the world. This is by virtue of the many solid-body electrical guitars developed by him bearing his name and made by the Gibson Guitar Company in the USA. Few of these guitarists realize that Les Paul is likewise an impressive jazz guitar player who won numerous jazz polls in the late 1940s!

Les Paul fell for the guitar at an early age. He was self-taught both on the harmonica and the guitar. Les played the harmonica installed on a harness of his own design so that he could play it at the same time with the guitar. His first professional work was actually as a “one man band” playing for tips at roadside restaurants. He called himself “Rhubarb Red” and his fame quickly landed him some local radio broadcasts, particularly after he started working with Joe Wolverton whose stage name was “Sunny Joe”.

In 1933 Les Paul left for Chicago where his obvious natural skill landed him numerous jobs in various local radio stations. His dual capability of being able to play country and western music under