Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

"I'm working on the SoundCloud thing," Chance the Rapper tweeted last Thursday, sounding like an angel tasked with yet another miracle after rumors — later denied by the company — that SoundCloud's collapse was imminent. After having what he called "a fruitful call" with SoundCloud cofounder Alex Ljung, Chance tweeted "SoundCloud is here to stay," a day later.

It's that time of year when you hear talk of "summer reading," a term that refers to books that are fun and undemanding — you know, the perfect accompaniment to lying on the beach. Such books heighten the airy sense of irresponsibility that comes with escaping the gravity of our lives back home.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Last night the penultimate season of Game of Thrones (the gravestone-final piece of monoculture we'll share until Star Wars returns at the end of the year) began, bringing fans wary of ceaseless political imbroglios and the impending threa

Imagine waking up in someone else's life. One day, you're a singer in a punky band, the next a tutu-wearing ballerina. This quick video featuring Alex Toth — aka Alexander F, the trumpeter and Energizer Bunny behind the band Rubblebucket — explores exactly this sort of humorous, Kafkaesque switcheroo.

True to its name, Wolves In The Throne Room has always painted between the lines of barbaric and regal. For over a decade it has been this between-space that has driven WITTR's power; burning black-metal riffs communing with mystical folk and ambient music.

"I know it's wrong, but I can't stop," Katie Von Schleicher groans in "Midsummer." Her album S***** Hits is full of such self-deprecating admissions; it's an album about looking out from inside your own delusions and bad habits, begging yourself to do better.

The pairing of Tuxedo is a natural feel in person, but highly unlikely on paper. Seattle-based producer Jake One has a who's-who client list, from Rick Ross to 21 Savage — while DJ, singer-songwriter and producer Mayer Hawthorne is a renaissance soul man from Ann Arbor, Michigan. They stealthily debuted three tracks on SoundCloud in 2013 with only a black square stamped "Tuxedo" as the cover art, leaving fans wondering where this new funk was coming from.

When Josh Ritter began to write new songs, he felt an absolute impending storm. And this singer, songwriter, painter and author, with almost twenty years of songwriting behind him, began looking for a new way to approach his muse.

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hear Josh Ritter talk about the creative process for his soon-to-be-released album Gathering, along with a premiere of his new song "Showboat," or read his essay below. — Bob Boilen

This week, World Cafe digs into the archives for some of its best sessions from the last several months — conversations and performances that were so good we decided to bring them back for a second listen. You'll hear sessions with Father John Misty, Alison Krauss, David Crosby and more.

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


It might be easy to dismiss Declan McKenna as a young kid who writes catchy pop songs, but he's so much more than that. The 18-year-old Brit's debut album, What Do You Think About The Car?, proves that this young man has a tall talent for mixing politics, poetry and melody.

We'll be recapping Season 7 of HBO's Game of Thrones here on Monkey See. We'll try to turn them around overnight, so look for them first thing on Mondays. And of course: Spoilers abound

Academy Award-winning actor Martin Landau, known for his leading roles in North By Northwest and the 1960s Mission: Impossible TV series, has died. He was 89.

He died on Saturday of "unexpected complications" at the UCLA Medical Center, his publicist confirmed.

In his seven-decade acting career, Landau worked with a cast of Hollywood director greats, including Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Tim Burton.

Copyright 2017 NCPR. To see more, visit NCPR.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pages