Soundcheck is WNYC’s daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, and critics as well as the public radio audience. Hosted by John Schaefer, listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.

Soundcheck is WNYC’s daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, and critics as well as the public radio audience. Hosted by John Schaefer, listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.
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New York, NY




Soundcheck is WNYC’s daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, and critics as well as the public radio audience. Hosted by John Schaefer, listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.






WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 (212) 433-9692


Art-Indie-Rock Band Cloud Cult, In-Studio

The cinematic Minnesota band Cloud Cult is a creative collective who continually celebrates life and love, and catharsis through music and multimedia performances, usually involving painting from stage, and lately, film. Cloud Cult’s emotive, melodic, orchestral indie rock is perfectly suited to the movies. Singer/instrumentalist Craig Minowa and his crew have scored shorts and documentary films, The Seeker, The Great Alone, and lately, Minowa has been working on a score for a National...


Zen Ritual Groove Music by Nik Bärtsch's Ronin

Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch creates playful and carefully balanced works containing both space and riffs. There might be as much listening going on as there is playing, which points to a spiritual focus, trust, and discipline that comes from Bärtsch's avid practice of the Japanese martial art Aikido. In his electric group, Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin (after the freelance Japanese warriors who served no master), there is slow-building, ever-shifting, sensual groove reductionism. With...

Glimmery Electro Art-Pop by Arthur Moon

Arthur Moon is the moniker of composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist Lora-Faye Åshuvud. As Arthur Moon, she is the anchor who has gathered collaborators- including Cale Hawkins (Quincy Jones, Bilal, Wyclef Jean) and Martin D. Fowler (a composer for This American Life) and other folks. They trade demos and build on musical perspectives, which she then arranges and composes by way of experimentation and improvisation. The result is dazzling music that feels beautiful, affecting, and...

Michael Feinstein on Oscar Levant

In the mid-20 century, pianist Oscar Levant (1906 –1972) was a pre-digital version of a social media star – a ubiquitous, witty presence on American TV and radio, and films. He was also a bestselling author, radio game show panelist, and a talk show host. As a concert pianist, his Gershwin performances, especially a 1945 version of the “Rhapsody in Blue”, were the best-selling classical records in America. But, Levant was a troubled figure off-camera and out of the limelight. He’s the...


Composer and Drummer Tyshawn Sorey Explores Time

Newark-born composer, multi-instrumentalist, collaborator, and 2017 MacArthur Fellow Tyshawn Sorey, is also the Assistant Professor of Composition and Creative Music at Wesleyan University. A recent Instagram post (Sept. 2018) of the day’s listening ranges from Nigerian King Sunny Adé and a record by legendary drummer Tony Allen to Frank Zappa with Joseph Jarman (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Art Ensemble of Chicago), Steve Reich, and Karlheinz Stockhausen in...

Richard Reed Parry's 'Quiet River of Dust'

Richard Reed Parry is perhaps best known as the really tall, really redheaded guy playing half a dozen instruments in the Grammy-winning band Arcade Fire. But he’s also a founder of the instrumental group Bell Orchestre, and a composer of contemporary classical music. His latest project is called Quiet River of Dust, and it was at least partly inspired by the psychedelic folk/rock scene in Britain in the late 1960's. He and Quiet River of Dust perform some of the musical meditations live...

Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen Is In No Hurry

Jorma Kaukonen is a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, co-founder of Hot Tuna, a teacher, and a top-notch guitarist. But though he will always be associated with the rock music of the 1960's, he’s had a much longer and more enduring relationship with American blues and folk music, as anyone who’s heard his duo Hot Tuna or his own solo performances will know. Together with his wife, Vanessa, he owns and operates Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp, a center in Ohio for studying guitar and other...

Matthew Dear's Sticky and Decadent Electro-Thump

The composer, singer, and tinkerer, Matthew Dear, is a DJ, dance-music producer, experimental pop artist, and bandleader. He keeps four music-making aliases and has released five albums and two dozen EPs, along with multiple commissioned remixes. On this latest record, Bunny, his weird, wild, gothic, body-shaking, bouncy electronica seems sinister, yet soft; a mix of charming villain and heroic basement nerd. Matthew Dear displays his enhanced baritone as he performs some of this new music,...

Songwriter/Guitarist Jill Sobule Keeps Moving on 'Nostalgic' New Record

Denver-born songwriter, guitarist, singer, activist, and performer Jill Sobule, is possibly best-known because of her breakthrough hit of “I Kissed a Girl” (pre-dating Katy Perry by more a decade), and “Supermodel,” the anthem from the film Clueless. In her over seven albums, troubadour Jill has "mused on topics such as the death penalty, anorexia, shoplifting, reproduction, the French resistance movement, adolescence and the Christian right." She has also written music for TV and theater,...

Meredith Monk's 'Cellular Songs'

Vocalist and composer Meredith Monk is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose work involves music, dance, film, theatre, and now: biology meets anthropology. In her most recent large-scale work, Cellular Songs, musical forms evoke biological processes as layering, replication, division, and mutation in a “deeply affecting meditation on the nature of the biological cell as a metaphor for human society” (Financial Times). Through this work, Monk takes the microscopic unit of the cell, then...

Inventive Art-Rock by Ohmme

Chicago-based duo OHMME serves up fuzz and melodies, along with vocal hockets and harmonies, oh - and lots of time and feel changes. Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, the songwriters and multi-instrumentalists of Ohmme, are both trained classical pianists with ties to the collaborative Chicago improvising scene. They made a decision to stretch their comfort levels and go with the guitar for their noise-making, and have composed a hard-to-categorize batch of songs that lean toward the...

Sons of Kemet Make Jubiliant Magic

The Mercury Prize-nominated quartet Sons of Kemet is a super-group led by London-based Barbados-born saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings, and propelled by tuba player Theon Cross, and two drummers - Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick. (Kemet - the black land, is one of the ancient Egyptian names for Egypt.) The music is a dance party which may or may not touch upon techno, hip hop, grime, psychedelia, Caribbean music, and social commentary using jazz vocabulary. Their latest album, Your Queen...

Mountain Man Looks for Peace and Joy Through Vocal Harmonies

Mountain Man, the Appalachian a cappella trio, features the timeless sound of three voices singing in harmony, with an occasional strum of the guitar. They released an album in 2010, a trio of college friends who’d gotten used to singing together, but then went their separate ways after college. All three of them toured for a long time as Feist’s backup singers, and lately Amelia Meath, one third of the trio, has been keeping busy as half of Sylvan Esso. Meath, along with Alexandra...


Surreal Art-Rock By Saxophonist Donny McCaslin

Sax player and bandleader Donny McCaslin, who collaborated with David Bowie on Blackstar, freely mixes pop, jazz, electronica, and art-rock on his striking new album, Blow., which sees the band moving into sonic terrain that shows even more of Bowie’s impact. It’s some daring sax-led badassery - a blast of concentrated, powerful, and wonderful pop that rocks, with jazz tendencies - with lyrics and guest vocalists. He and his band play some of the new tunes in-studio. - Caryn Havlik Watch...

A Kind of Nordic Blues From Tord Gustavsen Trio

Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen and his trio, featuring new bassist Sigurd Hole and long-time collaborator, drummer Jarle Vespestad, combine together folk influences and church music for unhurried embraces of melody. Expressive and reflective, Gustavsen’s ‘Nordic blues’ slowly unfurls passages of delicate lyricism, with enough space for contemplation, and only the notes that are needed from all players in the trio. On the latest record, The Other Side, the trio effortlessly injects old...

Marissa Nadler Sharpens Her Elegant and Eerie Dream-Folk

Boston-based Marissa Nadler writes intimate, sweeping dreamy and eerie songs, that shimmer with gothic melancholy. On her latest record, For My Crimes, she’s enlisted accomplished musicians: harpist Mary Lattimore, drummer Patty Schemel (Hole), experimental multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin, and Eva Gardner plays additional bass. Guest vocals come from Angel Olsen, Kristin Kontrol (Dum Dum Girls), and Sharon Van Etten, and there is but one non-female collaborator - saxophonist Dana Colley...

Havana Pianist Harold López-Nussa's Exciting Cuban Jazz

Havana pianist, composer and bandleader Harold López-Nussa delivers a range of drama and the irresistible rhythms of Cuban music, fully integrating his conservatory training and love of the jazz continuum with his Cuban roots and soul. His wide mastery of styles includes a jazz album and documentary film with David Sánchez, Christian Scott and Stefon Harris, an album of compositions by revered Cuban classical guitarist, composer and conductor Leo Brouwer, and three years spent in the...

'Mutant Chamber Jazz' From Robbie Lee and Mary Halvorson

Mary Halvorson has established herself as one of the finest guitarists of her generation; Robbie Lee has established himself as a versatile flutist, sax player, and keyboardist. But if they’re not careful, they could wind up being known as the weird instrument team, because their new album together sports such oddities as a 19th-century harp guitar with 18 strings, the world’s smallest saxophone, and a Renaissance reed instrument called the chalumeau. The music of edited improvisations...

Richard Thompson OBE Is Still the Shreddingest

British singer, songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson OBE was part of the groundbreaking folk rock band Fairport Convention in the 1960's, made records with his then-wife, Linda Thompson, and has many fan-favourite solo records as well. Rolling Stone lists him as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time and the LA Times called him the greatest living songwriter after Bob Dylan. His new album is called 13 Rivers and it is largely an electric, band record. The folk-shredder and...


Singer/Songwriter Blaze Foley Burns Brightly From Beyond in Film

The Texas singer/songwriter/poet Blaze Foley never hit it big, although his song “If I Could Only Fly,” would later be covered by the great Merle Haggard. Actually, several of his songs have been covered by John Prine, Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, and others. But if you’ve never heard of him, don’t worry – the new film called Blaze will change that. The film recounts Foley’s stormy career – a career that ended when he was shot and killed in Austin at the age of 39. The film...