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


Natalie Prass Serves Up Groove, Romance and Sparkle

Richmond-based musician Natalie Prass is a fighter. Her forthcoming record, The Future And The Past, has transformed resistance and personal heartache into defiant, groove-laden romantic anthems. With a little dash of disco, and a little bit of soul, this record might look to Janelle Monae & Prince but also further back to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye for its sound. That said, hear tender, big-hearted, shake-your-groove-thing songs by Natalie Prass, in-studio. Watch the session here:


Red Baraat Spreads Defiantly Joyful Bhangra Music

On the face of it, Red Baraat is a dhol-driven big band full of brass instruments and drums (both the dhol and drumset keep the groove going), rooted in Bhangra music (Punjabi dance music), who bring a party with them wherever they go. On their latest record, Sound the People, they combine the sounds of South Asian diaspora, along with jazz, hip-hop, psychedelia, and a bit of Caribbean music, to draw attention to issues of migration, colonialism, and our current political climate. The record...


Single-Minded And Direct Songs By Joan Armatrading

The British guitarist and singer, Joan Armatrading, has had a long and award-winning relationship with the British folk scene, has had a strong jazz influence in a lot of her early hits, topped the American charts with a new wave song in 1980, and just a few years ago became the first British woman to debut at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart. Joan Armatrading has just released her 21 album, called Not Too Far Away, and she’s here in the studio to play some of it for us. Watch here:


Vintage Pop by England's Ruen Brothers

Meet the Ruen Brothers, Rupert and Henry, who are actually brothers from the Northern England town of Scunthorpe. Their sound conjures Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and music on the radio from a bygone era. They'll play some of this vintage pop with classic country twang in-studio. Watch here:


The Powerful, Deep Soul of Singer Deva Mahal

Meet the impressive R&B songstress Deva Mahal, who claims her parents as inspiration: blues legend Taj Mahal and dancer/artist/teacher Inshirah Mahal. Her latest record, Run Deep is collection of modern and seductive, rich and rocking tunes that make for a grand tour of soul, blues and classic rock. She and her band take us for a ride on powerhouse stompers and sumptuous ballads, in-studio. Watch:


This Is The Kit: Fuzzed-Out Psych-Folk With Sexy Sax, In-Studio

This Is The Kit is English singer and songwriter Kate Stables (lately based in Paris or Bristol) and whoever joins her. Under that nom de plume, she's been releasing since the 00's. Her latest album, called Moonshine Freeze, has been nominated for the prestigious Ivor Novello Award in the UK. This Is the Kit plays some of these songs which range from ghost stories, clapping music, sax solos and birdsong in-studio.


Jazz-Looking Chamber Music by Joshua Redman and Brooklyn Rider

Hear unpredictable and graceful melodic lines traded by sax and strings, as tenor sax superstar Joshua Redman and string quartet Brooklyn Rider, along with all-star rhythm section of Scott Colley (bass) and Satoshi Takeishi (percussion) take over the studio. It's chamber music with swoops, dives, groove and bite in original and newly-arranged music with one foot in the jazz world where sharps are optional. Look for these pieces to appear on a forthcoming record due in fall 2018 via...


Producer and Songwriter Neko Case Unleashes 'Hell-On'

Resisting gender-specific compliments in print since 2014 (and probably before), producer, songwriter, badass, and musician Neko Case is about to unleash her latest record, Hell-On, into the world. She’s written songs that traverse a lot of ground: folk ballads, radio pop, rock anthems, a little bit of goth moodiness, honky-tonk piano, and swagger of all kinds. Her exceptional and distinct voice, “like garotting wire,” delivers wordplay of the highest order on this gorgeous, daring,...


Rival Consoles' Thoughtful and 'Humanised' Electronica

Hear unraveling minimalist electronica with restrained ambient feels from Rival Consoles, aka London-based producer Ryan Lee West, whose music combines warm and human analogue-heavy synthesizers, along with acoustic and electric instruments. On his latest, Persona, which might have taken inspiration from the shoegaze band, Slowdive, West strikes a delicate balance between music for home listening and larger spaces. He’ll perform this shifting palette of drones, melodies, and effects,...


Literary Chamber Rock Quintet Oracle Hysterical Adapts Greek Tragedy

Part book club, part composer collective, Oracle Hysterical’s works occupy the fluid space between classically-inclined song-cycle and art-rock concept album. The group’s songs take on great literary with text sources from Grimms’ Fairy Tales to Greek tragedy, and falsely-attributed Shakespeare, all in modern settings that might be chamber rock, baroque folk or (staff favorite:) “Alt-classical.” The chamber band’s latest is "Hecuba," a “savage story of revenge in which the disgraced queen...


Vijay Iyer Sextet's Hard-Driving Chamber-Funk

Pianist, composer, MacArthur Fellow, and bandleader Vijay Iyer has done imaginative re-workings of pop songs, explored the connections between jazz and the music of India, and veered into the classical realm as well, with electronics. His most recent album, Far From Over, features an all-star lineup of virtuoso jazz improvisers: horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim alongside rhythm partners Stephan Crump and Tyshawn Sorey. And the rhythms under some these tunes have come...


Daring Ambition of The Magnetic Fields: One Song For Every Year of a Life

Watch Live via Facebook: Some folks get a fast car, a tattoo, or a drum set for their mid-life crisis. However, New York singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Stephin Merritt, songwriter of The Magnetic Fields recorded 50 Song Memoir: a five-disc, two-and-a-half-hour audio autobiography, featuring one song for each year of his life from conception to teenage years; early explorations of synthesizer to when he founded The Magnetic Fields, and made 69 Love Songs; all the way up to...


Tuareg Guitarist Bombino's Irresistible Grooves Bring Folks Together

Bombino, aka guitarist and songwriter Omara Moctar, comes from the nomadic Tuareg people of North Africa. On his latest record, Deran, recorded close to his native Niger in the southern Sahara, he extends best wishes for peace and celebrates his desert home. Bombino’s guitar-based “desert blues” or “desert groove” tunes might have that camel gait-like loping rhythmic feel, or even Bombino’s own style of ‘Tuareggae’ - and are sung in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg. He plays some of...


The California Honeydrops Kick It Old School

The California Honeydrops play stripped-down rootsy music that might sound like country-blues, Southern soul, New Orleans second-line, and R&B - all at once old school and really old-school. Their origin story is inspirational – Polish-born Lech Wierzynski (vocalist, guitarist and trumpeter) and drummer Ben Malament got their start busking in an Oakland subway station, and 10 years later, have added members, gotten tighter, and played all kinds of major tours, opening for Bonnie Raitt,...


Eleanor Friedberger Is (Goth) Dancing (Mostly) on Her Own

Eleanor Friedberger, best known as one half of the indie rock duo The Fiery Furnaces, has recently shifted her musical landscape, swapping out live instruments in favor of drum programming and synths for a sound that she can create mostly on her own. (Part of her desire to be more self-reliant, in the wake of the 2016 election.) On her latest record, Rebound, she channels the sound and energy of an experience at a very smoky 80’s goth disco in Athens where they do a “chicken dance.”...


Speedy Ortiz Delivers Pop Stingers For the Times

The latest music from American pop band Speedy Ortiz, ‘Twerp Verse,’ speaks smartly to political and social situations of the present from a feminist perspective of truth-telling and is designed, on purpose, to make us uncomfortable lyrically and musically. With songs that airdrop aggressive, unpredictable chord progressions and disorienting rhythms behind enemy lines, this record is music for popping out from the cover of safety, armed with teeth and claws. Speedy Ortiz plays some of...


Okkervil River's Will Sheff Previews Songs From ‘In The Rainbow Rain’

Okkervil River excels at wistful, melancholy, intimate songs, yet there’s possibly an undercurrent of happiness to these latest creations on the forthcoming record, In The Rainbow Rain. Somehow singer/songwriter Will Sheff both reflects on this new world we live in and celebrates being alive. The new songs are inviting and soothing, with mellow Motown-style arrangements, controlled electric guitar bursts, ambient background vocals and 80’s-sounding production elements. Okkervil River’s...


Fatoumata Diawara: A Traditionalist Who Needs to Experiment

Some time ago, Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actress Fatoumata Diawara did a wonderful and daring thing – inspired by her friend Rokia Traore, she bought an acoustic guitar, and taught herself to play it. Since then, Fatoumata has put out her debut record, Fatou, collaborated with Damon Albarn's Africa Express, and contributed vocals to albums by Cheikh Lô, AfroCubism, and Orchestra Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Her forthcoming record, Fenfo translates as “Something to Say”, and she’s...


Party With The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Swinging Cajun-Style

Louisiana-based Lost Bayou Ramblers are a swinging punkass party band who mix Cajun melodies on fiddle, accordion, guitars, and some electric sounds. They just won a regional roots Grammy for their record, Kalenda, but they’ve also done an original score for ROUS, a film about Nutria Rats and Louisiana’s coastal land loss, and contributed to the score for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Fresh from the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans, the Lost Bayou Ramblers join us in the...


Anna & Elizabeth Transform Old Traditions of Mountain Music

As bands go, Anna & Elizabeth have quite the origin story. Anna & Elizabeth began thanks to a broke down car and a shared desire to explore the traditions of Appalachian roots music. The immersive, intimate combination of Elizabeth LaPrelle’s deep mountain voice (from Virginia), Anna Roberts-Gevalt’s modern one (from Vermont), their sweet harmonies, and minimalist arrangements is striking. The duo’s latest record, The Invisible Comes to Us, co-produced by Anna and Benjamin Lazar Davis...