Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.

Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.


New York, NY




Live performances and conversations in which artists talk about their work, their process, and themselves. Genre-blind but open-eared. Hosted by John Schaefer.






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


LNZNDRF (members of The National and Beirut) Is All About The Musical Journey

LNZNDRF is a band composed of Scott and Bryan Devendorf of The National, and Ben Lanz and Aaron Arntz of Beirut. They improvise their CAN-influenced drone-fuzz psych jams, then edit and structure them into long-form songs, with or without vocals. With pieces named for an isolated 1000 year-old tree and the changing climate and topography of the Xeric Steppe, or life partners against the world, the sounds might range from New Order’s non-dance floor hits with Krautrock undertones which may...


The Altin Gün Experience: Turkish-Folk Meets Psych-Funk-Rock

Amsterdam-based Altin Gün plays songs rooted in traditional Turkish folk tunes and Anatolian rock that have fallen down the rabbit hole of psychedelic funk, combining baglama/saz riffs, vocal melodies, fuzzy bass, wah-wah guitars and analogue organs. On their latest, Yol (Road), the band (whose name means “golden day”, sort of like a rent party involving gold pieces) has expanded its retro sound world to include dreamy 80’s synth-pop instruments like Omnichord, and vintage drum machines that...


Rokia Traoré: The Malian Singer Showcases 'Beautiful Africa' (Archives)

It's impossible not to be transported by Rokia Traoré's voice and unique adaptation of rock. The daughter of a diplomat, Traoré spent her childhood traveling to Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and France, and her travels exposed her to jazz, classical, Indian music and rock. Those early transformative experiences especially translated into her 2013 release, Beautiful Africa. Produced by John Parish (Sparklehorse, PJ Harvey), the guitarist and singer considers this album specifically as rock,...


Regal and Moody Brass-Led Songs By CARM

CARM is the work of CJ Camerieri, trumpeter and French horn player of the band yMusic, and the result of a nickname earned in the midwest. On CARM’s self-titled debut, his original songs toe and test the boundary lines between jazz, classical, pop, and the timeless sounds of Ennio Morricone. There are both wordless songs focused on the trumpet, and collaborations with vocalists/songwriters Sufjan Stevens, Shara Nova, and Justin Vernon, to name a few. CARM featuring Trever Hagen on...


Grandbrothers, Messing Around With Grand Pianos Since 2012

Minimalism, classical music, and electronic dance music all come together in the pulsating music of the German-Swiss duo Grandbrothers. Using live processing of the piano (the insides and all) as its primary source, the duo creates an irresistible groove under the influence of electronic dance music. The Dusseldorf-based duo Grandbrothers’ ("Messing around with grand pianos since 2012") latest record is All the Unknown, and they perform some of those songs, remotely. Set list: "Ezra Was...


Django Django's Hazy Art-Pop Is of a Modern Vintage

Django Django is a quartet of British art-psych rockers who make hazy jangly electro-art-pop that hearkens to earlier times – say the 1960’s 70’s, 80’s - and the sounds of today. Their songs veer from lo-fi bedroom creations, three-part harmony-driven sweet crooner delights, to space-rock flavored sexy sax solos that tease deep house music bangers. While some tunes may find many uses for vintage drum machines, lots of their songs also seem to head to the dance floor, leading parallel lives...


Las Palabras Finds The Words In Charming Minimalistic Tunes

Las Palabras is the plural-named solo project of Rafael Cohen, of the dance-punk band !!! (pronounced chk chk chk). Cohen, a Brooklyn-based musician by way of Washington DC (his band El Guapo was on Dischord Records), studied with Anthony Braxton in school, and lived in Mexico City until he was 10. In Las Palabras, (a Spanish phrase for “The Words”), he taps into his earliest musical memories of Guatemalan marimbas, Peruvian waltzes, Brazilian bossa nova, salsa, and reconciles these sonics...


Aaron Lee Tasjan Is What Folk-Glam Might Sound Like

Ohio-born, now Nashville-based Aaron Lee Tasjan makes up songs and plays guitar, mixing up folk, glam rock, psychedelia, and trenchant social commentary on his newest album, Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! Which may or may not be “autobiographical to a fault.” He takes a deep dive into classic pop music and glam rock, deflects comparisons to Marc Bolan and Syd Barrett and Robbie Basho ("But not Elliott Smith?" - Producer's note), and tells tales of opening for American country and blues-rocker Ray...


Songwriter Langhorne Slim Re-Discovers Creative Joy To Banish Anxiety, Addiction

After 15 years and 9 albums of roots-rockin’ goodness, the songs dried up for Langhorne Slim. But after dealing with addiction and an anxiety disorder, the music returned, and he captures it on the new LP Strawberry Mansion. He joins us to discuss the album and plays some of those songs for us. Set list: Panic Attack, Sugar Plum, Last One Standing, Morning Prayer Panic Attack: Sugar Plum: Last One Standing: Morning Prayer:


The Quartet ETHEL Champions New Music, At a Distance

The New York string quartet ETHEL has been championing new music from often surprising corners of the music world for years. For this edition of the podcast, ETHEL plays new works by Lebanese violinist and composer Layale Chaker, joyful and eyeball-singeing electronic music by composer Dan Friel, and a piece by and with rock star Todd Rundgren. Also, members of the quartet share an inside view of quartet life, and the challenges of making music and advancing creative projects while at a...


Scottish Songwriter James Yorkston: Having Fun and Trying New Things

Scottish singer, songwriter, and occasional novelist James Yorkston is a natural storyteller and a member of the Yorkston/Thorne/Khan group, a power trio of sarangi, double bass, and Yorkston on guitar. He’s also had a long-term friendship with Swedish music producer and bandleader, Karl-Jonas Winqvist, who recently suggested that he fly to Sweden and make a record. That album, The Wide Wide River, came together spontaneously over the course of a few days with members of The Second Hand...


Gary Clark Jr.: Reinvigorating The Blues (Archives)

Gary Clark Jr. got his first guitar for Christmas back when he was just 12 years old and the Austin, Texas native has been playing around his hometown ever since. But with a breakout performance at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2010, Clark Jr. netted not only a manager, but a recording deal with Warner Bros. In the time since Gary Clark Jr.'s 2012 major label debut, Blak And Blu, he's played with Mick Jagger and blues legend B.B. King for the President at the White House,...


Trumpeter Keyon Harrold's Vibrant Tunes Offer Strength & Courage (Archives)

Trumpeter, singer, and composer Keyon Harrold has played with Beyoncé, Common, Erykah Badu, Rihanna, Eminem, D’Angelo and the Vanguard, LL Cool J, and Maxwell, to name a few. He was also the trumpet player behind Don Cheadle in the Miles Davis biopic, Miles Ahead; yes – that was his sound you heard on the Grammy-winning soundtrack. On his 2017 album, The Mugician, (a play on musician & magician), the Ferguson, MO-raised, NYC-based Harrold returned to his own music, with the help of a few...


Metric: What Happens in Vegas... (From the Archives)

While writing the music for what would become Metric's 2015 record, Pagans in Vegas, front-woman Emily Haines traveled to Nicaragua and Spain, while guitarist Jimmy Shaw holed up at home in Toronto and fiddled with the knobs on synthesizers and pedals. The result of this mashed-up approach to songwriting is an album with tight, taut songwriting, but also the surface sheen of krautrock and 80s synth-rock idols. The band stops by the studio to play a few songs and talk about their latest...


The Gothic Tales of Dark Carnival Band, Dust Bowl Faeries

Goth cabaret band Dust Bowl Faeries have kept making music through The 2020 Plague. On their latest record, The Plague Garden, the songs draw from New Orleans Voodoo rituals, Eastern European music, traditional Yiddish folk song, and vaudeville. The band members play all sorts of instruments from accordion to singing saw, lapsteel guitar to ukulele and the band's leader, Faerie Queen Ryder Cooley, may have a checkered past of using instruments as weapons, nay – machines, like Woody Guthrie....


Surreal Art-Rock By Saxophonist Donny McCaslin (Archives)

Sax player and bandleader Donny McCaslin, who collaborated with David Bowie on Blackstar, freely mixes pop, jazz, electronica, and art-rock on his striking 2018 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 tunes in-studio. (From the Archives) - Caryn...


Tony Visconti Talks Four Decades of Bowie and 'Blackstar' (Archives)

The following interview was conducted days before David Bowie's death at 69. David Bowie was 19 when he met producer Tony Visconti. In 2016, Bowie released his experimental-jazz-flecked studio album, Blackstar. Visconti co-produced it, just as he had produced dozens of the rock icon's records over the course of their more than forty year creative relationship. And since Bowie himself had all but sworn off press, it often fell to Visconti to explicate the processes and the experiments that...


Best of Soundcheck 2020, Part 2

Revisit spectral electronic songs by L.A. producer Katie Gately (in-studio) and old-time American music from singer, fiddler, banjo player, and scholar Jake Blount, performed remotely. Also, listen to Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actress Fatoumata Diawara, recorded in the Before Times, with her full band, in-studio. Then, there's percussionist and songwriter Joachim Cooder and his arrangements of proto-country tunes by Uncle Dave Macon, played on electric thumb piano, joined by...


Best of Soundcheck 2020, Part 1

Listen to Brooklyn Afrobeat band Antibalas, Dublin drone folksters Lankum, folk songwriter Anjimile, Kazakh/British violinist Galya Bisengalieva, and John Darnielle (Mountain Goats.) Hear some of the best performances from the Soundcheck Podcast series from 2020, despite 2020. From the WNYC Studio, listen to the mighty and relentless groove of Brooklyn's funky Afrobeat band Antibalas, and the dark drone of "Dublin folk miscreants," Lankum. From elsewhere, there's also a tune from John...


Stewart Goodyear: A 'Nutcracker' for Flying Fingers (From the Archives)

The phenomenal pianist Stewart Goodyear, known as both an improviser and composer, famously played all 32 of Beethoven's sonatas in one sitting, when he turned 32 years old. In predictably jaw-dropping fashion, Stewart then turned his electrifying powers to Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker,' with his own transcription of the complete ballet. (The album, released in October 2015, was chosen by the New York Times as one of the best classical music recordings of 2015.) He has since recorded Ravel...