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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


The Wombats and Their Guitar-Drenched Pop Take Wing

The Liverpool-born trio known as The Wombats make catchy, guitar-saturated pop with riffs on twisted love songs, or detail-rich bad choices. With all members, Dan, Tord, & Murph now residing in three different locations: London, Oslo and Los Angeles, their latest record, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, due out on February 9, was largely written in that modern-day long-distance fashion, with in-person sessions in Oslo. Fittingly, the band will be supporting The Pixies and Weezer on...

Duration: 00:19:36

String Quintet Sybarite5, In-Studio

Since their inception over a decade ago, the string quintet Sybarite5 has built a global audience, from Lincoln Center to The Cutting Room and the Museum of Sex; from the Apple Store to the Library of Congress, and a music salon-like residency at NYC’s the cell, along with multiple international and national tours, residencies, and festivals. The five players (Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violins; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass) have made it their...

Duration: 00:34:38

Richmond Duo Lean Year's Slowcore Minimalist Folk, In-Studio

Dreamy slow-core folk duo Lean Year is Virginia-based singer Emilie Rex and filmmaker/musician Rick Alverson, along with contributions from Chicago musician/engineer Erik Hall and guest artists. Their musical palette is one of soft-spoken but direct vocals, a Telecaster guitar dredging through peaceful waters, baritone saxophone and clarinet parts, Rhodes, tape-warps, and waves of strings. Lean Year joins us in-studio to play some of these cutting and quiet minimalist folk tunes. Watch...

Duration: 00:28:45

Bette Smith: Muscular Soul at a Fever Pitch

Bette Smith was born and raised in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn – but on her debut LP called Jetlagger she draws on the gospel she sang in the church and the soul music she heard on the block on hot summer nights music growing up on the corner of Nostrand and Fulton. On the new record, the tunes range from originals to covers of Staples Singers and Isaac Hayes classics, showcasing Smith’s deep, confident, and powerful voice. Amidst rugged, muscular arrangements that hearken to the timeless sounds of...

Duration: 00:26:21

Electro Soul-Folk Duo Overcoats, Live In-Studio

Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell call themselves Overcoats and make songs that perhaps wear a shiny electronic coat, but underneath, they’re wearing a simple, often old-fashioned weave of vocal harmonies. To describe the music as a mix of folk, pop, & electronic elements would be in the ball park, but their tunes are also a little bit country, and a little bit soulful. They also spent time in Dublin, allowing for traditional Irish influences to seep into their process as well. On their 2017...

Duration: 00:29:11

LNZNDRF: Krautrock Meets Psych Fuzz, Live in the Greene Space

LNZNDRF is a band composed of Scott and Bryan Devendorf (The National), and Ben Lanz (Beirut, The National, Sufjan Stevens). Their CAN-influenced drone-fuzz psych jams are improvised, then structured into long-form songs, with or without vocals. LNZNDRF plays some of these expansive musical journeys, in tie-dyed jumpsuits, live in the Greene Space. The eight song record, also called LNZNDRF, was recorded in a church in Cincinnati over two-and-a-half days, and imbued with a vital spirit...

Duration: 00:28:20

John Doe (Frontman of X): An L.A. Punk Plays Tough Folk

John Doe is a musician, actor, and author, and one of the founding fathers of the L.A. punk scene with his band X, which continues to this day. He has co-authored and collected first-hand accounts of L.A. punk experiences in the book, Under the Big Black Sun. John Doe has also done country and folk music with his other band The Knitters, and released ten solo albums. The last is called The Westerner, which came out last year, and John Doe is back in our studio today to play some of his solo...

Duration: 00:35:15

Banjo Innovators Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, In-Studio

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have each – in their own separate ways during their separate careers – been reinventing the sound of the banjo. Bela has drawn on jazz, classical, rock, folk, and world music; Abigail is fluent in Mandarin and has used her voice and banjo to draw connections between Chinese and Appalachian music. Together, though, this husband and wife team has released a couple of albums that really go for the old fashioned front porch sound. Their latest record is Echo In...

Duration: 00:28:50

Another Side of Cindy Wilson of The B52's

Hear psychedelic future-pop from Cindy Wilson, co-founder of the party band, The B52's. Wilson returned to her roots to fashion a new Athens, GA-based band, and epxlore a different side of her vocal talents. She and her band have just released Change, and that it is. The music incorporates the sounds of synths & strings, and touches upon disco, while also looking in an electronic direction. They’ll play some of the songs, in-studio. Watch the in-studio session:

Duration: 00:28:17

The Weather Station Delivers Tumbling Short Stories As Songs, In-Studio

The Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist/and actor Tamara Lindeman has been making records under the name The Weather Station for just over a decade. Her latest album, also called The Weather Station, is essentially a collection of very short stories; although they’re often presented in big, expansive musical settings. “I wanted to make a rock and roll record,” Lindeman explains, “but one that sounded how I wanted it to sound, which of course is nothing like rock and roll.” The Weather...

Duration: 00:30:29

Xylouris White, Lute Meets Drums, In-Studio

Watch Xylouris White's session via Facebook Live: Lute-based and percussion driven, the rugged duo of Cretan lauto player George Xylouris (scion of one of Greece’s most revered musical families) and Australian drummer Jim White (he’s played with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, PJ Harvey, Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, and Dirty Three) perform groove-based, improvisatory music that is both grounded in Cretan tradition- the island has a great history of singers, lyra players, and other folk musicians –...

Duration: 00:28:30

New Music by Guitar Band Luna, Sometimes With Words, In-Studio

See Luna's session live via Facebook: Hear guitar-drenched dream pop by Luna, the New-York-City-based band, now scattered around the country. Yes, that Luna. The one that was “formed in 1991 by Dean Wareham after the breakup of Galaxie 500, with Stanley Demeski of The Feelies and Justin Harwood of The Chills. Guitarist Sean Eden joined in 1994, Lee Wall replaced Demeski on drums in 1997, and Britta Phillips replaced Harwood on bass in 2000.” (Lineup chronology from their Bandcamp page.)...

Duration: 00:29:54

French Composer Colleen Finds A New All-Electronics-Based Sound

Watch Colleen's session via Facebook Live: Colleen is the alias of French multi-instrumentalist Cécile Schott, who has been living and working in Spain for the past few years. Her musical ax of choice was a Baroque instrument - the viola da gamba (as well as modified music boxes, melodica, classical guitar, clarinet, toy gamelan frame drum, piano, and wind chimes) electronically looped and layered; on later records, she added her voice. But on her latest release, she’s completely put away...

Duration: 00:38:18

Balmorhea's Clear-Eyed Reflective Instrumental Minimalism

Watch Balmorhea's live session: The Austin-based minimalist instrumental ensemble Balmorhea uses acoustic instruments to create atmospheric soundscapes. Comparisons to Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed You! Black Emperor might not be too far off, but where those bands tend to build, swell and fade, Balmorhea maintains a “relaxed, clear-eyed sense of reflection” throughout their most recent, Clear Language, their first new record in six years. With strings, keyboards, guitars, vibraphone,...

Duration: 00:29:08

Sweet Guitar-Driven Power Pop By Eyelids

Watch the full Facebook Live Session: Portland, OR collective Eyelids play "lopsided" rock with a great jangly-buzzy guitar sound – kind of a classic indie rock sound – and why not: the band’s members have also played in heavyweight bands like The Decemberists and Guided By Voices. Eyelids have recently released their second record, OR, produced by REM’s Peter Buck, and they’ll play some of this sweet, melody-laden power pop in our studio. RIYL: The Decemberists, Guided by Voices, Elliott...

Duration: 00:31:59

Beirut-based Band Mashrou' Leila Courts Controversy

Watch via Facebook Live: Beirut-based indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila tackles taboo topics - political corruption, LGBT rights, religion, and Middle Eastern feminism. Their catchy and danceable Arabic pop songs are full of guitars, drum machines, samples, violin and frontman Hamed Sinno’s sensual voice. In the years since they first formed in 2008, they’ve become both enormously popular and enormously controversial, even banned in some countries. Mashrou’ Leila’s latest record, Ibn el Leil -...

Duration: 00:27:21

Nashville-Based Lilly Hiatt Questions Her Demons

Watch Lilly Hiatt's instudio: Nashville-based songwriter Lilly Hiatt leans more garage-rock than saloon songstress, especially on her latest record, Trinity Lane, where she has summoned the crunchy guitars of 90’s bands like the Pixies, the Breeders, & Pearl Jam, as she questions her demons in a fearless, blunt and sober way. There’s also Americana and Southern rock in her punk-informed country, (which a fan styled “punktry”) and her songs both drip with heart and shine with the power of...

Duration: 00:24:53

Australian Singer-Songwriter Jen Cloher's Beautiful & Sad Songs Tell Brutal Truths

Here's Jen Cloher's session live: Melbourne, Australia-based label boss and band-leader, the singer/songwriter Jen Cloher scrapes back some skin and exposes raw truths on her latest record, her third, a self-titled affair. In making music which she describes as “intimate, but not too precious,” Cloher erupts in brutal reflection in “Forgot Myself” as she takes up the topic being left at home while her higher-profile partner (Courtney Barnett) is out on tour. Then there’s the complicated...

Duration: 00:33:06

Manchester Rock Band elbow Makes Joyful, Emotive, Orchestral Songs

The rock band elbow (small "e") hails from greater Manchester and makes subtle, sensitive, anthemic, joyful music, sometimes augmented with the strings of the Hallé Orchestra, (which they did not bring with them.) Guy Garvey’s vocals and wordplay are perched atop a well-orchestrated but never overwrought blend of melodic bass, guitar and piano riffs, and pulsing percussion, all the while squeezing out a wide range of bottled emotions onto expansive life paintings. They’ve referred to...

Duration: 00:35:30

Combo Chimbita Marries Psychedelic Funk and Afro-Caribbean-Latinx Trance

Combo Chimbita, a quartet of first-generation New Yorkers from Colombia, have tapped into the gritty rawness of New York punk as well as the Afro-futurism of Sun Ra, as they marry musical styles from Latin America and the Caribbean along the way with music that is sure to incite dance parties. Grittily channeling the ancestors, the band “draws from traditional music of everywhere,” according to guitarist Niño Lento. Although their backgrounds are in heavy rock, metal, and psychedelic funk...

Duration: 00:29:46

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