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Episodes of Soundcheck

Some songs you love because they communicate deep thoughts or powerful emotions. And sometimes you just want a ridiculously catchy hook. BRONCHO is certainly capable of the former, but in the case of its song "Class Historian," it wouldn’t matt
Tennessee-based songwriter Amythyst Kiah loves both roots and alternative music; and her songs often clothe dark subjects - suicide of a loved one, a descent into alcoholism - in bluesy stomps and ecstatic rock. The singer, guitarist, banjo pla
The Brooklyn band Golden Suits is led by singer and guitarist Fred Nicolaus. You may know him from his earlier band Department of Eagles, or perhaps his duo with Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen. Fred released the first Golden Suits album in 2013 a
Guitarist and singer Becca Steven's resume includes stints with the adventurous jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding, electrifying trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, and hip-hop inflected jazz vocalist José James. She’s part of New York’s new music scene
The late American pianist, composer, and “Legend of Jazz,” Randy Weston, stretched across history to forge connections to an African past, as he had done for decades. On his 2017 recording, The African Nubian Suite, Weston took as his subject m
Genius Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain, is one of the world’s exceptional percussionists. The son of Ustad Alla Rahka, Zakir is also a composer, improviser, and a great communicator in Persian, Gujarati, German, English, as well as in jazz, A
Pom Pom Squad is more than a punk band. Led by singer and songwriter Mia Berrin, their music is a romp through many musical styles: a seemingly disparate collection of punk and grunge, Motown, crooner jazz, and wall-of-sound 60’s pop all built
Since his 2007 breakthrough album, Spiderman Of The Rings, Dan Deacon has assumed numerous roles. He’s a staple of Baltimore's Wham City art collective - and a classically-trained composer and film scorer. On stage, he’s a mad scientist tinkeri
Rachika Nayar is a composer and producer who uses her electric guitar as a sound source, creating rich layers of sound in real time. She then "mutilates" and "contorts" these sounds, processing them, arranging them into the finished pieces on h
It took Aoife O’Donovan a decade to record her debut as a solo artist, the 2013 album Fossils. But it’s not like she was sitting around twiddling her thumbs prior to that. She was busy playing with the high energy bluegrass band Crooked Still,
Natalia Lafourcade had writer's block. Her 2009 album Hu Hu Hu had been a critical and commercial triumph, nominated for Grammy awards and hailed as one of the best records of the decade by tastemakers in the Latin music world. How to move forw
"Warm and melodic" aren't exactly words the members of Publicist UK are used to hearing. Each of them has worked in some heavy, aggressive bands on the metal and hardcore scenes. But together, in this new underground supergroup, they have creat
Singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson documents the turbulent and heavy stuff of life with warmth and fierce intensity. The multi-instrumentalist offers an album, “written as a sort of purge and a prayer,” of dynamic contrasts, clasping hands with
The jazz drummer Jaimeo Brown formed his trio Transcendence back in 2013 – their first album, also called Transcendence, was built around samples of old southern singing married to an inventive mix of blues, jazz, and distant echoes of hip hop.
Forró In The Dark's music is meant to be played under the cover of night. The band is named after forró, a type of Northeastern Brazil dance music. The New York based Brazilian ex-pats give traditional music an update with jazz, rock, psychedel
Olivia Chaney is part of the latest wave of British folk music, although her definition of “folk” is as likely to include Baroque music, Norwegian jazz, and original songs as it is old murder ballads or sea shanties. Chaney plays an assortment
In Appalachia, a "holler" is a colloquialism for a valley or "hollow." So not only is the band name Quiet Hollers a fun oxymoron, it's also a sly shout-out to the band's roots in Kentucky. The group says it makes "weird, sad music for weirdos l
Guatemalan-born, Mexico City-based cellist, singer, producer, and songwriter Mabe Fratti creates music using electronics, voice, and cello, and the sounds of nature. Fratti has a mighty array of effects, turning the cello into sound source capa
The Brooklyn-based orchestral collective known as The Knights began as an informal gathering of friends to play late night chamber music. Founded by brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen, the Knights have grown into a variable ensemble that brings t
If only there were marching bands as wild and hilarious as Mucca Pazza when we were in high school. A sprawling ensemble numbering somewhere between 25 and 30 members, Mucca Pazza leans into the weirder, and funkier side of that band geek arche
British quartet Sons of Kemet blends jazz, Afrofuturism, electronic music, hip hop and Caribbean rhythms in their music and is composed of sax/clarinet player and composer Shabaka Hutchings, tuba player Theon Cross, and two drummers - Tom Skinn
The Swedish psych-prog rock band Dungen has been making records since 2001, but 2016's Häxan, ("The Witch,") is their first all-instrumental record. It's full of vignettes from their original score to the 1926 silent film The Adventures of Prin
The English outfit called Public Service Broadcasting builds its records around archival and documentary sounds, then layering in live drums, guitar, banjo, bass flugelhorn, and electronics. Their 2015 album The Race For Space was full of voice
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
The Argentine singer/songwriter and brilliant producer of experimental off-kilter folk-tronica, Juana Molina, has a former life as a well-known comic actress. She embraces that playful humor and explores ancient folk legends involving bone on h
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