SoundcheckAuthor: WNYC Studios
18 Feb 2019


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

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    Mandolin Orange's Bittersweet Pickin' Tunes

    Mandolin Orange is the folk duo of North Carolinians Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, who blend traditional Americana roots music – folk, country, bluegrass – in their warm and intimate, bittersweet acoustic songs. They met at a bluegrass jam, and have been known to wield mandolin, guitar, banjo and violin between them, with Marlin mostly doing lead vocals and Frantz, who thinks of herself as a harmony singer. Mandolin Orange sometimes expands to five instrumentalists for the live shows, but still embrace their “songwriter pickin’ music” (their Twitter words.) The expanded tour version of Mandolin Orange joins us in-studio to play new tunes from Tides of a Teardrop. - Caryn Havlik

    Watch the session here:
    (Set list: "Golden Embers", "The Wolves", "Late September")


  • Posted on 18 Feb 2019

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    Hypnotic Brass Leads The Way

    The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is a musically free-ranging band of seven brothers from the south side of Chicago. Their music draws from funk, funky jazz, Afrobeat, hip hop, rock, reggae, and R&B, and they’ve performed with Tony Allen, Wu Tang Clan, De La Soul, Prince, Femi Kuti, Gorillaz, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), and the B52's, to name a few. Growing up, the members of HBE were raised with music as a constant, as they are the sons of the late jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran (Earth, Wind, and Fire, Sun Ra Arkestra). Now based between Brooklyn and Chicago, the full party of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble plays some tunes in-studio, in advance of their Blue Note residency (Jan. 31-Feb. 3). - Caryn Havlik

    Set list: 

    • "Menage"
    • "War"
    • "ACF"

    Watch the session here: 



  • Posted on 14 Feb 2019

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    The Custom-Built Pop Experiments of Buke and Gase

    Buke and Gase is an experimental pop duo that’s collaborated with everyone from The National to the Blue Man Group. The band is named after two of the instruments they’ve invented, a baritone ukulele and hybrid guitar-bass. Their songs are tasty slices of angular melodies and problem-solving off-kilter percussion that are creatively stacked like a magical, warped, and playful sandwich of aural goodness. And on their new album, Scholars, Buke and Gase offers a sound more rooted in electronics – especially in a device called the ARX that they also developed. The band of two musical Aarons with different spellings joins us to showcase their unique creations. -Caryn Havlik

    Watch the session here: 


  • Posted on 11 Feb 2019

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    Rubblebucket Parties Like Their Hearts Hurt

    Dancey and dreamy, Brooklyn-based Rubblebucket makes psychedelic and jazz-conscious pop swimming in a strange and lovely mix of celebration and melancholy. Their latest record, Sun Machine, is a celebration of the connection between trumpeter Alex Toth, and saxophone player Kalmia Traver, The two have survived momentous life-challenges like cancer and alcoholism, and their romantic uncoupling, and still managed to transform their musical partnership in a positive way. The expanded version of Rubblebucket performs these latest songs in-studio. - Caryn Havlik

    Watch the session here (Set list: "Fruity", "Lemonade", "What Life Is"):



  • Posted on 07 Feb 2019

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    India.Arie Spreads Love and Music

    Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer India.Arie has returned to spread love and joy through music and words. Her latest album, due out in February, is a collection of enchanting and soulful electro-acoustic pop songs, full of smart observations, sensuality, spirituality, and yes, empowerment. On one tune, “That Magic,” she lovingly describes the connection between two people that we can all hope for. Her latest single, “What If,” begins with the memorable lines, “what if Martin didn’t stand up/what if Rosa didn’t sit down.” The title track, “Worthy,” is a mostly acoustic, yet powerful assurance, that every one of us is worthy of love, life, and “saying no when something don’t feel right”. Wordsmith and songstress India.Arie joins us to play songs from her forthcoming record, Worthy– Caryn Havlik

    Set List: 

    • What If
    • In Good Trouble
    • Worthy


  • Posted on 04 Feb 2019


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