SoundcheckAuthor: WNYC Studios
23 Jul 2021


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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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    Quiet Hollers: Roots Music with Indie Swagger (Archives)

    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 like you." But they named one of the standout songs from their 2015 self-titled record "Aviator Shades," which might just mean they're going for something cool and even sexy. They share their tunes in live setting, in-studio.

  • Posted on 22 Jul 2021

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    Cellist Mabe Fratti Figures Out Her Driving Forces

    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 capable of drone, full feedback squeals, percussive plucky samples, and talks about how she is "addicted to improvisation." Her latest soundscapey, outer-worldly album is called Será Que Ahora Podremos Entendernos? (Will We be Able to Understand Each Other Now?) and deeply considers the structure and arranging of words and sounds. Mabe Fratti and her trio, sometimes with amps to 11, play remotely from Mexico City.

    Set list: “Nadie Sabe,” “Hacia el Vacio,” and “Inicio Vinculo Final” 

    Watch "Nadie Sabe": 

  • Posted on 19 Jul 2021

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    The Knights & Andy Akiho Play Steel Pan & Cake Pans (Archives)

    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 the element of surprise back into orchestral concerts. Sometimes that’s in the way they present the music, and sometimes it’s in the music itself, like their collaboration with composer Andy Akiho. Andy’s main instrument in the steel pan, something usually associated with calypso music and almost nothing else. Members of the Knights present a new recording of an Akiho septet, and they’ll also play live in-studio. (From the Archives, 2017.)

  • Posted on 15 Jul 2021

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    Mucca Pazza: Colorfully Clashing Marching Band Rock (Archives)

    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 archetype: Dressing up in ill-fitting, colorfully clashing uniforms, tall hats with speakers strapped on, and retro cheerleader costumes, the Chicago-based group -- which takes its name from the Italian phrase for "crazy cow" -- has perfected a live show full of visual mayhem and dance-ready music. That's even more the case as the group parades around the stage and amid the crowd, like a big celebratory circus.

    Mucca Pazza plays live, in-person on July 14 as part of Main Street Nights in Park Forest, IL.

    Pulling from soul and funk, psychedelic rock and punk, New Orleans brass bands and "Gypsy-reggaeton," Mucca Pazza's repertoire is a bit proggy (Yes, Weather Report, Rush) and perhaps hard to march to. Here, the band crams into the studio to play songs from its 2014 album, L.Y.A. 

    Hear more songs from the session on New Sounds.

    Set List:

    • "Subtle Frenzy"
    • "All Out Of Bubblegum"
    • "Rabbits And Trees"
    • "Lunchtrays And Goldfish"


    Greg Hirte, Violin
    Ronnie Kuller, Accordion
    Gary Kalar, Mandolin
    Charlie Malave, Guitar
    Maria Hernandez, Sax
    Dave Smith, Sax
    Airan Wright, Bari Sax/Clarinet
    Justin Almolsch, Trumpet
    Sam Johnson, Trumpet
    Nick Siegel, Trumpet
    Elanor Leskiw, Trombone
    Nick Broste, Trombone
    Tom Howe, Trombone
    Melissa McNeal, Trombone
    Tom Curry, Tuba
    Andy Deitrich, Percussion
    Larry Beers, Percussion
    Brent Roman, Percussion
    Rick Kubes, Percussion
    Daniel Villarreal, Percussion
    Sharon Lanza, Cheerleader
    Meghan Strell, Cheerleader

  • Posted on 12 Jul 2021

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    London-Based Sons of Kemet Uses Poetry to Go 'Black to the Future'

    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 Skinner and Eddie Hick. Their latest album Black to the Future features rappers and spoken word artists who contribute poetry that doubles as urgent social commentary, and Sons of Kemet artfully brings the fiery hot dance-jazz party to bear. The band offers these remote performances from London. 

    Set list: "Hustle," "Pick Up Your Burning Cross," "For the Culture"


    "Pick Up Your Burning Cross":

    "For the Culture":

  • Posted on 08 Jul 2021


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