rock music

Born into a working class family in Rochester, Louis Grammatico was just the right age to have his entire worldview warped by Elvis and The Beatles, and before long, he found himself drawn to rock music, first as a drummer, then as a vocalist.

Organist Ray Manzarek, a founding member of The Doors, died yesterday after a battle with cancer.

If Jim Morrison got the life-after-death rock sainthood that attaches itself to the genre’s fallen frontmen, Ray Manzarek became the torchbearer for the sometimes loved, sometimes despised, always compelling group that was both a pop success and a beguiling circus.

    After the release of their 2009 break-out album, Bitte Orca, the band, Dirty Projectors, became synonymous with layered, conceptual indie rock.

Thus far in their over-a-decade career, Dirty Projectors and David Longstreth - the bandleader and primary songwriter - haven’t done the same thing twice. Their most recent album, Swing Lo Magellan, was released last year by Domino - “It’s an album of songs, an album of songwriting,” says Longstreth. Previous albums have been conceptual - from 2005’s The Getty Address, an album about musician Don Henley, to the 2007 album Rise Above, which is all Black Flag songs as re-imagined from memory, to Mount Wittenberg Orca, an EP the band did with Bjork with songs about and sung to a pod of whales - but Swing Lo Magellan is a collection of songs on a record - not tied to one idea or story.

Dirty Projectors are playing a handful of shows in the WAMC listening area in the coming weeks. This Saturday, April 13th, they’ll be at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, on Monday, April 15th they’ll play Pearl Street in Northampton, MA, and on Thursday, April 18th they'll be at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT.

Tune for Today

Mar 22, 2013

Our Tune for Today is "Energy" by The Apples in Stereo from their 2006 album New Magnetic Wonder co-released by Simian Records, Yep Roc Records and Elephant 6.

Jefferson Starship

One of the giants of rock and roll history, Paul Kantner is celebrating his 72nd birthday the same way he has spent much of his life: on stage, performing the music of the group he helped found, Jefferson Airplane, and its successor, Jefferson Starship. So what if was longtime collaborator — collaborator underlined — Grace Slick who contended that rockers should have mandatory retirements after 50?

Frank Black

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Frank Black of the Pixies.

    On Tuesday December 4, 1956 at the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee - a few guys you may have heard of - Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash – had an impromptu jam session.

Million Dollar Quartet is the musical - written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott - that brings you inside the recording studio with those four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock 'n' roll band for one unforgettable night. 

      Before he was a stadium-packing megastar, Bruce Springsteen was an introvert, desperate to strike a balance between his nuanced songwriting and the heft of his backing band. Clinton Heylin’s revelatory biography, E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, chronicles the evolution and influence of Springsteen’s E Street Band as they rose from blue-collar New Jersey to the heights of rock stardom.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with singer-songwriter Joshua James, whose new album is From The Top Of Willamette Mountain.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Keith Elliot Greenberg, author of December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died, now out in paperback from Backbeat Books.

Lennon was cut down 32 years ago this week, the victim of a crazed fan who flew to New York from Hawaii and waited for the ex-Beatle outside his home at the Dakota, where Lennon and Yoko Ono were living a mostly quiet life with their young son.