December 9, 2002

NPR finds music gems

Running errands this past weekend I heard a snippet on NPR about the All Songs Considered 2 CD. There were a few songs played and discussed that really intrigued me. This meant Saturday night I spent nearly three hours digging through the All Songs Considered site listening to the archives. I found many obscure bands that I new really want to listen to more. I often have caught bits and pieces of ASC while in the car, but never can remember who it was that piqued my interest.

This site, like many others on NPR really augments the radio experience, bringing it into an explorative medium with memory, which has been my complaint with radio for years. Radio is transitory and fleeting. Remembering a song or discussion while changing lanes, answering the phone, draining the pasta, etc inhibits structured listening that augments aural memory.

I was once embarrassed that I picked up much of my new music finds from NPR, but with much of the commercial radio market serving up untalented pablum (or perhaps misproduced talent) I have an outlet. I have found John Mayer before many others I considered to be well plugged in. There is a depth of music talent and spectrum that is missing in the overly corporate regulated airways.

A few finds from this weekends digging are The Frames who gave up the over produced song and started their own record label. Metaphor, Damien Gough/Badly Drawn Boy reminding me of Prefab Sprout, and Lanterna. Lanterna is a rather unknown band that is from Champaign, Illinois and one of the members works as a sound engineer for an NPR station, unknown to the folks at ASC.

Following this thread to music that I really enjoy from a relatively unknown... It is rumored that The Walkingbirds have received air play on an NPR site in Pennsylvania. This is great news if it is true. I have really enjoyed Scott's music that he contributes to Walkingbirds. It seems that NPR finds the gems in the rough terrain that great music is forced to walk in by the corporations that produce musical mediocrity. I am happy that NPR has blessed the gem of Walkingbirds. This has been a good few days for finding music.

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