Upon the dissolution of his old, great New Jersey punk band, the DC Snipers, Dan McGee's two former band members went the way of Horatio Alger, with Eric Holmgren running the Daggerman label in the boom-bust heyday of late '00s garage punk, and Mike Sniper helming the wildly popular Captured Tracks imprint. McGee stayed the course with music, moving down to North Carolina and toughing it out with his follow-up group, Spider Bags. Following multiple lineup and label switcheroos, McGee has stripped the group down to a trio and made another fine rock 'n' roll record in Frozen Letter.
Christopher Denny's voice wasn't the easiest to place when he debuted with Age Old Hunger in 2007. His sensitive vibrato was likened to Roy Orbison's, but there's really quite a chasm between the Big O's ethereal elegance and Denny's more earthbound timbre and flickers of humor.
To music obsessives of a certain age, the current generation of listeners sometimes appears as lightweight grazers at the Internet smorgasbord who seem unwilling (possibly unable) to focus attention at depth on a single piece of music. The summary dismissal: The kids today, they can't handle all of what somebody like a Frank Zappa (or a band like King Crimson) throws at them.
There are a couple moments in "Where Mountains Pierce the Sky" — after nine minutes of acoustic guitar, fiddle and Native American flute, what could conceivably be called a black metal riff with a pop-punk bounce and flurry of twin lead guitars — that clue you into Roads to the North's M.O. (As if the first nine minutes weren't enough.) First, the key-change climax, which may not seem like much, but this tectonic shift is the sound of a mountain piercing the damn sky. Then there's the chugga-chugga breakdown, the enemy of all that is grim.
In late July and August, something remarkable happens in the air above Lake Murray in South Carolina. Around sunset, hundreds of thousands of purple martins come streaming toward the center of the lake from every direction, swirling together in a massive flock that darkens the sky. After an hour or so, they settle down on Bomb Island in the center of the lake.
This summer, All Things Considered has been taking a look at the changing lives of men in America. And that means talking about how the country educates boys.
In Berkeley, Calif., a private, non-profit middle school called the East Bay School for Boys is trying to reimagine what it means to build confident young men. In some ways, the school's different approach starts with directing, not stifling, boys' frenetic energy.
Fin Greenall is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. His band, Fink, has been releasing albums since 2006 and dropped its latest, Hard Believer, this month. He's also a songwriter for hire, who has lent his talents to tracks by John Legend and Amy Winehouse. But before any of this, he was a success in a very different world: dance music.
In the new novel Land of Love and Drowning, the Virgin Islands and the ocean around them make for a magical setting.
The book follows three generations of one family living through the modern history of the territory as it passes from Danish to American hands.
It's also laced with magical realism: One main character can sense people's arrival; another family only gives birth to men, generation after generation; and one woman has a hoofed leg instead of one of her feet.
Artist Willie Baronet is on a 24-city, 31-day trek from Seattle, Wash. to New York City looking for supplies.
He's been buying handmade signs from homeless people for an art project called We Are All Homeless. Those signs are little more than a peripheral blur for many people. Baronet wants us to slow down, read them and understand.
"It really started because of my discomfort, my guilt, the way I felt, whenever I encountered a homeless person on the corner," he tells NPR's Eric Westervelt.