Monday, March 23 2014: Born in Memphis, Tenn., Alex Chilton was barely into his teens when he joined the band The Box Tops and scored a major hit with the song “The Letter.” By the end of the 1960s, Chilton had tired of teen fame and sought out a more mature sound in Big Star, a band that never achieved more than cult status but was remarkable for its memorable songs, many of them influenced by the sounds of British Invasion bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. A new book, A Man Called Destruction chronicles Chilton’s tragically erratic musical career and his mercurial behavior. We’ll hear music from Chilton with The Box Tops, Big Star, and as a solo artist, plus a 1987 song by The Replacements which celebrates the cult hero. Plus selections from I Am The Cosmos, the posthumous release from Chilton’s Big Star songwriting partner Chris Bell.
Tuesday, March 25 2014: Jesse Nolan, singer-songwriter and producer, is the mastermind behind Caught A Ghost, a new project with actress/singer Tessa Thompson that started as a casual friendship and blossomed into an artistic endeavor that was something more. Caught A Ghost’s highly anticipated debut album, Human Nature, is a perfect capture of what the duo love - "a modern take on blue eyed soul, the tracks feature elements of classic motown and stax volt compositions with influences from dubstep, 90s rap, and contemporary electronica." We’ll hear from that release on this evening’s show as well as from Owls. Pioneers of the original "emo revival," Owls are back with their long-awaited sophomore effort Two. It’s taken thirteen years for the band comprised of the Kinsella brothers (Mike of Owen and Tim of Joan of Arc), Victor Villareal and Sam Zurick to reunite and create another math rock masterpiece.
Wednesday, March 26 2014: Out Among The Stars is a new album from the late Johnny Cash. Recorded in 1984, when the country music legend’s sales were at an all-time-low, the album was shelved by his record company and Cash soon changed labels. He was still a decade away from making his comeback recordings with Rick Rubin for the American label, but these newly unearthed recordings find Cash in fine form as he covers Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam, Hank Snow, and duets with June Carter Cash as well as lifelong friend Waylon Jennings. Listen for selections from that release as well as from Portland, Ore, the upcoming release by Hillstomp. The blues and roots-based duo from Oregon makes use of car parts, buckets, slide guitar, and familiar rhythms in its music and on this salute to its hometown. The record is the band’s first album in four years and we’ll hear from it on tonight’s Strange Currency.
Thursday, March 27 2014: So Happy It’s Sad is the second full-length album by Atlanta Georgia’s Spirits and the Melchizedek Children. Led by singer and main songwriter Jason Elliott, the band’s sweeping, symphonic rock style has garnered the group comparisons to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Ros. We’ll hear from that on this evening’s show as well as from Turkuaz. Turkuaz is a 9-piece power funk army hailing from Brooklyn, NY whose modern twist on the classic sound has placed them at the forefront of a new funk evolution. With the obvious influences—Parliament, Sly & The Family Stone, Rick James and Earth, Wind & Fire—as the basis for a recipe, Turkuaz adds healthy doses of jittery, world-pop-dance groove—reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads—and a passion for Motown and R&B into the mix, resulting in a refreshing twist on the funk idiom that could be described as part freight train and part tyrannosaurus rex. The band’s new record is Future 86.
Friday, March 28 2014: Teeth Dreams is the first album in four years from Brooklyn, New York’s The Hold Steady. Led by gifted songwriter Craig Finn, the band blends elements of stadium rock heard in the works of Bruce Springsteen with the gritty, teeth-gnashing angst of The Clash. Teeth Dreams is already being met with enthusiastic critical praise and is seen as a welcome return after the band’s 2010 release Heaven Is Wherever. We’ll hear from that as well as from solo recordings that Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn has made in recent times, including an appearance on the new Bob Dylan tribute album, Bob Dylan in the 80s: Volume One.
Saturday, March 29 2014: With a reputation for deconstructing popular songs and the avant-garde, it seems natural for the bad boys of jazz, The Bad Plus, to record their version of Stravinsky's controversial masterpiece The Rite of Spring. The band’s new album takes its name from the The Bad Plus' unique version of the piece that they debuted on tour in 2011 in a multi-media program entitled "On Sacred Ground: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring." The show received wide critical acclaim and early press on the record has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ll hear from it as well as from Singles, the new release by the Baltimore, Maryland band Islands.