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Every musician practices differently. Some turn their own living rooms into rehearsal spaces. Others, like pianist Jonathan Biss, prefer to step out of the comforts of home and into a studio. "It's a more productive way of working," Biss told us as we barged in with cameras and microphones.

Reignwolf: A One-Man Rock Show

Jun 29, 2012

The way he was tearing it up during an impromptu set at the Sasquatch Music Festival, you'd barely notice that Jordan Cook, a.k.a. Reignwolf, broke a string midway through his fiery rendition of "In the Dark" — that is, until you saw the mangled remnants of his guitar, smoldering on the ground after he'd wrenched every wailing chord from its guts.

KCRW Presents: Ben Howard

Jun 28, 2012

Ben Howard is already a phenomenon in the UK. Word of mouth spread quickly after a series of performances around London and his native Devonshire and, after seeing him live, I can see why. He sang a handful of haunting folk songs, including standout "Depth over Distance".

Click here for more from this KCRW session.

Call JD McPherson's style a throwback if you like, but don't mistake it for novelty. The former punk rocker and middle-school art teacher crafts a raw and energetic blend of jump blues, rockabilly and early rock 'n' roll on his debut album Signs & Signifiers, recording to 1/4 tape on analog equipment. Still, McPherson is as likely to cite The Smiths or Wu-Tang Clan as influences as he is Little Richard or Ruth Brown.

Remembering Nora Ephron

Jun 27, 2012

As you've probably heard, the wonderful Nora Ephron has died. We're all big fans here, and we were delighted to have Nora join us on stage at Carnegie Hall in 2010. She came early, she stayed late, she was quick, she was funny, she was glamorous, and most of all...she was gracious enough to let us ask her a string of silly questions. You can listen to that segment, which aired the following January, here.

For New York Polyphony, it's location, location, location. The four-man vocal ensemble thrives on music from the Renaissance, much of it designed for cavernous, reverberant spaces. Think voices soaring through arched cathedrals. But madrigals by Flemish composer Orlando di Lasso, with their more intimate storytelling vibe, are suited for smaller venues — like, say, the living room of New York Polyphony bass Craig Phillips.

I fell in love with Bruce Springsteen for his swagger. It was ridiculous and offered so much hope. Here was a bony dude with the worst haircut ever, who wore T-shirts covered in holes — seriously, he looked like the fry cook at the amusement park where I worked as a counter girl in the summer — making music as big as the known universe.

This week on All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton offer sneak previews of some of the summer's most anticipated releases.

It's hard to pick a favorite Tiny Desk Concert from the hundreds we've done, but this could be the one. For me, music is best when it surprises, takes chances and makes me smile. Comedian and musician Reggie Watts performed three "songs" at the NPR Music offices, all of them spontaneous improvisations and all of them playful, even magical.

Watts came with a simple setup of loop pedals, delay pedals and a microphone. He laid down the beats and bass, entirely with his voice, and built up layers of sound, melody and rhythm — more like a magician than a musician.

Armed with cameras and microphones, we recently invaded the rehearsal spaces of prominent musicians. The result is "In Practice," a new series of videos you can watch here.

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