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Every week I hear something amazing, see something inspiring and want to pass it on. These events are sometimes fleeting, sometimes iconic, but they stop me in my tracks. Bob's Rainbows is the place where I'll highlight the very best of my weekly music intake. [Editor's note: Why rainbows? They're the only naturally occurring phenomenon that can make Bob take his headphones off.]
You might see some of it pop up on the All Songs Considered Twitter account (@allsongs), my Instagram feed or our Facebook page in real time, but this will be a permanent home for the amazing rainbows in my life.
Foo Fighters At 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. May 5
When Dave Grohl was a kid, he'd find his way to the 9:30 Club from his suburban home in Springfield, Va. His connection to D.C. is long and deep — in fact, he's said his old hardcore band Mission Impossible once opened for the legendary D.C. go-go group Trouble Funk at a high school prom. On Monday night, history repeated itself as Grohl threw a birthday party for Trouble Funk bassist Big Tony. Grohl opened the evening from behind the drum kit, joined by original Bad Brains members Darryl Jenifer and Dr. Know, who tore through a set of their band's material with vocal help from Pete Stahl (of another old Grohl project, Scream). Then Big Tony brought out his massive 15 plus member crew for a healthy dose of Trouble Funk. The night had already stretched to three hours when Grohl stepped on stage again. After telling sweet tales of being a kid drumming on pillows to Bad Brains' music in his bedroom until the windows steamed up, this musical ambassador to a generation brought out his own Foo Fighters for a fiery set of in-your-face guitar, drums and bass.
Dave Grohl's Solo (And Shot) On The 9:30 Club Bar
In a highlight from an evening full of them, Dave Grohl walked into crowd during the Foo Fighters' set and climbed on top of the bar, where he took both a shot of Jagermeister and an epic guitar solo. When he'd finished he bowed to the crowd, a show of gratitude to a city and a club that gave him so much.
"Fever" by The Black Keys
It was such a joy to talk with Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys this week about their new album, Turn Blue (out May 13). The conversation included made-up silliness and thoughtful looks at the music they make together, and explored their relationship with producer Brian Burton, whom they basically think of as the third member of the band when he joins them in the studio. I've been listening to a Turn Blue a lot, and the song 'Fever' reminds me of a song I'd hear on the jukebox by the swimming pool back in Queens, long ago.
Traditional and Public Domain Songs by Marisa Anderson
It's a record filled with familiar old tunes: "Pretty Polly," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and my personal favorite, Stephen Foster's 160 year-old "Hard Times Come Again No More," all sounding pure and renewed in the hands of guitarist Marisa Anderson.
Tiny Desk Concert by Public Service Broadcasting
This may be the loudest Tiny Desk Concert we've had. It's just two nerdy dudes on electronics and drums, but truth be told, this London duo doesn't just make danceable, electronic-based songs: It makes music with a story and a message and keeps it all in good fun. The sampled sounds and imagery are all taken from public service announcements from England in the 1940s and beyond. It's an odd construct, looking at the present through a prism of how we saw the past — and it rocks.
"Spotify removes silent album that earned indie band $20,000" by Chris Welch
Kind of genius when you think about it: Vulfpeck, a Michigan band, put an album of short, completely silent tracks on Spotify and ask asked fans to stream it continually at night. The album, cleverly titled Sleepify, racked up over $20,000 in royalties. Spotify now says the silent tracks (which are still active at the time of this writing) violate its terms of content and has asked the band to pull them down. The money already earned will help fund Vulfpeck's upcoming tour.
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