Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

MGMT, the psych-pop duo behind one of the decade's best earworms, is back with its first new music in four years. "Little Dark Age" is the title track to their 2018 album, a pulsing, synthesized meditation on the age of anxiety over a world coming apart.

Throw some guidelines for artistic conduct and appropriation into a small collective of musicians based in the same sleepy town (Olympia, Washington, in this case) and you can begin to see how inspiration takes root and how a scene is born. Chris McDonnell's Trans FX project, over the course of three albums released in the past two years, has deftly moved from the recesses of goth to the kind of blasted grandeur found in David Bowie's Berlin trilogy.

Finding a river to slide down, to escape onto, is a subjective thing. One should float without friction — it's working when you don't have to think all that much. Sometimes, similarly minded people who prefer the same amount of siltgrit, jumping in and gliding before returning to shore, when the real world can't be ignored anymore.

Christmas carols needn't always be cheery and bright, and there's no shortage of seasonal irreverence and sadness.

One-third of all the food produced each year for human consumption is never eaten. That adds up to about 1.3 billion tons of waste per year. That unappetizing fact is the inspiration for a new documentary, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, which was released on Oct. 13 in theaters and on demand.

Tom Hanks has heart. It's no news to his fans that empathy fuels his acting — including his back-to-back Oscar-winning portrayals of an AIDS victim in Philadelphia and the endearing hero of Forrest Gump. So it should come as no surprise that empathy also drives his first collection of fiction. While all of the 17 stories in Uncommon Type feature a different antique manual typewriter (Hanks is an avid collector), they are linked by something greater than typewriter ribbons: a decidedly benign, humane view of people and their foibles.

When the "On Air" lights went dark in NBC's Studio 8H early on Sunday, May 21, Taran Killam didn't realize he had just performed on Saturday Night Live for the last time. Later that summer, after six seasons of his seven-year contract, NBC didn't ask him back.

"It wasn't super negative," he tells NPR's It's Been A Minute. "It was just kind of messy."

As part of NASA's twins study, astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space while his twin brother, astronaut Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. That year on the space station makes Scott Kelly the American record holder for consecutive days in space. To get through that year, he had a routine.

In 1940, on the eve of the United States' entrance into World War II, then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Immigration and Naturalization Service wanted to promote tolerance toward immigrants.

At that time, radio was the most important medium in the U.S. More than 80 percent of American households had a radio, and people listened for three or four hours every day. So, to reach the American people, the agency made a radio show.

J Roddy Walston & The Business were last on World Cafe in 2013 with the album Essential Tremors. A lot has changed since then.

After living in Cleveland, Tennessee and Baltimore, J. Roddy has settled in Richmond, Va., where he found a thriving music community, built a recording studio, and became a father. All of which affected the band's new album, Destroyers Of The Soft Life.

Content advisory: The video below contains imagery and language that some may find offensive.


Move over, Eminem.

Richard Wilbur, the former poet laureate and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner renowned for his elegant, exquisitely crafted formal poetry has died at the age of 96.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

At a time when we've seen consecutive natural disasters pummel places such as Texas, Puerto Rico and Mexico, it's sometimes difficult to see beyond the incredible pain and images of destruction.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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