Browsing articles from "June, 2015"

First Watch: Glen Hansard, ‘Winning Streak’

Jun 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on First Watch: Glen Hansard, ‘Winning Streak’

Glen Hansard‘s career stretches back more than a quarter of a century; in fact, his band The Frames celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. In that time, Hansard has won an Oscar for the song “Falling Slowly” — alongside Marketa Irglova, his co-star in the film Once — and made several albums with Irglova as The Swell Season. Most recently, he launched a solo career with 2012’s Rhythm Repose.

On Sept. 18, Hansard will release that album’s follow-up, Didn’t He Ramble. Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) produced the record, which features guest appearances by Iron Wine‘s Sam Beam, Sam Amidon and others. The first available taste of the record, “Winning Streak,” is a charmingly easygoing track that adds to Hansard’s impressive catalog of songs conveying warm, hopeful encouragement.

Here’s the singer himself, writing via email:

“‘Winning Streak’ is simply a well wish to a friend, to someone who’s been finding it hard to see the goodness in their lives. It’s a pat on the back and an encouragement to try see the good and a blessing in the everyday. Each day we’re alive is a day we can reinvent or look at life from a different perspective. Nothing changes until we do, so it’s a song of encouragement to see these things and act on them.”

And here’s a track listing for Didn’t He Ramble, which can be pre-ordered here or here:

1. Grace Beneath The Pines

2. Wedding Ring

3. Winning Streak

4. Her Mercy

5. McCormack’s Wall

6. Lowly Deserter

7. Paying My Way

8. My Little Ruin

9. Just To Be The One

10. Stay The Road

Meet Your New Neighbors, The American Filmmakers

Jun 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Meet Your New Neighbors, The American Filmmakers

American filmmakers Zach Ingrasci, left, and Chris Temple, in plaid shirt, received permission from the United Nations to spend a month with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp in Jordan.i

American filmmakers Zach Ingrasci, left, and Chris Temple, in plaid shirt, received permission from the United Nations to spend a month with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp in Jordan.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One


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Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

American filmmakers Zach Ingrasci, left, and Chris Temple, in plaid shirt, received permission from the United Nations to spend a month with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp in Jordan.

American filmmakers Zach Ingrasci, left, and Chris Temple, in plaid shirt, received permission from the United Nations to spend a month with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp in Jordan.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

You can’t help but be a little skeptical when you hear about the filmmakers Chris Temple, who’s 26, and Zach Ingrasci, who’s 25. They don’t just make documentaries. They make themselves part of the story. They lived on a dollar a day in Guatemala when they filmed Living On One over 56 days in the summer of 2013. And they spent a month with Syrian refugees in Jordan for their new film, Salam Neighbor, which premiered at the AFI Docs Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

At first, it sounds a little like showboating.

Then you meet the characters in their films.

Ra’ouf, who’s 10, lives in Za’atari, the second largest refugee camp in the world with 81,000 inhabitants (Kenya’s Dadaab camp is number one). He’s all smiles as he helps Temple and Ingrasci tidy up their tent.

They later find out it’s been over a year since Ra’ouf has gone to school. He won’t even go inside one.

Raouf, 10, lives in Za'atari, the second largest refugee camp in the world.i

Raouf, 10, lives in Za’atari, the second largest refugee camp in the world.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One


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Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

Raouf, 10, lives in Za'atari, the second largest refugee camp in the world.

Raouf, 10, lives in Za’atari, the second largest refugee camp in the world.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

With good intentions, they try to convince the boy to attend classes. Ra’ouf sits on the ground, back to the wall, and cries.

Later, his father, Abu Mohamed, explains Ra’ouf’s school in Syria was bombed.

Since then, the boy has been too traumatized to continue his education.

“You’re opening up old wounds,” Mohamed tells them.

Ra’ouf is one of the many people whom Temple and Ingrasci befriended when they decided to live alongside Syrian refugees for a month.

They spoke to Ghousoon, a single mother of three and former nurse, now living in nearby Mafraq, who started her own hair clip business.

She sits on a cushion on the floor, spending 30-40 minutes on each clip: melting wire with a lighter, decorating with vibrant fabrics and selling around 200 a month.

Ghousoon, a single mother of three and former nurse, started her own hair clip business.i

Ghousoon, a single mother of three and former nurse, started her own hair clip business.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One


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Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

Ghousoon, a single mother of three and former nurse, started her own hair clip business.

Ghousoon, a single mother of three and former nurse, started her own hair clip business.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

Tantilemple and Ingrasci made sure to highlight this type of resilience because that’s how the refugees manage to get by.

“Entrepreneurialism isn’t really a choice,” says Ingrasci. “You have to be an entrepreneur to survive.”

As the title of the movie suggests – it means “hello neighbor” – the filmmakers want to bridge the gap between comfortable viewers in the West and the refugees in Jordan.

“It’s been a real challenge to show the individual Syrians’ side of things,” says Francine Uenuma, director of media relations at Save the Children. “I am hopeful that something like this will appeal to a broader audience that doesn’t follow the hard news on the Syria crisis.” At first, she wasn’t sure the filmmakers’ technique was the right way to go. Seeing the stories of the refugees has convinced her.

In fact, the filmmakers have partnered with Save the Children as well as the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, and International Rescue Committee. These groups will receive a share of the documentary’s profits to use for their work with Syrian refugees.

The filmmakers are giving back to Guatemala as well. They’ve set up a nonprofit, Living On One, which has raised over $450,000 to support organizations that provide small loans around the world and support education for residents of Peña Blanca, the town featured in the movie.

Meanwhile, the two Americans have learned that even total immersion has its limits. In Guatemala, Temple battled parasites. He couldn’t have afforded treatment on a dollar day but fortunately had brought emergency medications.

In Syria, they didn’t stay in the camps due to safety concerns and camped out in an abandoned building in Mafraq.

Then there’s the biggest advantage of all.

“We get to go home,” Ingrasci says, “but our neighbors don’t.”

Chris Temple, left, and Zach Ingrasci, far right, get to know a few of the 81,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp.i

Chris Temple, left, and Zach Ingrasci, far right, get to know a few of the 81,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One


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Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

Chris Temple, left, and Zach Ingrasci, far right, get to know a few of the 81,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp.

Chris Temple, left, and Zach Ingrasci, far right, get to know a few of the 81,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp.

Courtesy of 1001 Media/Living On One

Puerto Rico’s Governor Wants Lenders To Wait For More Than $73 Billion Debt Payments

Jun 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Puerto Rico’s Governor Wants Lenders To Wait For More Than $73 Billion Debt Payments

Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, discussing the commonwealth's budget earlier in 2015.i

Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, discussing the commonwealth’s budget earlier in 2015.

Ricardo Arduengo/AP


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Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, discussing the commonwealth's budget earlier in 2015.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, discussing the commonwealth’s budget earlier in 2015.

Ricardo Arduengo/AP

Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Monday that international creditors need to lighten Puerto Rico’s nearly $73 million public debt burden.

In a televised speech, Garcia said, given the state of its economy, Puerto Rico’s public debt is unpayable. He cited a report by a former chief economist of the World Bank that recommends lenders consider easier terms for the island. Padilla said he will go further and seek a multi-year moratorium on debt payments to allow the island time to rebuild its economy.

The governor also said he wants the law changed to make the island able to file for bankruptcy protection, Reuters reports.

” ‘Puerto Rico needs a complete restructuring and development plan, comprehensive and inclusive, that takes care of the immense problem we face today, not on a short but on a long-term and definitive basis,’ Garcia Padilla said. ‘The alternative would be … halting of payments with all the negative consequences that this implies.’

“Garcia Padilla said the next step must be to get creditors to agree to more favorable payment terms. He is establishing a working group to examine restructuring public debt, with a deadline to have a plan by Aug. 30. The legislature is required to approve the plan.”

NPR’s Jim Zarroli reported on Puerto Rico’s financial situation earlier:

“With the bond markets all but closed to the commonwealth… any solution to Puerto Rico’s troubles is likely to involve some type of federal help. Economist Arturo Porzecanski teaches at American University.

” ‘What Greece is for the Eurozone, that’s what Puerto Rico is going to become for us. It’s going to become a territory that we’re going to have to subsidize even more than before, get more tax breaks, eventually give federal aid.’

“But there are important differences that mitigate Puerto Rico’s risk to the financial system. Puerto Rico is a tiny part of the US economy… even smaller than Greece is to the Eurozone. And because the island is a U.S. territory, its banks are already guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That prevents the kind of bank runs now plaguing Greece.”

The Complete List: NPR Music’s Favorite Songs Of 2015 (So Far)

Jun 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on The Complete List: NPR Music’s Favorite Songs Of 2015 (So Far)


We made you a mixtape.

i

We made you a mixtape.

The story of music in 2015 goes like this: There are endless ways to listen to endless songs. Looking for something new? There’s an algorithm for that. Prefer a human touch? Podcasts, blogs, Beats 1 (maybe!), good old terrestrial radio — take your pick. Honestly, we use all these and more. Many of these songs came to us via Soundcloud or YouTube, Spotify or iTunes. Many others showed up in our inboxes and demanded attention. Some of them we’d been waiting for for years. Some were complete surprises.

NPR Music's 25 Favorite Albums of 2015 (So Far)

However they arrived at our ears, we’ve spent six months listening and arguing, collecting and sorting them all for you — not just in the list below (presented in alphabetical order by genre), but also in a player where you can actually hear each and every one. Click the launch link below to start. You can sort by one of nearly a dozen genres or select a playlist created by members of NPR Music’s staff and our member station partners, or just hit shuffle and listen until you find a new favorite of your own. You can also find the list on Rdio and Spotify.

► Launch the app!

Jump directly to a genre:

Classical
Country/Americana
Electronic
Hip-Hop
Jazz
Latin
Pop
RB
Rock
World
m/ _ m/

Classical

Anderson Roe, “Bach: ‘Erbarme dich'”

A two-piano translation of the most soulful aria from the St. Matthew Passion shouldn’t work. That it does so beautifully speaks to the potency of Bach’s music and a pair of sensitive players.

András Schiff, “Schubert: ‘Impromptu in A-flat, Op. 142′”

Once a vocal opponent of the forte piano, Schiff’s road to Damascus conversion results in a finely nuanced, transparent performance.

Bang On A Can All Stars, “Ghys: ‘An Open Cage'”

A sly, silky recitation from John Cage inspires both fun and funk from bassist-composer Florent Ghys.

Bruce Brubaker, “Glass: Mad Rush”

Seesawing between gentle nostalgia and tempests of swirling arpeggios, an early keyboard piece by Philip Glass gets a compelling interpretation.

Bryan Hymel, “Rossini: ‘Asile héréditaire'”

With a rare combination of brawn and bel canto elegance, Hymel launches 10 high Cs, making this punishing aria sound simple.

Gil Shaham, “Bach: ‘Partita No. 3 in E I. Preludio'”

Even though he plays “straight,” Shaham swings his solo Bach hard. His technique and intensity are just dazzling.

Hilary Hahn, “Mozart: ‘Violin Concerto No. 5, III. Rondeau'”

Hahn’s been playing this concerto for 25 years now, but her joy in it still rings vibrantly true — she doles out grace and muscle in equal measure.

John Luther Adams, “Sky With Four Suns”

Light from a low-hanging sun, mixed with arctic air, can trigger the illusion of multiple suns, or sundogs. Alaskan composer John Luther Adams thinks they sound like this.

Kronos Quartet, “Riley: ‘One Earth, One People, One Love'”

NASA commissioned Terry Riley to write “Sun Rings,” marrying sounds collected in space with a string quartet. This rapturous movement, with the cello at its fore, is mystical, magical and haunting.

MusicAeterna, “Rameau: Orage”

This little 18th-century shredder comes from the enterprising brain of Jean-Philippe Rameau and the limber band of conductor Teodor Currentzis.

Philippe Jaroussky, “Hahn: En sourdine”

Reynaldo Hahn’s gently swaying music and Verlaine’s rapturous poetry — set amid the “half-light cast by the lofty branches” — lend a cinematic feel to a love song elegantly sung.

Seattle Symphony, “Dvořák: ‘Symphony No. 9, IV. Allegro con fuoco'”

Those strings. That brass. What a powerhouse performance!

The Tallis Scholars, “Pärt: Nunc Dimittis”

The timeless feel of contemporary composer Arvo Pärt’s music, with its halos of sound and tolling bells, is heightened in a luminous, spacious performance by the preeminent early music choir.

Country/Americana

A Thousand Horses, “Sunday Morning”

Just what the Southern rock doctor ordered. Co-written with singer Michael Hobby’s second cousin Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, this remedy feels so right.

Andrew Combs, “Nothing To Lose”

It’s another tequila sunrise… The velvet-voiced Combs and his supremely savvy band capture the anomie of a lost country morning perfectly in this gently devastating ballad.

Ashley Monroe, “The Blade”

“You caught it by the handle, and I caught it by the blade”: Dolly Parton’s rightful heir lends grace to the breakup metaphor of the year.

Banditos, “Waitin'”

Mary Beth Richardson has the classic blues wail of a bad woman feeling good and her band races her to the finish in this rollicking roadhouse tune.

Brandi Carlile, “The Eye”

Can you hear the echoes of “Landslide?”

Caitlin Canty, “Get Up”

The Vermont-born songwriter is going to feel right at home in Nashville if she can keep writing songs like this.

Cam, “My Mistake”

Even with 20/20 foresight, this country upstart can’t stop two-stepping her way toward heartbreak.

Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

Stapleton is young country’s biggest heart and most soulful male voice, and this hymn of the open road is his irresistible anthem.

Clare Dunn, “Move On”

A humid summer come-on from a Colorado-raised country newcomer who’s a little bit Florence, a little bit Bonnie and a whole lot rock and roll. That’s her shooting out killer guitar licks, btw.

Daniel Bachman, “Song for the Setting Sun II”

In these eight minutes, the fingerstyle acoustic guitarist creates an entire world with a melody that knows its wounds and triumphs.

Della Mae, “High Away Gone”

The 21st-century queens of bluegrass go high, lonesome and holy on this fervent protest against mountain-top clearing.

Dwight Yoakam, “Second Hand Heart”

From country’s favorite hillbilly punk comes a tender yet grand-sounding anthem about used-up black-and-white dreams and (almost) giving up on love.

Gretchen Peters, “Black Ribbons”

One of Nashville’s great songwriters crafts a modern-day murder ballad about the tragic costs of the BP oil spill, and brings it to vivid Acadian life.

James McMurtry, “Copper Canteen”

“Honey, don’t you be yellin’ at me when I’m cleanin’ my gun,” begins the best song about marriage you’ll hear this year.

Jason Isbell, “24 Frames”

Throw out all your self-help manuals: The South’s new Springsteen shares how to survive life’s little disasters in this reflective, jangly rocker.

Joan Shelley, “Stay On My Shore”

Envy every baby who will be rocked to sleep this year wrapped in warm blankets and Shelley’s equally enveloping blend of lilting Celtic guitar and rich Appalachian harmonies.

John Moreland, “Cherokee”

Resigned to sadness, solitude and self-destruction, “Cherokee” is as gutted as a song gets.

Kacey Musgraves, “Dime Store Cowgirl”

A road trip song about finding yourself on streets paved with gold but missing the dirt roads of home.

Kelsea Ballerini, “Underage”

Country’s hottest ingenue gets quiet and insightful on this vulnerable reflection on growing up too fast, the way everyone does.

Kristin Diable, “Time Will Wait”

Diable’s bluesy rock gets Nashville glitz on this tambourine-bolstered barn-burner that rolls in like a summer storm and blooms like Southern magnolia.

Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear, “Silent Movies”

Kansas City, here we come! Americana’s newly beloved mother-son duo resurrects the musical glory days of its hometown on this invigorating walking blues.

The Mavericks, “All Night Long”

Phrases writers have used to describe this killer cut from the Miami-born more-than-country mainstays: “salsa drenched,” “salsa soaked,” “salsa endurance rave.” Also: “simply crazy sexy.”

Mickey Guyton, “Better Than You Left Me”

Guyton is that rare thing: An African-American singer with her heart (and future, judging by fans’ reactions) in country. To call this song of survival soulful is cliched, but it’s also totally true.

Mo Pitney, “Clean Up On Aisle Five”

A new country traditionalist offers a love song that will have you weeping in front of your supermarket’s cereal display.

Pharis Jason Romero, “Ballad Of Old Bill”

The sweetest and prettiest folk song you’ll ever hear that ends in a bear mauling, most likely.

Randy Rogers Wade Bowen, “Til It Does”

Honky tonk music to make your heart melt from two princes of the Texas scene.

Rhiannon Giddens, “Black Is The Color”

The now-solo Chocolate Drops singer turns a hoary old folk favorite fresh with hip-hop beats and New Orleans flair.

Ryley Walker, “Sweet Satisfaction”

The choogle is real with “Sweet Satisfaction.” The choogle is weird and burns some ecstatic fuzz, too.

Sam Outlaw, “Jesus Take the Wheel (And Drive Me To a Bar)”

Is it too much to hope Carrie Underwood covers this droll reworking of one of her biggest hits, imploring the Lord to work the miracle of a good shot of tequila?

The Staves, “No Me, No You, No More”

A rich, compelling folk song heavy with longing but buoyed by a sisterly three-part harmony.

Willie Nelson Merle Haggard, “The Only Man Wilder Than Me”

The Hag and the Redheaded Stranger — together 4ever.

Electronic

Actress, “Bird Matrix”

A long, dazed journey into night from one of today’s master musical hypnotists.

Bicep, “Just”

Northern Ireland’s Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson can flex all they want after producing the electronic earworm of the year (so far).

Blanck Mass, “Dead Format”

One half of F*** Buttons resurrects the démodé corpse of industrial dance music with an injection of about 20,000 volts of new life.

Dude Energy, “Renee Running”

An elastic, technicolored leftfield hit by Los Angeles underground producer Diego Herrera, who also records as Suzanne Kraft.

Holly Herndon, “Morning Sun”

Herndon’s ‘net concrète’ explorations for voice and laptop elicit powerful emotions without catering to ours.

Jack J, “Thirstin'”

The ascendent king of smoove dance music has your backyard day party soundtrack right here.

Keita Sano, “Bouzouk”

This young Japanese producer layers the bouzouki, a Greek lute-like instrument, on top of a 124bpm dance rhythm with startling results.

Levon Vincent, “Anti-Corporate Music”

Not surprisingly, you won’t find this massive dance track on Spotify or Apple Music.

Madd Again!, “Duggu”

British MCs Killa Benz, Trigga and Specialist Moss will make you smile as they shout “Duggu!” over a bouncy Zed Bias beat.

Marcus Marr, “Peacemakers”

Give up the funk.

Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force (feat. Mbene Diatta Seck), “Yermande (Kick and Bass Mix)”

The former member of Basic Channel and Rhythm Sound dubs out some excellent Senegalese mbalax.

Nils Frahm, “Ode”

We interrupt this crazy multi-genre mix for a brief dose of serenity.

Omar-S (feat. James Garcia), “I Wanna Know”

A raunchy club anthem from one of Detroit’s most beloved dance producers. You’ll be singing along to this soon.

Shlohmo, “Beams”

The Jeremih collaborator breaks out in a big way on this epic tune that builds slowly toward catharsis.

Wiley, “From The Outside (Special Request VIP)”

The grime godfather gets the hardcore remix treatment from another U.K. heavyweight, Paul Woolford.

Willow, “Feel Me”

A haunting sample anchors this stunning debut single by U.K. producer Sophie Wilson.

Hip Hop

A$AP Rocky (feat Schoolboy Q), “Electric Body”

Continuing a collaborative winning streak, Rocky and Q turn their attention to the opposite sex, mixing bravado with flirtation and inciting ass shaking as only they can.

Big Sean (feat. Drake Kanye West), “Blessings”

Big Sean enlists Kanye and Drake to celebrate success and the struggle to achieve it. Quotable verses from all three (plus a hook so catchy that even Riley Curry knows it) make this an anthem for the grateful.

Boogie, “Oh My”

Boogie switches voices and squeezes in clever punch lines atop Jahlil Beats’ manic keys and Long Beach riot starter 808s.

D.R.A.M., “Cha Cha”

Don’t try to make sense of it. Just feel it wash over you. Feel the joy. Feel the happiness. Now cha cha with the rest of the world.

DeJ Loaf feat. Lil Wayne, “Me U Hennessy”

What first appears to be a nice love song about staying in quickly unravels into an X-rated bacchanal for two (eh, make that three).

Donnie Trumpet The Social Experiment, “Warm Enough”

NoName Gypsy, Chance The Rapper and J. Cole wax poetic about love, acceptance and forgiveness over a lush Social Experiment arrangment.

Earl Sweatshirt, “Mantra”

A broad declaration of defiance becomes a raw admission of guilt and infidelity — a perfect example of why Earl should be lauded not only for his technical skill, but also his ability to emote.

Father (feat. Richposlim), “BET Uncut”

A coquettish ode to the late-night block of raunchy hip-hop music videos that never saw the light of day. Settle in for the last minute.

Fetty Wap (feat. Drake), “My Way”

Hitmaker du jour Fetty Wap makes a passionate plea for a lady’s attention while warning other suitors to keep their distance. Drake adds a verse of slick talk to take this one over the top.

Future, “F*** Up Some Commas”

Flame emoji production, earnest crooning and unintelligible raps come together to form the quintessential Future banger.

J. Cole, “G.O.M.D.”

Hollywood Cole celebrates, mocks and laments nightclub nature over the course of three outstanding verses.

JME (feat. Skepta, Frisco and Shorty), “Don’t @ Me”

Grime’s biggest star of the moment delivers a topical rant for anyone who’s ever been harassed on Twitter.

Kanye West (feat. Allan Kingdom, Paul McCartney and Theophilus London), “All Day”

Ye’s most lighthearted single in years is still stranger than anything else on the radio, not to mention a masterclass in turns of phrase.

Kate Tempest, “Bad Place For a Good Time”

The intensigy of the British poet and rapper’s empathy backs you up against a wall, but she delivers her lyrics, about circumstances that make life feel unlivable, like a caress.

Kendrick Lamar, “King Kunta”

The funk will never die as long as guys like Kendrick are around. Continuing to zig while the rest of rap zags, K Dot invokes the main character from Roots to represent a new millennium “black man, takin’ no losses.”

Mick Jenkins, “P’s Q’s”

A tremendous track, littered with smartly strung alliteration, from one of Chicago’s most promising rappers. Keep an eye on him.

Oddisee, “That’s Love”

The D.C. area rapper/producer meditates on the various incarnations of the sweetest four-letter word over uptempo percussion, soul-stirring organs and trumphant horns.

Open Mike Eagle, “Celebrity Reduction Prayer”

Mike swims against the current of social media addiction and the cult of celebrity over a jazzy track courtesy of Oddisee. Perspective never sounded so smooth.

Rae Sremmurd (feat. Nicki Minaj Young Thug), “Throw Sum Mo”

Onika Maraj steals the show (as she is wont to do) and turns the tables on Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy in the brothers’ follow-up to “No Type.”

SPZRKT Sango, “JMK”

A faithful tribute, “Jesus My King” stands up on Sango’s production and SPZRKT’s selfless lyrics and reaches for the heavens.

TT The Artist, “Thug It Out”

Baltimore Club returns to the national spotlight with its biggest hit since Rye Rye shook it to the ground and brought it back up.

TUT, “Live from Chattanooga”

A country rap tune brimming with homages, from live, blues-influenced instrumentation to an interpolation of a deep cut by Master P and company.

Vince Staples, “Senorita”

Vince Staples brings his LBC attitude to ATL trap with help from producers Christian Rich and a vocal sample from Future.

Wale, “White Shoes”

More Seinfeld samples from the D.C. rapper, but this song eschews laughs in favor of a reassuring message that things will turn out all right.

Young Thug (feat. Birdman), “Constantly Hating”

Young Thug wants to be sedated. How else can you explain the syrupy, somnambulant version of trap rap we get here and throughout Barter 6?

Jazz

Anat Cohen, “Putty Boy Strut”

Stylized polyphony a la robot-age New Orleans jazz grows more familiar until you realize it was a FlyLo song, and that it sounds great on clarinet.

Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth, “Nine South”

Electric piano, two saxes and the open highway. The bassist is the leader and beat landscaper and he’s doing his job well.

Dafnis Prieto Sextet, “Blah Blah”

Next level Afro-Cuban pulse from a one-of-a-kind drummer who, thankfully, is but one of many to connect Havana and New Orleans.

Ernestine Anderson, “Just In Time”

Once, jazz singing wasn’t a quaint mannerism with high buy-in. This song, recorded live in 1962 and just released, is a message from that lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Jacky Terrasson, “Kiff”

A playful bounce (think: ’70s animated TV theme) played as modern piano-driven jazz with three percussionists, counting the vocalist/beatboxer.

Jamison Ross, “Deep Down In Florida”

A literally award-winning drummer, an actual Florida Man, didn’t tell us he could sing the blues when he was winning his award.

JD Allen, “Jawn Henry”

A sax-bass-drums trio swings devastatingly hard, four bars at a time. It does that for six minutes.

Maria Schneider Orchestra, “Nimbus”

Lavish and unsettled and evocative of the natural world, with killer soloists like Steve Wilson on alto. Maria’s back, y’all.

Petros Klampanis, “Minor Dispute”

An international band with a Middle Eastern bent and a string section makes flowing chamber jazz conversant in modern Greek.

Rudresh Mahanthappa, “Chillin'”

This is from a Charlie Parker tribute and features fast saxophone playing yet somehow sounds nothing like Charlie Parker. That’s a good thing.

Sarah Elizabeth Charles, “Bells”

A song driven by both wordless and lyric vocals somehow manages to feel both tightly produced and urbane yet handspun and bespoke.

Tootie Heath, “I Will Survive”

Jazz elder drummer pulls out a spare RB beat for a deranged, delightful trip around some familiar chord changes.

Vijay Iyer Trio, “Hood”

A go-anywhere piano trio salutes a pioneering Detroit house DJ with a precision experiment in acoustic real-time techno.

Latin

Bomba Estereo, “Mar (Lo Que Siento)”

This band continues to grow artistically at warp speed, carefully collecting influences from around the world and adding them to its Afro Colombian base.

Colornoise, “Amalie”

Costa Rica’s Colornoise sounds like a great band from the 70’s you missed out on, but they are very much here now, with a tragic, spiraling, guitar-heavy track that will have you wanting more.

Daymé Arocena, “Madres”

The biggest myth of the decades old Cuba/U.S. standoff is that it produced cultural isolation. One listen to Dayme Arocena’s voice and there is no doubt she heard as much Aretha as she heard Celia.

Ibeyi, “Ghosts”

These two sisters (‘ibeyi’ means ‘twins’ in Yoruba) reflect the bottomless source of inspiration that is Afro-Cuban santeria culture and music as well as the infitnite ability of Cubans to connect the past with the future, musically.

Kali Uchis, “Ridin Round”

A saucy slow jam for cruising around in your lowrider from one of Alt.Latino’s favorite young stars.

Kanaku y El Tigre, “Bubucelas”

A dissonant and melancholy offering from a Peruvian indie band now coming into its own, a song so beautiful it makes you want to have your heart broken again, so you can fully savor tunes like this.

Los Crema Paraiso, “To Zing With Your Girlfriend”

The fascination with Latin funk/jazz from the 1970’s continues: Ruffled shirts, low riders and endless summer days. Wah wah guitars and funky Fender Rhodes electric pianos. They all rule!

Luzmila Carpio, “Tarpuricusum Sarata (Captain Planet Remix)”

A haunting folk tune gets a bumping club remix. ZZK records continues to prove that Latin American folk belongs on the dance floor as much as any imported style.

SLV, “HeartBreaker”

Sandra Lilia Vasquez makes the transition from Mexican folk musician to Brooklyn-based soul singer with the kind of style and talent that makes you say, “Of course she did.”

Pop

Brandon Flowers, “I Can Change”

“I can change for you,” the Killers front man sings on this dark slice of ’80s-indebted pop-rock. Not that we’d want him to.

Carly Rae Jepsen, “All That”

With a hand from indie-pop savants Dev Hynes and Ariel Rechtshaid, the “Call Me Maybe” singer saves a slow-burning, pulse-quickening last dance.

Elle King, “Ex’s Oh’s”

An irresistible bit of braggadocio from a soulful pop singer whose delivery exudes gritty, playful charisma.

Genevieve, “Colors”

There is no color bright enough to capture the energy and unflappable spirit of this pop star-to-be’s empowering directive to take charge of your own destiny.

Jason Derulo, “Want To Want Me”

The pop-loving RB star often works hard to convince you of his sleazy bona fides, but he finds an easy, bubbly groove in this candid come-on.

Lunchmoney Lewis, “Bills”

Louis Jordan meets Fatboy Slim in this raucous lament about being broke by Miami native Lewis, a songwriter-to-the-stars turned ebullient frontman.

Meg Mac, “Roll Up Your Sleeves”

The young Australian singer makes her pitch for pop stardom with a sparkly, cooing bit of slow-burning, radio-friendly uplift.

Miguel, “coffee”

Don’t be deceived by the the title: This is a song appropriate for steamy nights in the bedroom, not early morning trips to Starbucks

Neon Indian, “Annie”

The pop equivalent of a trip to the waterslide park: splashy, noisy, a little bit overwhelming and totally essential when it gets hot outside.

Passion Pit, “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go)”

The latest pop gem from Michael Angelakos will remain a staple of spin classes for the rest of our lives.

Rich Homie Quan, “Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)”

A twerk-worthy bounce + the catchiest hook around town = Yet another hit for Mr. Quan.

Rihanna, “B**** Better Have My Money”

Rihanna’s career is peppered with pop hits soaring and sweet, but the title here is a clear indication: “B**** Better Have My Money” showcases her more acerbic, assertive side, with intoxicating results.

Say Lou Lou, “Nothing But A Heartbeat”

Twin sisters Elektra and Miranda Kilbey-Jansson make euphoric pop music for the Internet age.

Seinabo Sey, “Hard Time”

A Swedish singer with Gambian roots, Sey taps into generations of continent-straddling bluesy soul, all in pursuit of a sound that feels right for this moment.

The Weeknd, “The Hills”

“When I’m f***** up, that’s the real me.” Ever self-aware, the singer takes his obsession with spiraling out of control one step further.

Wet, “Deadwater”

Featherweight pop that’s all about the atmosphere of small details: Think early-morning dew clinging to the hem of a prom dress.

RB

Abhi//Dijon, “17”

The reserved but evocative RB duo from Maryland lets its music do the talking on a song that nearly landed on the cutting room floor.

Alessia Cara, “Here”

The freshly signed Def Jam singer rises to the challenge set out by a rich Portishead sample with a relatable track about FOGO, a.k.a. fear of going out.

Allen Stone, “Upside”

Blonde-haired soul genius Stone has always been dramatic. Here, he uses his chops judiciously within a perfectly modulated shouter’s testament to love addiction.

Bilal, “Satellites”

The RB veteran turns the idea of people watching on its head and questions why we find it so easy to sit on the sidelines when so much is at stake.

D’Angelo and The Vanguard, “Betray My Heart”

Spare yet madly funky guitar, an exposed hi-hat and that unmistakable layered falsetto we missed so much simmer together in a pocket too deep to escape even if you wanted to.

Hiatus Kaiyote, “Breathing Underwater”

This song is like a coral reef: strange, vivid, twisted, with hidden pockets of beauty. Snorkel in.

India Shawn James Fauntleroy, “One Sun”

A sensual call for reciprocity anchored by a question embittered lovers ask each other millions of times each day.

J*DaVeY, “Strong Anticipation”

This synthy dance floor filler marks Jack and Brook’s reclamation of their spot as leaders of the future soul movement.

MNEK, “The Rhythm”

Uzo Emenike, one of Britain’s brightest young stars, gives the bros in Disclosure a run for their money on this bona fide floor filler.

Noname Gypsy Jean Deaux, “Eye, Me.”

Both hailing from the Chi, emcee Noname Gypsy and singer Jean Deaux lean into one another on this vulnerable portrait of temptation.

NxWorries (feat. Anderson Paak Knxwledge), “Suede”

The versatile duo delivers the audio equivalent of Cadillacs and pinky rings. The opening line characterizes it best. Smooth than mutha…

OSHUN, “the next day”

Half neo-soul, half golden-era hip-hop, the teenaged, NYC-based duo toes the genre line as its members assert their self-worth.

Phony Ppl, “HelGa.”

The Brooklyn soul quintet crafts what may be the sweetest song ever written about a cartoon character. Helga Pataki, this one’s for you.

Pops Staples, “Somebody Was Watching”

Aided by Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples, among others, the great gospel legend gets a great and graceful victory lap 15 years after his death.

Prince (feat. Eryn Allen Kane), “Baltimore”

A tribute to Freddie Gray and the 2015 Baltimore protests that feels immediate and specific to this particular historical moment while fitting right into the last half-century’s tradition of protest music.

Rico Love, “For The Kids”

A writer of hits for the elites of hip-hop RB, Love saves one for himself. On the dramatic “For the Kids”, he wrestles with a corroding relationship.

Tuxedo, “Number One”

A playful, PG take on what Snoop Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun” would sound like if it was originally a wholesome funk record. It works.

Rock

100%, “Room 336”

Every breath is audible as songwriter Elaiza Santos struggles to recall an intimate encounter that may or may not have been real. When words fail, her guitar takes over, shrugging off the uncertainty and beckoning her back to sleep.

Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”

This is funk as blues, as a prayer, as a distinctly Southern thing that goes universal and strikes deep.

Algiers, “Irony. Utility. Pretext.”

Cybotron meets Depeche Mode. It only took 35 years.

Anna B Savage, “I”

Savage’s sparse, moving vocals open her neuroses like a vein, offering piercingly honest insight into a lover’s scourge of insecurities.

Asaf Avidan, “The Labyrinth Song”

What about the voice of Asaf Avidan? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy. (We know him and he does.)

Beauty Pill, “Steven and Tiwonge”

Chad Clark’s gorgeous and densely textured protest song acts as a double-sided mirror that refracts and reshapes this true story.

Benjamin Clementine, “Nemesis”

A startlingly unique voice takes art pop into new corners on this passionate spurned lover’s waltz.

Blur, “Lonesome Street”

It is so, so, so, so great to hear Graham Coxon’s guitar again.

Bully, “I Remember”

Former Steve Albini intern Alicia Bognanno doesn’t hold back during these emotionally riveting two minutes.

Chadwick Stokes, “Horse Comanche”

The lead singer of the jam band Dispatch channels his inner Paul Simon while trying to make sense of our place in this world.

Chastity Belt, “Time To Go Home”

Young feminists start punk band in tiny college town; roll eyes at patriarchy, mansplainers, slut-shaming; move to big city; sign to national label; prepare for world domination.

Colleen Green, “Deeper Than Love”

If you can’t empathize with this laundry list of insecurities, please Tweet us the name of your therapist.

Courtney Barnett, “Depreston”

Barnett’s music lives in the borderlands between humor and poignancy. This thoughtful reflection on adulthood brought on by a particularly grim house-hunt leans toward the latter.

Death and Vanilla, “California Owls”

Dreamy Swedish indie rock that floats by on clouds of harpsichord and reverb.

Eskimeaux, “Broken Necks”

One of the catchiest, most endearing break-up songs you’ll hear this year.

Father John Misty, “Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)”

The louche character he plays on I Love You, Honeybear may or may not be a put-on, but Josh Tillman’s Father John Misty finds utterly sincere redemption on this mariachi-tinged ode to love in L.A.

Girlpool, “Ideal World”

One electric guitar, one bass, two unusually and irresistibly frank voices in harmony. That’s all this punk duo needed to locate the direct link between eardrums and heartstrings.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor, “Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!'”

The apocalyptic Montreal collective’s best slice of epicness in 15 years.

Hayden, “No Happy Birthday”

Indie rock veteran Hayden Desser wrote this song for his non-verbal daughter. One of the legit tearjerkers of 2015.

Hop Along, “Waitress”

Frances Quinlan’s voice would kill us even if the perfectly rendered lyrics, which detail the power dynamics at play in a mortifying chance encounter, didn’t do the job.

Hot Chip, “Huarache Lights”

Just the latest irresistible single from a band destined to release one of the best greatest hits albums of the next 10 years.

Jamie xx (feat. Romy), “Loud Places”

The xx producer’s reverential solo debut goes deep on feeling, with a dreamy lift from his day-job bandmate Romy Madley-Croft.

Júníus Meyvant, “Hailslide”

KEXP discovered this unsigned Icelandic singer-songwriter last year, and he’s quickly become one of the most requested artists at the station.

Laura Marling, “False Hope”

The U.K. folk singer knows her way around world-weariness, but “False Hope” matches it with a gritty rock ‘n’ roll arrangement that suits her.

Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”

The young Fort Worth, Texas soul singer takes on what it means to be faithful — both to a partner and to a beloved, vintage sound.

Lord Huron, “Fool For Love”

The old-timey foot-stomping folk revival might be over, but that doesn’t bother Lord Huron, who will just keep making perfect lost trail-blazing, rail-riding rock songs that could have been written in the 1930s and recorded in the ’70s, thanks very much.

Makthaverskan, “Witness”

You can almost hear the blood spill from the Swedish post-punk band’s urgent revenge fantasy, especially in Maja Milner’s final wail: “My enemy, I bury you.”

Phantogram, “K.Y.S.A.”

On this standout from the Grand Theft Auto-inspired album, Sarah Barthel snarls every gamer’s raison d’être: Keep Yourself Alive.

Pinkshinyultrablast, “Holy Forest”

Hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia, this five-piece shoegaze act splits the difference between Slowdive and Lush.

Ratatat, “Cream On Chrome”

Your favorite hipster beatmakers return from hiatus with their best Saturday Night Fever strut.

Sleater-Kinney, “Price Tag”

An urgent snapshot of post-recession America from the beloved feminist rock band whose vital, unique sounds had been sorely missed for almost a decade.

Soak, “Sea Creatures”

She’s still a teenager, but singer Bridie Monds-Watson already has a firm grasp of the ways the pursuit of love can make you feel like an outsider.

Son Lux, “Change Is Everything”

Though he sometimes favors minimalism, Ryan Lott’s ecstatic ode to creation and reinvention is so stuffed full of sound that it alternately erodes and explodes.

Speedy Ortiz, “Raising The Skate”

Jagged and spiky, sloppy but controlled, “Raising The Skate” catalogs a manifesto’s worth of sneering sloganeering, as Sadie Dupuis deadpans, “I’m not bossy — I’m the boss.”

Sufjan Stevens, “Fourth of July”

The tear-jerking centerpiece of Carrie Lowell, “Fourth Of July” imagines a tender conversation with Stevens’ late mother. The sadness would be numbing if it didn’t also convey such warmth of spirit.

Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”

The lead single and opening cut from one of rock’s most anticipated albums of the year arrives on a disco strut and turns into an 8-minute workout.

Torres, “Sprinter”

Youth sports, religious hypocrisy, a crisis of faith — they’re all here, wrapped up in the killer line, “There’s freedom to and freedom from / And freedom to run from everyone.”

Waxahatchee, “Breathless”

Starring a Moog organ as heavy as Katie Crutchfield’s lyrics.

World

Angela Hunte Machel Montano, “Party Done”

Who would have guessed that the Soca smash of the year would be by the same woman who co-wrote “Empire State Of Mind”?

Anouar Brahem, “Deliverance”

The Tunisian composer and oud player meanders along the borders of jazz, classical and Arab music. He let the turbulent emotions of the 2010 Arab Spring uprising settle before turning them into music.

Ceza, “Suspus”

The dimly lit song might be named for the Turkish word for “speechless,” but Ceza has a lot to say, ranging from social polarization and uprisings to the state of rap music today.

Dotorado Pro, “African Scream (Marimbas)”

An Afro-Portuguese staple in clubs and on cellphones across Lisbon, with marimbas grounded in — or is that floating over? — a base of thick beats.

EEK, “Trinity”

Cairo-based keyboardist Islam Chipsy and his band get raw with it on this 10-minute lo-fi adventure.

Imam Baildi, “Argosvineis Moni”

This revamp of a 1947 Greek rembetika classic plays up its weird and wonderful flavor profile: Asia Minoric heartache leavened with mariachi trumpets and the playful scritch-scratch of a guiro.

Kassé Mady Diabaté, “Simbo”

Mali’s supreme singer is a griot with gravitas — and five decades of experience. In an intimate, chamber music setting, he compares the great hunter Simbo to the all-seeing kingfisher bird.

Mbongwana Star (feat. Konono N°1), “Malukayi”

R.I.P. Mingiedi Mawangu.

Niyaz, “Tam e Eshq (The Taste of Love)”

Inspired by the life and poetry of Rabia Al Basri, the first female Sufi mystic, the Montreal-based band scores with a mesmerizing mix of rapturous vocals and electro-acoustic beats.

Sam Lee and Friends, “Bonny Bunch of Roses”

A tune from the Napoleonic (!) era that singer and “song collector” Lee learned from his elderly Romani (Gypsy) friend Freda Black, here beautifully retextured.

Tal National, “Zoy Zoy”

Niger’s biggest band layers rhythm upon rhythm with sparkling guitars and joyful vocals on the title track to its latest album.

Bosse-de-Nage, “A Subtle Change”

Metal

The Bay Area black metal band perversely blends savagery and accessibility with hints of pop-punk and screamo.

Crypt Sermon, “Will of the Ancient Call”

This is majestic doom metal in the spirit of Candlemass and Dio-era Black Sabbath that doesn’t mind getting a little dirty.

Downtown Boys, “Monstro”

If you’re looking for more radicalism in your lead singers and more saxophone in your multi-lingual punk bands, look no further.

G.L.O.S.S., “Lined Lips and Spiked Bats”

You do not want to mess with these feminist punks or this seriously pissed-off anthem to smashing the patriarchy.

High On Fire, “The Black Plot”

All hail Matt Pike’s glorious, buzzsaw guitar tone and his reptoid croak, the twin fuels for this this barricade-shaking rampager.

Lightning Bolt, “The Metal East”

There’s a lit firecracker in your hand. You throw it at the clouds. Your reward: Everything turns purple.

Liturgy, “Quetzalcoatl”

In its ecstatic guitar shred and swelling MIDI strings, there’s an absurdity to “Quetzalcoatl” that leaves you guessing.

Red Death, “Strategic Mass Delirium”

You have 50 seconds to psych yourself up before this thrashy D.C. hardcore band takes a gigantic swing and you’re knocked the heck out.

Super Unison, “Recognize You”

High velocity punk that ain’t afraid to shake a tail feather.

Visigoth, “The Revenant King”

You’ve rolled a critical hit! The Salt Lake City power-metal band gives table crusaders the anthem they so desperately need.

Thousands Attend Funeral For Japan’s Feline Stationmaster

Jun 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Thousands Attend Funeral For Japan’s Feline Stationmaster

A decade ago, a struggling train station in Japan anointed its calico cat Tama the stationmaster. The cat attracted so many tourists that she was credited with saving the station from bankruptcy.

Captured Convict David Sweat In Critical Condition

Jun 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Captured Convict David Sweat In Critical Condition

David Sweat, who escaped along with Richard Matt from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.

David Sweat, who escaped along with Richard Matt from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.

New York State Police/AP


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New York State Police/AP

David Sweat, the convicted murderer whose escape June 6 from a New York prison sparked a statewide manhunt, is in critical condition after being shot Sunday by a state police sergeant.

Sgt. Jay Cook spotted Sweat walking down a rural road near the town of Constable, N.Y., near the border with Canada, and ordered him to stop. When Sweat tried to flee, Cook shot him twice, authorities said.

“The nightmare is finally over,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a Sunday news conference.

Sweat’s accomplice, Richard Matt, also a convicted murderer, was shot and killed Friday near Malone, N.Y.

As Scott reported Sunday:

“On June 6, Matt, 49, and Sweat, 35, used power tools, tunneling through a wall in their cell, climbed a catwalk, crawled through a steam pipe and emerged on the outside of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., in an extraordinary escape. It later emerged that the pair also had inside help.

“The hunt for the escaped convicts involved hundreds of local, state and federal officials who scoured dense forests dotted with hunting cabins, where the pair apparently sought shelter while on the run.”

Reporter Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio tells our Newscast unit that people who live in the area are relieved. He says:

“In this remote corner of the Adirondack Mountains, people felt really isolated and vulnerable with two murderers on the loose; checkpoints and roadblocks everywhere, and it just went on and on. But there’s celebration here now and a sense that this huge manhunt actually worked, keeping these men pinned down and preventing them from slipping away.”

Officials say Sweat, who is in critical condition at Albany Medical Center, will be charged with escape, burglary and other charges.

Economic Crisis Looms For Puerto Rico, Report Says

Jun 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Economic Crisis Looms For Puerto Rico, Report Says

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla in April delivered his budget address for the next fiscal year at the Capitol building in San Juan.i

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla in April delivered his budget address for the next fiscal year at the Capitol building in San Juan.

Ricardo Arduengo/AP


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Ricardo Arduengo/AP

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla in April delivered his budget address for the next fiscal year at the Capitol building in San Juan.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla in April delivered his budget address for the next fiscal year at the Capitol building in San Juan.

Ricardo Arduengo/AP

A report obtained by NPR paints a bleak portrait of Puerto Rico’s economic future, saying its deficit is much larger than previously thought.

“Puerto Rico faces hard times,” says the report which was commissioned by the Government Development Bank and written by three former and current International Monetary Fund economists. It is to be released on Monday.

“Structural problems, economic shocks and weak public finances have yielded a decade of stagnation, outmigration and debt. Financial markets once looked past these realities but have since cut off the commonwealth from normal market access. A crisis looms,” it says.

Following the report’s release, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla is preparing to give a major speech, in which he’s expected to say Puerto Rico can no longer afford to pay off its $73 billion in debt on time.

“The debt is not payable,” Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla told The New York Times. “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.” He also said he will ask its creditors for more time to pay off what it owes.

The island has borrowed heavily over the years, issuing bonds to pay for pensions and government services, even as its economy shrunk and its population grew smaller.

Its debt load is now by far larger per capita than any of the 50 states. Its bonds were considered attractive because Congress allowed them to be issued free of federal, state and local taxes.

“The economy is in a vicious cycle, where unsustainable public finances are feeding into uncertainty and low growth, which in turn is raising the fiscal deficit and the debt ratio,” the report says.

It adds the government needs far-reaching economic reforms, but even so will have trouble paying its debts in the years to come.

On Wednesday, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is due to make a $400 million payment to condholders, money it reportedly does not have.

The interview by Garcia Padilla, coupled with the troubles in Greece, could lead to a tumultuous day in the bond markets on Monday.

Don’t Believe In Evolution? Try Thinking Harder.

Jun 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Don’t Believe In Evolution? Try Thinking Harder.

A new study shows that people with an analytic thinking style, versus an intuitive one, are more likely to believe in evolution.i

A new study shows that people with an analytic thinking style, versus an intuitive one, are more likely to believe in evolution.

The theory of evolution by natural selection is among the best established in science, yet also among the most controversial for subsets of the American public.

For decades we’ve known that beliefs about evolution are well-predicted by demographic factors, such as religious upbringing and political affiliation. There’s also enormous variation in the acceptance of evolution across different countries, all of which suggests an important role for cultural input in driving beliefs about evolution. A child raised by Buddhists in California is much more likely to accept evolution than one raised by evangelical protestants in Kansas.

But in the last 20 years or so, research in psychology and the cognitive science of religion has increasingly focused on another factor that contributes to evolutionary disbelief: the very cognitive mechanisms underlying human cognition.

Researchers have argued that a variety of basic human tendencies conspire to make natural selection especially aversive and difficult to understand, and to make creationism a compelling alternative. For instance, people tend to prefer explanations that offer certainty and a sense of purpose when it comes to their lives and the design of the natural world and they have an easier time wrapping their heads around theories that involve biological categories with clear boundaries — all of which are challenged by natural selection.

These factors are typically taken to hold for all humans, not only those who reject evolution. But this naturally raises a question about what differentiates those individuals who do accept evolution from those who do not. In other words, if the California Buddhist and the Kansas protestant share the same cognitive mechanisms, what accounts for their differing views on evolution?

In fact, there’s evidence that individuals vary in the extent to which they favor purpose and exhibit other relevant cognitive tendencies, and that this variation is related to religious belief — itself a strong predictor of evolutionary belief. But there’s a lot we don’t know about how differences between individuals drive different beliefs about evolution, and about how these individual differences interact with cultural input.

A new paper by psychologist Will Gervais, just published in the journal Cognition, sheds new light on these questions. In two surveys conducted with hundreds of undergraduates attending a large university in Kentucky, Gervais found an association between cognitive style and beliefs about evolution. Gervais used a common task to measure the extent to which people engage in a more intuitive cognitive style, which involves going with immediate, intuitive judgments, versus a more analytic cognitive style, which involves more explicit deliberation, and which can often override an intuitive response.

In both studies, Gervais found a statistically significant relationship between the extent to which individuals exhibited a more analytic style and their endorsement of evolution. Importantly, the relationship remained significant even when controlling for other variables that predict evolutionary beliefs, including belief in God, religious upbringing and political conservatism.

The study also replicated prior work that has found a relationship between religiosity and evolutionary beliefs, and between cognitive style and religious disbelief: Participants with a more analytic style were not only more likely to accept evolution, but also to indicate lesser belief in God.

These findings are consistent with at least three possibilities. The first — suggested by the clever title of Gervais’s paper, “Override the Controversy” — is that all individuals have a tendency to reject evolution on an intuitive level, but that some individuals engage in a form of analytic or reflective thinking that allows them to “override” this intuitive response.

A second possibility is that some individuals have stronger intuitive responses than others. Such individuals are likely to experience a stronger pull towards purposive thinking, a greater aversion to uncertainty and other cognitive preferences at odds with evolution. If their intuitive responses are generally stronger, they’re also less likely to succeed in overriding them by engaging in analytic or reflective thought.

Yet, a third possibility — and one I find compelling — is that effects of cognitive style interact with cultural input. Creationism and belief in God might be “intuitive” for many Kentucky undergraduates not only because these beliefs align well with basic human tendencies, but also because these are the beliefs they grew up with and that dominate their communities. What might require analytic and reflective thought isn’t (just) overriding cognitive systems that govern intuition, but overriding the norms of one’s upbringing and peers.

These possibilities are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. The fact is, there’s a lot we don’t know and the reality is likely to be complex. But the new findings by Gervais — and the findings on which they build — already point to the richness of human belief. Evolution isn’t controversial for scientific reasons, but it is controversial, in part, for psychological reasons.

Understanding those reasons won’t only have practical implications for science education and policy, but also can tell us something about the basic building blocks of the mind — and about how they interact with our social and cultural environment.

Tania Lombrozo is a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes about psychology, cognitive science and philosophy, with occasional forays into parenting and veganism. You can keep up with more of what she is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo

Part Of The Landscape For Decades, Pumpjacks Remain Essential In Shale Fields

Jun 28, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Part Of The Landscape For Decades, Pumpjacks Remain Essential In Shale Fields

From south Texas to North Dakota, pumpjacks are a symbol of life in American oil fields. This story originally aired on All Things Considered on April 15, 2015.

2 Brothers And A Team Of Mules Tackle The Historic Oregon Trail

Jun 28, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on 2 Brothers And A Team Of Mules Tackle The Historic Oregon Trail


The Oregon Trail

Two 21st-century guys, a replica 19th-century wagon, some mules and a resolution: to re-live the Oregon Trail today.

Rivers, mountains, cliffs, runaway mules, cars and trucks, bad weather … What could possibly go wrong?

Journalist Rinker Buck wanted to find out. He and his brother Nick hitched a covered wagon to mules and set off to retrace what’s left of the westward path traveled by thousands of 19th-century pioneers.

Buck was leaving behind a life that had grown a bit messy — divorce, drinking, career burnout. And as he describes in his new book, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, what he found was a mixture of history, hardship and thrills.

The challenges and miseries were real, but “the more arduous it became, the more stressed I was — the more exhilarated I felt,” Buck tells NPR’s Eric Westervelt.

Click on the audio link above to hear their full conversation, including an excerpt from the book.

Interview Highlights

On whether the trip was an escape from daily life or a shot at redemption

It was certainly a shot of redemption on a personal level, but I think there’s something quintessentially American about it too … just sort of bust out and do something significant. And of course in my case it was also an opportunity to write about the history of the trail. So the book is sort of an amalgam of history and what happened to us.

On using key river valleys to find a path through what were really Oregon trails, plural, with multiple possible routes

We stuck pretty much to the original ruts, in most places. And the trail had to stay on the rivers for the pioneers to have water, navigation points, timber and that sort of thing. So you pass from the Missouri River to the Platt river, big beautiful wide Platt River crossing Nebraska. Then up through Wyoming, the Sweetwater, which is absolutely one of the most gorgeous pieces of landscape in the world. And so forth on to the legendary Snake in Idaho.

It was wonderful to have this experience that was so simple — you just stay on the river, and if you can’t see the river, climb high and find the river. It was that simplicity of purpose that was so magical about the trip.

On his brother Nick, a carpenter from Maine whose skillsets matched the trip perfectly

One of my sisters says that Nick was “born out of century.” We would have problems with the harness where it was rubbing the mules; Nick would pull out some used leather that we had and repair the harness. The wheels would break; he came up with incredibly imaginative solutions to fixing that. … I call him one of the great team drivers of his generation. And he is. So when we got to these very rough parts, where it was very perilous to get the wagon up and down the mountains, Nick was great at the driving.

On the contrast between Nick, the pragmatic Mainer, and Rinker, who wanted to bring a bocce set and shoeshine kit on the trail

What happened was I was going to be living out of a 12-foot-by-38-inch box with a canvas cover over it for the next four months, and everything that I needed for life had to be in that wagon.

The very next morning, the second day I wake up and after moving the stuff in and out of the wagon just for one 24-hour period, I said, “Deep-six this stuff, get rid of it.”

I brought my Brooks Brothers bathrobe, I brought … I mean, if you got out on the trail wouldn’t you need a pasta steamer?

The trip was an adventure in discovering myself relative to my brother, and how many foibles you bring along from your old life that you realize when you’re on a covered wagon trip crossing the entire Oregon trail you don’t need.

On how the trip was a way to unplug in the age of smartphones

We got out there and, first of all, there wasn’t cell phone coverage for probably half the trail because it’s very remote areas of Wyoming and so forth. Every form of artificial light that we carried — flashlights, Coleman lanterns, whatever — broke. GPS I used for about two weeks early in the trip and then I said, “Rinker, you’re moving at 4 miles an hour here, you can probably see where you have to go,” and so I ditched that baby. And you know, it was just one technology-free day after another.

And believe me, America, just take that smartphone and throw it in a river. You don’t need it.

Read an excerpt of The Oregon Trail

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