Milo Miles

Milo Miles is Fresh Air's world-music and American-roots music critic. He is a former music editor of The Boston Phoenix.

Miles is a contributing writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and he also writes about music for The Village Voice and The New York Times.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Music critic Milo Miles has a review of a new album by Mahalia Jackson called "Moving On Up A Little Higher." It contains 22 never-released tracks from the 1940s and '50s, when Jackson became the most famous gospel singer in the world. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THERE'S BEEN A GREAT CHANGE IN ME") MAHALIA JACKSON: (Singing) And there's a great change in me, great change in me. I am so happy. I am so free ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Music critic Milo Miles has a review of a new anthology devoted to the pioneer African bandleader of the '40s and '50s, E. T. Mensah. He was called the King of Highlife, an offshoot of jazz that, for years, was the most popular style of music in southern Africa. Here's Milo's review. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KWAME NKRUMAH") E T MENSAH AND THE TEMPOS: (Singing in foreign language). MILO MILES, BYLINE: If...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. As the Olympics nears its conclusion, we have some music from Brazil. Bossa nova was the most popular Brazilian music in America in the 1960s. And it influenced American pop music and jazz. Since then, bossa nova has faded from the American scene, but it never really went away. GROSS: Music critic Milo Miles has a review of a new album from the contemporary Brazilian ensemble Bossacucanova. ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Master percussionist Roman Diaz has releases his debut album as a leader called "L'o Da Fun Bata." Diaz arrived in New York from Havana, Cuba in 1999 and has since become a mainstay in the avant-garde jazz and Afro-Cuban music communities. Milo says this new album is the best presentation he's ever heard of musical ceremonies honoring deities transplanted from Nigeria to Cuba. (SOUNDBITE...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Music critic Milo Miles is enthusiastic about the latest album by Lizzo, an alternative hip-hop artist who's opened for Sleater-Kinney and sung with Prince. Milo has a review of the album. It's called "Big GRRRL Small World." (SOUNDBITE OF LIZZO SONG) LIZZO: (Singing, unintelligible). MILO MILES, BYLINE: Early last year, the reunion tour of Sleater-Kinney was the music show to see in...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Music critic Milo Miles has a review of the debut album by Banda De Los Muertos. Milo says this band updates traditional Mexican dance party folk music for modern American listeners. (SOUNDBITE OF BANDA DE LOS MUERTOS SONG) MILO MILES, BYLINE: Among the liveliest types of modern music are brass bands, veterans and newcomers, who are full of juice and present fresh feeling workouts year...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. In Argentina, tango singer Carlos Gardel remains the country's most famous pop-star, even though he died young in a plane crash 80 years ago. Music critic Milo Miles reviews a new collection of Gardel's recordings, which Milo says will introduce the singer to a new worldwide audience. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MANO A MANO") CARLOS GARDEL: (Singing in Spanish)....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Music critic Milo Miles has a review of the latest release from Bassekou Kouyate, a veteran bandleader and musician from Mali. Milo says rock and soul come together on his band's fourth album "Ba Power." (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAATI") NGONI BA: (Singing in foreign language). MILO MILES, BYLINE: This song "Waati" by Bassekou Kouyate and his band Ngoni Ba warns, be prepared, there is a...

Can you re-invent lively pop from the distant past? Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles says the songwriting team Tennis does just that with their new third album, Ritual in Repeat . Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Can you reinvent lively pop from the distant past? Music critic Milo Miles says the songwriting team Tennis does just that with their new third album, called "Ritual In Repeat." Tennis is singer Alaina Moore...

In the early 1960s when soul star Sam Cooke had his own record label, SAR, he recorded songs by his younger brother, L.C. Cooke. Ten of the tracks were supposed to become L.C.'s debut album in 1964. The release was postponed, then Sam Cooke was killed, SAR went out of business and L.C.'s album fell into limbo. Now, 50 years later, The Complete SAR Records Recordings has appeared. Fresh Air critic Milo Miles examines this lost piece of history. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www...

The New York City band Golem describe their music as punk-klezmer. Music critic Milo Miles says that on the group's new album, Tanz , they mange to find new ways to balance urban irreverence with folk tradition. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The New York City band Golem described their music as punk klezmer. Music critic Milo Miles says that on the group's new album "Tanz," they managed to find new ways to balance...

The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds. Back when the Dead show happened, it was amplified rock 'n' roll in sports arenas. The one time the Grateful Dead ever performed in Montana was at the Harry...

The appearance of Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu in the American market is welcome not only in itself, but also as a sign of a larger trend. Five or six years ago, it was clear the music business was going into long-term sales decline, and I was certain that a prime victim of that would be African pop. The established imports of the '80s and '90s would be available as MP3 downloads, but surely new discoveries and reissues would slow to a trickle, if not cease altogether. I'm grateful that that has...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56qo9sinSdc In the early '60s, Dave Van Ronk, still in his 20s, had become the grand honcho of the Washington Square folk scene in New York. He never managed to get as far beyond that role as he deserved. (His autobiography, The Mayor of MacDougal Street , helped inspire Joel and Ethan Coen's new movie, Inside Llewyn Davis .) Perhaps the fine new anthology Down in Washington Square will give Van Ronk, who died in 2002, a long-needed boost. Van Ronk was not a...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiA6u-w0uZc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE7XkaFFtGE When I first found out that a new style of dance music had conquered whole clubs in Europe, particularly France, I was put off by the name: electro-swing. Immediately, I thought of the so-called swing revival of the 1990s. Not only is swing a term with a notoriously slippery definition, the swing revival bands had little to do with any possible idea of swing. They were mostly jump blues and rockabilly...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue2UXnxp8Rs Born in Los Angeles in 1947, Sylvester James, always known as Sylvester, defied every convention and never hesitated to go his own way. Starting when he was a child, Sylvester never publicly shied away from his gayness and always rejected the description of "drag queen," making a persuasive case that he simply dressed as he wished with ferocious flamboyance. As a singer and an icon, he continually tried to determine his ideal stage and sound. The...

Long ago, one of my college history professors hammered home a durable truth: "If you love art," she said, "you should hate war." Because some art is always among war's victims. A case in point is a music celebration called Festival au Desert — held near Timbuktu, Mali, since 2001 — which I will Anglicize as Festival in the Desert. In January 2012, right after the last festival ended, a nationalist uprising began in the north of Mali, which was soon taken over by hardline Islamic...

Yo La Tengo wouldn't seem to be very rock 'n' roll, given that it's a very stable and long-lasting operation. Since 1991, the lineup has consisted of a married couple — drummer Georgia Hubley and guitarist Ira Kaplan, along with bassist James McNew — and all three play additional instruments as needed. Yo La Tengo has been with the same label, Matador, since 1993. But if the band lacks rock dramatics, I would argue that it knows as much about the modes and manners of rock 'n' roll as anyone...

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