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Jobless Claims Stay Near 7-Year Low

Apr 17, 2014

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There were 304,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, up just 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 302,000, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

The scant increase means claims continued to run near their lowest pace since May 2007 — seven months before the economy slipped into its last recession. That downturn officially ended in June 2009, but job growth has remained relatively sluggish for much of the time since then.

According to Reuters, claims "rose less than expected ... offering further evidence of the economy's underlying strength."

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Top Stories: Hundreds Still Trapped In Ferry; Putin On Spying

Apr 17, 2014

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Good morning, here are our early stories:

— No Sign Yet Of Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Disaster.

— Putin Tells Snowden That Russia Doesn't Do Mass Surveillance.

And here are more early headlines:

Ukrainian Clashes Reported As Russia Meets Ukrainian Officials. (BBC)

Sub Finishes First Full Dive To Look For Missing Jet. (Bloomberg)

What Spring? Wintry Weather Hits Upper Great Lakes. (AccuWeather)

Appeals Court To Hear Oklahoma Same Sex Marriage Case. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Most Votes Expected Today In India's Staggered Election. (Deutsche Welle)

Canadian Teen Charged In Heartbleed Bug Data Theft. (Toronto Star)

Venezuelan Government, Opposition Broaden Truth Commission. (Guardian)

Blast Kills 1, Wounds 3 At Tennessee Ammunition Plant. (AP)

New Jersey Dog Gets Jury Duty Summons. (CBS)

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Warpaint in the KCRW studios. (KCRW)

KCRW Presents: Warpaint

by Jason Bentley, KCRW Music Director
Apr 17, 2014 (KCRW-FM)

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Jason Bentley, KCRW Music Director

For their self-titled sophomore effort, the L.A. band Warpaint spent a few weeks writing and recording in a decked out house with a geodesic dome in the high desert of Joshua Tree. With driving bass lines, beautifully harmonized vocals and confident but yearning lyrics, the quartet has crafted songs that demand your full attention. Before heading back to the desert for their appearance at Coachella, they stopped by the Morning Becomes Eclectic studios with new songs including "Love Is To Die."

Find KCRW's entire session with Warpaint on KCRW.com.

Copyright 2014 KCRW-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kcrw.com.

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Merchandise performing "Become What You Are" for a NPR Field Recording. (NPR)

Merchandise Sprawls Out In The Sunlight

Apr 17, 2014 (KCRW-FM)

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Merchandise got its start on the Tampa punk and hardcore scene, then got weirder as artier influences like krautrock took hold. As its sound became harder to pin down, the band inspired an 18-month bidding war between record labels: This year, Merchandise finally signed with 4AD, and adventurous new material has begun to trickle out.

A new album arrives later this year, but Merchandise was already previewing it at SXSW last month. As part of their appearance at the festival, singer Carson Cox and guitarist Dave Vassalotti — a configuration Cox describes as "some component of Merchandise" — held court for an informal session at Friends & Neighbors, a backyard venue in east Austin.

Though it usually keeps its songs to reasonable lengths, Merchandise also knows how to sprawl out: Its new single, "Begging for Your Life/In the City Light," spans a whopping 14 minutes. So it's no surprise that even a truncated version of the group would be capable of wringing an epic out of such a casual environment. Here, Cox and Vassalotti perform "Become What You Are" before an intimate and easy-going crowd, letting the song unfurl for nearly nine minutes.

Set List

"Become What You Are"

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Saidah Blount; Director: A.J. Wilhelm; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Saidah Blount, Becky Harlan, Olivia Merrion, A.J. Wilhelm; Production Coordinator: Kate Kittredge; Special Thanks: Friends & Neighbors; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

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Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion was first heard on Good Friday, 1727 in Leipzig, Germany. (Getty Images)

A Visitor's Guide To Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion'

Apr 17, 2014 (KCRW-FM)

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Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his St. Matthew Passion for a single purpose—to present the biblical passion story, in music, at Good Friday vesper services.

Bach's Passion continues to move audiences more than 280 years after it was first heard in St. Thomas's Church in Leipzig, Germany. Standing as one of the pillars of Western sacred music, it is at once monumental and intimate, deeply sorrowful and powerful.

The audio program presented here, hosted by Lynn Neary, is from the NPR series Milestones of the Millennium. It's a journey through the St. Matthew Passion guided by acclaimed scholars, conductors and singers (including Ian Bostridge, Joshua Rifkin, Ton Koopman and Christoph Wolff), all closely associated with Bach's masterwork.

With surprising drama, Bach's Passion retells the compelling story of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. Bach divided the music into two parts. Highlights of part one include the last supper and the betrayal and arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In part two, the music turns darker and softer — signalling the inevitability of the story — as it depicts the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The Passion ends with the darkly textured chorus, "In tears of grief." Bach could leave his parishioners in a sorrowful mood, knowing that they'd be celebrating Christ's resurrection in just a few days.

Bach built his Passion from choruses both small and large, and arias for specific characters such as Jesus, Judas, Peter and Pontius Pilate. The Evangelist, a role for tenor voice, is the principal storyteller and narrator, moving the drama along through through a kind of half sung, half spoken recitative. Supporting Bach's massive structure are three grand choruses — at the beginning, middle and end — standing as tall pillars, holding up the surrounding music.

The Passion begins with an immense wave of sound — an opening chorus constructed of an interlocking double choir with a children's chorus soaring over top — building with intensity, and sweeping the listener into the drama.

English tenor Ian Bostridge is so taken with Bach's music that he has made the role of the Evangelist a staple of his repertoire.

"I think the St. Matthew Passion is one of the greatest pieces of music in the western repertory," Bostridge declares. "And to start one's journey toward understanding that piece is a very important point in anybody's life."

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