WWNO's Gwen Thompkins on "Ballet Class" by Jason Marsalis
Another month, another great mix of new music chosen by public radio's top DJs. Download an explosive new track from Neko Case, discover the Shabazz Palaces-approved Seattle rapper Porter Ray and get to know Valerie June, one of public radio's frontrunners for Best New Artist of 2013. Grab all 10 of our picks below, as chosen by the following contributors:
Chris Campbell, DJ at WDET's ALPHA channel in Detroit
Lars Gotrich, producer and host of Viking's Choice at NPR Music
Good morning. I'm David Greene. In China it's the Year of the Snake. In Indiana, it's the year of popcorn. This year's state fair will feature, what else, a giant popcorn ball. A company called Snax in Pax is using a mold that's eight-feet wide. Owner Will Huggins says it will be edible but he doesn't recommend taking a bite. Maybe because it'll be a little stale.
The Fourth of July weekend is over, but celebrations continue, and I'm not talking about left-over fireworks. The Maryland Historical Society is recreating the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore 200 years ago. Mary Pickersgill and four others sewed the original Star Spangled Banner in 1813. Now volunteers will recreate it using the same type of fabric, stitching and time frame. They have six weeks to complete the 30-by-40 foot flag.
Rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans, which help low and middle-income college students, doubled on July 1. There is now pressure for a deal to undo the increase. NPR's David Greene talks to Matthew Chingos, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.
Each month, NPR Music asks public radio personalities at member stations across the country to tell us about a song they can't get enough of. David Greene introduces listeners to member station WWNO's Gwen Thompkins — she's NPR's former East Africa correspondent. Her choice for July's installment of "Heavy Rotation," is "Ballet Class" by the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet.