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A music series
from Brian Williams

Okay, so I didn't name this thing, but I did come up with the idea. I have always loved identifying good music and good groups -- discovering them early (bar bands are best) and following them through their journey. While we'll interview some established musicians, mostly I'd like this to be a place where people can sample some of the great music being created every day, by talented musicians who wouldn't dream of doing anything else. --Brian Williams

Up next:
Lia Ices

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Lia Ices

Lia Ices is a discovery. Originally, it was her song "Little Marriage" that attracted me, and it still has a hold on me. It's light, lovely, airy and mesmerizing—it can also be remorseful and melancholy. Listen for the bells, the Wurlitzer, the simple drum, the finger snaps. Most of all, listen to her beautiful voice and effortless range. The lyrics read like the work of a veteran of life, love and perhaps a union gone bad, and it reads like the work of someone many years the senior of this young musician from Westport, Connecticut. Life has taken her to study theatre in London, to NYU in New York—to a studio in Brooklyn (not far from the Italian Ices stand where she gets her recording name) and a farmhouse in upstate New York where she found the sparse, spare, simple surroundings to motivate her music with a similar sound. Please enjoy our conversation and the music of Lia Ices. -- Brian Williams

Visit Lia's website


Please enjoy our latest musical entry—our featured artist is Lissie, who stopped by to see us on the day of her first New York show, and I hope you enjoy her work and our conversation. She is a highly talented and supremely motivated young artist who has great gifts and creates extraordinary music.--Brian Williams

Visit Lissie's website

Martin Sexton

Not everyone will agree with his politics, and not everyone has heard of him, but Martin Sexton has collected a loyal community of devoted music fans as a journeyman musician from upstate New York. We spent time with him recently at the Beacon Theatre in New York—and it was one phrase in particular that drew our attention to his latest album and its title track, which happens to be about the most horrifying event in recent American history.—Brian Williams

Visit Martin Sexton's website

Stuck on Florence and the Machine

A loyal Daily Nightly reader recently stumbled upon my #1 stumbling block preventing me from posting more about music...while I love music and could not live without it, isn't it the most subjective thing in the world? Are any two of us going to agree on any one "great" song, album or artist? Or even genre? I just had this discussion at dinner last night: There isn't enough time in life to listen to all the great music, and more of it is being created every day. But...since you asked, I will make this rare exception and tell you (and only you) what's been going on: I listened to all of the new Neil Young last night, thanks to the superb NPR Music site, which I confess is a new discovery for me. By the end I wished he'd had one or two more instruments, but I love Neil. I'm currently stuck on Florence and the Machine (especially the "Dog Days Are Over") I love Hawk's "Come Undone," and I'm still wading through the substantial and exciting new Arcade Fire. Ray LaMontagne's "Aching all the Time" is a gem, as is Frally's "La." I love Lissie, big time, and the new one has an interesting departure for her called "Big Sleep"—it’s way more produced than her first releases. I remain hopelessly addicted to her big three: "Here Before," "Wedding Bells," and "Everywhere I Go." And for Shins fans, there's a very raw, live version of "Phantom Limb" on the iTunes Live Session collection. —Brian Williams

Julian Casablancas

A long time ago, I vowed to use this space to profile "emerging" artists. So here's my rationalization for this interview: Julian Casablancas is "emerging" as a solo artist, after years with The Strokes. The proof that he's a good guy: he hangs with a lot of NBC folks, like Jimmy Fallon and Andy Samberg. Julian doesn't do a lot of interviews. He is quiet, thoughtful and modest. He's not much for bombast. We were pleasantly surprised when he accepted our invitation to join us in our studios for a conversation about his life and work. Ladies and Gentlemen: Julian Casablancas.

Nikki Yanofsky

"The day I think I'm the best is a bad day" — Nikki Yanofsky talks with Brian Williams about learning to scat while still wearing braces, honoring the legacy of her musical hero Ella Fitzgerald, and the role humility plays in making good music.

Nikki's got rhythm

  The young jazz-pop singer performs her rendition of the George Gershwin jazz classic "I Got Rhythm."

Great Lake Swimmers

It's been too long. I've been on hiatus from my own domain since before we left for Washington to produce the Obama White House special, and I've hardly had time to listen to any new material. I monitor all the releases, and there's a lot out there, and I'm keeping a giant list so I can go back and download all of it and concentrate on it. I am proud to say that the "score" of the White House special—all of the music over the two-hour special—was from my collection. I thought it was important to get the sound right. Earlier this week I posted the songs I'm presently stuck on —I'm happy to finally present our newest installation: a conversation with Great Lake Swimmers' Tony Dekker. He was nice enough to come by and visit us at 30 Rock, and I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Tony Dekker plays 'Everything is Moving so Fast'
GLS video: Stealing Tomorrow
GLS video: Palmistry
GLS video: Pulling on a Line

Deer Tick

In their interview with Brian Williams, the members of the alt-country indie rock band Deer Tick—John Joseph McCauley III; Andrew Grant Tobiassen; Christopher Dale Ryan; Dennis Michael Ryan—discussed some of their own favorites, as well as some of their influences. Last May, the band released The Black Dirt Sessions on Partisan Records. 

Nightly News

Brian's songs

  From the set of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," Brian Williams discusses his wish list for the recently launched Web-only music series BriTunes, and offers listening suggestions from his current playlist.

Listening in
Los Angeles

From the backlot of NBC's studios in Burbank, California, following his appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Brian Williams discusses some of his recent rediscoveries—including Tori Amos and Daniel Lanois—and shares a new discovery, the Howling Bells.