Filed Under:

For One Day, NPR Gets A House Band: Los Straitjackets

Play associated audio

We call them "buttons" and "deadrolls" — and, less cryptically, "breaks" — but most NPR listeners know them as the interstitial music spots that pepper NPR's newsmagazines. They add shading, mood, energy and other nonverbal context to our stories.

On All Things Considered, as on other NPR shows, that music is chosen by each episode's respective director — former show director Bob Boilen actually launched the program All Songs Considered as a way of highlighting his most intriguing selections — and is usually word-free, at least in the passages used on air. But until Wednesday, we've never had a band perform a show's interstitial music live; countless musicians have performed on our newsmagazines, but never as a house band.

Enter Los Straitjackets, whose members have been performing upbeat instrumental surf-rock jams for nearly a quarter of a century, all while clad in their signature Mexican wrestling masks. Not long after releasing their 12th album, this year's Jet Set, Los Straitjackets approached All Things Considered about sitting in for an episode — spending a day hanging out at NPR's Washington, D.C., headquarters, and helping to provide the show's soundtrack.

Though Los Straitjackets' playful but evocative music has frequently appeared in movies and on TV shows, the group has never composed music specifically to suit the mood and tone of a given scene. But for just one day, it's giving the news a soundtrack, talking to All Things Considered host Melissa Block and toasting the late jazzman Dave Brubeck with a brief rendition of his best-known tune, "Take Five."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Deadpool' Is a Potty-Mouthed Splatterfest. A Really Funny One

NPR film critic Bob Mondello says Deadpool goes in deep on its R rating — and has plenty of fun doing it.
NPR

Buy Crop Insurance, Double Your Money

The nation's crop insurance program is really a lottery, says one economist. And it's rigged so that farmers win. In fact, farmers typically get back double the money they pay for premiums.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - February 12, 2016

D.C. Council Member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) joins Kojo and Tom Sherwood to chat about her upcoming fight for re-election.

NPR

Do You Like Me? Swiping Leads To Spike In Online Dating For Young Adults

A study by the Pew Research Center finds the use of online dating sites has mushroomed in the past few years, particularly among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.