Cheech Marin lives up a winding hill in Los Angeles, high above where the ocean meets the mountains. He greets NPR in a Cheech and Chong T-shirt and makes sure to get everyone's names before inviting us in.

Marin, of course, was half of Cheech and Chong, one of comedy's most famous duos. The group became popular in the 1970s, and continued making movies into the '80s.

Joni Sledge of the group Sister Sledge, best known for the iconic disco 1979 anthem We Are Family, has died at 60.

The group's publicist, Biff Warren, said Sledge was found at home in Arizona and they have yet to determine a cause of death. She had not been ill, he said.

The Shins released their first critically acclaimed album, Oh, Inverted World, way back in 2001 — and were catapulted into the public ear when a song from that album appeared as a plot line in the 2004 movie Garden State. The world has changed in the years since the group rose to be recognized as one of the biggest indie rock acts of the 21st century.

Valerie June releases her new album, The Order Of Time, Friday. It's the follow-up to her 2013 breakout album, Pushin' Against A Stone, which was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. June was influenced by the church, family members and the music of Memphis, where she grew up and first began performing.

VuHaus adds a new Colorado affiliation to its growing network of public media organizations.  The ‘VuHaus Colorado’ page is a collaboration of six public radio stations in the state that are part of the Colorado Music Strategy, a partnership between Colorado Creative Industries and Bohemian Foundation.  VuHaus is the country-wide collective of the most influential public media stations, showcasing their music video content at VuHaus.com.

Out of over 6,000 entries — more submissions than we've ever received — Tank And The Bangas won, unanimously, this year's Tiny Desk Contest. I fully expected their victory performance here at NPR headquarters in D.C. to be celebratory. I didn't know we'd all end up in tears.

David Bowie's website announced Thursday a limited-edition release of two rarities from the rock icon's vault: Cracked Actor, a three-LP live record of a Los Angeles show from 1974 mixed by longtime Bowie studio collaborator Tony Visconti, as well as a reissue of a small-pressing EP of Bowpromo from 1971, which contained alternate mixes of songs from Hunky Dory.

Like so many countries from the former Soviet bloc, Mongolia faced a terrible economic upheaval at the end of the Soviet Union. In the first few years, inflation went up over 250 percent; employment went down.

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Condors in the Canyons

Essayist Andrew Gulliford ponders the past, present and future of the ancient bird, now thriving again among northern Arizona's Vermillion Cliffs.

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