David Dye

The Sydney three-piece Middle Kids has gotten a lot of mileage out of releasing just two singles. Sure, "Your Love" and "Edge of Town" are hook-laden, entirely delightful songs — but more than anything, it feels like people are looking toward the group's potential, and that's where things get exciting.

A newcomer to the Sydney music scene, Julia Jacklin released her debut album, Don't Let The Kids Win, in October. Her songs reflect the feeling she has in her 20s as she watches younger people experiencing things she just went through. (Mind you, she doesn't feel old yet.)

One of the high points of World Cafe's visit to Sydney, Australia, for our Sense of Place series was the opportunity to sit down with Steve Kilbey, the lead singer of The Church. The Australian band has been releasing psychedelic-rock albums since the late '70s and is best known for its worldwide hit "Under The Milky Way." But on this day in the studio, we got to hear Kilbey perform solo.

As part of our Sense of Place series, we bring you an artist from Sydney, Australia, for this week's World Cafe Next. Out of all the artists we met on World Cafe's recent trip to Sydney, Thelma Plum is the newest, having released only two EPs. (Her latest is 2014's Monsters.) She is working on new music, though, and you'll hear a brand-new song in this session.

This week, World Cafe takes you to Sydney, Australia, with our Sense Of Place series. Our first guest is a band that has made a big impact here in the United States: Boy & Bear. The band, which is centered around the songwriting of David Hosking, released its third album, Limit Of Love, last year.

I had not heard this interview with Leonard Cohen since 1993, the second year of World Cafe's existence, until we revisited it upon hearing of his death this week. I'd traveled to talk with Cohen backstage at a 1,000-seat theater he was playing in the suburbs outside Philadelphia. This was different from the large, triumphant tours he played in his 70s — it was almost workaday, a performance for the gathered faithful. The man who passed away Monday at the age of 82 was spry in his 60s.

Jim James On World Cafe

Nov 7, 2016

Jim James, the leader of the Louisville, Ky., band My Morning Jacket, has a new solo album, Eternally Even. It's a political album — not because it is directly about climate change or immigration or this election's other hot-button issues, but because it addresses the mindset that has led to such a divided nation. It's about love and fear.

Bob Weir On World Cafe

Nov 4, 2016

Bob Weir, songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist of the Grateful Dead, used to be a cowboy. As a teenager, he had a job on a ranch in Wyoming and now, many years later, he's written an album about the experience called Blue Mountain.

The New York City duo The Shacks is made up of Shannon Wise and Max Shrager, who are 18 and 20 years old, respectively. The band's new, self-titled EP includes its first single, "Strange Boy," and some similarly atmospheric songs. Wise's voice belies her age, and with Shrager's production, this sounds like the early work of a force to be reckoned with. Hear two songs in the audio segment.

Adia Victoria has traveled a long way since she dropped out of high school in South Carolina. She impulsively hopped to London and Paris, to New York City and back to the American South. In Atlanta, she learned guitar and steeped herself in the blues, which she says represented "the first time in my life that I felt connected to my blackness and to my Southernness." Finally, it was on to Nashville.

Heart Like A Levee, the new album from Hiss Golden Messenger, soulfully weaves together all the musical styles we have come to expect from the North Carolina band. Led by M.C. Taylor, the band marries airy country, Van Morrison-style soul and dusty rock 'n' roll with lyrics that feel both universal and surprisingly personal.

This week, World Cafe rebroadcast a 2011 session with The Civil Wars. When we recorded that session, Joy Williams and John Paul White had just released their album Barton Hollow; they'd go on to win four Grammy awards, achieve a gold record and play sold-out concerts. But the duo's success wasn't enough to sustain their partnership, which fell apart in 2014.

Here are 10 more great duos that, unfortunately, weren't built to last.

Right now, the world's focus is on Rio for the 2016 Olympics. Brazil is on our minds, too, so we've made a weekend playlist filled with international collaborations between Brazilian artists and other musicians from around the globe. These are some extraordinary duets, from bossa nova to tropicalia and beyond. No Olympic competition here — just collaboration!

World Cafe #TBT: 1993

Aug 4, 2016

For Throwback Thursday, we're re-airing a 2011 Liz Phair session on today's episode of World Cafe. Phair's debut album, Exile In Guyville, came out in 1993 and was a huge success, topping Pitchfork's list that year.

John Doe of X was World Cafe's guest earlier this week, as he played live with a rock band that included original X drummer DJ Bonebrake. You can hear it again in the World Cafe archive. Doe also discussed the early days of the L.A. punk scene to which X belonged.

Expanding, questioning, digging, changing every tactic: These are all elements of the creative process that's led to the uplifting music on Local Natives' new album Sunlight Youth.

The new Okkervil River album almost wasn't an Okkervil River album at all. That's how the band's lead singer and songwriter, Will Sheff, explains it. "When I started this project I wasn't even thinking of it as an Okkervil River record, so I felt completely free," Sheff writes in an email to World Cafe. "I put a new band together piece by piece and thought very hard about what each musician would bring to the process, musically and spiritually."

Ray LaMontagne says the shape of his sixth album, Ouroboros, revealed itself to him as a whole in a dream. An easy-to-interpret dream, at that: A colorful puzzle representing the songs assembled itself as a whole picture as he slept.

There was a time when the world of World Cafe and the world of the Grammys only intersected with a few Contemporary Folk nominees. These days, that category doesn't even exist — hello, Americana! — and World Cafe guests like Melbourne's Courtney Barnett are cropping up as nominees across the board.

Hop Along has more friends in the Philadelphia music scene than just about anybody; Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield even has a tattoo of the band's first album cover. Singer Frances Quinlan is an exciting, unorthodox performer whose phrasing in "Waitress," from Painted Shut, isn't intuitive. But that makes it all the more powerful.

In 2012, the musicians who formed The Suffers started jamming on ska tunes — the name comes from the 1978 reggae film Rockers/ital — and evolved into the tight, inventive "Gulf Coast soul" band it is today. Kam Franklin is a ball of energy out front, but she's only part of why so many are shouting The Suffers' praises these days. Come join the chorus.

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