Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 2:47 pm
16 min 46 sec
It's hard to believe that it hasn't quite been a year since the first Sylvan Esso album came out. The odd yet perfect marriage of Nick Sanborn's electronics with Amelia Meath's voice feels like a familiar friend by now. And yet seeing these songs performed softly — and captured in the light of day — made them feel fresh and lovable in new ways.
This week's World Cafe: Next artist, BKO Quintet, is from the North African nation of Mali. Its album Bamako Today modernizes traditional Malian tunes and originals.
The band calls its music "Trad Actual Malian Sound." But, as you'll hear, it's also got a contemporary feel. In this segment, you can hear and download a couple of songs, including one in which BKO Quintet is joined by vocalist Piers Faccini singing in English.
The rootsy Louisville rock band Houndmouth just released its second album, LittleNeon Limelight. Like 2013's From The Hills Below The City, it pairs smart songwriting with huge sing-along choruses that prove hard to resist.
At times, Houndmouth's interplay recalls the perfectly ramshackle sound of The Band. In this session, its members perform a live set in front of an adoring crowd at World Cafe Live.
Every fan seems to have a story about their love for Elliott Smith. For Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield, theirs might have started with a dog. The two friends bonded over Smith's songs after Mayfield introduced Avett to her adopted pooch, Elliott.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 1:56 am
The first sound you hear on Toro y Moi's fourth album is the buzz and roar of race-car engines on the speedway. For those who've followed Chaz Bundick since his debut album, 2010's Causers Of This, it's a peculiar sound. Bundick has never sounded like a man taken with velocity; with speeding quickly from one destination to the next.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:13 am
When thinking about populism, it's easy to focus on either the relatable day-to-day struggles of average people — of the majority somewhere in the middle, glorified by so many rootsy tropes — or the more strung-out striving of those at the bottom. In politics and in culture, "the little guy" has typically made it far enough up the ladder to have a voice echoed in anthems and slogans, or else sunk far enough into desperation, homelessness or famine so as to surpass the need for detail entirely.