Hanni El Khatib is a first-generation American who grew up with a Palestinian father and a Filipino mother in San Francisco. His music has origins in '50s and '60s soul, blues, R&B and garage rock, with all those influences filtered through an intense love of punk music.
Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchinson has been creating compelling, sometimes even uplifting, songs about abject failure since the Scottish band's first album, Sing the Greys, came out in 2006.
On this installment of World Cafe, Hutchinson tells host David Dye how the entire band was involved in writing lyrics for its new album, Pedestrian Verse. The singer also discusses Frightened Rabbit's unique experience during a recent tour of northern Scotland.
Singer-songwriter Mieka Pauley makes her second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Born in Boston and raised in Kentucky and Colorado, Pauley told the audience that New York is the closest thing to a home she has now — not because she lives there, but because that's where her storage unit is located. "I'd like to pretend it's an artistic lifestyle ... but I made a series of bad choices."
More than a band, Savages is an idea. Guitarist Gemma Thompson said it herself during our interview at KEXP: "We had the idea originally and wanted to put everything we'd all accumulated individually into creating a performance that had a sonic representation of the name Savages."
Whether its members see it as blessing or a curse, Vampire Weekend's early success placed the band squarely under a microscope. Since even before the release of its first album, Vampire Weekend's clever lyrics and use of worldly rhythms have commanded attention; fortunately, the group's fame hasn't waned as its music has become more dynamic and confident.
Milo Greene — a band, not a person — makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. The cinematic pop band offsets its atmospheric melodies with a driving, energetic edge.
Four of Milo Greene's five members — keyboardist Marlana Sheetz, bassist Graham Fink and guitarists Andrew Heringer and Robbie Arnett — share lead-vocal duties, and often swap instruments between songs. Along with Curtis Marrero on drums, they've opened for The Civil Wars on a 2011 tour and are set to play Lollapalooza this summer.