Formed in Dallas, Old 97's first got together more than 20 years ago. The band's latest album, Most Messed Up, hearkens back to the wild spirit of earlier albums like Too Far to Care; its sprawling opening track, "Longer Than You've Been Alive," recalls the group's history and has lead singer Rhett Miller fully embracing his rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
New York City singer-songwriter Laura Cantrell returns to World Cafe with songs from No Way There From Here — her first album of new material in eight years, though she released a well-received Kitty Wells tribute record in 2011.
Cantrell moved to New York to attend college and stayed there, taking a Wall Street job to finance her passion for country music, both as a performer and as a DJ with a popular show on the radio station WFMU. She's originally from Nashville, where she recorded the new album.
The Brooklyn band Landlady will release its first full-length album, Upright Behavior, this summer. Jazz enthusiast Adam Schatz leads the adventurous five-piece folk-rock band. Hear two songs from Landlady's debut on this edition of World Cafe: Next.
On this edition of All Songs Considered we roll the windows down with a wind-whipped, sun-dappled mix of rock and pop, starting with an epic jam from the musician Timothy Showalter, who writes and records as Strand Of Oaks. The song, "JM" — a tribute to the late Jason Molina — rumbles and roars, propelled by Showalter's scorched guitar and voice.
Lykke Li may sing about repeating past mistakes, but on her new album, I Never Learn, the Swedish singer-songwriter has clearly grown. While continuing to work with Björn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John), who contributed to her first two albums, Li took the helm in producing this time around. Musically, the results are darker and more melancholy; lyrically, she pulls no punches in relating the heartbreak that informs its songs.
Early in its career, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah seemed unlikely to last a decade: One of the first major bands to rise to prominence on the strength of support from music blogs, it followed a successful 2005 debut with the oddly produced and underwhelmingly received Some Loud Thunder. For a time, CYHSY seemed destined to become a footnote; a cautionary tale about bands that find ephemeral success on the Internet, only to fade as quickly as they came.
Eternal love may sound great on paper, but in reality our most serious commitments break us as surely as they make us. To wed is to promise to accompany someone through the hope of romance into terrifying midlife and aggravating old age, enduring whatever ordinary disasters hit. To believe in a deity is to accept that all-powerful being's cruelty, or even apparent apathy, as well as its wonder. To invest in a personal vision — a vocation, an artistic quest — is to acknowledge that it may fall apart.
It's common to spot blues influences in rock music, but they're still fairly new in the music of Brooklyn's Parquet Courts. The band's third album, Sunbathing Animal, functions as a modern retelling of rhythm and blues: It's reminiscent of when British bands of the '60s embraced the form with energy and passion, with pressure that looms and haunts, rhythms that activate, and a call for listeners to move.