Our guest for a special Christmas Day episode of World Cafe, Nick Lowe, has been making records since the 1970s. With beginnings as a rocker, Lowe has since developed a new following for his sly, country-tinged records. His new Christmas album, Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family, fits squarely into that category. In addition to performing a live set, the English musician discusses how he gets into the Christmas spirit.
Whether you're traveling for the holidays or waiting for those who are on the road to come back to you — or if you just need to wipe your eardrums clean after weeks of holiday shopping music — the next week should offer ample listening time.
Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 10:32 am
I'm a lyrics guy. Great words drive me to a song. Bad lyrics drive me away. As a lyrics guy, I find that my favorite songs often also have my favorite words. I love a good melody and a beat, but I love it more when those elements support a good story, an insight, an emotional outpouring, something I can connect to.
Every week this year, World Cafe host David Dye has highlighted an up-and-coming artist to showcase as a part of the Next series. To wrap up the last full week of 2013, he recently picked five acts he felt were particularly special:
Parquet Courts released an album and an EP this year; the band's shambolic, punk-influenced attitude caught the attention of many rock 'n' roll fans.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:27 pm
This week's Vintage Cafe takes us back nearly two decades: In December 1994, a then-up-and-coming Dave Matthews Band climbed the stairs to WXPN's tiny third-floor studio and played a reflective but enthusiastic live set. At the time of this recording, the band had just released Under the Table and Dreaming and was already on its way to becoming a household name.
Less than a week before Christmas, holly-jolly holiday music abounds — and if you're not feeling holly or jolly, it can be a little hard to take. For NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Morning Edition producer Travis Larchuk, the holidays often mean searching for alternatives: In Thompson's case, it means diversions into melancholy, while Larchuk often seeks something cutting or sarcastic or hyperrealistic to cut through the treacle.
All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton set out on a road trip to find the true spirit of the holiday season. Along the way they stop at the Silent Night Motel, where they meet Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, St. Vincent (Annie Clark), Josh Ritter, and more.
World Cafe welcomes the U.K. trio Daughter to the studio for Wednesday's session. Led by singer-songwriter Elena Tonra, the group formed when its members met as students at London's Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. The band released a pair of EPs independently before attracting the attention of a big label, which released the full-length If You Leave in March.