Fans of Midlake have no doubt grown accustomed to the band's malleable sound, which fluctuates from album to album. The Texas folk-rock band's second record, The Trial of Van Occupanther, was steeped in the atmosphere of the '70s, while 2010's The Courage of Others headed in another direction altogether.
Deer Tick visits the WXPN studio to perform songs from its fifth album, Negativity. Of all the material the band has released over the past seven years, this record contains some of lead singer John McCauley's most personal songwriting yet.
Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 9:15 am
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Our friends in the public radio system are some of the most open-minded listeners we know. Each month, our Heavy Rotation series brings you free downloads of what our fellow programmers and producers are experiencing on repeat.
World Cafe's day trip to Pittsburgh for Sense of Place kicks off with a session by the pop-rock trio Donora. Donora, made up of brother and sister Jake and Casey Hanner and bassist Jake Churton, is a second-generation band. The Hanner siblings are the offspring of Dave Hanner, from the country band Corbin/Hanner. As kids, they spent time in their father's studio, which influenced them to pursue music careers of their own; Casey sings and plays guitar and keyboards, while her brother plays drums. Eventually, their dad convinced them to perform together.
To find out about up-and-coming local bands for our Sense of Place stop in Pittsburgh, we went straight to one of the city's best-known sources: Cindy Howes, host of Morning Mix on NPR member station WYEP.
A close observer of Pittsburgh's music scene, Howes couldn't pick just five bands to feature on Wednesday's episode, so she gave us six. She also gives listeners insight into the wide variety of music playing at any given night in the clubs of Pittsburgh's East End.
For those drawn to doom and gloom, the most affecting music sometimes takes a while to reveal itself. In 2008, the happily named duo Have a Nice Life released Deathconsciousness, a messy yet fascinating double-album fixated on the darker side of life and endowed with a gauzy, shoegaze-drenched underbelly. As time went on, I'd continue to see Deathconsciousness pop up in RSS and Twitter feeds from those just discovering an album too weird and too bleak for its time — or any time, for that matter. I should know; I was one of them a few years ago.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 10:52 am
Of Montreal was founded by singer Kevin Barnes back in 1996; ever since, the Athens, Ga., group has continued to explore new creative possibilities, as true artists do. The band recently returned to Morning Becomes Eclectic to showcase songs from its new album, including "Fugitive Air."
Those who love indie singer-songwriter Bill Callahan's music no doubt have their favorites among his solo albums, if not from records he previously made under the name Smog. Callahan's music has been remarkably consistent and deeply meaningful; as a writer, he's truly invested in making every word count. Callahan's latest album, Dream River, is a classic illustration of his artistry.
All it takes is two seconds of hearing "Round round get around / I get around" and you're there — in the sun, on the beach, in the '60s. The Beach Boys vaulted up the charts while branching out from surf music to psychedelia. This year the remaining band members released Made in California, a six-CD box set loaded with outtakes and other rarities. Critic Ed Ward examines the rise and long decline of a beloved group with a unique sound.
This week's pick for World Cafe: Next is Dott, a young quartet from Galway, Ireland. The music on the band's debut album, Swoon, calls upon the sounds of garage-pop, with chugging, jangly guitars out front and the vocals of Anna McCarthy on top.