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.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 10:53 am
It was a guest of honor DJ Cheryl Waters had been anticipating for 20 years: The Waterboys, a band currently celebrating its 30th anniversary despite frontman Mike Scott's insistence that he's only 24. The long-running group is on tour supporting its seven-CD collection, Fisherman's Box, which was inspired by the 1988 album Fisherman's Blues; the record marked Scott's relocation from Scotland to Ireland, and resulted in the most successful release of The Waterboys' long career.
The Head and the Heart gives an enchanting performance, recorded in front of an enthusiastic audience at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live. The group's set features songs from its new record, Let's Be Still. The Seattle band recorded a successful, self-titled debut on its own in 2010; it was reissued the next year by Sub Pop during an indie-folk rampage led by Fleet Foxes, among others.
Brimming with music performed by Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, Marcus Mumford and the Punch Brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis—in the tradition of O Brother, Where Art Thou?—is infused with the transportive sound of another time and place. Nonesuch Records has released the soundtrack to the movie, which opened on December 6.
Not long ago, Nick Lowe was approached by his American record label about releasing a Christmas album. The esteemed UK songwriter, who gave the world "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Cruel to Be Kind," says the idea seemed laughable.
"But I was confused by how snooty I felt when they asked me about doing it," Lowe says. "I think it's a Brit thing, really: Making Christmas records is seen as a not very cool thing to do. And I thinkg it's all bound up with strange ideas from the 1960s, about selling out and things like that."
The Bobs' members appear on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Zany a cappella groups have become a bit of a thing in recent years, and these guys were doing it way back in the early '80s. The group formed on the West Coast when two of its founders lost their jobs at a telegram company.
Taylor Muse is the 31-year-old bandleader and songwriter of Quiet Company, an indie-rock band from Austin. A native of East Texas raised in a Southern Baptist church, he now reluctantly carries the banner of "that atheist rocker from Austin."
"Every band that I was in up until college was a Christian band," Muse says. "It was part of our identity as people, our identity as a community. It was everything."
Dominique Pruitt makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Pruitt grew up in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles, surrounded by professional musicians, including her parents. When she saw the John Waters film Cry-Baby as a child, she immediately became fascinated with all things '50s, though she grew to love the '40s and '60s, as well.