Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 10:51 am
When Bon Iver's Justin Vernon saw Norway's Highasakite perform at the 2012 Oya Festival in Oslo, he fell in love. Soon the two bands were touring together. Now the only band I know that tours with a flugabone has taken one of Vernon's songs and made it even more majestic than the original.
After two decades in punk rock, Jeff Burke still writes songs with the ecstatic energy of a kid picking up a guitar for the first time. Among the Denton, Texas, guitarist and singer's several bands, the most beloved is the currently dormant The Marked Men, which is why the similar sensibility of Radioactivity's self-titled 2013 album was such a welcome surprise. With guitarist/vocalist Mark Ryan (Mind Spiders) in tow, it was essentially The Marked Men 2.0.
Greg Holden isn't a name everyone knows — at least not yet — but his work has reached a massive audience. His song "Home" was a massive hit for American Idol winner Phillip Phillips a few years ago.
A U.K. singer-songwriter, Holden put out his own crowd-financed album in 2012, and is now making his major-label debut with Chase The Sun. On this episode of World Cafe, he performs a few songs and tells the story of how he took the money he made from "Home" to finance a backpacking trip to India.
If I had to pick one new band that you should absolutely listen to, it's Algiers, three young men who grew up in Atlanta. Sonically, they make really eerie gospel music that's a rock-inspired amalgamation of all different stuff. In "Black Eunuch," you can hear the sounds of both black and white churches of the South and great guitars. Though they now live in London and New York, their roots are definitely southern based and their lyrics deal with the conservative politics of where they grew up. I've never seen them before and they're completely new to me.
Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 4:52 pm
Imagine a country where most of the people are under 14 years old. Madagascar singer Razia Said lives in the U.S., but her songs tackle the challenges the African island nation faces. Music critic Banning Eyre says her latest album Akory prods the nation's leaders with bold questions.
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Shamir is best known for his buoyant, elastic electro-pop-rap song "On The Regular," but his live shows careen in altogether different directions. For one, the 20-year-old Las Vegas native sings far more often than he raps, with a high but rich voice versatile enough to accommodate Sylvester-esque disco, sleekly modern pop and robust funk.
This week's World Cafe: Next artist is Philadelphia's Hop Along, a band that evolved from the solo freak-folk recordings singer Frances Quinlan made while still in high school. The music on Painted Shut, Hop Along's first album for a national label, is no one's folk music — it's brash and powerful, led by Frances' intense, almost abrasive vocals.