Music

Music

World Cafe Next: New Year, New Music

Jan 9, 2017

Now that the new year's well under way, World Cafe hosts David Dye and Talia Schlanger share their most anticipated upcoming releases of 2017. Their picks include new music from Sampha, who served as the secret sauce on some of the best R&B tracks of the past year, and from instrumental geniuses Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, who've melded minds for a double album that comes out later this month.

When Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan of Dawg Yawp were discovered by their manager and producer, fellow Cincinnati musician Rob Fetters, they were performing seated on the floor at their local creperie.

Looking to the future is the right way to start off a new year. In the video for the electronica-tinged Latin American folk song "Futuro," Café Tacvba looks beyond binaries to see time and the universe through an optimistic lens.

The Joshua Tree, the album that made U2 global megastars, turns 30 this year. To mark the milestone, the band will perform the seminal album in its entirety at several live performances scheduled throughout the year, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo in June.

As the lead singer and songwriter in The Hold Steady — and, before that, Lifter PullerCraig Finn filled the air with a frenetic flood of words, singing vividly about antiheroes who seek escape and redemption in the form of drugs, religion, rock 'n' roll and many pursuits in between.

There is a sense of pensive melancholy as the wail of Keyon Harrold's trumpet pushes its way past the Hitchcock-esque piano that sets the tone for "Stay This Way." With Philadelphia singer Bilal and Southern rapper Big K.R.I.T. contributing vocals, the song asks if euphoric moments are meant to last, or if they're naturally fleeting.

Near the beginning of the track, Bilal sings almost waveringly:

David Bowie had long wanted to make a record with a jazz band, and on Jan. 8 of last year, he realized his dream with the release of Blackstar. Two days later, he was gone. Donny McCaslin's band helped him make that record, and now, a year later, we pay tribute to Bowie and Blackstar by bringing McCaslin's band to the Tiny Desk.

Lukas Forchhammer, frontman of the Danish pop band Lukas Graham, grew up in a neighborhood called Christiania in the capital city of Copenhagen. It's not your typical urban environment: It used to be an army base, but it was abandoned in 1970, and squatters turned it into an autonomous settlement in 1971. To this day, it operates very differently from the city that surrounds it.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Smokey Hormel's great-grandfather George Hormel started the famous meat company bearing the family name. His grandfather invented Spam. But Hormel — and yes, Smokey is his real given name — says he was never much interested in the family business.

Robbie Robertson is a gifted storyteller who's best known as the guitarist and chief songwriter of The Band. His career started at age 16, when Arkansas R&B and rockabilly roadmaster Ronnie Hawkins drafted the Torontonian into his band, The Hawks.

Maintaining a long-term relationship can be difficult, but Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith have managed to do it — and they've become megastars in the process. They make up the band The xx, and they've been making music together since they were kids.

Julien Baker never imagined her sad songs would be loved beyond a small circle of friends.

It was raining in New York on Nov. 9, 2016, and New Yorkers, tired as the rest of the country from a late night after a long election season, walked about in a fog of their own. The sky was still overcast when we met Angel Olsen at the Fordham University Church, an 1845 New York City landmark whose carillon is said to have inspired Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Bells." There, wearing a green raincoat and accompanying herself on electric guitar, she sang "Give It Up," from her excellent 2016 release My Woman.

An extended version of this conversation is now available as a podcast. Stream or download it from Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Classical composers have long had their patrons: Beethoven had Archduke Rudolph, John Cage had Betty Freeman. For contemporary opera composers, there's Beth Morrison. She and her production company have commissioned new works from some of the most innovative emerging composers today.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow collaborated with three hip-hop producers — including Drake's not-so-secret weapon, Nineteen85 — to create his latest masterpiece, We Move. Each of McMorrow's albums has been a big leap forward, and this one finds him finally coming out of his shell, as you can hear on "Rising Water."

SET LIST

  • "Rising Water"

Georges Prêtre, the French conductor with a seven-decade career that included close associations with Maria Callas and many of the world's top orchestras, died Wednesday in France at age 92.

Note: This week's +1 podcast is hosted by NPR Music contributor Timmhotep Aku.


Hannibal Buress is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor loved for his brand of irreverent comedy and his gift for finding absurdity in the seemingly mundane. It's an audacity that informs not only his sense of humor, but also his taste in music.

The brainchild of classically trained songwriter and bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin has evolved from an immaculate, studio-bound chamber-pop ensemble to a looser, livelier full-time operation.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.

If Buddy Holly is somehow still capable of hearing the sounds emanating from this mortal plane, there's a good chance he's sporting a broad grin upon encountering "Tip My Heart." The title track from the debut album by Sally & George bears a Spartan sparkle not far removed from the kind that marked the late rock 'n' roll pioneer's venerated output.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

KSUT will feature the Infamous Stringdusters this Friday, checking out their brand new CD 'Laws of Gravity', and listening to some of their back catalog.

Our artist feature begins at 11:10 AM, during the Morning Blend, and concludes with our weekly trivia contest and your chance to win lunch from Zia Taqueria at 11:30.

Davy Knowles emerged last decade as a young, hotshot blues guitarist who displayed wisdom beyond his years. Knowles fronted the band Back Door Slam, which took its name from the Robert Cray song. The trio formed on the Isle of Man, off the British coast, and called it quits in 2009 when Knowles began making solo albums. His most recent release is Three Miles From Avalon.

Swedish pop artist Jens Lekman is back with his first new album in nearly five years. The singer, known for his darkly comical storytelling, says he'll release the calypso- and disco-inspired Life Will See You Now later this year. In making the announcement he shared the album's first single, "What's That Perfume That You Wear?," a playful, up-tempo tale about lost love and the ways a certain smell can spark a rush of memories.

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