KCRW Presents: Beachwood Sparks

Aug 29, 2012

The L.A. band Beachwood Sparks took a decade-long hiatus before releasing a fantastic new album, Tarnished Gold, earlier this year. A standout on a set of easygoing alt-country, the title track is sure to appeal to fans of The Grateful Dead and especially cosmic-country hero Gram Parsons.

Diamond Rugs On World Cafe

Aug 28, 2012

Muddying the waters separating indie rock, country and Southern blues, Diamond Rugs formed in Nashville as an all-star music collective assembled by John McCauley of Deer Tick.

All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are back from their 2012 World Tour, which is to say they visited Seattle and Portland, Ore. last week, and have returned with a batch of new songs and stories to share. On the west coast Bob and Robin hosted a couple of listening parties, where they played music for an audience, the audience got to rate the songs, then everyone talked about them, just like hardcore music fans.

Next: Matthew E. White

Aug 27, 2012

Matthew E. White is an old soul conversant in music's past. On the cover of his debut album, Big Inner, his aesthetic is reminiscent of 1970 John Lennon on the cover of Abbey Road. The Manila-born, Virginia-raised musician was heavily influenced by the early works of Randy Newman — specifically Newman's 1972 album Sail Away.

The Milk Carton Kids

Aug 27, 2012

KSUT will be featuring a second CD this Friday at 12:35 PM, in celebration of the 17th Annual Four Corners Folk Festival, this one from a little known, but wonderful duo called The Milk Carton Kids. Their debut CD "Prologue" was released last summer, and they perform at the festival Saturday afternoon at 1:45. 

Singer-songwriter and producer Joe Henry wrote this foreward to Prologue:

"Keep Your Hands Where I Can See Them" 

The second installment of The Wood Brothers’ live set, ‘Live, Volume 2: Nail and Tooth’, will be released this week on Southern Ground Records. KSUT will feature it on Friday at noon, as a little preview of what to expect from their performance later that day (7 PM) at the Four Corners Folk Festival

"Duquesne Whistle," begins in the middle of a scene, like the fade-in in a classic Western. It's the first song we get to hear from Bob Dylan's Tempest, the album he will release on September 11, 50 years and six months after the commencement of his recoding career.

Dispatch In Concert

Aug 24, 2012

Dispatch formed in 1994, and quickly became a staple of college campuses and summer music festivals across the country. When members Chad Urmston, Brad Corrigan and Pete Heimbold decided to call it quits in 2002, fans knew the band would be missed.

Two weeks ago, we premiered the video for Lord Huron's "Time to Run," in which the group ran around in the desert simulating an old Spaghetti Western — and, with the help of its director, captured the washed-out look and feel of old film stock.

JD McPherson On World Cafe

Aug 22, 2012

JD McPherson's "big break" came when he introduced himself to producer and bassist Jimmy Sutton of The Four Charms via MySpace. After receiving several of McPherson's demos, Sutton immediately recognized his talent, and the Oklahoma native moved to Chicago to begin recording with Sutton. The pair released a music video for "North Side Gal," which became a viral hit.

Seth and Scott Avett spend a good chunk of their lives on one tour bus or another, so asking them to perform in one isn't all that different from asking them to perform in one of their own living rooms. They may be far away from their native North Carolina — to be exact, they're captured here in a Camden, N.J., parking lot in conjunction with the XPoNential Music Festival — but the setting is cozy enough for Seth Avett to brew tea before performing.

At 65, Loudon Wainwright III is older than his father ever was, and it’s got him thinking, and writing, and singing. As he puts it, the new album deals with “death ‘n’ decay” and he’s approached the subject from all angles, with his customary insight, honesty, and rueful humor. But pondering the imponderables can be a lonely business, and so, like never before, Loudon has brought in friends and family to help him with the heavy lifting.

Rebecca Gates: The Spinanes' Star Floats On

Aug 21, 2012

The Float marks the first release in 11 years from former Spinanes singer Rebecca Gates, who enlisted a host of musical friends (17 by our count, collectively addressed as The Consortium) while working on the record on and off over the past few years. In this session, she joins us with the slimmed-down version that's been joining her in Portland over the past year or so: Joanna Bolme on bass, Rebecca Cole on keys and Ji Tanzer on drums.

What was the most important band of your college years? The one that you held above all others? The one you turned to when you needed it most?

When Bob Boilen asked me this recently, I froze. I knew he was fishing for something loud and rebellious. The words "college years" imply youth and freedom and celebration and tearing life up!

Next: Carrousel

Aug 20, 2012

The Tallahassee band Carrousel released its first full-length album, 27 rue de mi'chelle, in May. The group's trippy, cathartic, lovelorn dream-pop often references time spent around the ocean, but there's meticulousness to the sound that could only come from countless hours in the studio. Download Carrousel's head-turning "14" and the new album's title track in this installment of World Cafe Next.

We'd never tried to squeeze a piano behind the Tiny Desk, but when I saw a chance to have Rufus Wainwright play here, I wouldn't — and he probably wouldn't — have had it any other way. Somehow, we managed to fit a glossy black Yamaha upright against my full bookshelves. Then we tuned it and waited for some glorious moments.

Summer's slowing down, but the band fun. is still cruising at a high speed. Along with Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR Music has been following fun. this summer, checking in with the band as it continues on its world tour.

Band Of Horses In Concert

Aug 17, 2012

Band of Horses has survived a tumultuous history. Of the four original members, only frontman Ben Bridwell remains. In 2005 the band got its first real break opening for Iron & Wine, catching the ear of the celebrated indie label Sub Pop. Under Sub Pop, Band of Horses was able to release Everything All the Time in 2006 to a large audience.

As a math-loving parent of a math-loving tween girl, I'm worried that women are significantly underrepresented in science and engineering fields. A new benefit album of kids music called Science Fair gathers musicians together to take on that disparity both by raising awareness and firing up the imagination.

KCRW Presents: thenewno2

Aug 15, 2012

Dhani Harrison formed thenewno2 as an arts collective during a very dark period. With the passing of his father, George Harrison, and the September 11 attacks fresh in our collective consciousness, he needed a fresh direction to help bring some clarity to the swirling chaos of emotions. Channeling these complicated feelings, and with the support of some enduring friendships, Dhani has delivered thefearofmissingout, a layered and confident album that brings his individual voice to the fore.

Few bands make music as strangely captivating - or make it as as fearlessly - as Dirty Projectors. The group's always unpredictable songs crisscross a mind-bending mix of genres and styles, with disjointed rhythms and structures, unusual melodies and harmonies that make it one of the most creative but polarizing groups of the past decade. For some it's an inspired form of high art, while others think it's just plain weird.

I guess it's not that big of a surprise, but according to last week's poll, 67 percent of you haven't heard Big Star's #1 Record. One of the nice side benefits of doing this series is that it gives people a chance to discover great albums they've never heard before, so if you're part of the 67 percent that hasn't heard Big Star, take some time to listen. You'll love it.

Lyle Lovett In Concert

Aug 15, 2012

Seeing a concert at the Prospect Park Bandshell is a surefire way to spend a summer night. Seeing Lyle Lovett close out the 2012 Celebrate Brooklyn season was something special — and we were there to record the Aug. 11 show.

Aimee Mann's eighth studio record, Charmer, comes out in a month. Charmer is also the title — and subject — of the album's first video, which features a robot double of Mann played by three-time Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Linney of The Truman Show, The Squid and the Whale and The Big C.

The video, directed by Tom Scharpling, deals lightheartedly with the idea of fame and persona with Mann playing herself and Linney playing her robot double.

Song Premiere: Title Fight, 'Sympathy'

Aug 14, 2012

As much as its music pervaded my high school existence, I never attended Warped Tour — the sneaker-sponsored touring festival that has dipped into rap, Top 40 pop music and metalcore, but for the most part has stuck to its skater-friendly punk roots. On a recent mid-week day-off in late July, however, I was extremely tempted to hitch a ride to Merriweather Post Pavillion for the largely teenage-populated festival to see one band: Title Fight.

On this week's show hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share some of their favorite new discoveries, including the Kate Bush-inspired Swedish duo Niki And The Dove, German experimental pianist Nils Frahm, and a surprising new album from singer Amanda Palmer.

Also on the show: the best new music in a decade from the Chicago-based band Sea And Cake; the inimitable storytelling of Swedish pop singer Jens Lekman; and an epic new album from post-punk veterans Swans.

Little Feat's Rooster Rag

Aug 13, 2012

Rooster Rag, the new record sounds like the Feat of old. Core members Payne, Barrere Gradney, and Clayton are still onboard, along with Fred Tackett, a long time contributor (composer of “Fool Yourself “ for Dixie Chicken) and member since '88, and Robben Ford's son Gabe, former drum tech who replaced Richie Hayward in '09 when Hayward became too ill too continue.  Rooster Rag is available as a thank you gift for supporting KSUT Public Radio during the fall friend raiserPledge today.

Traveler, the new album from world-renowned musician Jerry Douglas, is his first first solo release since his acclaimed 2009 Christmas album "Jerry Christmas". 

The project features special guest vocals from Eric Clapton, Mumford & Sons, Paul Simon, Keb’ Mo’, Marc Cohn and Alison Krauss and Union Station. The 11-track album also features legendary musicians Dr. John (piano), Béla Fleck (banjo), Del McCoury (harmony vocals), Sam Bush (harmony vocals and mandolin) Omar Hakim (drums) and Viktor Krauss (bass), among others.