"A Rational Conversation" is a column by writer Eric Ducker in which he gets on iChat or Gchat or the phone or whatever with a special guest to examine a music-related subject that's entered the pop culture consciousness. It previously appeared at The Daily Swarm.
Vancouver musician Jay Arner has played in all kinds of bands over the years, be they pop, punk or otherwise. When it came time to make his new self-titled record, he decided to take the DIY route: Arner moved into his studio and played everything on the album himself.
The result is a concise set of songs that highlight the multi-instrumentalist's arsenal of capabilities. Hear a pair of tracks from the album and download this week's World Cafe: Next podcast.
"3 Seconds to Cross," a new song by Luscious Jackson, begins somewhere in New York City. The narrator lies awake longing to be in California, though it becomes apparent a New Yorker like her really wouldn't fit in: "It only takes just a little to get yourself lost."
California, we're told, is a land unfriendly to pedestrians, where an L.A. traffic light might give you three seconds to cross the street.
English multi-instrumentalist and producer Ethan Johns has worked with provocative and prolific artists ranging from fellow U.K. musician Laura Marling to Ryan Adams and Ray LaMontagne. With the release of his debut album — If Not Now Then When? — Johns finally let loose the songs he'd been writing throughout his career.