Favorite Sessions
10:12 am
Thu February 20, 2014

KCRW Presents: Phantogram

Phantogram performs live on Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Rob LaFond KCRW

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:00 pm

On the day its second full-length album (Voices) came out, Phantogram was on Morning Becomes Eclectic, performing in L.A.'s Village studios. The New York duo combines trip-hop beats, spaced-out keyboards and Sarah Barthel's airy vocals to create a sound big enough to fill some of L.A.'s largest venues. Only a few days old, the album already has a few songs on heavy rotation at KCRW — including this one, titled "Black Out Days."

World Cafe
8:22 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Ha Ha Tonka On World Cafe

Ha Ha Tonka.
Frank Hill Courtesy of the artist

The Missouri-based band Ha Ha Tonka's unusual name pays tribute to the Ozark region — it's the name of a state park. The four-piece visited our World Cafe studios to play music from its latest album, Lessons. During our chat, singer and songwriter Brian Roberts explained some of the many things that trigger his creativity, including this Fresh Air interview with Maurice Sendak.

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Favorite Sessions
8:01 am
Wed February 19, 2014

KEXP Presents: Minor Alps

Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws perform live on KEXP.
Charina Pitzel KEXP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 11:55 am

Hearing their performance on KEXP, you'd think that super-duo Minor Alps had played for audiences together many times, but this effortless, stripped-down set of lyrically poignant songs was their first live performance — ever.

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2:13 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

John Hammond, Timeless, feature CD, 2/21

  This week's feature CD is a great new live album, "Timeless," by John Hammond. Here, he digs deep into acoustic blues by covering legends like Little Walter, Elmore James and Howlin' Wolf, plus originals and re-toolings of songs by the likes of Tom Waits and Chuck Berry.  Tune-in this Friday, February 21 at noon to hear the whole CD. Correctly answer host Jim Belcher's trivia question at about 12:30 and you could win lunch at Zia Taqueria! 

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All Songs Considered
1:44 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

New Mix: Sisyphus, Avey Tare, Nothing, More

Clockwise from upper left: Sisyphus (Son Lux, Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti), Diane Cluck, Avey Tare, The Family Crest
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 2:30 pm

Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton open this week's show by reminiscing about a recent Son Lux and San Fermin show that delivered epic sounds with bold, cinematic rock. Bob and Robin's shared love for walls of noise leads them directly to the orchestral opening track on this week's program, "Beneath The Brine" by The Family Crest.

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World Cafe
1:02 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Suzanne Vega On World Cafe

Suzanne Vega.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 2:20 pm

For today's Vintage Cafe, we revisit iconic singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega's time in the World Cafe studios back in February.

Vega burst on the New York City folk scene in 1987 with her second album, Solitude Standing, and specifically the song "Luka." Later, a short a cappella song from that album, "Tom's Diner," was remixed by DNA and became a pop sensation.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
12:08 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Cate Le Bon: Tiny Desk Concert

Cate Le Bon performs a Tiny Desk Concert in January 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:52 pm

The Beatles may be an odd place to begin a Cate Le Bon conversation, but I remember being struck by the way four guys from Liverpool could sing without their English accents. That's true of most pop singers, whose words often come out sounding more American than anything else. But that's not true with Cate Le Bon. Her phrasing is completely tied to her Welsh dialect — in fact, her first record was in Welsh.

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First Listen
9:02 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

First Listen: St. Vincent, 'St. Vincent'

St. Vincent's new, self-titled album comes out Feb. 25.
Renata Raksha Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:16 pm

The word "eccentric" pops up often in descriptions of Annie Clark and the music she performs as St. Vincent. It's a word attached to trailblazers of many kinds. Often though not always, there's a degree of respect wrapped up in the idea of eccentricity — and intrigue, certainly — but there's also a gentle admonishment, a "we both know you're breaking the rules" eyebrow-raising inherent in that descriptor. A more apt word for St. Vincent, written into every inch of her self-titled fourth album, is fearless.

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First Listen
7:58 am
Mon February 17, 2014

First Listen: The Notwist, 'Close To The Glass'

The Notwist's new album, Close to the Glass, comes out Feb. 25.
Joerg Koopman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:17 pm

On paper, the German electro-pop band The Notwist sounds less accessible than it is: Since getting together 25 years ago, its members have delved into everything from hardcore to underground hip-hop to proggy jazz, with many varyingly arty detours in between. But the latter half of its history, particularly once you hit the sublime early-'00s breakthrough Neon Golden, is wonderfully warm and approachable.

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First Listen
9:09 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

First Listen: Death Vessel, 'Island Intervals'

Death Vessel's new album, Island Intervals, comes out Feb. 25.
Corey Grayhorse Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:18 pm

Joel Thibodeau's music doesn't emanate from a single place: The singer who records under the name Death Vessel was born in Germany and raised in New England, and he recorded his new album Island Intervals in Reykjavik with the aid of producer Alex Somers and Sigur Rós singer Jónsi. That list of places provides context beyond mere biographical background, because Thibodeau's music reflects virtually every direction in which he's been pulled.

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