Music

Music

Latin Roots: Gepe

May 19, 2016

Gepe is the stage name for Chilean singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Riveros, who's been described as the "guru of indie folk" for his driving indie pop involving elements of Andean folk. Riveros attributes the creativity in the Chilean indie-music scene to an "anything goes" attitude of experimentation that permeates the first post-dictatorship generation in his home country.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The three performers at the heart of Miike Snow all have successful side projects, so their third studio album took a few years to finish. The indie-pop band has just returned with some incredibly catchy new songs, including "Genghis Khan," inspired by singer Andrew Wyatt's romantic life.

SET LIST

  • "Genghis Khan"

Starting at 12 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19, watch roots-rock singer-songwriter Kevin Morby and veteran English rock band The Zombies perform at World Cafe Live as part of Philadelphia's 2016 Non-COMMvention.

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

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


Big Thief is a band bound by great songs. Its first album opens with singer Adrianne Lenker on acoustic guitar, recorded on what sounds like an old cassette machine. By the second song, you hear the blossoming of an artist into a band, a community, a force.

The scene was electric at the B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square as Bunny Wailer, 69 years old, took the stage before a capacity crowd.

Born Neville Livingston, Bunny is the last living original member of the legendary reggae group The Wailers, which he founded along with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley in the early 1960s.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Corinne Bailey Rae has traveled great distances in her music. The UK singer's self-titled debut album came out 10 years ago; all sunshiny pop, it was a huge hit. Her second album, The Sea took an emotional turn, coming shortly after her husband of seven years died suddenly. Rae was 29.

Tortoise On World Cafe

May 18, 2016

It's been more than 20 years since the post-rock instrumental band Tortoise released its first album. Now, the beloved Chicago group has a new album called The Catastrophist, which grew out of a commission the band received from the city of Chicago itself to write and perform material that saluted the city's rich history of improvisational music. The purposefully loose structures Tortoise developed for that project took on a somewhat more defined shape as The Catastrophist.

One of the world's best-known and best-loved classical musicians has joined the ranks of artists refusing to perform in North Carolina. Violinist Itzhak Perlman canceled an appearance scheduled for Wednesday with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh to protest HB2, the controversial North Carolina law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT people.

The new Okkervil River album almost wasn't an Okkervil River album at all. That's how the band's lead singer and songwriter, Will Sheff, explains it. "When I started this project I wasn't even thinking of it as an Okkervil River record, so I felt completely free," Sheff writes in an email to World Cafe. "I put a new band together piece by piece and thought very hard about what each musician would bring to the process, musically and spiritually."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

At White House state dinners, it's customary for a president to nod to the strengths and contributions of guest countries. And when hosting Nordic nations on Friday, President Obama paid tribute to a particular Finnish export.

KSUT is featuring the new Mary Chapin Carpenter release 'The Things That We Are Made Of' this week, playing the full CD at noon on Friday 5/20.

Produced by Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton) and recorded in Nashville, TN, the album features eleven new songs.  Carpenter comments, “Working with Dave felt great from the first day of our sessions. He is always willing to try something new, believes that ‘yes’ is the only answer, and surrounds himself with wonderfully talented and generous musicians; by the end of the project, I felt as if I was a part of a new family.”

This week's essential mix from All Songs Considered includes a surprising, electronic, mostly instrumental cut from The 1975 — a British group known more for its brash Top-40 pop and rock — an intimate home demo recording from My Morning Jacket and a spare, moody cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" by the Irish folk singer known as

RLYR's moniker is an upcapped, vowel-less tribute to Yes' 1974 album Relayer. You know, the one with the incredibly epic gatefold art by Roger Dean? While RLYR isn't quite a fantasy-themed fusion/prog-rock band, the members know a few things about heroic and heavy instrumental rock that storms the gates of delirium.

Mike Cooley On Mountain Stage

May 17, 2016

Mike Cooley appears on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. Best known as a singer and guitarist in the enduring Georgia band Drive-By Truckers, Cooley gives a lot of solo performances, but they're always special.

The VuHaus Song Of The Day

May 17, 2016

Watch intimate live performance videos daily from America's leading public radio stations. Powered by VuHaus, the new Music Discovery platform.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

What's most striking about Japanese Breakfast's first full-fledged album, Psychopomp, is how gracefully it treads over difficult territory. What started as singer and guitarist Michelle Zauner's side project — she took on the moniker to release solo work when not performing with Little Big League — eventually became an outlet for songs of grief and mourning in the aftermath of her mother's death. Sonically, Psychopomp is a far cry from the Philadelphia emo band's music, trading crunchy indie rock for haunting pop songs with swirling synthesizers.

Inspired by the colorful sticker, Trapper Keeper and lunchbox art from which Lisa Prank takes her punny name, Seattle singer Robin Edwards makes bubblegum pop-punk for lovesick, rainbow-colored unicorns. Built around an electric guitar and a drum machine, her songs are simple and catchy like the Ramones', but are recast for the intimate and imaginative space where these songs begin and expand.

Jane Little spent her long life making beautiful music, and she died this weekend doing just what she loved, onstage. Little played with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for more than 71 years. She joined the symphony in 1945, when she was just 16.

World Cafe Next: Kyle Craft

May 16, 2016

As he was growing up in Shreveport, La., Kyle Craft's primary source of musical inspiration was a David Bowie greatest-hits compilation that he brought home from a big-box store. Years later, Craft tried outrunning the heartbreak of the end of a relationship and moved to Portland, Ore., where he made a series of home recordings that have become his debut album, Dolls Of Highland.

Those of us "of a certain age" have always been told to be true to ourselves, with the understanding that maturity will show us a better sense of our true selves. The hope is that we can move forward and look backward with both confidence and (hopefully) not a lot of regret.

But musicians of a certain age are often better off if they resist the tried-and-true and look for something new to stretch their sense of self. They rely on a body of work to inspire yet more growth; that way, their sound changes while still feeling familiar.

Chance the Rapper is determined.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Danish String Quartet is one of the most widely acclaimed chamber groups at the moment — although, in the interest of full disclosure, we should tell you that one member of the quartet is actually Norwegian. The group has a new record called Adès/Nørgard/Abrahamsen that features a program of Danish and British music.

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