World Cafe

Weeknights 7-9PM
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World Cafe
3:49 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Colin Hay On World Cafe

Colin Hay.
Courtesy of the artist

As '80s Week continues, World Cafe keeps combing through its archive for artists from the decade of synths and irregular haircuts. Today, that means bringing back a wide-ranging 2004 session with Colin Hay of the Australian band Men At Work. Hay's distinctive voice helped carry songs like "Who Can It Be Now" and "Down Under" to prominence in the early '80s.

Here, the singer performs a few of his newer songs and tells the story of Men At Work's international success.

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World Cafe
12:46 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

World Cafe Next: Viet Cong

Viet Cong.
David Waldman Courtesy of the artist

This week's World Cafe: Next artist, Calgary's Viet Cong, released its full-length debut last week. It's not so much a dark record as a harsh one: This is a guitar-intensive rock band whose songs stretch out with some sturm and drang, while still finding ways to get under your skin. Hear and download two songs from Viet Cong on this page.

World Cafe
5:57 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Alvvays On World Cafe

Alvvays.
Gavin Keen Courtesy of the artist

The much buzzed-about Toronto-based band Alvvays joins us today. We first heard about Molly Rankin and the band in 2013 when Frank Yang of the blog Chromewaves presented them as a band to watch on our Sense of Place visit to Toronto. Their self-titled debut came out last year and within a month had become the most played album on college radio. They join us in the studio today. Make sure to download the band's performance of "Adult Diversion."

World Cafe
3:10 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Nude Beach On World Cafe

Nude Beach.
Chad Kamenshine Courtesy of the artist

Nude Beach, a punk trio from Brooklyn, is today's guest on World Cafe. The band recently released a double album called 77, and it's full of catchy power-pop tunes.

Formed in 2008 while its members were still in high school, the band includes guitarist and singer Chuck Betz, drummer and singer Ryan Naideau, and bassist Jim Shelton. Nude Beach made three albums together before releasing 77 in October. In this session, we'll learn what the title 77 signifies and hear some of its songs performed live.

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World Cafe
2:56 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Latin Roots: The Protest Music Of South America

Calle 13.
Courtesy of the artist

On this episode of Latin Roots from World Cafe, Rachel Faro joins the show to discuss cancion de protesta. While the U.S. experienced its own period of politically charged songs about the Vietnam War and more in the '60s and '70s, Latin American songwriters were creating commentary about the repressive regimes in power there.

Here, Faro shares some of the musicians who put their lives at risk — and identifies the artist she considers the Bob Dylan of the Latin music world.

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World Cafe
2:45 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Son Little On World Cafe

Son Little.
Kelsey Stanger WXPN

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 4:19 pm

Philadelphia singer Son Little cut his teeth on collaborations with The Roots and RJD2. Now, he's got his own nationally released EP, titled Things I Forgot.

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World Cafe
3:02 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Israel Nash On World Cafe

Israel Nash.
Pooneh Ghana Courtesy of the artist

Israel Nash got his start in music after moving to New York City; his 2009 debut came out of his experiences there. His 2011 follow-up album was recorded on a small farm in the Catskills and was co-produced by Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley. A relocation to a small ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, preceded his new record, Rain Plans.

On this episode of World Cafe, he describes how he wanted his third album to reflect the Hill Country, and professes his love for Neil Young. And, of course, he performs a few of his songs live.

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World Cafe
3:33 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

World Cafe Next: Murder By Death

Murder By Death.
Greg Whitaker Courtesy of the artist

This week's World Cafe: Next artist is a band that's been around for a decade and a half. In fact, Big Dark Love is Murder By Death's seventh album.

After many years in Bloomington, Ind., its members recently relocated to Louisville, Ky., where they recorded their new album. Murder By Death plays everything from intense indie-rock ballads to rootsy rock songs. Hear and download two tracks from Big Dark Love at the audio link.

World Cafe
3:24 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

The Revivalists On World Cafe

The Revivalists.
Courtesy of the artist

The Revivalists' name can be interpreted a couple ways: Yes, the band keeps older forms of music like blues and R&B alive, but its spirited performance also recalls a gospel revival.

It's no surprise that the group came together in New Orleans. The Revivalists' members got together in 2007 and have played 150 dates a year ever since. Last year brought a reissue of their second album, City Of Sound, which they'd put out themselves in 2012. The reissue includes an extra live disc.

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World Cafe
3:59 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Il Sogno Del Marinaio On World Cafe

Il Sogno del Marinaio.
Brittany Salerno WXPN

"I always will be a Minuteman. People ask what kind of bass player I am, and yeah, I tell 'em I'm D. Boon's bass player."

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World Cafe
2:36 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Merge Records At 25

Superchunk bandmates Laura Ballance (left) and Mac McCaughan (second from left) founded Merge Records in 1989.
Jason Arthurs Courtesy of the artist

The label that's brought you Arcade Fire, Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, Neutral Milk Hotel and Superchunk turned 25 last year. Superchunk bandmates Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan formed Merge Records just to release singles from their band and friends in 1989.

On this episode of World Cafe, we'll discuss the label's emergence as a major force. We'll also hear performances from Superchunk, Telekinesis, The Rock*A*Teens and others recorded at last summer's 25th-anniversary Merge Festival in Carrboro, N.C.

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World Cafe
12:45 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Damien Rice On World Cafe

Damien Rice.
Lilja Birgisdottir Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:09 pm

Damien Rice's new album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, marked his return to recording after eight years away from the music business. In 2002, the Irish singer-songwriter's gorgeous solo debut, O, went gold and platinum around the world.

But after touring to support his second album (2006's 9), Rice stepped away from music. As he says in this interview, he had to. With help from producer Rick Rubin and others, Rice says he's rediscovered his love for songs. He performs some of his new ones in this session for World Cafe.

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World Cafe
1:27 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Haerts On World Cafe

Haerts.
Rich McKie WXPN

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:15 pm

Haerts, which stylizes its name with the a and e reversed, joins World Cafe in the studio today. Eccentric spelling is just one element that makes the electro-pop band stand out.

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World Cafe
2:55 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

World Cafe Next: Kingsley Flood

Kingsley Flood.
Terry Moffatt Courtesy of the artist

The World Cafe: Next artist for this week is a folk-rock sextet from Boston and Washington, D.C., called Kingsley Flood. Fueled by Naseem Khuri's songwriting, the band is about to step out of the album-release cycle by releasing To The Fire EP in early 2015 — followed by a new EP for each season of the year.

World Cafe
2:48 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Yusuf/Cat Stevens On World Cafe

Yusuf Islam, a.k.a. Cat Stevens.
Rich McKie WXPN

Yusuf Islam, a.k.a. Cat Stevens, just completed his first U.S. tour in 36 years, in which he performed music from his just-released album Tell 'Em I'm Gone alongside favorites from his long career. He'd stopped playing the latter for nearly three decades after changing his name and embracing Islam in 1977. In this performance, he plays old and new music alike in a session recorded at Philadelphia's Tower Theater.

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World Cafe
5:42 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Latin Roots Essentials: Latin Alternative

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:20 pm

Another segment in our new Latin Roots series on the Essentials, the songs you need to know in each genre. We have a pretty good guide for our Latin alternative segment today. It is Josh Norek, who is the co-founder of the annual Latin Alternative Music Conference, and former head of Nacional Records.

He discusses the evolution from the original term "Rock En Espanol" and shows the variety of music under the name alternative.

World Cafe
5:33 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Parquet Courts On World Cafe

Parquet Courts.
Ben Rayner Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 8:52 pm

It has been a prolific year for our guests today, the punk band Parquet Courts. They have released two albums this year: Sunbathing Animal under their own name and Content Nausea as Parkay Quarts. We will talk with two founders of the band, Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, and hear performances from the stage of World Cafe Live. We also find out that the new songs are inspired by influences as diverse as Russian history and Louisiana prison songs.

World Cafe
3:37 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Hailu Mergia On World Cafe

Hailu Mergia & Low Mentality.
Courtesy of the artist

Hear an unusual session today with Hailu Mergia, a keyboard player and Ethiopian music star who now lives in the U.S. He came to World Cafe's attention through Awesome Tapes From Africa, the website where Brian Shimkovitz posts cassette tapes of African music he discovers. That's what led Shimkovitz to Mergia.

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World Cafe
3:12 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Lily & Madeleine On World Cafe

Lily & Madeleine.
Julien Bourgeois Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:13 pm

Lily & Madeleine, two sisters from Indianapolis, made their name — and their first EP, The Weight Of The Globe — on the strength of covers uploaded to YouTube. Now, the duo's second album (Fumes) builds on its combination of sibling harmonies and haunting, lilting arrangements.

Hear the full segment at the audio link and individual songs from Lily & Madeleine's set below.

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World Cafe
3:37 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

World Cafe Next: Elliott Brood

Elliott Brood.
Courtesy of the artist

This week's World Cafe: Next artist is the Canadian alt-country trio Elliott Brood. With five albums under their collective belt, Casey Laforet, Mark Sasso and Stephen Pitkin have been playing together since 2002, and the experience shows. The band moves with the easy flow of musicians who know each other well, which in turn lends its rootsy songs lived-in authenticity.

Elliott Brood's latest album is titled Work And Love. Hear and download two of its songs on this page.

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World Cafe
3:17 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Kindness On World Cafe

Kindness.
Myles Pettengill Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:29 pm

Kindness, born Adam Bainbridge, knows his way around grooves. Otherness, his second album, is a fitting introduction to the Blood Orange collaborator's sincere, kinetic take on R&B and synth-pop. Songs begin deep in the pocket and slowly unravel in a spray of horn blasts and drum hits. In this way, "World Restart" functions as both a song title and a mission statement: Kindness is rejuvenating.

Hear the full segment at the audio link and individual songs below.

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World Cafe
4:06 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Elephant Stone On World Cafe

Elephant Stone.
Bowen Stead & Daniel Barkley Courtesy of the artist

Montreal's Elephant Stone combines the sounds of Indian classical music and '60s psychedelic rock — the two loves of frontman, bassist and sitar player Rishi Dhir.

"It's music I was brought up on," Dihr says. "The idea of fusing pop music with Eastern instrumentation was never a foreign thing. It was just something that seemed natural to me. You listen to this music, you absorb all these influences. What comes out is what you can do."

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World Cafe
3:35 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Hot Rize On World Cafe

Hot Rize.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 9:00 am

Formed in 1978, the Colorado bluegrass band Hot Rize has found itself straddling tradition and innovation since its inception.

"When we were in Colorado, we were the traditional bluegrass band. And when we went east of the Mississippi, we were the progressive one," songwriter and mandolin player Tim O'Brien says. "We were kind of an interesting middle ground there."

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World Cafe
4:46 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Robyn Hitchcock On World Cafe

Robyn Hitchcock.
Rich McKie XPN

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World Cafe
3:40 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

World Cafe Next: Angaleena Presley

Angaleena Presley.
Blu Sanders Courtesy of the artist

Angaleena Presley's American Middle Class — one of NPR Music's favorite albums of 2014 — is her first solo record. But Presley isn't exactly an unknown entity: As one-third of the Pistol Annies, performing with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe, she's topped the country charts.

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World Cafe
3:21 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Peter Matthew Bauer On World Cafe

Peter Matthew Bauer.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 3:46 pm

Peter Matthew Bauer, formerly the bassist and keyboardist for The Walkmen, released his first album as a solo artist — titled Liberation! — earlier this year. On his own, Bauer takes the lighter tones of The Walkmen's later albums, Lisbon and Heaven, and sets them loose in the air. Songs like "Philadelphia Raga," heard at the top of today's episode of World Cafe, move with a been-around-the-block swing that anchors glittering guitar work.

Hear the full episode at the audio link, as well as individual songs below.

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World Cafe
2:17 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Latin Roots: Essential Ranchera

Antonio Aguilar in The Undefeated.
Wikimedia Commons

Rachel Faro joins World Cafe's Latin Roots to talk ranchera. Sometimes called "Mexican country music," ranchera, Faro says, is a serenade style that began as a protest against the tastes of the rich during the Mexican revolution. In fact, the work of composer José Alfredo Jiménez sometimes resembles U.S. folk music — a form of protest music in its own right.

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World Cafe
12:56 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Ex Hex On World Cafe

Ex Hex.
Jonah Takagi Courtesy of the artist

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World Cafe
1:31 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Alice Gerrard On World Cafe

Alice Gerrard.
Irene Young Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:03 pm

Alice Gerrard is a folk mainstay known for her collaborations with Hazel Dickens — particularly the duo's landmark 1965 debut, Who's That Knocking. Gerrard's new album, Follow The Music, finds her looking to the next generation of folk musicians. M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger produced the album and joins Gerrard in the studio for this live set.

Hear their warm, spare performances of songs from Follow The Music below, and listen to the full episode of World Cafe at the audio link.

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World Cafe
2:36 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

World Cafe Next: Cookies

Cookies.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:01 pm

World Cafe: Next's featured artist this week is the Brooklyn band Cookies. Led by Ben Sterling (formerly of Mobius Band) and featuring Melissa Metrick on vocals, Cookies crafts indelible, sophisticated pop songs.

The group's debut album, Music For Touching, works as a melting pot of genres and styles, drawing equally from house, contemporary R&B and West African guitar music.

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