World Cafe

Weeknights 7-9PM

Hosted by radio veteran and music enthusiast Talia Schlanger , World Cafe presents up to ten hours each week of new and significant music and the artists who create it.

Serving up a blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country, live performances, and intimate interviews, the two-hour daily program is produced by WXPN-FM in Philadelphia.

Ride On World Cafe

Sep 12, 2017

Along with contemporaries like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, Oxford's Ride was seen as one of the definitive bands in 1990s shoegaze. The band had success in the '90s with a fervent fanbase and music that crept up the UK charts.

Bryant Taylorr eyes the glass of milky-looking kombucha that his sister has placed on the table in front of him in an East Nashville tea shop. "I don't know what this is," he says, before taking a tiny sip, pushing the cup away and wryly expressing his skepticism: "Is it doing something to my soul? Is it cleansing it?"

After hearing the music of Jimi Hendrix as a kid, Selwyn Birchwood was drawn to the blues. Later, he was literally drawn to the blues' doorstep after one of Birchwood's high school friends in Florida introduced him to a neighbor: none other than bluesman Sonny Rhodes.

You might remember the band Alvvays for its hooky song "Archie, Marry Me," the breakout single off its 2014 self-titled debut album. The strength of that song turned the unknown band from Toronto into instant indie darlings.

Alvvays didn't try to change its sound too much with its new, second album. As lead singer Molly Rankin and guitarist Alec O'Hanley told me in our chat, they kept the same spirit of jangly jams with dark lyrical undertones, filtered through a summer's haze.

In this World Cafe Nashville session, we welcome Ashley McBryde. McBryde has one of those voices that might belong to your sister or your best friend – if your sister or your best friend could belt like Loretta Lynn and croon like Reba McEntire.

If you made a list of the most influential guitarists of all time, you'd have to include David Gilmour towards the top of that list. The legendary guitarist and voice of Pink Floyd is our guest for this World Cafe session.

In this session, we welcome Gordi to World Cafe. The Australian singer-songwriter just released her lush full-length debut, which she created while working her way through medical school. In fact, when we spoke in August, she was just a few weeks away from her final exams.

Philadelphia's The Districts is the kind of band you just have to see live — and I'm so happy to share some of the band's explosive energy with you, from a live performance at the World Cafe.

Of course, that's not to say The Districts' recorded music isn't impressive — it is. And the band has been at it for some time: its debut release, Telephone, came out in 2012, when the members were still in high school.

Robyn Hitchcock's latest, self-titled album is slick, surrealist, psychedelic and oh-so-smart. Over the past 40 years, Hitchcock has released more than 20 records between his solo material and his work with The Soft Boys, the psychedelic art-rock band he founded in 1976.

As The Doors sing: "Summer's almost gone ... the winter's comin' on." Here at the World Cafe, the changing seasons are making us feel all kinds of feelings. Looking ahead to Labor Day Weekend — the unofficial end of the summer –- we hear the sounds of kids going back to school with new clothes and backpacks, and linger on memories of relaxation in the sunshine, vacation time burned and loves that were lost and found.

I first saw Tank and the Bangas a few years ago at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on one of the big stages. I wandered in and was knocked out by the band's performance. After returning home, I literally babbled to people about Tank and the Bangas, because I couldn't find a way to properly describe this huge ensemble. There are seven members of the band, but it seemed like 20 that day.

So you wanna be an outlaw?

OK, that's not my challenge to you; it's the title of the new album by Steve Earle. His goal with the album was to channel Waylon Jennings, and he brought in some heavy hitters to help — like Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert, who both sing on the album.

Latin Roots: Balún

Aug 28, 2017

Our Latin Roots series continues with this mini-concert by Balún. The band's style is so textured and musically diverse that it had to come up with its own genre to describe its sound; the members call it "dreambow." It's where shoegaze-pop meets pan-Caribbean identity, with elements of Puerto Rican music and references to the Jamaican dancehall roots of reggaeton.

If you were anywhere near a radio around 1998-99, there's no way you missed these lyrics: "Closing time / I know who I want to take me home!" Those lyrics were sung by our guest Dan Wilson, frontman and songwriter for the band Semisonic. "Closing Time" was a huge hit and career-maker for that band when it came out in 1998.

Singer and songwriter Jake La Botz plays blues- and roots-drenched music that reflects his time spent playing on the streets, in clubs and even in tattoo parlors. You can also hear the various places La Botz has lived in his music — including his time in Chicago, New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta.

Today we're heading to Nashville to hang with a band that sounds nothing like what you might expect from Nashville: a new-wave-ish party band called Republican Hair. The band draws inspiration from the sounds of the 1980s — in particular from Prince. And as band leader Luke Dick tells us, they're having a pretty great time with it.

In this session, I'm bringing a little bit of my hometown of Toronto to you by way of The Wooden Sky. The band first blew me away at a live show about a decade ago. And then I realized the very tall lead singer looked familiar – hey, that guy was a teaching assistant in my radio production class back at University.

Whatever time it is where you're listening right now, let's pretend for a minute that it's the early '90s, 3 a.m. You're somewhere in the New York area, tuned in to WKCR, absolutely glued to your radio because you're hearing explosive live performances by artists you don't know, but who you know are soon to be something big. We're talking Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, The Fugees, Fat Joe, DMX, Nas, and Wu-Tang Clan members Ghostface Killa and Method Man.

Moments like that happened weekly on the radio show hosted by my guests Stretch and Bobbito.

This Monday, the sun will be completely eclipsed by the moon. For those who choose to watch, a "partial solar eclipse will be visible everywhere in the contiguous United States," NPR's Rebecca Hersher reports, "but to see the total solar eclipse, you'll need to be in a sash of land that cuts from Oregon to South Carolina."

In this session of World Cafe, we welcome musician Simon Raymonde. Since 1997, Raymonde has led Bella Union, the record label he co-founded. Before that time, he was the bassist in the much-revered Cocteau Twins, which he joined in 1983. Now, he's about to release Ojala, an album of music he wrote with drummer Richie Thomas under the band name Lost Horizons.

In this session, we bring you a live session with Overcoats. The duo's music rests on two voices so perfectly in sync you'd swear they were coming from the same person — or, at least, from people who are related. Or, at least, people who've known each other their whole lives.

Most of us know Chuck Berry as a pioneer, if not the pioneer, who defined rock 'n' roll. My guest today knew him as dad.

Charles Berry Jr. is here to share memories of growing up watching the elder Berry on TV, joining him on tour in his later years and contributing to what would be his final record, an album called Chuck that was released in June.

This July, on a beautiful summer day just after the sun set, Chile's Javiera Mena took the outdoor stage to perform her first show in the city of Philadelphia. Mena is a Latin Grammy and MTV Europe Award nominee whose been cranking out indie electro-pop for the past decade.

In the French Quarter of New Orleans, there's a tiny venue with old wooden floors where on a good night you can cram in around a hundred people. The audience sits right up in front of the band and it's so intimate that the musicians don't need microphones. It's a truly magical place, where the spirit of New Orleans jazz is not only alive but evolving. It's called Preservation Hall. And it's home to our guests – the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

In this session of World Cafe we welcome Brother Ali, a Minneapolis-based artist who's been delivering socially conscious hip-hop for nearly two decades. He's also white, an albino and Muslim.

Tristen Gaspadarek and Buddy Hughen share a house in the graveyard of a golf club, where they make music that captures the stubborn hope and creeping obsolescence at the heart of modern life. Tristen, who performs and records under her first name, was raised in Chicago but moved to Nashville a decade ago. There she met the guitarist and producer Hughen, and the pair was soon collaborating.

Picture what would happen if Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin met Ali Farka Touré in a garage in West Africa, and you've got an idea of what my guests today sound like. The band is Songhoy Blues. They're from Mali, and their new album is titled Résistance.

I talked with the band's lead singer, Aliou Touré. He is originally from the northern Mali city of Gao, but fled south after Islamist militants and rebels took over parts of northern Mali in 2012, causing a massive political crisis and banning music.

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