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Illinois music and the great alternative, rock, folk, soul, blues, reggae artists you've come to love on 91.9-HD3.  Mid-October launch into the musical universe!

Before there was Madonna or Lady Gaga, there was Grace Jones.

The creator of that gender-bending, hypersexual persona has been a supermodel, a muse for artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, and a musician whose influence is still felt throughout popular music to this day. Now, she's telling her story in a memoir titled I'll Never Write My Memoirs, which shines a spotlight on every side of her — including Beverly Grace Jones ("Bev"), the more reserved childhood version of the future star.

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It's been a few years since we've heard from the Denver band DeVotchKa, and in that time its members have been doing the usual: gardening, making babies, growing beards, writing ballets. They just haven't been releasing new material, at least not yet.

World Cafe Next: Darlingside

2 hours ago

The New England folk band Darlingside, which was recently featured in World Cafe's preview of this year's Americana Music Festival, evolved from a larger group that formed when its members attended Williams College in Massachusetts.

Deqn Sue rose above a crowd of close to 7,000 entries and almost won our Tiny Desk Concert Contest earlier this year. I so loved her song and her performance of "Magenta" that I invited Deqn Sue — along with her producer, Kelvin Wooten — to my desk to perform that song and more.

Every moment of The Coathangers' "Watch Your Back" seems designed to knock you off your feet. Five seconds in, the opening, bouyant guitar line jolts, giving way to a breathless punk beat that's three parts steamroller and one part percussion. Brash schoolyard vocals tear in and then drop out, replaced by a dark, relentless reminder that "you can never go back." And before that switch-off can also become predictable, everything slams together into an overlapping mix.

A songwriter better than you or I once wrote that "days grow short when you reach September" — forgetting to add that this is why you need more bangers for the seasonally expanding night-times. Enter Recommended Dose, whose monthly offering doesn't simply span multiple continents, but numerous rhythm sources, large and small, acoustic, analog and digital.

This month, our mix features the modern sounds of London and Stockholm, the classic traditions of Brooklyn and Detroit, as well as collaborations between Italy and Mali, between old North Jersey and nü Berlin.

Death And The Iron Maiden

6 hours ago

Bruce Dickinson isn't through just yet. It is the end of a 12-hour press day where the Iron Maiden vocalist has been answering a multitude of questions, most concerning the iconic heavy metal band's 16th full-length album, The Book of Souls. It is a task that requires a kind of Zen-like patience, yet the 57-year-old is noticeably unfazed, excited to spend the better part of an hour talking about his passion for music — and for life.

Join World Cafe host David Dye for a live session with pop-rock singer Grace Potter today, Oct. 5, at 1:15pm ET. The leader of the Nocturnals will perform music from her new solo album Midnight, which showcases Potter's ever-confident belting while keeping rock 'n' roll at its core.

Deep Thoughts With Tom Waits

Oct 3, 2015

There is an elaborate system of punishment and reward governing the courageous moles tunneling beneath Stonehenge. Or so said Tom Waits in a 1988 interview with journalist Chris Roberts from Rock's Backpages.

Pioneering sound artist Henry Jacobs has died. Jacobs was a humorist, record producer, sound designer and more. None of these pursuits made him wealthy or famous, but his audio experiments influenced far better-known comedians and filmmakers. He died last Friday of a heart attack at the age of 90.

In the late 1960s, Jacobs worked on an animated TV series called The Fine Art of Goofing Off," which he described as Sesame Street for grown-ups.

In 2012, Greek pop singer Monika — who famous enough back home to be known by one name –- experienced an accident that changed her life. She was on a boat with four friends when things suddenly went wrong.

"Our boat was on fire. There was an explosion because of a gas leak," she explains. "Three people couldn't swim that well, so they stayed behind and were rescued by a sailing boat, but me and my friend, we reached the coast. ... I was swimming in the sea for seven and a half hours — and at night, with huge waves."

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the assortment of coloring books for grownups is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts for an engaged couple who can't decide on their first wedding dance.

Glen Hansard On World Cafe

Oct 2, 2015

Stephen Sondheim is widely viewed as the greatest living composer in American musical theater. "Send in the Clowns," from the show A Little Night Music, may be his most famous work — and yet you might not recognize the song as reimagined for solo piano by Ethan Iverson of the band The Bad Plus.

Lianne La Havas: Tiny Desk Concert

Oct 2, 2015

In 2012, my kids introduced me to Lianne La Havas' debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough? One play and I was hooked; I've been a fan ever since. Her music works for any activity, any emotion.

I've listened to Eskimeaux's O.K. more than any other record this year. I madly love this music: It's intimate, with abundant joy and sorrow. From that album, "Broken Necks" is a song about two lovers and friends trying to make it all work.

"Cosmic Richard" is a quietly lambent, beach-at-twilight kind of tune to help usher in autumn. Buried at the tail end of The Island, a collaboration between guitarist Chris Forsyth and electronic composer Koen Holtkamp, it offers just the right blend of bittersweet bemusement and low-key luminescence for the task.

This week's puzzler draws mostly on Top 40 hits and as such, should be pretty easy for some careful listeners. Then again, every time I say that people tank ... just like they get near-perfect scores whenever I think it's a particularly hard week. So what do I know?

I do know that Drum Fill Friday is going on a brief hiatus after this week for some technical maintenance work. But we hope to back in a few weeks.

Join host Fiona Ritchie and multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Brian McNeill as they share conversation and music at the Swannanoa Gathering in the North Carolina mountains.

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Laid-back crooner Mac DeMarco is known for his outsize, quirky personality as much as for his poppy songs. Both were on full display when he visited KCRW's studio, fresh off a performance at FYF Fest. The prolific artist shared songs from his latest album, including this one, called "No Other Heart."


  • "No Other Heart"

Watch Mac DeMarco's full performance at

Yo La Tengo On World Cafe

Oct 1, 2015

Even in the world of outré electronics, the experimental-music swings of Chicagoan Jamal Moss are radical. If you have the hips, stomach and brain for a steady stream of sonic surprises, he's your man in lo-fi techno. Among the many technologically astute and historically Afrocentric monikers Moss hides behind, Hieroglyphic Being has come to be his best known­ — if only because the labels through which Moss releases HB records (beside his self-run Mathematics Recordings) have the widest distribution.

A song titled "Nothing Without You" has a steep hill to climb toward independence. Before hearing a word, the artist has admitted to being hamstrung by addiction, and an inability to form a sense of self separate from the desideratum. It's a risky impression to make—especially if you're an up-and-coming, all-female band early in your career.

If there's a secret world inside the guitar, Tashi Dorji wants to find it. Raised in Bhutan and based in Asheville, N.C., for the last 15 years, Dorji plays solo guitar music that's at once frenetic and tranquil, as his fingers flick across and hammer down strings; tiny sparks ignite the next move.