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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!

Every month on All Things Considered, Christian McBride sits down with host Audie Cornish to discuss, dissect and deconstruct just about everything in jazz.

John Grant On World Cafe

Nov 18, 2015

Michigan-born singer-songwriter John Grant has dealt with his share of hardship, including a rough upbringing and family life, a struggle to come to terms with his own sexuality, alcoholism and HIV. But in spite of all that, he's blossomed with three critically praised solo albums and found stability and happiness in Iceland, where he now lives.

British producer Jake Williams, better known as Rex the Dog, is no stranger to the dance floor. If you've been in a nightclub over the past decade, especially in Europe, there's a very good chance you've heard a Rex the Dog track – or one of his remixes.

First Watch: Spires, 'In Between'

Nov 18, 2015

"These days are all I know," sings Spires guitarist and songwriter Matt Stevenson, but it's clear that musically and visually, the New York indie outfit can capture pieces of the present and the past — even those pieces portrayed in slightly terrifying 1970s informational films.

NPR Music Presents: T-Pain In Concert

Nov 18, 2015

To mark the one-year anniversary of the most popular Tiny Desk Concert ever and the 10th anniversary of his debut album, Rappa Ternt Sanga, we hosted T-Pain at our Washington, D.C. headquarters. The inimitable Floridian performed a short set of classics, both his own and others', and brand new, never before heard song from his forthcoming album, Stoicville: The Phoenix.

Amid Iceland's music scene, where bands often germinate, blossom and wither in an instant, the twentysomethings of Mammút might be seen as practically prehistoric. The band's five members literally grew up together during their decade as one of Iceland's most critically acclaimed bands.

In the wake of tragedy, grief guides us on an unknown path: Its corridors are dim and shallow, its destination uncertain. Even as the path widens with time, grief makes way for bittersweet memory, though it all still hurts something awful.

Bob Boilen Wrote A Book

Nov 18, 2015

I've spent the past few years talking with musicians about a song that altered the course of their life. Now those conversations are making up my first book, called Your Song Changed My Life: From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, Thirty-Five Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music That Inspired It.

Music For Healing

Nov 17, 2015

Music can provide a space for healing, feeling and thought. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, including at a show in that city's Bataclan concert hall, we were compelled to play music with a meditative tone, songs that allow space and time for reflection. A tune Bob Boilen found himself playing all weekend was by Hiya Wal Âalam, a band featuring members from Tunisia, Palestine and Sweden. It's culture-blending music and perfectly pensive.

Mercury Rev On World Cafe

Nov 17, 2015

Originally formed in Buffalo, N.Y., in the late '80s, Mercury Rev hasn't always had an easy time finding an audience beyond its devoted cult following. But the band did see success in the U.K. with 1998's Deserter's Songs, and breakthrough albums like Yerself Is Steam and See You On The Other Side are still highly regarded.

This week, opbmusic and NPR Music present the second episode from the Pickathon Woods Stage Series, handpicked by opbmusic to showcase some of the most exciting performances from this summer's festival, held at Pendarvis Farm just outside Portland, Ore.

Courtnie Henson wants us to vibrate higher. The 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Harlem (by way of Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis) is quietly making her stage entrance via an unassuming style of astral jazz-tinged rhythm & blues.

Nathaniel Rateliff and his band The Night Sweats are on fire, with concerts that get feet moving and bodies swaying, fueled by rhythm and booze.

World Cafe Next: Foxing

Nov 16, 2015

The St. Louis indie-rock band Foxing just released its second album, Dealer, which expands on the sound of its debut, The Albatross. How do these musicians respond to pressure to come up with new material? Foxing has an unofficial motto that helps: "We're a band, and someday we won't be a band." That takes the pressure off.

Hear two songs from Foxing and download the World Cafe: Next segment on this page.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Now a peek into the creative process of one of modern music's most innovative thinkers.


Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit



Metropolis: 11/14/15

Nov 16, 2015

This Week's Playlist

  • Cut Snake, "Echo" (Three Six Zero/Warner Bros.)
  • Boris Dlugosch, "Keep Pushin' [Purple Disco Machine Mix]" (Peppermint Jam)
  • Basement Jaxx, "Summer Dem [Alex Metric Remix]" (Atlantic Jaxx)
  • Duke Dumont, "Won't Look Back" (Astralwerks)
  • Daft Punk, "Revolution 909" (Virgin)
  • Joon Moon, "Chess [Opium Factory Remix]" (Kwaidan)
  • Sofi Tukker, "Drinkee" (Heavyroc)

Shovels & Rope's new album of covers, Busted Jukebox Vol. I, took a village to create. The folk-rock duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent called in their talented friends and collaborators to tackle songs from Elvis Costello, Nine Inch Nails and Guns n' Roses, just to name a few. Each tune is imbued with Shovels & Rope's signature sound and the individual influence of the guests on each track.

Ask a Bruce Springsteen fan about the holy grails of his concerts and you're likely to hear about a 1980 Tempe, Ariz. show. Today NPR Music has video of Springsteen performing "The River" from that very concert. The brilliant performance — or at least much of it — was recorded using four cameras and a multitrack machine for audio. It's all been put together and is being released 35 years later as part of a new box set called The Ties That Bind: The River Collection.

This Friday, music fans will finally get to hear one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Just where and how they'll hear it, however, remains an open question.

That's because pop superstar Adele (whose last album, 21, continues to shatter sales records nearly five years after its release) has yet to confirm whether her new LP, 25, will be "streamable" — that is, available to hear on-demand from services like Spotify, Rdio and Tidal.

The brass-band sound is a proud tradition of New Orleans. But over the years, those horns have evolved to embrace a broader repertoire, full of funk and jazz and even a little hip-hop — and the sounds have migrated well beyond Louisiana. Take NO BS! Brass Band, whose core members met at Virgina Commonwealth University and proudly claim Richmond, Va. as their home base.

This week, the 77-year-old New Orleans songwriter, producer and arranger Allen Toussaint died after a concert in Madrid. For most of his career, Toussaint preferred working behind the scenes, but our friend Gwen Thompkins met him at a time when he'd thrown himself into performing extensively around the world. Before they parted ways for what would be the last time, Toussaint gave Thompkins a gift: a demo recording of a song he never got to release, but said he wanted the world to hear.

Walter Trout has been playing and sometimes living the blues for five decades. The guitarist was with Canned Heat in the early 1980s, shared the stage and recorded with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and sold millions of albums as a solo artist, but drugs and alcohol almost did him in. He was just days away from death last year when he received a liver transplant, an experience he recounts in a song called "Gonna Live Again."

FFS On World Cafe

Nov 13, 2015

FFS is two headliners in one: Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, whose song "Take Me Out" was a worldwide hit in 2004, plus the American pop-rock group Sparks, which was formed in 1972 by brothers Ron and Russell Mael.

Twenty-five years ago, the first album by A Tribe Called Quest hit record stores — and as soon as it dropped, it stood out. Even the title, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, felt like an iconoclast's mission statement.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Like many major U.S. cities, Minneapolis has as a tumultuous and divided past, with tales of gangsters, government corruption, racism and economic injustice. It's a bleak history both mocked and memorialized in a popular tag painted on buildings and grain elevators around the city that reads, "United Crushers," a reference to the countless dreams that have been crushed in Minneapolis.

Rahim AlHaj: Tiny Desk Concert

Nov 13, 2015

Ancestor to the lute and the guitar, the oud ‎is an ancient stringed instrument commonly played throughout the Middle East, North Africa and countries like Greece and Turkey. The oud has charmed audiences for more than 5,000 years, and the tradition continues with this reverent performance by one of the world's best players, Rahim AlHaj.