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As one of the two guitarists and principal songwriters in the Denton, Texas, bands The Marked Men and Radioactivity, Mark Ryan indulges his gifts for heart-on-the-sleeve melodic punk and power-pop, respectively. But his band Mind Spiders seems to act as the warehouse in which Ryan stores his other obsessions: vaguely sci-fi-influenced, tightly wound, good-time rock 'n' roll, set off by dual drummers and the occasional synth.

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Ra Ra Riot On World Cafe

Mar 2, 2016

Jack White stopped by the season finale of The Muppets this week, injecting some of his raw blues rock into the show.

A self-described transient, Kyle Craft finally settled down in Portland, Oregon in 2015 after a three-year courtship with the Rose City. Touring through town led to frequent visits, couch surfing, and now full-time residency; and by all accounts, he's fully embraced his new home.

There is new — and quite wonderful — music from Mitski. Mitski Miyawaki is an intense singer and guitar player who has been putting out albums since 2012. Yesterday she announced a new album, her fourth, which will be called Puberty 2. It's as impassioned as her previous records, but there's something warmer in it.

SIMO On World Cafe

Mar 1, 2016

Nashville blues trio SIMO sounds as if it comes to us straight from 1968. Its leader, guitarist J.D. Simo, grew up listening to the classic blues music released by Chicago's Chess Records. By the time he was 18, he was already leading bands.

SIMO's new album, Let Love Show, came out in January. Hear the trio perform songs from the record in today's session.

Havana will meet the Rolling Stones later this month.

The band has announced they'll play a free open-air concert in the Cuban capital on March 25.

That will make them "the most famous act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution," the Associated Press reports.

Will Hoge On Mountain Stage

Mar 1, 2016

Will Hoge returns to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Hoge's promotional materials proclaim that the artist has "been through the wringer," and the hyperbole is no joke: In addition to experiencing the ups and downs of life as a working musician, Hoge nearly lost his life in a horrific traffic accident when returning home from the studio in 2008.

This week on All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton call up Mitski to talk about her new song "Your Best American Girl" from her just announced album, Puberty 2.

Every year, the SXSW Music Festival features thousands of artists from around the world. And every year, The Austin 100 winnows them down to an even hundred discoveries and highlights across genres. Each song on the list is streamable through NPR Music's gorgeous Austin 100 app until March 31, 2017.

World Cafe Next: Ben Abraham

Feb 29, 2016

Australian singer-songwriter Ben Abraham recruited many fellow Melbourne musicians, including Gotye, to play on Sirens, his self-produced debut album. That record, which Abraham released himself in Australia, comes out internationally this week.

Metropolis: 2/27/16

Feb 29, 2016

This Week's Playlist

  • Beaty Heart, "Flora" (Harvest)
  • Breakbot, "Star Tripper" (Disney)
  • Snakehips, "All My Friends [Prep Remix]" (Sony)
  • M.I.A., "Paper Planes [DFA Remix]" (XL)
  • Todd Terje, "Preben Goes To Acapulco" (Olsen)
  • Will Buck, "Muscle Memory" (Wagram)
  • Sofi Tukker, "Matadora [Medina Remix]" (Sofi Tukker, LLC)
  • M83, "Midnight City" (Mute)
  • ODESZA, "Sun Models (feat. Madelyn Grant)" (Counter)

The technology of the day has everything to do with how you get your music — and the music business is pushing more and more toward streaming.

With services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Apple Music, there are a bunch of companies that want your ears — and your money.

These four musicians made their first record together a decade ago, but for many of us, 2016 will be the year Lake Street Dive becomes a household name. The appeal of this band of New England Conservatory friends lies in their warmth in harmony and comfortably styled songs — sometimes tilting toward soul, often rocking danceably on a new collection of songs called Side Pony.

As HÆLOS, Arthur Delaney, Dom Goldsmith and Lotti Benardout craft an undeniable, and ultimately danceable, blend of atmospheric synth-rock, spare electro-pop and elemental trip-hop, elevated by the trio's shared vocals.

Following last spring's Earth Not Above EP, the band is about to return with Full Circle, an album full of earthy yet emotive songs. Here's "Dust."

Set List

  • "Dust"

Watch HÆLOS' full performance on KEXP's YouTube channel.

The Ballroom Thieves is a folk trio with a cellist at its core. Singer Calin Peters and her bandmates, guitarist Martin Earley and percussionist Devin Mauch, have now teamed up with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra on a music video for its song "Bury Me Smiling," and the combination makes for a compelling song.

Doubt is the lens that refocuses purpose. This is especially true of faith and when it's tested — or rather, when an event or an environmental shift brings the core of one's being to the fore. After his mother died, singer-songwriter Tyson Mostenbocker walked six hundred miles of coastline from the Pacific Northwest to San Francisco in memory of her; he also spent that time in a conversation with God, wondering if anyone was listening at all.

British composer Anna Meredith produces so many types of works that attempts at a simple summary of what sort of musician she is are laughable, almost quaint.

Two composers and a songwriter walk into a bar. That's not the start of a joke; it's the start of a band.

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