On this week's show, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton ask big questions about the world we live in via new music from the singer known as EMA, a head-turning cut from the young country crooner Sturgill Simpson and more.
Diane Coffee is the solo project of Shaun Fleming, a musician who has been a child voice actor for Disney and the drummer in Foxygen with his friends Jonathan Rado and Sam France. Under the name Diane Coffee, Shaun Fleming is also an outrageously dolled up performer. "All The Young Girls" is from the band's 2013 album My Friend Fish.
Lil Bibby is a 19-year-old from Chicago with one mixtape, a high-profile co-sign and big dreams. In an interview during SXSW in Austin, Texas, Bibby says since he released Free Crack last year, he's felt a change in the way people relate to him and it's affected his songs. "I'm talking about the transition: I was Brandon and then Bibby," he says. "I'm gettin' people acting different." Ali Shaheed Muhammad steps in to offer some advice from a veteran's perspective.
Millions of people know the singer Kelis for "Milkshake" - that's her hit from a decade ago. It's the sort of song that nobody really thought was about a milkshake.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MILKSHAKE")
KELIS ROGERS: (Singing) My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and their like, it's better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours. I could teach you, but I'd have to charge. My milkshake...
This week's World Cafe: Next artist, Polock, is from Valencia, Spain. The band has always written and sung in English, which its members call "the language of rock." Polock's debut was titled Getting Down From Trees, so it's appropriate that the new album is called Rising Up.
Here, you can hear and download a pair of catchy songs on the World Cafe: Next podcast.
Argentine singer-songwriter Federico Aubele uses his dark, husky voice to produce a specific effect in the three songs he performs at this Tiny Desk Concert: Together, they jell into one impressionistic midtempo ballad.
A voice like Aubele's could be restrictive: His lower register seems to always reflect something dark and lonely. Think of your favorite bottom-scraping vocalist and the lyrics he or she interprets.
Rap and hip-hop have been around for decades and have become one of America's most successful cultural exports.
But when the Library of Congress added new recordings to its national registry this year, none of them were hip-hop.
Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee discusses that with William Boone, professor in the English and African-American studies department at Winston-Salem State University. He says that hip-hop artists are used to being overlooked by the powers that be.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:40 am
Last year, My Bloody Valentine released its first album since 1991, and the result sounded as if not a minute had passed in the intervening 22 years. Every bleary, bended note of m b v sounded immaculately crafted, as if Kevin Shields and company had been toiling away in pursuit of perfection since the release of Loveless and merely lost track of time.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:39 am
He's widely acknowledged as one of the best jazz drummers in the world. But he's also a singer-songwriter; a session man for Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell; the son of a singing preacher man from Louisiana. And though a man of such experiences is, as you might expect, quite busy, he's also keeps his own signature band: Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:38 am
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Lennon, as you may know, is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Muhl is a successful fashion model and Lennon's significant other of eight years. Midnight Sun is their second proper album together.
Hear Alt.Latino Hosts Talk About '9 Dead Alive' On Morning Edition
In their newest album, 9 Dead Alive, Rodrigo y Gabriela return to their roots, reminding listeners why they fell in love with the Mexican duo in the first place. The album finds them at the peak of their musical flexibility, dexterously weaving elements of heavy metal with flamenco.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:37 am
An interesting temporal phenomenon takes place while listening to Diploid Love, the first solo album from Distillers and Spinnerette frontwoman Brody Dalle. The album feels like a time capsule buried in the backyard of the punk and grunge-drenched early '90s and only unearthed today.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:36 am
At some point, even babies who bask in the warmth of attachment parenting need to learn to self-soothe — to regulate their emotions without their parents' guidance or even a hug. Often they do it with a thing: a blankie, a binky, a stuffie. Adults are expected to be free of such fixations, but the truth is, inanimate enablers still fill our lives. Musicians bring them right onstage. Why do you think guitarists name their stringed companions? Electricity makes these toys speak.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:34 am
Nels Cline is a gateway drug in the best of ways. He's known as the guitar player for one of America's best bands, Wilco. His crazy performances, filled with static shrieking and string bending, have led fans to the other side of music. It's a style that interweaves jazz, progressive rock and noise.
Nels Cline started doing all of this long before joining Wilco, and continues it these days with his own project, The Nels Cline Singers, a group that actually has no singers. They are instrumental travelers.
Celebrating the late Tito Puente's birthday gives us a chance to revel in his mid-1950s RCA years. Backed by major label money, the King of Latin Music was able to realize the sounds he heard in his head on bandstands and in recording studios.
This meant big band dance music, agile soneros whose improvised vocals complimented the bands and small-group percussion experiments.
This is simply astonishing. Watch twenty seconds and you'll be sucked into the world of Usman Riaz, an immensely talented 23-year-old Pakistani musician who will change your perception of how a guitar can sound and be played. What's more remarkable is that this Berklee College of Music whiz kid learned much of his dazzling guitar technique by watching YouTube videos at 16. He also learned what he calls "parlor tricks," like body percussion and harmonica. But the classically trained pianist also used the Internet to learn how to write and conduct orchestra pieces and make films.
Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 8:34 am
Prince fans are accustomed to not getting what they want. That's one reason Friday's news came as a shock — that Prince has re-signed, for the first time in 18 years, with Warner Bros. Records, and that an expanded edition of Purple Rain, in time for its 30th anniversary, as well as a new album and unnamed "other planned projects" to come, are all on the way (including a new song, released late last night).
Texas native Gina Chavez did not come to music early on. When she was 18, she went to a country-blues show in Austin to hear singer Toni Price. It was after that she decided she wanted to learn how to play guitar. So she turned to her dad.
GINA CHAVEZ: You know, I said, hey, dad, don't you have a guitar in the closet? He pulls it out and turns out it's a 1954 Martin, which people who know things about guitars are, you know, they start drooling all over themselves.
CORNISH: A year later, she started writing her own songs.