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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!

Latin Roots: English Rock In Spanish

Nov 12, 2015

On today's Latin Roots segment, Josh Norek of The Latin Alternative brings World Cafe a couple of Spanish-language versions of well-known rock songs in English. Two groups from Texas, Grupo Fantasma and The Chamanas, cover The Beatles and Portugal The Man, respectively.

EL VY On World Cafe

Nov 12, 2015

EL VY grew out of the writing that Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls had been working on together for the last few years. Lately, they've dedicated more time to their collaboration, and the result is a new album, Return To The Moon, and a nearly sold-out tour.

The rapper, who hails from Maryland but now resides in the Los Angeles area, came through to talk about the road to his second album, The Incredible True Story, fending off critics and the language he uses to to remind himself of his blessings and his possibilities.


LOGIC: What's good? This is crazy. I'm so excited.


FRANNIE KELLEY: Thank you for coming.

LOGIC: Of course.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit



The Thistle & Shamrock: Canada

Nov 12, 2015

Travel through the Maritime provinces and out to the west to hear the vibrant traditions of authentic Celtic music from Canada. This week's show features music by Natalie MacMaster, Mary Jane Lamond, Beòlach and more.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Last year, the book Rednecks, Queers & Country Music — a significant, if overlooked work by scholar Nadine Hubbs — drove home just how powerful and pervasive outsider assumptions about the backwardness of rural identities and downhome music can be.

KCRW Presents: EL VY

Nov 12, 2015

EL VY is a new project from Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls (and formerly Menomena). The two met in 2003 when their bands played on the same bill, and when you see them in a room together, it's clear their musical partnership was preceded by many years of friendship.

The video for Kadhja Bonet's "Honeycomb" feels a tad familiar — then again, it doesn't. Technically, the scenes of backlit silhouettes that flash throughout are nothing we haven't seen before. But when you add those visuals to Bonet's breathy vocals and the song's string-laden arrangement, "Honeycomb" becomes something all its own.

The Mavericks On Mountain Stage

Nov 12, 2015

The Mavericks' members make their second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Since their emergence in the 1990s, they've remained one of the most critically acclaimed groups in roots music. They've focused on the sounds of traditional country and rock 'n' roll, but have always brought something extra thanks to the compelling tastes of lead singer and songwriter Raul Malo, whose parents were from Cuba.

Brian Burton has good taste. As Danger Mouse, he's won five Grammy Awards and worked with everyone from the Black Keys to Gorillaz to Adele. Now the musician, songwriter and producer is adding another impressive project to his resume: his own record label.

1990s revivalism may be entering its dwarf-star phase without ever having shed proper light on itself. Last week, the 22-year-old rapper Vince Staples argued that for his generation, hip-hop's official Golden Age matters less than the viral onset of 21st-century stars like Soulja Boy.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

You either get The Grateful Dead or you don't, to the point where it's virtually impossible to explain. So why bother?

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit



It looks like Kalu James is living the life as a musician. He's standing under a neon sign, ready to play guitar at Austin's famous Continental Club. And when he's not here, he's hustling to pay his bills.

"Being a full-time musician means you have three other side jobs, you know?" he says.

Back in 1986, Allen Toussaint told All Things Considered that he could write a song from the scraps of a joke, or from snippets of conversations. If the occasion called for it, he could even fashion writer's block into verse.

"Well, how do you write a song?" he offered, playfully. "Do you make it short? Do you make it long? Is there any right? Is there any wrong? Just how do you write a song?"

Christopher Paul Stelling On World Cafe

Nov 10, 2015

The first time you experience Christopher Paul Stelling singing and playing guitar is eye-opening. Stelling's attack on the nylon-string acoustic guitar is uniquely forceful, and it serves his songwriting well on his new album, Labor Against Waste. Hear him perform some of those new songs live in the studio as part of today's World Cafe session.

This week's All Songs Considered is an emotional roller coaster. Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton start off mellow with the sweet, acoustic Many Rooms, only to pull the rug out from under it with a monstrously good tune from Grimes. Then we've got intricate Ethiopian accordion rhythms from Hailu Mergia, a piece full of anguish and beauty from the Manchester band Money and a thick, shoe-gazey song from Shmu to close out the whirlwind of frenzied feelings.

The cover art of Newcastle indie-rock quartet Lanterns on the Lake's new album, Beings, is at once soothing and unnerving. Warm, filtered light bathes an arid mountain-scape, and whimsical will-o-the-wisps bubble around the edges of the image. Yet, in the middle of the photograph, there sits an unadorned black heptagon, like a scorch mark. It's a striking image, perfectly paired to the music it illustrates.

Over the course of a career that lasted some sixty years, pianist, producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint's music and sound became a hugely influential force for artists working in many different genres. Toussaint died on Monday night in Madrid, at the age of 77.

As the news has spread, artists and other luminaries have been pouring out their grief on social media. Here's a selection of their tributes.

It is said that there are more sheep and deer on the remote Scottish island of Jura than there are people. Improbably enough though, there is a recording studio.

All composers have obsessions. For John Adams, a composer who decidedly broke with the past, that obsession is Beethoven, as heard in the new album Absolute Jest.

World Cafe Next: The Vulgar Boatmen

Nov 9, 2015

The Vulgar Boatmen was an unusual group, to say the least. After starting at the University of Florida, it eventually became two bands: one led by Robert Ray in Florida, the other by Dale Lawrence in Indiana. Ray and Lawrence collaborated long-distance on songwriting.

One of The Vulgar Boatmen's best albums, 1989's You And Your Sister, is being reissued on Nov. 28. On this page, discover (or re-discover) two songs from that album, including a new remix.

The latest song from Britain's moody dream pop group Daughter is a clever play on identity and purpose in a cruel world. The name, "Numbers," refers both to the things that leave us feeling numb and the callous ways people are often reduced to faceless, nameless figures.

The first time I saw Aurora sing, it appeared so new to her that each note, and each hand gesture accompanying each note, seemed like a discovery and an adventure for the singer. She was 18 when I first saw her in New York City, and now the Norwegian singer is 19; take a look at this Tiny Desk Concert, and her sense of innocence and discovery still rings as true as ever.

For me, it is impossible to separate tindersticks' music from the times in my life when we intersected, because we never quite lived together. That youthful moment of discovery when, despite the commercial juggernaut of grunge/Nirvana/Seattle and the nascent ascendance of what would turn into Britpop, Melody Maker, one of U.K.

Metropolis: 11/7/15

Nov 9, 2015

This Week's Playlist

  • DJ Snake, "Middle" [feat. Bipolar Sunshine] (Interscope)
  • Gavin Turek & Tokimonsta, "Hemisphere [Beat Ventriloquists Remix]" (Young Art)
  • Disclosure, "Molecule" (Capitol)
  • Joon Moon, "Chess [Opium Factory Remix]" (Kwaidan)
  • Junior Boys, "Big Black Coat" (Domino)
  • No Mana, "Tell Me" (Mau5trap)
  • Illusionize, Vanilla Ace & Chad Tyson, "Doom Doom" (Bunny Tiger)
  • Latroit X Fawks, "Just Do That" (Vicious Bitch)