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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.

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All Songs Considered, the NPR podcast and radio show hosted by Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, has been fostering public-radio listeners' musical discovery for 16 years. To celebrate, the two picked their favorite song from each of those 16 years to spotlight in a recent episode of the show.

If you think it's strange that we pay homage to David Bowie on Alt.Latino this week, think again. Bowie has had a tremendous fan base throughout Latin America, and he's been a strong musical influence. His talent was so great, and his work so diverse, it left few musical genres untouched.

Guitarists Nels Cline and Julian Lage appear together on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. A bona fide super-duo, Cline and Lage span multiple generations and genres with fluidity, precision and grace.

"Will Oldham covering Prince" once sounded like a weird and wonderful dream, but it's been a reality since shortly after the Louisville singer-songwriter recorded this version of the Sign O' The Times cornerstone for a radio session in the summer of 1994. A couple of indie-rock friends and I had pre-Internet pen pals in the U.K. who'd occasionally send us mixtapes of local singles and weirdo sonic minutiae, as well as recordings from John Peel's legendary BBC show.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released, but you can hear an excerpt below via YouTube.

Review: Eleanor Friedberger, 'New View'

Jan 13, 2016

Note: NPR's First Listen audio 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 First Listen audio 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 First Listen audio 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 First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.

Barreling on after a non-stop flurry of activity over the past eight years, Ty Segall is dropping his 10th solo album in the dead of winter, its cover depicting a Xeroxed baby head as it peers out of the fold amid a field of toner-black gradients. Staring into that disquieting image is adequate preparation for Emotional Mugger, which feels as fractured and delirious as anything he's recorded.

Darlingside On World Cafe

Jan 13, 2016

Darlingside is a folk-pop group formed at Williams College in western Massachusetts. The band's lovely music is full of layered harmonies and arrangements — a sound you can hear for yourself in this session as the band performs songs from Birds Say, its first nationally released full-length album.

Don't forget to grab a free download of Darlingside's World Cafe performance of "Go Back" below.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Raise A Glass

Jan 13, 2016

Many a fine song has been sung around the drinking table to celebrate good company, lament absent friends and bravely toast whate'er may come in the year ahead. Join us to sing some choruses with Tony Cuffe, the Voice Squad and other rousing performers. (Please drink — and sing — responsibly.)

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

5 Must-See Acts At The 2016 Winter Jazzfest

Jan 13, 2016

New York City's Winter Jazzfest kicks off its 12th edition tonight, launching five days of nearly nonstop music. This year's installment is the biggest yet, featuring more than 120 groups and 600-plus musicians in and around Greenwich Village. What started as a one-night festival to give greater exposure to the city's highly talented yet underrated artists has turned into one of the finest jazz happenings in North America.

Brandon Paak Anderson, aka Anderson .Paak, has been part of the LA alt-rap scene's inner circle for years now, but his big break came in 2015, on Dr. Dre's surprise album, Compton, where he was a major presence and, by some estimates, stole the show. The rapper-singer is most engaging when straddling the line between an elastic chatter and a wrenching moan, remaining unpredictable with a careful mix of fluidity and texture (as on Dre's politically-charged "Animals").

It's no surprise that the latest song from Violent Femmes, "Memory," feels like a classic. Frontman Gordon Gano actually wrote it a long time ago. "We even recorded it as a demo many years ago," he tells NPR Music via email. "And then it was forgotten about until digging into [our] archives, which led us to record it anew and release it."

To be a fan in 2016 is to be super-served: If you love a musician today, you're likely to find a complete catalog on streaming services, have the option of falling down YouTube rabbit holes full of bootleg recordings and rare performances, and locate radio and video sessions all over the Internet — a glut of music, available all at once. Project that onto a 10- or 20-year career, and even obsessives can get their fill eventually.

ODESZA On World Cafe

Jan 12, 2016

After meeting at Western Washington University in 2012, ODESZA (the duo of DJs Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight) has seen rapid success in the past few years. Twenty-one of the duo's songs have hit No. 1 on Hype Machine, and ODESZA has performed at huge American music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Firefly and Lollapalooza, where Mills and Knight have been joined by a live guitarist and horn section.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.



How A Korean Jazz Festival Found A Huge Young Audience

Jan 12, 2016

It was like discovering a parallel reality.

After completing a sponsored trip to South Korea for music professionals in October, I stayed in the country, striking out on my own. I grabbed a train to the Jarasum International Jazz Festival, a couple hours from Seoul, and arrived in the middle of a set by the international power pairing of Paolo Fresu, Omar Sosa and Trilok Gurtu.

What's your favorite memory of listening to a David Bowie song? We want to hear your story: In an audio recording, set the scene and tell us why that particular song matters to you in a minute or less. To get the ball rolling, here are two examples from our own staff: NPR editor Dana Farrington remembers her father singing Bowie's "Letter to Hermione" as a lullaby.

Son Little is the embodiment of the truism that most overnight successes take years. Around Philadelphia, the singer/guitarist who goes by his given name Aaron Livingston has been a known entity at least since (his words) "mumbling/freestyling/singing the hook" on The Roots' "Guns Are Drawn," a dubwise track from the group's 2004 album The Tipping Point.

David Bowie: The World Cafe Sessions

Jan 12, 2016

Sometime after his first World Cafe session in 1997, recorded live at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, David Bowie came by to chat with David Dye for back-to-back years. Both appearances happened while Bowie was on tour with new records, 2002's Heathen and 2003's Reality.

Now, in the wake of David Bowie's death Sunday, here are both of the sessions, dusted off and fresh out of the archives.

Before you've heard a note of this new Woods track, the long-running bedroom/lo-fi folk-pop concern gives away a name, an image and an association to the people in the back seats, the true heads in the room: Sun City Girls. That long-running underground outfit's glorious rip on world music, psychedelia and general prankster-isms lives on in the hazy late evenings that permeate "Sun City Creeps," the first single from Woods' upcoming album, City Sun Eater In The River Of Light.

In the summer of 2014, Natalie Merchant came to Washington, D.C., to perform her first album of all-new material in 13 years. She was supposed to play here at my desk the day after that evening's performance. Instead, she fell ill, wound up in a D.C. hospital, and canceled her upcoming dates.

For more than a decade, Reeves Gabrels was David Bowie's go-to guitarist, playing in the rock band Tin Machine and crafting '90s Bowie on albums like Outside, Earthling and 'hours...' The world is mourning the visionary chameleon, who died Sunday at 69, but Gabrels also wants to remember Bowie's sense of humor.

"The picture I have in my head is of him cracking up in the studio," Gabrels says. "Because we just used to be able to make each other laugh."

I am a Bowie girl. Not literally: I'm a little too young to have swiped my face with glitter and run out in lime-green platforms to see David Bowie storming through America in 1972 and 1973 with the Spiders from Mars, when he sent queer and alien dispatches across a heartland primed for them by Stonewall and women's lib and the sexual revolution but also feeling the slap of the Silent Majority as the Nixon era lumbered on.