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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.  Click the down arrow on the player bar above to listen.

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

Right near the top of this performance, Benjamin Clementine looks toward the camera with an intense stare and sings, "Where I'm from, you see the rain / Before the rain even starts to rain." At that point, when I'm already hanging on every word, I feel like I'm witnessing an almost otherworldly presence — a visitor with wisdom to impart.

Chicago's Twin Peaks was formed in 2009 by lead vocalist and guitarist Cadien Lake James. With power chords and power-pop melodies, the band recorded its debut EP in James' basement and released its first full-length, Wild Onion, in 2014. Twin Peaks began while its members were still in high school, and the quartet built up a fervent local following playing house shows and becoming prominent in Chicago's DIY basement scene before graduating to small clubs.

It's been four decades since Chaka Khan made her solo debut with "I'm Every Woman," an instant smash that earned her the title "Queen of Funk" and penetrated nightclubs everywhere. But the R&B legend isn't done with dance music. Last Thursday, April 14, the eve of the Coachella music festival, she surprised partygoers at a nearby villa when she arrived just after 2 a.m. with her two siblings — fellow singers Taka Boom (born Yvonne Stevens) and Mark Stevens — and grabbed the mic.

Multi-instrumental musician, Andrew Bird is known for his precise composition, his impeccable instrumentation, his playful, ambiguous lyrics — and, yes, his whistling. But he says that on his latest record, Are You Serious, his personal life nudged him into a radical change of approach.

Chicago's Jazz Record Mart attracts visitors from all over the world. At least, it used to: Last month, owner Bob Koester sold the store, saying he was just too old to run it any more.

Koester began selling used records when he was a teenager in Wichita, Kansas. After moving to Chicago, he opened his own store, as well as his own jazz and blues label, Delmark. But after more than 60 years in business, he decided this spring that it was time to pack it in.

The Scandinavian duo My bubba started singing together after Bubba Tomasdottír answered an ad to rent a room in My Larsdotter's apartment.

Guest Dose: DJ JNETT

Apr 15, 2016

Welcome to Guest Dose. Every month, NPR Music's Recommended Dose crew invites a knowledgeable and experienced DJ/selector to share with us their personal perspectives on electronic and beat-driven music, and make a mix from some new tracks they are digging.

The Lumineers On World Cafe

Apr 15, 2016

Fueled by the ubiquitous stomp-along "Ho Hey," The Lumineers' self-titled 2012 debut album went to No. 2, and "Ho Hey" itself sold more than two million copies. The Lumineers released a follow-up, Cleopatra, last week. In today's session, the band performs some of the new music on stage at World Cafe Live.

Hear The Soundtrack To 'International Pop'

Apr 15, 2016

Through May 15, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is housing "International Pop," an exhibit that showcases a global collection of pop art from 1956 to 1972. If you visit, you'll find well-known names like Warhol and Lichtenstein, but also many others from Argentina, Japan and elsewhere, including a large number of female artists.

Sturgill Simpson's 2014 album, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, took a lot of people by surprise. While the song forms were firmly rooted in Nashville traditions, the stories he told and observations he made were more like something from a metaphysical self-help guide, with existential meditations on death and dying, religion and the never-ending search for a higher purpose.

There is music in nature. Irv Teibel recorded, manipulated and sold nature as functional art; John Cage meditated on it ("My composing is actually unnecessary. Music never stops. It is we who turn away."); Annea Lockwood sonically maps rivers around the world.

Seratones singer-guitarist A.J. Haynes takes gospel into the garage, and what comes out is fiery rock 'n' roll. The Shreveport, La., band is a joy to see and hear, and this Tiny Desk concert provides a fiery peek at what you'll soon hear on the group's debut album, Get Gone.

Lucinda Williams On World Cafe

Apr 14, 2016

Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams' new album, The Ghosts Of Highway 20, is her second double album in a row — she's most certainly been prolific in recent years. The titular stretch of highway passes through resonant places in Williams' life and provides perfect context for songs about the people and events she's encountered along the way.

For the past three years, the Robotic Empire label has released album-length tributes to Nirvana for Record Store Day: In Utero, In Tribute, In Entirety and Whatever Nevermind.

SoCal native Anderson .Paak was one of the most buzzed-about artists at this year's SXSW music festival, and he keeps proving why with incredible live performances — like this one, in which he plays "Am I Wrong," one of KCRW's favorite tracks of the year so far. Expect even bigger things now that the singer, rapper and drummer has signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment.

SET LIST

  • "Am I Wrong"

Formed in the fringes of early '90s Los Angeles indie rock, The Summer Hits crafted pop that lingered around the orbits of twee, shoegaze and ramshackle teenage garage rock. What set the band apart was its approach — it caked on elements of those sounds to extremes, noisy and pretty all at once, and played with a grit that made the master tapes buckle.

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.

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.

One of the most iconic songs of the civil rights movement is now the subject of a lawsuit.

Shearwater On World Cafe

Apr 13, 2016

Jet Plane And Oxbow, released earlier this year, is Austin rock band Shearwater's ninth album. In this session, lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg says Shearwater made a conscious effort to make sure each song on the record made you want to see and hear it performed live, adding that the band pulled many sonic choices straight out of the '80s.

In the player above, hear Shearwater perform three songs from Jet Plane And Oxbow, recorded live in the World Cafe studio.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Archie Fisher

Apr 13, 2016

Revisit host Fiona Ritchie's time with legendary singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and broadcaster Archie Fisher. This episode of The Thistle & Shamrock features music from across the decades of Fisher's remarkable career in the transatlantic folk scene.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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

Three silhouettes stretch across the flat earth, facing each other at a tense distance. Heat squiggles through the air like baby snakes dancing in the sand. The one facing west is long and cracked like old leather, his face determined but his eyes wet with worry. In a rush to claim his bounty, he's replenished his bullet belt, but has left his gun in the room where his antenna'd lover lies. He is thinking about last night, knowing it was likely his last.

First Watch: OSHUN, 'Protect Your Self'

Apr 13, 2016

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