As the pallbearers carried the casket through the streets of New Orleans, a brass band led the procession with the slow dirge "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." But this was no jazz funeral, this was a brass band blowout, and painted on the coffin were the names of competing bands: New Breed, New Generation and To Be Continued.
San Fermin's music bursts with ambition, talent and extreme joy. Its self-titled debut is charged with great storytelling and amazing vocals by both Allen Tate and Lucius singers Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe. Then there are the arrangements: little gems that turn these songs into cinematic vignettes using trumpet, sax, keyboard, violin, guitar and drums.
Somewhere between the experimental nature of Laurie Anderson and the ethereal artiness of Kate Bush lies Los Angeles musician Julia Holter. Her new album Loud City Song was her first to be recorded outside the comfort of home with a group of musicians, and that adventurous spirit shines through in songs that shimmer with jazzy overtones.
We're listening now to some of the music of Lou Reed. He died over the weekend at the age of 71. He was in his mid-20s in 1967 when he released this song called "Sunday Morning" on the album "The Velvet Underground and Nico."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUNDAY MORNING")
LOU REED: (Singing) Early dawnin', Sunday mornin'...
Fans of Arcade Fire might be feeling a bit of culture shock. The group has been called the world's most successful indie rock band — but its new album, Reflektor, explores the Haitian roots of band member Regine Chassagne.
Preparing For The Big One, Whisper Campaigns, 'Frankenstein'
In this weekend's podcast of All Things Considered, host Arun Rath explores the power of Hollywood whisper campaigns, learns what some people are doing to prepare for "the big one," and talks to first time composer Alexander Ebert.
The modest, cream-colored '50s-era chapel that's home to St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Houston looks like many other places of worship you might find in urban America. The first clue to a unique tradition here pulls up Sunday afternoon.
Chinese composer Tan Dun has written an opera for Placido Domingo and his works have been performed by the some of the world's greatest orchestras. In addition to writing music for the Beijing Olympics, he wrote the Oscar-winning score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Alexander Ebert may be best known as the singer and songwriter of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros — a band named for his messianic alter ego — which produced the addictive and catchy song "Home" in 2009.
He has also enjoyed a successful career as a solo artist since releasing his self-titled debut album in 2011.
The Welsh sextet Los Campesinos! has put out five albums since 2006, many of them with titles that don't seem destined to soar to the top of pop's generally lighthearted charts; We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed and Hello Sadness are just a couple of the band's record names. Lead singer Gareth David says the tone of the band's new album, No Blues, reflects a step in a more optimistic direction.
The appropriately named Typhoon is a sprawling band with an epic sound. The group from Portland, Ore. crafts rock anthems like emotional tidal waves, propelled by the stories of frontman Kyle Morton. His deeply personal tales are often full of grief and loss. But just as often they celebrate and praise life's simple wonders. Morton himself is a very grateful (and lucky) man who writes songs as if he were living on borrowed time.
The Canadian rock band Arcade Fire released their first record "Funeral" back in 2004 on a small independent label. But these days there's nothing small about them. Their third record, "The Suburbs," won a Grammy and the band's upcoming fourth album is one of the most anticipated releases of the year. It's after a much hyped appearance on "Saturday Night Live" and a half hour special on NBC. Will Hermes has this review of "Reflektor."
Most people think of the steel guitar as an instrument associated with country music — from country rock and pop to alt-country. But there's another style of steel playing that dates back to African-American Pentecostal churches of the 1930s, when a handful of congregations began using steel guitars in place of organs.
To find out about up-and-coming local bands for our Sense of Place stop in Detroit, we went straight to one of the city's best-known sources: Ann Delisi, host of Ann Delisi's Essential Music on NPR member station WDET-FM.
Mayer Hawthorne joins us on our last day of Sense of Place: Detroit to talk a bit about growing up in the Motor City. While Hawthorne began his career as a hip-hop artist, it was his retro take on soul music that caught the attention of his audience, and of record companies.
Born in 1921 in Greenville, N.C., Billy Taylor moved to Washington, D.C., at age 5. He grew up in a musical family and tried his hand at various musical instruments, including guitar, drums and saxophone, but was most successful at the piano.
His name would spin around and around on the vinyl, the writer of a thousand songs: Doc Pomus. As the man behind smash records including Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas," Ray Charles' "Lonely Avenue" and The Drifters' "This Magic Moment," he shaped the early sound of rock 'n' roll.
When Primal Scream started recording their most recent album, lead singer Bobby Gillespie told us, they wanted to create "a sprawling, psychedelic epic of a record." Having written enough material to make a few new records, it's clear the Glaswegian dance-rock icons haven't dwelled on past successes. New songs like "It's Alright, It's OK" are strong reminders of the group's talent.
For another dose of Sense of Place: Detroit, we revisit an archived studio session from 2009 Rodríguez. The Motor City folk rocker's albums from the '70s, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, were being re-released at the time of this interview. While those records became huge hits in South Africa several years after their initial U.S. release, back in Detroit, Rodriguez was completely unaware of his fame until decades later.
World Cafe's Sense of Place visit to Detroit continues this Thursday with a session from the Electric Six, a venerable sextet with a sound that manages to encompass elements of garage, disco, punk rock, new wave and metal.
A special session for our Sense of Place: Detroit series features hip-hop artist Mike Ellison. The musician is known in the city for his strong performances and his social activism at Detroit's annual Concert Of Colors, which showcases international performers alongside local musicians.