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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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The members of Spandau Ballet were just teenagers when the new-wave band started in late-1970s London. The band gave the world the karaoke staple "True," sold more than 25 million albums, and looked fabulous while doing so. So fabulous, in fact, that journalists dubbed the group "New Romantic."

Bikini Kill, the feminist punk band at the forefront of the '90s riot grrrl movement, are about to reissue something few people have heard. The group's very first demo, Revolution Girl Style Now, is coming out not only in its original cassette format, but also on CD, vinyl, and digital formats.

Front Row: Conor Oberst, 'Artifact #1' (Live)

Aug 21, 2015

"It's a well-kept secret that I put out a new record last year," Conor Oberst said from the stage of Boston's House Of Blues, where he performed a number of songs from 2014's Upside Down Mountain as well as many Bright Eyes fan favorites.

This week's Drum Fill Friday comes courtesy of Shaun Fleming, drummer for Foxygen and frontman for the band Diane Coffee. Fleming has an unabashed love of late-'60s psychedelic rock and pop, and you can hear as much in the fills he picked here. But he also threw in a few surprises from the '70s and '80s. I'd give it three out of five stars for difficulty.

Most of the bands that play the Tiny Desk strip down their sound to accommodate the limited space and unconventional acoustics of an office. But Son Lux chose to do the exact opposite. Normally a trio of guitar, drums and keys based out of New York, the band blew up its sound for this performance, adding off-duty, civilian horn players from the United States Marine Band.

This week Atlanta band Deerhunter announced its forthcoming seventh album, Fading Frontier, and released its first single and video, the swaggering "Snakeskin." The new album is a polished, propulsive turn for the group, fronted by eccentric and charismatic lead singer Bradford Cox.

LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This song contains explicit language.

Sam Beam & Ben Bridwell On World Cafe

Aug 20, 2015

On this episode of World Cafe, Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell of Band Of Horses perform each other's songs.

Songs We Love: Joanna Newsom, 'Sapokanikan'

Aug 20, 2015

"What the hell kind of word is 'Sapokanikan'?"

One of this year's most exciting new artists, Texas singer Leon Bridges sings soulful songs with a personal touch and flair that sets him apart instantly. With a backing band that includes members of White Denim, Bridges recently played an incredible set in KCRW's studio, including this performance of "Better Man."

SET LIST

  • "Better Man"

Opposites attract in songs by siblings Tyler and Maggie Heath, who perform as the folk duo The Oh Hellos. Their instrumentation and singing are exuberant, just this side of ecstatic, even though their lyrics deal with wandering, grief and regret.

Beach House works with a simple set of ingredients — a few vintage keyboards, programmed drums, an electric guitar and the drowsily alluring voice of Victoria Legrand — to evoke a specific tone that rarely varies. And yet Depression Cherry, the Baltimore duo's fifth album in the last decade, still feels vibrant and versatile. There's sticking to a formula that works, and then there's teasing out its subtleties in surprising, consistently rewarding ways.

Review: Ruby Amanfu, 'Standing Still'

Aug 19, 2015

Ruby Amanfu made an incredible impression as Jack White's visual and vocal foil during live and recorded performances of his 2012 single "Love Interruption" — she as the inscrutable, bouffant-sporting woman of color, possessed of a live-wire vibrato, and he as the spectral, stylized rocker.

People on the cusp of maturity get called a lot of things. They're juveniles when they're in trouble, teenagers when they're having fun, adolescents when they're at the therapist's office, young adults when they're reading or going to see a movie based on a favorite book. As for pop music, that's youth's realm, incorporating the slang, dances, shifting mores and free-floating fears of every new generation. Yet it isn't that easy to capture, in a song, the particular sense of living in between childhood and the next thing.

Review: Destroyer, 'Poison Season'

Aug 19, 2015

While membership in Canadian power-pop supergroup The New Pornographers brought attention from a generation of indie-rock fans, Dan Bejar was already two albums deep into his solo project, Destroyer. Bejar's earliest albums reveled in glam at a time when such archness and excess stood at odds with the prevailing trends in independent music. But as Bejar got out his T.

"We would write our songs soft / Then we would try to make them tough." That's a line from "Before We Stopped To Think," a song by the obscure, now-defunct indie-rock band Great Plains, covered by Yo La Tengo on its new album, Stuff Like That There. The choice of song is telling. Like Great Plains, Yo La Tengo was formed in the '80s, when indie rock had yet to become a genre, let alone a mainstream phenomenon — and when playing jangly, noisy pop was as radical as playing hardcore punk.

Sometimes it's just better from the war horse's mouth. Here's Hammercult's statement on "Rise Of The Hammer":

"Rise Of The Hammer" is really all about what Hammercult is about: Power, intensity and badassness! This is the first song on the Built For War album, which welcomes the listener to dive inside the unstoppable war-machine and join the ride as Heavy Metal conquers another milestone on its path! Chuck Norris ain't got s*** on Hammercult.

When you record on one of Scandinavia's largest pipe organs, the result damn well better be a thing of monstrous beauty and bombast. Anna von Hausswolff took her band and longtime producer Filip Leyman to the concert hall Acusticum in Piteå, Sweden, to work on her third album, The Miraculous. If the first single, "Come Wander With Me/Deliverance," is any indication, be prepared to meet thy blown-out, organ doom.

The Thistle & Shamrock: ThistleRadio

Aug 19, 2015

Hear some of the classic tracks that form the bedrock of the playlist for ThistleRadio, The Thistle & Shamrock's popular 'round-the-clock Celtic roots-music channel. The list includes music by Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac, Kris Drever, Dervish and Enya, among others.

Josh Rouse On World Cafe

Aug 19, 2015

Born in Nebraska, Josh Rouse released his first album in Nashville in 1998, at age 26. Now, 17 years later, Rouse has a new album called The Embers Of Time. This one, too, was recorded mostly in Nashville, but also in Spain, where he moved in 2005. He still lives there with his wife, Spanish artist Paz Suay.

At the launch party of his band's first album in a crowded Beirut café, singer Anas Maghrebi steps up to the microphone in front of a crowd of hip guys and women in vintage glasses, sipping icy drinks in the sultry evening.

The songs swell; the audience cheers and sings along. Maghrebi is 26 years old, tall and thin with a beard and cap, soaking up the adulation. He's not, perhaps, a typical Syrian refugee, but his journey to realize a dream of making a rock record has been fraught with hardship.

If there was a loop on TOKiMONSTA's thick kicks, cowbells and keys in the first sixteen seconds of "Surrender," we could leave it there to flourish. But singer/songwriter Gavin Turek quickly hops in the pocket, elevating the song, and cobbling together a dance-floor gem.

Calexico On World Cafe

Aug 18, 2015

What started in the '90s as a collaboration between drummer John Convertino and singer-songwriter Joey Burns has ended up, some 20 years later, as the tremendous and seasoned band Calexico. Here, the duo performs a live set from the stage of World Cafe Live, recorded during last spring's NON-COMMvention in Philadelphia.

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