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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!

A new James Bond movie tends to mean a few things: a new villain, two new Bond girls (one of whom may or may not be painted gold), and — perhaps most dependably — a new song playing behind the opening credits. Fifty years of Bond films has left much music to be analyzed, and the Oxford University Press does just that in a new book called The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism.

Jamie Cullum, musician and BBC Radio 2 host, is constantly searching for the freshest sounds in jazz music. A frequent guest on Weekend Edition, he recently visited the program to share new music from Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra, Daymé Arocena and Sons of Kemet. The sounds range from Coltrane-influenced spiritual jazz to acoustic club music informed by the traditional sounds of Ethiopia and West Africa.

Every October, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces the nominees for next year's inductions, there's a phrase that seems to come up organically in discussions of the shortlist.

Drake is not meme-worthy: He's a living, breathing, dancing meme. Ever since social media got a hold of the album cover for 2011's Take Care, the rapper's every move has been a subject for scrutiny, parody, think pieces, GIFs.

In 1989, the New York Times wrote this about a 21-year-old up-and-comer from New Orleans: "Harry Connick, Jr. may have what it takes to inject the world of traditional jazz with a shot of Hollywood glamour."

Pharrell Williams, In Conversation

Oct 23, 2015

Dateline: December 1999. The turn of a new century. On the cusp of the new millennium. While some of us were madly drowning in Y2K fears that our clocks would wind down, our computers would stop, our banking institutions would cease to function, and life on earth as we know it would come to a grinding halt, a young African-American producer from Virginia Beach and his Asian-American partner were not grinding down at all — they were just getting started.

Listen to this conversation and you'll feel like you're sitting in an airport lounge eavesdropping on two smart, funny, mutually-admiring musicians.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Today, Patti Smith.


Elvis Costello's new memoir, Unfaithful Music And Disappearing Ink, is a 650-page tome in which Costello describes everything from growing up in London and Liverpool to playing the "angry" pop star with The Attractions, to his later collaborations with the Brodsky String Quartet, Allen Toussaint, Paul McCartney and

The Arcs On World Cafe

Oct 23, 2015

When The Black Keys had to take time off as drummer Patrick Carney recovered from a shoulder injury, his bandmate, Dan Auerbach, wasted no time. Auerbach put together a group of musicians with whom he'd toured, recorded and produced. That's how Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, Richard Swift and Kenny Vaughan — along with Auerbach — became The Arcs.

The elements at the heart of "Vacuum Packed" betray the knowing schizophrenia of Kode9's current sound. A standout track on Nothing, the first album that Kode9 (born: Steve Goodman) has produced since the 2014 death of his vocalist/collaborator The Spaceape (Stephen Samuel Gordon), "Vacuum Packed" is overstuffed with ideas floating in recording space. But it's not some goulash — the elements are distinct.

Beauty Pill's music is an invitation. In it, life whirs with plunderphonic glee and riffs are funky from the inside out, with rhythms that are equal parts hip-hop and go-go.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



This next story is about a flute riff.


JAY Z: It's big pimping, Baby.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit



Latin Roots: Calma Carmona

Oct 22, 2015

Soulful Puerto Rican singer Calma Carmona brought her full band from San Juan to perform live in the World Cafe studio.

Kurt Vile On World Cafe

Oct 22, 2015

Philadelphia's Kurt Vile, formerly a member of The War On Drugs, has been making solo albums since 2008. The process of recording his latest, b'lieve i'm goin down, included an extended stay in California: He went to Los Angeles to record with Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, and to Joshua Tree to soak up its unique vibe.

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.

"[We'll bring them here through either isotopic] teleportation, transmolecularization, or better still—teleport the whole planet here through music."

The pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill knows better than almost anyone that more than 50 years of a trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba hasn't fully prevented the exchange of jazz between the two countries. He's known it since he first visited Cuba in 2002.

"The first thing that I encountered was great 'goo-gobs' of young jazz musicians who worked really hard to master this craft that we thought was our own," O'Farrill says.

KCRW Presents: Mew

Oct 22, 2015

The Danish dream-rock band Mew takes its time making records. Bass player Johan Wohlert rejoined the group for its first new album in six years, titled + -, while singer Jonas Bjerre's falsetto vocals are as distinctive as ever. This in-studio performance of "Satellites" captures Mew's sophisticated mix at its best.


  • "Satellites"

The Thistle & Shamrock: Len Graham

Oct 22, 2015

Fiona Ritchie meets Len Graham, a legendary singer and song collector from Northern Ireland, to chat about the connections between Scotland, Ireland and Appalachia, with plenty of time for songs from Graham's long career.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

It sings; it dances; it shines — all with the help of thousands of lights and some scarily infectious music. Known for their holiday light shows, the owners of a Maryland house are using lights to create animated jack-o-lanterns that sing along to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and other hits.

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.

Grupo Fantasma's raucous, good-time mix of funk, cumbia and soul emerged from the clubs of Austin at the start of the century, bringing with it a fresh sensibility for Tejano music. Now, the band faces a challenge: How do you make that great idea even better?

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.

Review: Escort, 'Animal Nature'

Oct 21, 2015

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.