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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!

Low Cut Connie On World Cafe

Sep 9, 2015

On one level, Low Cut Connie seems far removed from folk music. There wasn't an acoustic guitar in sight during the band's Philadelphia Folk Festival performance. But its straight-ahead rock 'n' roll sound, propelled by Adam Weiner's piano, certainly puts it next in line of a tradition of classic bar bands.

Tall Heights On World Cafe

Sep 9, 2015

Tall Heights makes its World Cafe debut with a set recorded live at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Tim Harrington (guitar and vocals) and Paul Wright (cello and vocals) started out playing as a duo on Boston streets, where they entranced passerby with their gorgeous harmonies and the unique interplay of cello and guitar. Even though Tall Heights is now a quartet, the intimacy remains.

Hear the band perform two songs from its forthcoming EP, Holding On, Holding Out, due in October.

Lindi Ortega On World Cafe

Sep 9, 2015

Going into Lindi Ortega's performance at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, we already knew that the Toronto country singer's new album, Faded Gloryville, was full of great songwriting. What we weren't prepared for? How tight and roadworthy her band is. Listen to this fantastic performance of some of Ortega's best yet, recorded live under the stars for World Cafe.

The best part of being in a band, says singer/songwriter Jendayi Bonds, is watching a song come to life. The same can be said of watching her band, pop duo Charlie Belle, start on the steep ascent to stardom.

"Rewind," the latest track from new-wave R&B fave Kelela, hasn't become any less addictive since it debuted a week ago. The most recent offering from the D.C.-bred, LA-based singer, and the lead track from her newest EP Hallucinogen, would fit seamlessly on 1996's So So Def Bass All-Stars, an influential-after-the-fact collection that was the soundtrack of Freaknik, a Spring Break gathering of black Southern youth of the '90s.

Heavy-metal album artwork can be transportive: You can depend on Paolo Girardi's mangled serpents and Kev Walker's mutant nightmares to guide you to metal mayhem that matches the cover.

Melbourne, Australia's Husky is the duo of singer-guitarist Husky Gawenda and pianist-singer Gideon Preiss. This year, Husky released Rucker's Hill, and while the album's full sound lends gloss and percussion to Gawenda's songs, both voices shine in this duo setting.


  • "I'm Not Coming Back"

Find more from Husky's studio session at

Digging into a musician's early, unreleased material is a little like looking at a loved one's old family photos—if you're lucky, you gain a greater understanding of the person in the pictures. Such is the case of Iron & Wine fans that explore Sam Beam's Archive Series of DIY recordings, a glimpse of his initial steps as a recording artist. Like the series' first installment, Vol. 2 predates the release of the Iron & Wine debut, 2002's The Creek Drank the Cradle.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Sam Smith first melted hearts with his song "Stay With Me."


SAM SMITH: (Singing) Oh, won't you stay with me 'cause you're all I need.


This week's show is split much like some of our favorite records: The A-side is loud and fast. The B-side is slow and quiet.

World Cafe Next: John Mark Nelson

Sep 8, 2015

John Mark Nelson is just 21, but he's already figured out how to make a cohesive album in I'm Not Afraid, on which he sings with easy confidence. On this week's episode of World Cafe: Next, you can hear two songs from the Twin Cities singer-songwriter — and download them as part of the World Cafe: Next podcast, available at the show's Tumblr.

Galactic On World Cafe

Sep 8, 2015

There can't help but be a New Orleans vibe in the World Cafe house when Galactic joins the show live. Almost 20 years into its career, the New Orleans funk band returns in support of its 11th album, Into The Deep.

Metropolis: 9/5/15

Sep 8, 2015

This Week's Playlist

  • Jose Gonzalez, "Let It Carry You [Dino Soccio Remix]" (Mute)
  • Seinabo Sey, "Younger [No Way Back Extended Remix]" (Virgin)
  • Boxed In, "All Your Love Is Gone [Joshua James Remix]" (Nettwerk)
  • The Chemical Brothers, "Sometimes I Feel So Deserted [Skream Remix]" (Astralwerks)
  • Amtrac, "Hold On" (Toolroom)
  • Orbital, "Halcyon" (FFRR)
  • Disco Ruido, "Zombies" (Nacional)

KEXP Presents: La Luz

Sep 8, 2015

Armed with songs from its new album Weirdo Shrine, the Seattle surf-rock band La Luz lit up the KEXP studio during its stunning recent live session. Mixing dark reverb with brighter tones, the band delved deeper into sun-drenched songs like this one, "Don't Wanna Be Anywhere."


  • "Don't Wanna Be Anywhere"

Watch La Luz's full performance on KEXP's YouTube channel.

We probably should have shot this Tiny Desk Concert in black-and-white. Listening to Leon Bridges, I hear a sound with its heart and soul rooted in 1962. There's purity in his soulful voice that's unadorned, untouched and unaffected by 21st-century pop.

The demo version of Sylvester's "I Need Somebody To Love Tonight" you are about to hit "play" on is an instrumental. The lack of lyrics may not seem much of a loss since the song, released on the Bay Area disco superstar's 1979 album Stars, doesn't actually feature many words besides a repeating of the title— and some indelible gospel coo'ing. Yet the music shifts in discernible ways.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



An American punk drummer has become an unlikely historian of the Armenian community in Aleppo, Syria. And he's recently released a recording of their religious music — just as the city is crumbling during Syria's ongoing civil war.

Jason Hamacher doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would be drawn to a place like Syria.

"I am the son of a Southern Baptist minister," he says. "I was born in Texas, I have no cultural ties or blood ties whatsoever to the Middle East, or to the populations that inhabit the Middle East."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



If you're in the middle of a road trip this Labor Day weekend, turn up your radio.


It may be the most famous song in the world — but you probably don't know it by the name it was originally called. "Happy Birthday to You," that little ditty that floats above cakes and candles the world over, was written by Mildred and Patty Hill, two sisters from Louisville, Ky.

The sisters wrote the song in the 1890s for Patty's kindergarten students — and they'd intended it to be sung in classrooms, as "Good Morning To All."

Hours before it was scheduled to screen at the Telluride Film Festival, the Aretha Franklin documentary Amazing Grace has been pulled, after a federal court granted the singer an injunction. The film centers on footage shot by late director Sydney Pollack at a 1972 Franklin concert.

Music Review: 'Poison Season,' Destroyer

Sep 4, 2015
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The musician we're going to hear about goes by the name Destroyer. You might expect heavy metal. Well, not exactly.


Justin Kauflin On Song Travels

Sep 4, 2015

Jazz pianist Justin Kauflin attended William Paterson University, where he formed a friendship with his mentor, the late Clark Terry. Kauflin, who lost his vision at age 11, connected with the trumpeter, who was dealing with his own vision loss. Their journey together was chronicled in the 2014 documentary Keep On Keepin' On.

By all accounts, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack was not supposed to be a hit.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit