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For World Cafe's latest Latin Roots segment, Ernesto Lechner from The Latin Alternative is here to discuss progressive salsa. This 1970s music was influenced by the burgeoning prog-rock movement in the U.K. and the U.S., and, as Lechner puts it, there was a conscious effort to be as experimental as possible. He'll play a couple of examples (and include a Spotify playlist) on this page.

Chvrches Tease New Album With 'Leave A Trace'

Jul 16, 2015

Aero Flynn On World Cafe

Jul 16, 2015

The Eaux Claires music festival — a celebration of the musical community surrounding the Eau Claire, Wis., area — begins Friday, and the World Cafe studios are filled with musicians who call the city home.

There is an unrequited yearning to Red River Dialect's music that's steadfastly pinned to hearts as they run every which way. That feeling is even written into the English band's album title, Tender Gold and Gentle Blue, descriptive colors that are warm and inviting but also vulnerable and given to telling hard truths.

Singer-songwriter Soren Bryce sounds like the type who has more ideas than there are minutes in a day. It's a particular kind of creative person: A novelist who wakes up with words ready to pour out, a painter who sketches compulsively on any available surface, a songwriter who rises in the middle of the night to capture a somnial melody. Bryce, who at 18 has taught herself six instruments and was classically trained on two others, seems to have the gene.

WFUV Presents: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Jul 16, 2015

Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra has been candid about the complicated romantic triangle — and chronic insomnia — that guided the writing of his psych-pop wonder of a third album, Multi-Love.

On one hand, there's nothing surprising about Watkins Family Hour. When seven incredibly talented musicians get together to make music in a world-class studio with a top-notch producer, it's no shock that the thing sounds good. What is surprising is how well the album's diverse cast works together — there's an innate sense of understanding among the players, of the variety that only comes after years spent working together.

Review: Omar Souleyman, 'Bahdeni Nami'

Jul 15, 2015

There may be no more unlikely act in indie/electronic music than a sunglasses-and-keffiyeh-wearing wedding singer with a chain smoker's gruff voice. But Omar Souleyman is no ordinary musical act; if anything, he's one of the most resilient performers you'll see on the summer festival circuit, whether it's at FYF Fest, Big Ears Festival or Bonnaroo. Not that Souleyman's music is inherently strange itself.

Review: Jessie Jones, 'Jessie Jones'

Jul 15, 2015

Psychedelic music is in the midst of a minor revolution, or at least one of neo-psychedelia's most pronounced revivals since the Paisley Underground in the early '80s or New Weird America throughout the second half of the '00s. While those two scenes looked to psych's closest neighbors — underground rock and folk, respectively — for help, psych circa 2015 journeys further to borrow a cup of pop sugar, as led by Tame Impala and others who obscure the line between Boomer rock and electronic music.

Not many country singers under 30 could score a chart-topping hit with mainstream mainstay Blake Shelton ("Lonely Tonight"), frequent collaborations with elder statesman Vince Gill and a spot in Jack White's Third Man House Band — which is saying nothing of Ashley Monroe's recurring role in the all-star trio

Last week, a story about The Runaways' Jackie Fuchs, centered around her account of being raped by the late music entrepreneur Kim Fowley in a motel room full of people on New Year's Eve in 1975, challenged the very idea that rock and roll is something worth loving.

Twenty years after forming, Australian folk-rock trio The Waifs sound both comfortably loose and tighter than they've ever been. It's a best-of-both-worlds situation for the band, whose seventh studio album, Beautiful You, will be released later this year.

Boots On World Cafe

Jul 15, 2015

Jordy Asher, who goes by the name Boots, knows what it's like to work with high-profile artists: He's produced and written for musicians like FKA twigs and Run The Jewels. He didn't come into his own prominence, though, until his name was listed with many tracks on Beyoncé's self-titled 2013 album.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Musical Breizh

Jul 15, 2015

Intoxicating melodies from Brittany fill the air this week. Hear from the bands Kornog and Skolvan, traditional vocalist and specialist in Breton gwerz songs Annie Ebrel, and harpist and father of pan-Celtic music Alan Stivell.

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Chapel Hill's MAKE is all about the journey, man. The band thrives on heavy, atmospheric jams, inspired by the likes of Isis, Popul Vuh and Neil Young's Crazy Horse, all of which made MAKE's Scott Endres a perfect match as Horseback's guitarist on 2010's doom-and-gloom choogler Invisible Mountain.

Iceland might be small and isolated but the country's music scene is substantial, resonating far beyond the island nation. One Icelandic group that thrives on both new and old classical music is Nordic Affect. Formed in 2005, the quartet of women is equally at home playing 17th century dance music and newly commissioned works like Clockworking, the title track from its forthcoming album.

John Moreland On World Cafe

Jul 14, 2015

After starting out in the punk scene, Oklahoma singer-songwriter John Moreland decided it was best to start writing about himself. That attitude, and a new Americana sound, helped lend depth and honesty to his new album, High On Tulsa Heat. Moreland's World Cafe session is one of the most unexpectedly beautiful in a while — check out the audio link on this page for more.

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Not every reverie is a happy one. A title like "She Takes Me There" suggests the floating bliss of a new love, but in this new taste of what the rising Nashville band Promised Land Sound is up to on its second album, the dream is a haunting.

Guest DJ: SOAK

Jul 14, 2015

Songs For A Plutonian Road Trip

Jul 14, 2015

In the best way possible, "KYBM" doesn't let its listeners get comfortable — which is apt for a song inspired by social justice activists who spend their time and resources combating complacency.

Singer and rapper Tunde Olaniran works for Planned Parenthood, and is an active supporter of the LGBT pride scene around Detroit and his home base of Flint, Mich. The non-musical side of his resumé hints at the hard and unpredictable work of taking on social issues, so it's no surprise that his music reveals a restless spirit and seemingly bottomless supply of energy.

Protomartyr's latest song, its best yet, is a fierce and unforgettable shredder. "Why Does It Shake?" — from the Detroit band's upcoming album, The Agent Intellect -- rumbles and roars with a gritty chug as frontman Joe Casey stares down his own mortality. "Sharp mind, eternal youth / I'll be the first to never die / Nice thought / And I'm never going to lose it."

Is Transparency The Music Industry's Next Battle?

Jul 14, 2015

The issue of how much musicians theoretically earn from their work has moved out of the trade press and into social media's trending topics recently, whether that's Taylor Swift demonstrating her clout via a successful protest of Apple Music or Jay Z's Tidal promising artists higher royalty rates than other streaming services. In the background of these debates is the question of whether songwriters and performers are actually getting all the money they're owed.

Teri Gender Bender, founder and lead singer of garage punk outfit Le Butcherettes, has one of the best stares in showbiz. As demonstrated in her supremely memorable Tiny Desk Concert, Gender Bender (Teresa Suárez by birth) makes direct and unblinking eye contact with individual audience members and the camera, confronting and reversing the viewer/performer dynamic.