Stars returns to the World Cafe studio to play songs from its latest album, The North. Here, the band sits down with host David Dye to discuss its decision-making process, and how its insistence on being as democratic as possible has helped it stay together over the years.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 1:55 pm
The Wallflowers recently reconnected, or "rebooted" so to speak, to release their first studio album since 2005's Rebel, Sweetheart, and with a slightly tweaked line-up they pick up right where they left off. It's safe to say that Dylan and the band — which includes founding member Rami Jaffee on keyboards, long-term bassist Greg Richling, Stuart Mathis on guitar and newly acquired drummer Jack Irons — have recharged their collective creative battery. Glad All Over is an energized collection of signature tunes from The Wallflowers that fans have been itching for.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 10:42 am
It's hard to say anything about Guards without eventually bringing up Cults, another band from Brooklyn whose upbeat melodic pop draws heavy influence from the '60s. The two groups share more than just stylistic influences, though: Singer and bandleader Richie Follin is the brother of Madeline Follin, Cults' lead singer. In fact, a handful of the songs Richie Follin has released with Guards began their lives as Cults tunes.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:43 pm
Freelance Whales' members make huge tiny music. Their instruments tend to produce delicate sounds: banjos, violins, xylophones, drums played delicately with brushes. But their songs are arranged in such a way that these small sounds form grand, swelling passages that start out softly, then build to something majestic.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:58 pm
In this segment of World Cafe's Latin Roots, Alt.Latino host Jasmine Garsd discusses how the Brazilian artistic movement of Tropicália, also known as Tropicalismo, emerged and became a prominent force in Latin American music. Tropicália is a unique style which conflates traditional Brazilian music with elements from other genres, ranging from avant-garde to rock 'n' roll. The movement developed in the 1960s, as widespread corruption and oppression spread throughout Brazil.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:34 pm
"Dense" and "lush" have long been necessary adjectives for anyone attempting to describe Yeasayer's sound. The band's approach entails folding many disparate elements together, twisting and pulling them until they decide to play nice. Although its first two albums, 2007's All Hour Cymbals and 2010's Odd Blood, don't sound terribly similar, they at least have this wide-reaching approach in common.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 6:48 pm
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins and bassist Judah Baer — has kicked out the jams for more than 20 years. Formed in 1991, the band draws on punk, blues and rockabilly, and has collaborated with artists ranging from Elliott Smith to Solomon Burke to Martina Topley-Bird to Steve Albini and even Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys.
Sometimes it pays to be somebody's little brother. Were it not for his fraternal ties, singer and multi-instrumentalist Asa Taccone probably wouldn't have been able to get acclaimed songwriter and producer Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) to produce his band's debut album. Taccone's older brother, a friend of Burton's, asked the producer to listen to the songs his little brother had been working on and give some constructive criticism.
Though the shock value of dropping a sitar into Western pop music has decreased since George Harrison's Hare Krishna days, the metallic, resonant drones of the instrument can still take a normal pop song and twist it into something unexpected. Rishi Dhir, sitarist, bassist and founding member of Elephant Stone, takes full advantage of the juxtaposition.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 1:50 pm
Three albums into a thriving career, Ben Folds Five abruptly announced it was over in 2000. Luckily for fans, Folds got the band back together 11 years later and even released a new album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, this September.
The album is classic Ben Folds Five — at times irreverent, cerebral, quirky, wistful and playful. The Sound of the Life of the Mind peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and the video for the first single, "Do It Anyway," features Anna Kendrick, Rob Corddry and the cast of Fraggle Rock.