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Music

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio complement for the occasion. It's jazz that you can party to, all night long with four countdowns to midnight and four different renditions of "Auld Lang Syne" in all continental time zones. Spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations, contributing something new to the musical feast. Eight hours of music will start at 9pm and continue throughout the night until 5am.

Midlake On World Cafe

Dec 13, 2013

Fans of Midlake have no doubt grown accustomed to the band's malleable sound, which fluctuates from album to album. The Texas folk-rock band's second record, The Trial of Van Occupanther, was steeped in the atmosphere of the '70s, while 2010's The Courage of Others headed in another direction altogether.

Brooklyn orchestral indie rock outfit San Fermin released the sleeper hit record of 2014 with its self-titled debut. 

Roots-tinged Australian musician John Butler joins us on a double-header Free at Noon bill this  week. 

  Frontman of the funky and fierce jam rock crew John Butler Trio, who were a big hit at this summer's XPoNential Music Festival, Butler has also released a handful of live and studio solo albums including 2012's Tin Shed Tales. He performs a solo acoustic set for us at Free at Noon.

Downbeat Brooklyn band Lucius also performs on the Free at Noon bill on Friday. The five-piece is anchored by the expressive vocal harmonies of lead singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. 

Clay Patrick McBride

Eclectic singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash joins us for this week's Free at Noon concert. The Different Radio favorite and daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash is readying her latest full length record, The River and the Thread, for an January 2014 release. The album, written with her husband and longtime collaborator John Leventhal, will be her first album of original material since 2006's acclaimed Black Cadillac. Cash also earned praise recently for 2009's The List, an album covering 12 country music classics from a list her father gave her at age 18.

Red Baraat, led by dhol player Sunny Jain, puts a spin on the Bhangra music of Northern India by mixing in a jazzy brass section and injecting the party vibe of a funk band. The band has released three albums on SinJ Records, most recently Shruggy Ji. Recent Release: Shruggy JiRelease Date: January 15, 2013Label: Sinj

Michael Hollett On World Cafe

Nov 7, 2013

For this installment of Sense of Place: Toronto, host David Dye talks with NOW Magazine editor and publisher Michael Hollett. For 32 years, Hollett has guided the alternative news publication to reflect the music culture of Toronto.

Neko Case: Tiny Desk Concert

Oct 30, 2013

Watch a special Halloween Tiny Desk Concert in which a gorilla-suit-clad Neko Case performs alongside Kelly Hogan, as well as Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf.

Set List

  • "Night Still Comes"
  • "Calling Cards"
  • "Local Girl"

One of rock's most beloved and contrarian figures has died. Lou Reed epitomized New York City's artistic underbelly in the 1970s, with his songs about hookers and junkies. He was 71.

KCRW Presents: Jim James

Oct 25, 2013

Armed with a Golden Panda talisman and his iconic Flying V guitar, My Morning Jacket singer Jim James recently took the stage in front of a small Santa Monica, Calif., audience to perform several songs from his solo album debut, Regions of Light and Sound of God. With some tracks spanning nearly nine and a half minutes, James took the audience on one journey after another — including this one, "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)."

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