Angaleena Presley's American Middle Class — one of NPR Music's favorite albums of 2014 — is her first solo record. But Presley isn't exactly an unknown entity: As one-third of the Pistol Annies, performing with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe, she's topped the country charts.
Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 3:46 pm
Peter Matthew Bauer, formerly the bassist and keyboardist for The Walkmen, released his first album as a solo artist — titled Liberation! — earlier this year. On his own, Bauer takes the lighter tones of The Walkmen's later albums, Lisbon and Heaven, and sets them loose in the air. Songs like "Philadelphia Raga," heard at the top of today's episode of World Cafe, move with a been-around-the-block swing that anchors glittering guitar work.
Hear the full episode at the audio link, as well as individual songs below.
Enter the Tiny Desk Contest by submitting your YouTube video of an original song by January 19 and you could perform at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. The winner also plays the Lagunitas "CouchTrippin' to Austin" showcase in March. For more details, visit the submission page: http://npr.org/tinydeskcontest.
Rachel Faro joins World Cafe's Latin Roots to talk ranchera. Sometimes called "Mexican country music," ranchera, Faro says, is a serenade style that began as a protest against the tastes of the rich during the Mexican revolution. In fact, the work of composer José Alfredo Jiménez sometimes resembles U.S. folk music — a form of protest music in its own right.
Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:03 pm
Alice Gerrard is a folk mainstay known for her collaborations with Hazel Dickens — particularly the duo's landmark 1965 debut, Who's That Knocking. Gerrard's new album, Follow The Music, finds her looking to the next generation of folk musicians. M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger produced the album and joins Gerrard in the studio for this live set.
Hear their warm, spare performances of songs from Follow The Music below, and listen to the full episode of World Cafe at the audio link.
Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:01 pm
World Cafe: Next's featured artist this week is the Brooklyn band Cookies. Led by Ben Sterling (formerly of Mobius Band) and featuring Melissa Metrick on vocals, Cookies crafts indelible, sophisticated pop songs.
The group's debut album, Music For Touching, works as a melting pot of genres and styles, drawing equally from house, contemporary R&B and West African guitar music.
Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 6:17 pm
Seeds is TV On The Radio's sixth album and the first since the band's bassist, Gerard Smith, died in 2011. In spite of geographical distance — the group is now split between L.A. and New York — and the profound loss of a collaborator and friend, TV On The Radio sounds tight and focused. The songs on Seeds are punchy, pleasurable, searing and concise.
Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 11:40 am
This year, British singer and songwriter Jessie Ware released her second album, Tough Love. It features a number of high-profile guest songwriters — Miguel, Ed Sheeran, Benny Blanco — but Ware is the record's beating heart. Ware's songs work from a subtle, muted palette — a restrained take on the pounding pop of the '80s — with her voice adding color.