PHOX's members grew up together — attending high school in Baraboo, Wisconsin — but it took some time out in the world before they decided to form a band in the nearby college town of Madison.
Together, they built PHOX's sound around the irresistible, smoky-shy voice of Monica Martin. PHOX released its charming self-titled debut last year, and today World Cafe catches up with the group on stage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
There's something entrancing about the electro-funk of Sinkane. The Brooklyn band is led by Ahmed Gallab, who spent time in Sudan as a child before moving around the U.S.
Sinkane subtly incorporates East African sounds, complete with a loping repetition of lyrics and musical phrases. Last year, the band released its third album, Mean Love, and it's the most concise and poppy Sinkane record yet.
Today's World Cafe: Next artist is Nora Jane Struthers And The Party Line, which just released a new album called Wake. It's Struthers' third record in a career that finds her transitioning from bluegrass roots to a sound that encompasses pop and country. Hear and download two of Struthers' songs on this page.
The scoring of TV shows is not all done in a big studio with giant monitors and orchestras. For example, the music in Orange Is The New Black gets made in a tiny, cramped garage behind a home in Altadena. There, Gwendolyn Sanford, Scott Doherty and Brandon Jay toil for long hours, collaborating with the producers in pursuit of the right sound to complement what's on the screen.
In this segment, they're joined by Ben Vaughn, whose twangy surf guitar proved to be the right sound for a show about aliens living on earth: Third Rock From The Sun.
World Cafe's guest today is Rhiannon Giddens — formerly of Carolina Chocolate Drops, whose album Genuine Negro Jig won a Grammy in 2010. That record provided an introduction to the way she makes a song her own. (In that case, it was a dynamite cover of Blu Cantrell's "Hit Em Up Style.") Giddens has done more solo work — she was a show-stopper in the film of the Another Day, Another Time concert, as she sang a Gaelic song — and performs in the folk supergroup The New Basement Tapes.
We're fans of Jenny Lewis' latest album, The Voyager. Since she and her band already came in to play the new songs live, Lewis invited us to do something different — drive through the San Fernando Valley, where she grew up, to find the inspiration for the title of The Voyager. So it's kind of a mystery in the back seat of a rental car, where we will also hear an acoustic version of the album's title track.
World Cafe's Sense of Place visit to LA continues today with a bit more of a funky West Coast vibe. Our guests are the powerful new Latin funk band Jungle Fire, whose album Tropicoso is out on North Hollywood-based Nacional Records.
We have a special Latin Roots segment for our Sense of Place: LA today as we are joined by a band from East LA, Las Cafeteras. The band formed around a community space called the Eastside Café, where they studied Son Jarocho music from Mexico and made it their own.
We talk with Dwight Yoakam, whose career really took off in the 1980s when his debut album Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. on Warner Bros. Records went to No. 1 on the country charts. Yoakam met our other guest today, Lenny Waronker, producer, A&R man and later president of Warner Bros., when that album came out.