WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

World Cafe

The premier public radio showcase for contemporary music serving up an eclectic blend that includes blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country.

By the time he was a teenager, Chris Thile was already a bluegrass prodigy on mandolin; he's since evolved into a MacArthur Grant-winning, genre-defying musical genius. Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau is equally revered, as his inventive playing has both the critical establishment and packed concert halls singing his praises.

Ty Segall is never predictable. He's a rock 'n' roll shape-shifter who has dabbled in experimental garage, British-influenced space rock, fuzzed-out acoustic folk and psych-pop. He has performed entire shows wearing a rubber baby mask, he's dressed as a mad scientist while explaining a concept he calls "emotional mugging" and, just for kicks, he's filmed himself smashing a toilet with producer Steve Albini.

Public radio is a proven and powerful force for music discovery across genres. That's why, every month, we turn to a panel of 10 public-radio DJs and bloggers to see what they've had on repeat recently.

Courtney Barnett has been one of our most beloved recent musical imports from Australia. Both 2013's double EP A Sea Of Split Peas and 2015's Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit were remarkable works of lyrical dexterity. (The latter earned her a Best New Artist Grammy nomination.)

Melbourne singer-songwriter Jen Cloher has pursued a wide-ranging and flexible career. She originally planned to study acting, but her passion quickly became music. Cloher released her first EP in 2005, formed a band called The Endless Sea and started garnering nominations for awards ranging from the ARIAs to the Australian Music Prize.

Courtney Barnett's record label, Milk! Records, is home to a wide group of Melbourne talent, including the very fun three-piece Loose Tooth. Friends Etta Curry and Nellie Jackson have known each other since the cradle; they added bassist Luc Dawson to complete the band. The trio released Saturn Returns early in 2016. Hear songs from that EP and a conversation above, and get a look at the band's performance as part of World Cafe's Milk!

If you thought that a band named King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard just had to make psychedelic music, you got that right. Out of the mind of leader Stu Mackenzie and the town of Geelong comes this incredibly prolific band that has put out eight albums in the six years it's been together. (That said, Mackenzie vows to never repeat himself.)

After realizing in music school how simpatico their interests were, Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs combined forces as Oh Pep!. The duo's humorous lyrics and off-beat instrumentation make for some very catchy tunes on its debut full-length, Stadium Cake.

Melbourne singer-songwriter Missy Higgins' first three albums all went to No. 1 on the Australian charts, and she regularly fills theaters Down Under. The songs she writes have a lot of heart; her most recent album, OZ, is a collection of equally thoughtful covers of songs by other Australian artists.

The strength of community radio depends a lot on the community itself, and that works the other way as well. Sarah Smith is one of the three co-hosts of Triple R Radio's Breakfasters program. Her job is to keep track of Melbourne's ever-evolving music scene. "People often say, 'Why is Melbourne the way that it is? Why is it seen as the live music capital of Australia?' " she says.

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