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World Cafe

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

The New York City duo The Shacks is made up of Shannon Wise and Max Shrager, who are 18 and 20 years old, respectively. The band's new, self-titled EP includes its first single, "Strange Boy," and some similarly atmospheric songs. Wise's voice belies her age, and with Shrager's production, this sounds like the early work of a force to be reckoned with. Hear two songs in the audio segment.

Adia Victoria has traveled a long way since she dropped out of high school in South Carolina. She impulsively hopped to London and Paris, to New York City and back to the American South. In Atlanta, she learned guitar and steeped herself in the blues, which she says represented "the first time in my life that I felt connected to my blackness and to my Southernness." Finally, it was on to Nashville.

If you're in the habit of leaving your house at all during the month of October, you've probably already consumed enough "Monster Mash," "Time Warp" and "Thriller"* to make you sicker than a candy-corn overdose. So we collected the hippest and least overplayed Halloween jams we could find, for all your costume-partying and candy-handing-out needs. Because if something's going to make you nauseated this Halloween, let it be too many peanut chews or your neighbor's all-too-convincing costume as Glenn from the Walking Dead season premiere. Don't let it be the tunes.

Sturgill Simpson is at the top of the Americana hill right now. He has a pair of sold-out shows tonight and tomorrow night at the "Mother Church of Country Music," the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. He got to this point with some extraordinary music. World Cafe last spoke to Simpson just as his second album, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, was gaining traction. He was most intrigued by the success of that album as compared to his debut, High Top Mountain.

This week, Phil Collins released a memoir called Not Dead Yet. As if to prove the title's truth, he also announced new tour dates. Collins isn't dead yet, nor are many of his pioneering contemporaries — in fact, boomer musicians seem to be having a bit of a pop-culture moment.

During AmericanaFest last month, NPR Music's Ann Powers and contributor Jewly Hight got together with musicians at Nashville's historic Union Station Hotel for a series of intimate "Americana Alphabet" performances.

Heart Like A Levee, the new album from Hiss Golden Messenger, soulfully weaves together all the musical styles we have come to expect from the North Carolina band. Led by M.C. Taylor, the band marries airy country, Van Morrison-style soul and dusty rock 'n' roll with lyrics that feel both universal and surprisingly personal.

Kula Shaker On World Cafe

Oct 25, 2016

Kula Shaker had a huge hit with its 1996 debut album, K, which went double platinum in the U.K. The band's music was profoundly affected by frontman Crispian Mills' travels in India. Kula Shaker's second album, Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts, was not as successful, and the band went on hiatus from 1999 to 2004. Now, 20 years after K, comes a companion album, K 2.0, filled with the psychedelic spirituality of the still-evolving band.

World Cafe Next: Walker Lukens

Oct 24, 2016

Is indie-rock singer-songwriter Walker Lukens ready to break out of his Austin bubble? Lukens' 2013 album Devoted was well received locally. Now, he's back with a new EP produced and recorded by Spoon drummer Jim Eno. (Lukens and Eno connected in a typically Austin manner: by striking up a conversation in a bar.)

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