On this episode of Latin Roots from World Cafe, Rachel Faro joins the show to discuss cancion de protesta. While the U.S. experienced its own period of politically charged songs about the Vietnam War and more in the '60s and '70s, Latin American songwriters were creating commentary about the repressive regimes in power there.
Here, Faro shares some of the musicians who put their lives at risk — and identifies the artist she considers the Bob Dylan of the Latin music world.
Israel Nash got his start in music after moving to New York City; his 2009 debut came out of his experiences there. His 2011 follow-up album was recorded on a small farm in the Catskills and was co-produced by Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley. A relocation to a small ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, preceded his new record, Rain Plans.
On this episode of World Cafe, he describes how he wanted his third album to reflect the Hill Country, and professes his love for Neil Young. And, of course, he performs a few of his songs live.
This week's World Cafe: Next artist is a band that's been around for a decade and a half. In fact, Big Dark Love is Murder By Death's seventh album.
After many years in Bloomington, Ind., its members recently relocated to Louisville, Ky., where they recorded their new album. Murder By Death plays everything from intense indie-rock ballads to rootsy rock songs. Hear and download two tracks from Big Dark Love at the audio link.
The Revivalists' name can be interpreted a couple ways: Yes, the band keeps older forms of music like blues and R&B alive, but its spirited performance also recalls a gospel revival.
It's no surprise that the group came together in New Orleans. The Revivalists' members got together in 2007 and have played 150 dates a year ever since. Last year brought a reissue of their second album, City Of Sound, which they'd put out themselves in 2012. The reissue includes an extra live disc.
The label that's brought you Arcade Fire, Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, Neutral Milk Hotel and Superchunk turned 25 last year. Superchunk bandmates Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan formed Merge Records just to release singles from their band and friends in 1989.
On this episode of World Cafe, we'll discuss the label's emergence as a major force. We'll also hear performances from Superchunk, Telekinesis, The Rock*A*Teens and others recorded at last summer's 25th-anniversary Merge Festival in Carrboro, N.C.
Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:08 pm
Arrayed around a deserted auditorium on the grounds of a long-abandoned Texas college, the Nashville band Fly Golden Eagle recorded the 26 songs that became its album Quartz. Led by songwriter Ben Trimble, Fly Golden Eagle recently released a streamlined version of the collection (called Quartz Bijou) for a national label. The songs were influenced by the 1973 film The Holy Mountain, by director Alejandro Jodorowski, and even function as a soundtrack to the film.
Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:09 pm
Damien Rice's new album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, marked his return to recording after eight years away from the music business. In 2002, the Irish singer-songwriter's gorgeous solo debut, O, went gold and platinum around the world.
But after touring to support his second album (2006's 9), Rice stepped away from music. As he says in this interview, he had to. With help from producer Rick Rubin and others, Rice says he's rediscovered his love for songs. He performs some of his new ones in this session for World Cafe.
Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:11 pm
After all the time we've spent looking back at the best music of 2014, it is finally time to explore some of the releases we can look forward to over the first few months of 2015. NPR Music's pop critic Ann Powers keeps her eyes on wide range of music; she helps us understand the middle and explore the edges.