Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is an artist with perhaps the longest musical legacy of any guest we’ve had on the show. As the leader of The Soft Boys in the late ’70s as, Robyn Hitchcock‘s psychedelic twist on punk music earned critical acclaim. Going solo at the turn of the ’80s, Hitchcock’s fusion of 20th century English and American songwriting tradition (equal parts Barrett, Lennon, and Dylan), as well as his prolific output made him a favorite of record store aficionados and college radio programmers. Later collaborating with members of R.E.M. and The Jayhawks, and producers like John Leckie and Joe Boys, Hitchcock has been a longtime favorite at XPN, last appearing on World Cafe in 2017 to celebrate the release of his self-titled 20th album.
A few weeks after the release of his newest album, Shufflemania!, Hitchcock returned to our studio to showcase some of the new songs as well as a pair of fan-favorite classics. Of the new selections, the rollicking “Midnight Tram to Nowhere” and “The Shuffle Man” are playful counterpoints to the tender “The Man Who Loves the Rain.” Spooked, Hitchcock’s acoustic-based 2004 outing with Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, is represented by a sharp take on “Creeped Out,” and Robyn treats us to a graceful reading of one of his signature tunes, “Madonna of the Wasps.”
Watch highlights from Robyn Hitchcock’s Indie Rock Hit Parade session below via NPR Live Sessions. Stream the full performance and check out some photos from the studio. Robyn promised a tour in the new year, so look forward to that announcement soon. Shufflemania! arrives on streaming services November 21st.