As part of World Cafe's Sense of Place series on Memphis, Tenn., we've dug up archival interviews with two legendary Stax Records performers: guitarist Steve Cropper and organist Booker T. Jones, both of Booker T. & The M.G.'s.
Memphis Tennessee – Soul music, barbeque and Elvis Presley. World Cafe is spending this week getting the vibe of Memphis, Tenn., a city that — like New Orleans — has had an undeniable influence on all of American culture.
January 10, 2012 - More than 30 years have passed since the British band Graham Parker and the Rumour called it quits. While Parker never left music, he's always dismissed talk of a reunion with The Rumour — until now. The group is back with a new album, tour and high-profile film appearance.
January 9, 2012 - Scott Walker is best known for a song he did early on in his career as the front man for The Walker Brothers, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” that couldn’t be more different than what he is doing now. Walker has evolved from a singer in a pop band that vied with The Beatles for popularity in the UK in the mid-sixties into an avant-garde music maker who has built an influential solo catalog owing to his always inventive and elaborate compositions.
December 31, 2012 - London folk rockers Mumford and Sons made a splash on the indie music scene with their 2009 debut album Say No More. The album combines the raspy crooning vocals of lead singer Marcus Mumford with lush harmonies and thoughtful lyrics in songs that range from soft and soothing to rocking, toe-tapping tunes.
Commonly recognized as one of the most paramount innovators of ambient music, British musician, composer and producer Brian Eno is back with another successful and carefully crafted ambient installation album, Lux, released November 13. In this album, Eno continues his experiments with ambient music and integrates it with pacifying electro beats.
December 27, 2012 - 2012 was a greatyear for The Lumineers. In addition to releasing its eponymous debut, the band played a ton of sold-out shows across the U.S. The Lumineers' open-hearted melodies, rousing acoustic folk sound and simple but raw lyrics have earned the group comparisons to Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars and The Avett Brothers; still, The Lumineers' members have a way of embedding fiery emotion into their music that's all their own. Rollicking, incandescent and reflective, it's music built on a foundation of classical training and roots-rock touring.
December 27, 2012 - Gotye (a.k.a. Wouter "Wally" De Backer) has become an international pop star on the strength of his new album, Making Mirrors. The poppy collection includes "Somebody That I Used To Know," which has topped the charts in six countries and hit the Top 20 in 14 others. There's something hauntingly relatable and undeniably catchy about the insightful, ubiquitous break-up song.
December 28, 2012 - Singer-songwriter Ben Schneider is the creative force behind the rhythmically inventive folk-pop band Lord Huron. The band started out as a multimedia solo project, but it now includes Mark Barry on percussion and vocals, Miguel Briseno on bass and percussion, Brett Farkas on guitar and vocals, and Tom Renaud on guitar and vocals.
December 28, 2012 - A band's sound is only as big as its members, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' music is huge. The 10 members are a whirl of roving horns, as well as whistles, claps, shouts, strummed string instruments and percussion involving drums, hands and anything else they can find. The group's communal folk sound blew up in 2009 with the heart-pounding, foot-stomping single "Home"; with its universal sentiment, the song includes a back-and-forth between frontman Alex Ebert and bandmate Jade Castrinos.
December 11, 2012 - A former member of the all-female rock trio The Bangles, Susanna Hoffs has been recently creating significant airwaves on the radio following the release of her third studio album Someday (Vanguard Records) this past July. An album that encapsulates the intersection of music with vivacious beauty, Someday is further grounding Hoff’s presence in the music industry. Inspired by her exposure to punk rock during her time at the University of California, Berkeley, Hoffs started her career in music with The Bangles.
January 7, 2013 - London's new soul sensation is twenty-two year old, songstress, Lianne La Havas. She blends soul, jazz and folk in her new album, released in the U.S. on August 7, "Is Your Love Big Enough?" La Havas has been nominated for BBC's Sound of 2012, along with another XPN favorite, Michaeal Kiwanuka and her performance of "Age" on the cult video site Black Cab Sessions created a nice buzz online."
Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, this four member psychedelic rock group has been capturing the attention of audiences around the world. The band’s self-titled debut album Django Django (Because Music) was released in the United King in January and was able to debut at an impressive #33 within its first week. The band was nominated for the prestigious British Mercury Award in the category of Best New Band. The band is not only increasing in popularity worldwide but also it is currently headlining a full-stage European tour for the first time ever.
Nearly a quarter-century into his career, pioneering Italian rapper Jovanotti is more popular than ever in his homeland. He is a megastar, selling out stadiums and producing No. 1 hits like L’ombelico del mondo. Taking on issues from poverty in Africa to AIDS, he’s like an Italian Bono.
The Canadian indie-rock group Stars formed back in 2000 under the influence of vocalist Torquil Campbell and keyboardist Chris Seligman. They were soon joined by friends Evan Cranely and Amy Millan. After relocating to New York City for a time, the band finally settled in the members’ hometown of Montreal. They released their first full-length album, Nightsongs, in February 2001 and followed up with an EP, The Comeback, that July. Since then, Stars has created a additional three EPs and five studio albums.
Yeasayer’s third and latest album Fragrant World continues the momentum that the experimental poppers from Brooklyn have been enjoying since they formed the group in 2006. Released in August, Fragrant World features all of the trademarks that transformed the group from a much-hyped psychedelic pop outfit into an international festival draw. Synth grooves as densely layered as they are danceable dominate the album, especially on lead single “Henrietta” and opening track “Fingers Never Bleed.”
Formed back in 1991 in New York City, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion puts the American rock and roll into alternative rock. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins, and bass guitarist Judah Baer. For over twenty years, the trio has reconstructed the base of American roots music through experimenting with their own sound and recording techniques. Their style draws upon the influences of many genres, including punk, blues, and rockabilly. Their unique approach to music has allowed the group to collaborate with artists such as Elliott Smith, Solomon Burke, Martina Topley-Bird, Steve Albini, and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys.
Recently performing the irresistibly catchy single “This Head I Hold” on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon, Electric Guest is riding on a noteworthy wave of momentum that is helping the band significantly flourish in the music industry. This Los Angeles based indie band garnered an enormous amount of success with its release of Mondo (Downtown Records/ Across the Universe) this past April. Having well-known musician Danger Mouse produce the entire album, Mondo peaked at #32 on the French Albums chart, #11 on the US Heatseekers Albums chart and #49 on the US Independent Albums chart. It is clear that the band enjoys a rather fervent fan base in the US and abroad. Constantly, touring in North America and in Europe, the band is well on its way to establish firm presence in the music industry.
It’s hard to write a definitive biography of an artist with as many career and relationship arcs as Leonard Cohen has experienced in his 78 years on earth. But that’s exactly what celebrated music journalist Sylvie Simmons has done with I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.
This the 23rd segment in our Latin music series Latin Roots.
It’s time for our Latin Roots segment but this time it is a little different as our correspondent Felix Contreras from NPR’s Alt-Latino is actually going to play congas and talk about the drums that are central to so much Latin music.
Songwriting and producing legend John Cale is back with Shifty Adventures in Nookie World, his fifteenth solo album and first since 2005. Cale shape-shifts often throughout the record, channeling discotheque on the Danger Mouse-produced “I Wanna Talk 2 U,” acoustic picking his way through “Living With You,” and venturing into folklore on “Sandman (Flying Dutchman).” Post-punk, hip-hop and everything in between are covered throughout the 12 new tracks.