Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:18 am
Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland marked an unprecedented intersection of music, culture and politics. In a conversation with World Cafe's David Dye — presented here in four parts — Simon speaks candidly about his legendary collaborations with South African musicians such as Joseph Shabalala and his vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Jordan Hull has always been a creative type. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Hull explored theater, writing and painting, and eventually got into music as an escape during his rebellious high-school years. Now in Nashville, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter writes lyrics that draw inspiration from great troubadours of yesteryear, including Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie.
After years on the Melbourne scene, the Australian band Husky is making inroads to the world of American folk and chamber-pop with its new album, Forever So.
Husky's support in Australia grew after the group won Triple J's "Unearthed" contest, which gave it national exposure. No stranger to big crowds, Husky has opened for the likes of Laura Marling, Gotye, Noah and the Whale, and The Shins. The group's acoustic, folk-inspired songs are captivating and marked by sweet harmonies, like those heard in this performance of "History's Door."
It's late in August, and after six straight months of touring, Nate Ruess is in the parking lot of the Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium in Billings, Mo. Ruess, who sings in the band fun., owners of one of the year's biggest hits "We Are Young," has just finished assembling a portable basketball hoop outside the band's tour bus.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:35 am
"If you aren't angry, you aren't paying attention." The unattributable but ubiquitous phrase provides a rallying call for activists, especially those in the punk scene. If I've learned anything from years spent crushed into poorly lit basement shows and scouring xeroxed lyric sheets, anger doesn't amount to much without level-headed passion and a willingness to get dirty. If the Baltimore/Washington, D.C.-based hardcore band Sick Fix only has a couple tapes and seven-inch singles to its name until now, it's because vocalist Michelle Northam was out there, walking the talk.
The Brooklyn-based ambient-folk duo Family Band is a collaboration between visual artist turned frontwoman Kim Krans and her husband, former heavy-metal guitarist Jonny Ollsin. Together, they craft beautifully dark, folk-influenced songs, which they fittingly describe as "heavy mellow."
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:59 am
Bob Boilen and I were out in Portland and Seattle last week on our summer listening party tour, so we didn't post a new poll of albums everyone can love. Fear not: To make up for the week off, this week we've got 40 albums for you. In the coming weeks we'll let you know which records have been doing the best and have some sort of runoff between the highest vote-getters to come up with a top ten we all can agree on (well, most of us, anyway).
Here's this week's double-size poll. Just tell us whether you love, don't love or haven't really heard each album.