KNBA - KBC

Talia Schlanger

On the night Jeff Tweedy was set to visit the Free Library of Philadelphia to talk about his new memoir, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back), in front of an audience of fans, the first snow storm of the season had caught the city off guard. Traffic was gnarly and Tweedy was genuinely concerned.

Glorietta On World Cafe

Dec 7, 2018

A bunch of artists rent a house in Glorieta, N.M. for a week of tequila, hot tubs, home cooking and music-making. Some of them know each other, some are meeting for the first time. It may sound like the premise for a spring break movie, but it's actually the premise for a new album — one that has equal measures of sweaty, raucous fun and arresting, emotional depth.

Hozier On World Cafe

Dec 5, 2018

Hozier is an artist who can create musical moments big enough to galvanize every molecule of air around them into action and tiny enough that they can burrow themselves in the hidden corners of your own heart. His ability to do both on the same album — and sometimes, even on the same song — is what makes him so special.

The ceilings are low. Other than a handwritten sign taped above the mixing board that says "Try," the walls are blank. There's a violin that only has one string lying under the desk, and a bunch of pieces of a drum kit in a corner next to some keys. We're in the basement studio in Edinburgh, Scotland where Young Fathers made its Scottish Album of the Year Award-winning record Cocoa Sugar.

Stella Donnelly may win the World Cafe award for least high maintenance and largest musical impact. She came in with her guitar, a big warm smile and a totally unassuming personality, and asked if we had a room she could use for a quick vocal warm-up. OK, sure. Ten minutes later, she emerged, plugged in her guitar and delivered a flawless one-take performance with the kind of vocal control they could write singing textbooks about, and the kind of clever and poignant words that make you want to read the lyric sheet after.

Something truly magical happens when Amelia Meath (from Sylvan Esso), Molly Erin Sarlé and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig are in the same room, huddled around the same mic, breathing and harmonizing together.

Back in July, Elvis Costello announced to fans on social media that he would be cancelling a handful of tour dates to recover from surgery for a a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy. In the same post, he announced a bright side. He and his band, the Imposters, would release a new album in the fall.

For more than 50 years, guitar and songwriting giant Richard Thompson has twisted the traditions of British folk, shattered the boundaries of genre and stretched the limitations of human hands.

More often than not, when you hear songs that ring out with the urgency and complexity of being in a relationship at a difficult time, you're hearing just one side of the story; what passion and loss and doubt and loneliness and lust feels like from just the side of the person making the music.

If you're a more detail-oriented person than I am when it comes to getting places, maybe a happy accident of music discovery like this has never happened to you. But about a decade ago, when I thought I was going to see a friend's regular drums, bass guitar indie band, I walked into the venue and saw in front of me a woman lying on the floor playing a light-up sousaphone that was pointing up at the sky, a guy on violin and a lead singer who was in the throes of klezmer-pop-party mania. Let's just say this was not my friend's indie band, and I was very thrilled to have made the mistake.

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