Stephen Kallao

In 2011, Alejando Rose-Garcia burst onto the scene armed with a guitar and suitcase kick drum and released his first album as Shakey Graves. Seven years later, he's about to release his latest studio album, Can't Wake Up, out on May 4. It's a record that explores themes of death and dying, sleep and sleeplessness, and it has the most interesting sonic landscape to match the lyrical content.

After the 2016 election, how did you feel? What did you want to do? Mac McCaughan asked himself these questions, and pounded out the lyrics to 11 new Superchunk songs in a matter of months. The result? The band's most focused and aggressive albums in years, entitled What a Time to Be Alive.

In 2013, roots musician Ben Harper teamed up with legendary harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite for a blues record called Get Up! The album went on to win a Grammy for best blues album — not a bad way to start a partnership.

One does not simply "start a band" in your garage or basement in the 21st century. Our buzzed-about guest today, Superorganism, prove that point, stretching the notion of a craigslist connection to completely new heights.

Field Report's new album, Summertime Songs, was recorded before 2016's election, but frontman Chris Porterfield says he's still thought a lot between then and now about how his work fits into the current social and political atmosphere in the U.S. "In the lead-up to putting this record out, I struggled with whether the world needed another white man's record right now," he says.

There's few people who enjoy telling a story as much as Kyle Craft, and boy, does he have plenty of inventory to keep you engaged. There was that one time he was stranded while working on an illegal pot farm. Then there was the moment he contemplated a different career path other than music — working in herpetology, the study of amphibians and reptiles, because he was really good at catching and identifying snakes as a kid. There's also the story about his good female friend who breaks men's hearts for fun.

Jonathan Wilson is an incredibly talented and in-demand producer. He's worked with loads of folks, including Father John Misty, Dawes, Conor Oberst and Karen Elson — and that just scratches the surface.

Since the early aughts, The Decemberists have been making a unique blend of lyrically dense indie-folk rock. But on the band's latest record, I'll Be Your Girl, the members deliberately switched up their sound, notably in their word economy and use of keyboards — Depeche Mode keyboards!

Moby On World Cafe

Mar 30, 2018

You might know Moby as being one of the few faces of electronic music in America long before it entered the mainstream. And still, others might know Moby for his activism, especially his tireless work on behalf of animals. There is also the outspoken Moby: the guy who will preach Christianity and selflessness while being a self-professed party monster in New York's club scene.

There are a billion and a half bands from Brooklyn, but the group joining us today are poised to be breakout stars. This band has already been crowned by many as the hardest working band in New York. They're Sunflower Bean.

On their sophomore album Twentytwo in Blue, out today, the band incorporates its love of 70's British glam rock like T. Rex and Slade to the sound.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has that quintessential rock and roll swagger. The band is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but to say that the members celebrate things seems inaccurate. They're fighters. They're defiant, even a bit skeptical. All the pomp and circumstance of a 20th anniversary would be overly indulgent.

The first thing people notice about Marlon Williams is his voice. It's powerful and deep. There are the obvious comparisons to people like Roy Orbison, but it's clear Williams has more to offer than just a sound. His self-titled debut album made people realize, 'Hey, this guy can clearly write some songs.'

William Faulkner once said of the writing process, "You must kill your darlings." It's a quote about ridding yourself of your favorite (and somewhat self indulgent) work for the goal of becoming a better writer.

What if your goal was to just write some good songs? What if you and your longtime friend did that and then went back to your day jobs at a law firm and in the music industry? Then what if everything changed? Your song gets 10 millions plays on Spotify, you are spotlighted by NPR Music, you perform live on Conan and you sign a major label deal — and all before your debut album's release!

In addition to being widely recognized as one of the great American guitarists, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo is also a published writer, poet and visual artist. His latest solo album, Electric Trim, features Sharon Van Etten, Nels Cline of Wilco, Kid Millions and more.

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