Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 11:20 am
Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the new album by the English space-rock band Spiritualized, was recorded while frontman Jason Pierce was undergoing chemotherapy for liver disease. Pierce set out to craft the recordas a clear-cut pop record in between hospital stays, and though he says he isn't convinced he succeeded, most of the album is composed of could-be Top 10 radio hits from the early '70s.
Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 12:09 pm
In this episode of World Café, Rufus Wainwright catches up with host Michaela Majoun, who first chatted with the singer-songwriter on World Cafe 14 years ago. Wainwright shares details about his seventh album, Out of the Game, as well as the emotional events that inspired the album's themes of mourning and celebration.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 2:49 pm
The formation of Trampled by Turtles can be traced back to the untimely theft of frontman Dave Simonett's musical equipment in 2003. Left with only an acoustic guitar, Simonett formed a new band with a new style that fit his remaining instrument. The result is a folk-rock group that's known for its unbridled passion and raucous energy.
The Lost Brothers' Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland aren't actually brothers, but the pair draws sonic influence from family bands such as The Kinks and The Everly Brothers. Though originally from Ireland and based in London, the group recorded its debut, Trails of the Lonely, in Portland, Ore.
Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 11:19 am
Lana Del Rey got her start at 18, when she was still known as Lizzy Grant and moved from Lake Placid to New York City to write songs and perform in clubs. In 2008, under her given name, she produced and released the EP Kill Kill independently. In 2010, her first album — the doubly eponymous Lana Del Ray [sic] a.k.a. Lizzy Grant — came out and was quickly pulled from circulation, though it'll be reissued this summer.
Today on Latin Roots from World Cafe, NPR's Jasmine Garsd discusses the history of Reggaeton. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Garsd spent her teenage years hooked on Argentine rock. Garsd moved to the U.S. after high school and quickly encountered an eclectic mix of American music; now, she co-hosts NPR's Alt.Latino with Felix Contreras.
The Magnetic Fields' music provides one of several outlets for frontman Stephin Merritt's inspired songwriting. The band began recording a string of eclectic albums in 1993, and finally found mainstream recognition with 1999's three-disc 69 Love Songs.
The music of multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen breaks the constraints of form, yet each track is built around poignant, emotional melodies. Tiersen quickly abandoned the academy training of his early childhood, smashing his violin and adopting the electric guitar instead. He began recording in the summer of 1993, and first found commercial success in his native France with 1998's Le Phare, recorded in two months on the island of Ouessant.
Self-described as "hot, raucous, retro swing for two," Two Man Gentlemen Band lives up to its claim. But, as the name suggests, there's a subtle ridiculousness to the group's sound. Andy Bean and Fuller Condon have made a career of recording old-school, '60s-style folk on vintage equipment, only to pack their songs with parodies, anachronisms and absurdities.