Though Annie Clark began as a member of Sufjan Stevens' touring band and The Polyphonic Spree, those experiences do little to explain the incredible things that happen on Strange Mercy, her third album under the moniker St. Vincent. As if unleashed from the constraints of her previous work, Clark straight-up shreds.
Ditching the prog-folk of their previous two albums, The Decemberists have taken a more cut-and-dried approach with The King Is Dead. Recorded in a barn outside of Portland, the album has strong ties to R.E.M. in sound and production — Peter Buck, guitarist for R.E.M., decided to climb on board for three songs.
The Chain Gang of 1974 is the stage name for DJ Kamtin Mohager, a longtime beat master whose penchant for dance-inducing music and reverence for '80s pop pushed him to create this solo project. Mohager points to a childhood of Persian music, then inspiration by Tears for Fears and Talk Talk, as the muse for his inner rhythms and keen sense of melody. After playing bass on tour with 3OH!3 for a few years, Mohager moved to Los Angeles for a change of scenery — and to write Wayward Fire, his second album.
The title of Garland Jeffreys' latest album is an apt description of his life's work overall: The King of in Between. A singer-songwriter whose blend of rock 'n' roll, reggae, blues and soul is as edgy as it is full of social commentary, Jeffreys knows what it means to be an outsider, as evidenced by his accessible yet unclassifiable music.
With endless three-part harmonies at its disposal, Pearl and the Beard is a folksy pop trio with a flair for lovely acoustic Americana. Members Jocelyn MacKenzie, Emily Hope Price and Jeremy Styles each convey a unique vocal style, influence and vision, with the help of cello, glockenspiel, non-traditional drums, accordion and guitar.
Pearl and the Beard's 2011 album Killing the Darlings has been charming fans and critics since last spring. Given the trio's tremendous chemistry and charm, it looks primed to build on that buzz in 2012.
Paul Simon's music can feel timeless even when it's filled with new ideas. In his interview with World Cafe host David Dye, Simon reflects on his friend Bert Jansch, who recently died, and discusses their friendship, which lasted more than 30 years.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:31 pm
Welcome to the first in our weekly Vintage Cafe series of interviews from the archive. Each week we are going to be re-visiting significant session with major artists. For this installment, we bring back our Black Keys session, recorded in December 2011 right before the release of El Camino.
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:52 pm
Considered one of the fathers of electronic music, British new-wave auteur Gary Numan has been releasing studio albums since the '70s. The man behind the classic hit "Cars" has influenced scores of musicians over the years, including Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, Beck and many others.