The dark Americana band Hurray for the Riff Raff is led by Alynda Lee Segarra, a young, Bronx-raised Puerto Rican who developed her musical voice by riding the rails as a teenage punk before settling down in New Orleans. (The Crescent City serves as inspiration for the band's sixth and most recent album, Small Town Heroes.)
Dean Wareham is one of independent music's most consistent ambassadors, from his early days as a member of Galaxie 500 through Luna and on to his newly formed solo career. Sprinkle in forays into film composition, writing and even acting, and it's clear that the New Zealand native never lacks inspiration. Now, he's settled in Los Angeles, where we get to watch his new chapter unfold up close. Watch Dean Wareham perform "The Dancer Disappears" live on KCRW.
San Francisco's frenetic rock group Cold Beat pummels the senses in this strobe-lit new video for the song "UV." Directed by frontwoman Hannah Lew, the candles, chains and band members flicker behind a throbbing, multi-colored strobe light as drummer Bianca Sparta, deadpan behind a pair of sunglasses, slingshots the band through a three-minute burst of post-punk fury.
Conor Oberst's new album has fast become my favorite of the Bright Eyes singer's solo projects, so having him come to NPR and perform a few of these songs at the Tiny Desk was especially exciting. The new music on Upside Down Mountain contains the sort of personal songwriting that got me loving him in the first place.
It's only appropriate that his debut album is titled Tremors, because this beautiful, intimate session from SOHN had all of us at KEXP a-quiver. Born in South London as Christopher Taylor, SOHN took an early interest in music, but it was Radiohead's groundbreaking OK Computer that led him to explore electronic sounds.
On a particularly muggy day this past week, Mali Music arrived at NPR's D.C. headquarters armed with only his enthusiasm (and a teensy entourage). Though the humid haze and some midday I-need-a-coffee-stat office funk hung all around him, he soldiered his way through.
Jungle has been a bit of a mystery. Without any real press photos, only a few songs, and a video featuring just two men roller-skate dancing, it was difficult to determine who was making the music. But for the group's first visit to KCRW, we were able to lift the curtain on who was behind the groovy, soul-filled bass lines and disco-era harmonies that have captured our imaginations. Watch Jungle perform "Busy Earnin'" live on KCRW.
"It's the dreamiest of scenes," Sylvan Esso singer Amelia Meath sighed as she looked out over the sold-out crowd at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club. Wearing six-inch platform tennis shoes and an all-black jumpsuit, Meath gyrated and pumped her fists, urging the crowd on. Meanwhile, the other half of Sylvan Esso, Nick Sanborn, tweaked the knobs on a small control panel plugged into a laptop.