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The 2014 album The London Sessions wasn't so much a revitalization of Mary J. Blige's decades-long career as a way the R&B singer could reframe her music, with producers and songwriters attuned to her emotional and vocal range. Now Blige is back with Strength Of A Woman, due out this year on Capitol.

There are so many ways to be, so many ways to love and be loved. With last night's announcement of her long-awaited new album, Here, Alicia Keys offers a new song, "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)," featuring a verse from rapper A$AP Rocky. It's an acoustic guitar-driven song, decorated by cascading piano and a boom-bap beat, about starting a new family with a son from a previous marriage, mirroring Keys' own life.

In its first U.S. live radio performance in 20 years, the U.K. indie-pop band Lush reminded listeners why we've been pining for its return. The band called it quits in 1998 after four albums, but returned this year with a new EP that hearkens back to Lush's classic, poppy-yet-edgy sound — as heard in this gem titled "Out Of Control."

Set List

  • "Out Of Control"

Watch Lush's full session on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Latin Roots: The Chamanas

Oct 6, 2016

World Cafe's latest Latin Roots segment features music and conversation with The Chamanas, a "frontereza" band from the border-spanning cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The members we talk to today, Manuel Calderon and Hector Carreon, are the band's founders, who recently brought on a new lead singer, Paulina Reza.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

You may not recognize his name, but you're likely to know the hit songs he wrote.

Dirty Projectors guitarist and singer Amber Coffman's long-anticipated solo album is finally about to see the light of day. It's called City Of No Reply, and the first single from it is a gorgeous, soulful — if slightly bent — ballad called "All To Myself." A video for the song shows Coffman strolling along the seaside, looking somewhat forlorn, while singing to herself. Later she's buried up to her neck in sand. "I've got to sing it out," Coffman sings. "Sing it all to myself, there's no one to run to.

The first thing I think of when I consider Cuban music is the piano. I've spent most of my adult life playing Afro-Cuban percussion, so you'd think I would hear things differently.

But actually, the piano is technically a percussion instrument in the grand scheme of European symphonic music. Nowhere is that truer than in Cuba, which has a rich legacy of interpreting Africa through the keyboard.

In Spaces, Wynton Marsalis' new dance suite for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, each movement corresponds to a different animal — a chicken, a lion, a frog and more.

He enlisted tap dancer Jared Grimes and "jooker" (street dancer) Lil Buck to embody the animals in their performances. In this piece, Marsalis also describes his fascination with the animal kingdom, his process of writing, and the way he attempts to draw on the spaces that all creatures inhabit.

What does a new album from The Rolling Stones sound like in 2016? If "Just A Fool" is any indication, it's a lot like the band's earliest recordings from more than 50 years ago. This cover of a Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra tune is the kind of harmonica-honked, barroom piano-plonked, dirty blues that introduced the world to the Stones, when the British band made a name for itself by interpreting American blues songs.

Listen to songs by Slothrust, and you'll hear aggressive sounds that hearken back to early-'90s rock bands like Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. Listen more closely, and you'll also hear elements of the blues that the band's members learned when they met in their college's jazz program.

Slothrust's new song, "Like A Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone," shows vividly how the band blends those influences. Leah Wellbaum sings with a Pavement-esque slacker drawl. Her bluesy voice slides easily from a seductive purr over lightly driven guitars to a full-throated roar as she begins to shred.

When Beyoncé included the country-dipped song "Daddy Issues" on Lemonade, some seemed surprised — which was weird. Queen Bey is from Houston, where (as in most of the South) the word "country" is sometimes thrown around as an insult meaning "unsophisticated." And her song, with its street-corner beat and hot guitar, reminded listeners that rootsy music has its own kind of elegance.

Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez met as a songwriting team in Nashville, only to move to L.A., get married and have a baby. Those may scan as simple biographical details, but every one of them is reflected in the music the two make together under the name Johnnyswim. Their sparkly pop songs exude L.A.

Philadelphia's Purling Hiss is now eight idiosyncratic albums into a remarkable career, and the new High Bias moves freely in tandem with the psychedelic, jam-oriented early works of bandleader Mike Polizze — as well as the unwashed, long-haired pop strum of 2009's Public Service Announcement and 2014's Weirdon. It also doubles down on the grungy, mainstream aspirations of 2013's Water On Mars, taking that album's cleaned-up aesthetics and pushing them into prismatic near-detachment.

Rod Temperton has been called pop music's "Invisible Man" because few knew his name. But his songs were megahits in the 1970s and 80s. Along with big hair, wide lapels and bell bottoms, his music helped define the disco era. Temperton died of cancer last week in London, according to a statement from his publisher. He was 66.

The East River Ferry is one of the more whimsical ways for New Yorkers to commute, but it retains its claim to practicality with one key characteristic: It is a very fast boat. So it was that Local Natives came hurtling toward our crew up the river one overcast evening this summer, shouting three-part harmonies over roaring engines for a surprised clutch of fans. When the ferry docked, three of the band's members hurried over to our pier off WNYC Transmitter Park to play this Field Recording.

Weaves On World Cafe

Oct 5, 2016

The Toronto art-rock quartet Weaves released its self-titled debut album this past summer. It's filled with quirky, angular melodies; lead singer Jasmyn Burke's rhythmic, deadpan delivery; and an enervating sense that things could fall apart at any moment. Along with Burke, the band includes guitarist Morgan Waters, drummer Spencer Cole and bassist Zach Bines.

Grimes surprised fans today with seven new videos, including four songs from her most recent album, Art Angels, and three tracks from her friend and collaborator HANA's self-titled EP. In a series of Tweets, Grimes says she, HANA and Grimes' brother Mac Boucher shot the videos guerrilla-style over a two-week period while traveling through Europe. "There was no crew, makeup, cameras, lights," Grimes says.

The Thistle & Shamrock: More New Sounds

Oct 5, 2016

Host Fiona Ritchie handpicks highlights from an impressive crop of new releases by rising and well-established artists. Hear new music by Socks In The Frying Pan, Hamish Napier, Gillian Frame and more.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In this concert, filmed at OPB in Portland, Ore., the long-running rock band Drive-By Truckers performs its timely and politically charged new record, American Band, in its entirety.

As a young musician coming up in the early 1970s, Bruce Springsteen played in the bars of Asbury Park, N.J., a hardscrabble urban beach town full of colorful characters. The town fired his imagination and inspired him musically, but still he found himself longing for more.

Springsteen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he knew that if he was ever going to make his mark on the larger world, it would be through his words.

Leftover Salmon On Mountain Stage

Oct 5, 2016

Leftover Salmon returns to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. The band formed in 1989, and its unique blend of country, bluegrass and Cajun music (combined with years of hard work and touring) has made it a beloved act on America's summer-festival circuit and beyond.

The latest video from Radiohead is a field recording of Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke performing "The Numbers," from the band's latest album A Moon Shaped Pool. It's remarkable what they can do with two guitars and a drum machine; the duo basically strip away the song's original studio effects, percussion and piano.

Do you ever want to hear another rock guitar solo again? That's where the fight began. Robin played a song with a lot of guitar wankery by the band Major Stars. He loved it and I frankly couldn't wait for it to end. It got me wondering: Is this sort of music even relevant in 2016?

You will know her by the golden fishes she wears in her ears. You know will know him by the elephant ring on his finger. Both are covered in blood, attached by a length of string that's only to be broken by one last dance. In a new video, Khruangbin's soulful, breezy "Two Fish And An Elephant" becomes a wordless short film inspired by the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Hayao Miyazaki.

Kaia Kater On World Cafe

Oct 4, 2016

Canadian banjo player and songwriter Kaia Kater draws on the influences of both Canadian folk music and her Afro-Caribbean roots. In this session, Kater discusses her multicultural influences and what it was like to grow up playing an instrument that might not have been the coolest. She also talks about the difference in sound between her debut and her latest album, Nine Pin, and performs songs from each.

Soul singer Charles Bradley is battling stomach cancer and has canceled several tour dates, according to a statement posted on his official Facebook page Tuesday.

The 67-year-old singer issued a statement saying he's determined to come back stronger:

"I'm getting the best medical care and we are all extremely optimistic. I will fight through this like I've fought through the many other obstacles in my life.

Wayne Henderson is a renowned acoustic guitarist who has played at Carnegie Hall, been honored at the White House and toured internationally. He's also an acclaimed instrument maker who has built guitars for the likes of Eric Clapton and his own close friend, the late Doc Watson. For the past five years, Henderson has shared his studio — and his trade — with an up-and-coming luthier: his daughter, Jayne.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The rock band Drive-By Truckers has been making music for 20 years now, and for most of that time, the group, which is from Athens, Ga., has explored the meaning of Southern identity. That happened on albums like "The Dirty South" and "Southern Rock Opera."

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