The X

On now at 91.9-3 HD and streaming above.

Illinois Rock'n'Soul.

 

Sabrina Claudio grew up in Miami — under palm trees, surrounded by music. There were often backyard parties with Cuban pastries, family and friends listening to merengue and dancing salsa.

"For years we had parties for every occasion," Claudio tells NPR. "It's good music, good vibes, good people, and so that's really contributed to my music."

ALA.NI's voice is as much a vibe as a conveyer of ideas, of words and thought. For me, it's evocative of love and heart. This video and the song ALA.NI sings illustrates my point. But I'll let ALA.NI tell more in the magnificent note she wrote to me. She has a lot to get out and is obviously passionate about it:

"The message that I wished to convey in the making of this video is...

"LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE.

"Take it where you can get it, cause lord knows we need as much of it right now in this mad, mad world.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Real Hallowe'en

Nov 2, 2017

Host Fiona Ritchie takes you back to the mystical ancient times as she uncovers folklore, legends and eerie tales in ballads old and new. She features original music with her award winning narration of Robert Burns' "Tam o' Shanter" and James Hogg's "The Brownie of the Black Haggs."

Watching my guest Josh Ritter stand on stage and perform, you would swear that his feet aren't touching the ground. It looks like he's been lifted straight up by the music he's playing, somewhere between standing on his tip toes and actual levitation. His smile is huge. And you get this overwhelming sense of joy.

Pinegrove's Cardinal was a messy and charming debut that felt with exacting detail. There's a sense of restlessness in it, run through the twinkly pangs of emo-twang. Go to any live show, or just watch the band's Tiny Desk Concert, and the crowd's sing-alongs are more than just mouthing to their favorite songs — it's living them.

The first thing you notice about Sam Smith is that voice: soulful, a little sad and able to dip from deep octaves to falsetto in a matter of seconds. But behind that voice is a man who found fame — and then found a need to hide from it.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Oh Wonder's career is a happy accident. The U.K. duo posted songs online in hopes of writing for other artists, but got such a good response that the group has found its own fame. Their intertwining voices and keen ears for a pop song set them apart.

SET LIST

  • "Lifetimes"

Photo: Jessica Hanley/KCRW.

Watch Oh Wonder's full Morning Becomes Eclectic performance at KCRW.com.

Joseph Meli, accused of defrauding some 130 investors of some $95 million in a scheme framed as the resale of tickets to Hamilton and other events, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of securities fraud. Previously he had entered a plea of not guilty to five counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Join KEXP as the Seattle public radio station returns to the land of fire and ice, broadcasting live from KEX Hostel (no, that's not a typo) in Reykjavik for the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival.

KEXP's international broadcast featured 16 exclusive performances live on air from Nov. 2 to 5. Sets from all days were streamed with live video on KEXP's Facebook page. Click on the names of the artists below to view the performances.


Tuesday, Oct. 31

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Guest DJ: Weaves

Nov 1, 2017

Andrew Combs On Mountain Stage

Nov 1, 2017

A Dallas native now based in Nashville, songwriter Andrew Combs released his debut All These Dreams in 2015. It drew comparisons to the likes of Harry Nilsson and Leonard Cohen, and as host Larry Groce mentions in his introduction: "He does not disappoint."

The Afghan Whigs' latest album, In Spades, explores memory and time, and lead singer Greg Dulli visited World Cafe to reflect on both. That included a conversation about losing his longtime collaborator and bandmate Dave Rosser, who died in June after recording the album.

Listen to the entire interview, as well as three songs performed live in our studio, in the player above.

Shocking Omissions: Enya, 'Watermark'

Nov 1, 2017

Glen Hansard's seen it all: decades of cult fame with the Irish rock band The Frames, movie appearances in Once and The Commitments, and even an Academy Award for "Falling Slowly," the signature ballad he recorded with his Swell Season partner, Marketa Irglova.

Marisa Anderson doesn't just play guitar — she sinks into bends and lingers over melodies, knowing when to light a fire under her fingers and when to wind like a creek. In 2013, she caught my ear for the first time with a pair of records — the raw and dusty Mercury, and the functionally-titled Traditional And Public Domain Songs.

On first hearing the Gracie And Rachel song "Only a Child," I was struck by the tension and the mystery, both musically and lyrically: "I'm moving my mouth but I don't say a word/My ears are open but nothing is heard/I'm only a child, only a child."

"Happy Halloween, you pagans."

Skepta has surprised fans with the Vicious EP, just in time for Halloween. The project — independently released on Boy Better Know, the label he co-owns with his brother and fellow grime star Jme — popped up on streaming services today (Oct. 31).

Here is one of the seminal underground records of the late 1960s: The band is Pearls Before Swine, and the album is called One Nation Underground.

Miguel Zenón was 12 when he first experienced the devastation of a major hurricane in his homeland, Puerto Rico. That was Hugo, which hit as a Category 3 in 1989, and drove nearly 30,000 residents from their homes.

Pages