Bruce Warren

Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs? Not a chance. For Valentine's Day this year, we've modeled our love songs playlist after The Magnetic Fields' classic 69 Love Songs, a collection of, well, 69 songs about love songs written by Stephin Merritt.

The Los Angeles-via-Philadelphia rockers and NPR Slingshot artists Mt. Joy recently packed into the World Cafe Studios for an upcoming session. Formed by just-outside-of-Philly natives Matt Quinn and Sam Cooper, the band signed with Dualtone Music Group and are set to release their self-titled debut LP on March 2.

Developing its musical roots in Philadelphia, Mt. Joy — one of the new class of Slingshot bands — is set to release its self-titled debut album on March 2. Founding members Matt Quinn (vocals/guitar) and Sam Cooper (guitar) have been making music since the early 2000s. However, it wasn't until several years ago that the two came together and began to write songs that would form the foundation of their debut album. Mt.

Folk and blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Chris Smither released his debut album in 1970, the beginning of an exceptional and influential body of work. A gifted songwriter and live performer, Smither was born and raised in New Orleans, and emerged out of the Boston folk music scene in the '60s.

In the fall of 2017, NPR Music and VuHaus' public radio network kicked off Slingshot, a collaboration among taste-making music radio stations to showcase and elevate outstanding new artists. The inaugural class included Big Thief, Jamila Woods and Lo Moon.

You may have seen him standing on stage, signature headscarf resting low just above the eyebrows, sharing a microphone with The Boss as a member of The E Street Band; or portraying Silvio Dante on The Sopranos; or Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano in Lillyhammer.

When you watch a band perform songs from a record that's yet to be released, you sometimes get the sense that there's still some sinking in and tinkering to do.

Conversely, First Aid Kit is already so deep in the pocket I imagine by the time the album that houses "It's A Shame" is released in 2018, they'll need longer pants. Their live harmonies are stirring, but not at all surprising; sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg have already spent one decade crystallizing their intertwining vocals.

Lo Moon seemed to come out of nowhere last year, and the trio of Matt Lowell, Crisanta Baker, Samuel Stewart have been steadily peeling back the layers ever since. What's been revealed to date is a neo-classic sound with cascading keyboard textures, rhythmic crescendos, shimmering guitars and cinematic lift. Our first taste of the band was "Loveless," a song with big sound that's as intimate as it is anthemic.

The Barr Brothers — siblings Brad and Andrew Barr, along with harpist Sarah Pagé – are set to release a new album, Queens Of The Breakers, via Secret City Records on Oct. 13.

When MTV launched on Aug. 1, 1981, the very first music video played was "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. The song's lyrical message mixes nostalgic sentiments with concerns about how technological advancements will impact the future of music consumption and the musical stars these advancements would create.

As The Doors sing: "Summer's almost gone ... the winter's comin' on." Here at the World Cafe, the changing seasons are making us feel all kinds of feelings. Looking ahead to Labor Day Weekend — the unofficial end of the summer –- we hear the sounds of kids going back to school with new clothes and backpacks, and linger on memories of relaxation in the sunshine, vacation time burned and loves that were lost and found.

This Monday, the sun will be completely eclipsed by the moon. For those who choose to watch, a "partial solar eclipse will be visible everywhere in the contiguous United States," NPR's Rebecca Hersher reports, "but to see the total solar eclipse, you'll need to be in a sash of land that cuts from Oregon to South Carolina."

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.

Who would doubt that Michael McDonald could still sound groovy and relevant while ushering the musical feel of 1978 into 2017? Only a fool.

It's been 50 years since The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Perhaps the most influential rock album of all time, it was released in what many music lovers consider one of the greatest years in music.

It's hard to imagine listening to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" without remembering the classic "No 'Stairway' — denied!" scene in Wayne's World. Once voted the No.

In July 2015, the music industry moved its formal release day for new records from Tuesdays to Fridays. These days, though, it seems like almost every day is New Music Day. Keeping track of all this new music can be a challenge, but that's why we love being music fans.

The resistance is real in the world of Amazon Video's original series The Man in The High Castle, based on the award-winning book by Philip K. Dick. Set in 1962, the show imagines a history where Germany and Japan actually won World War II and, 17 years after the loss, the United States is split between Nazi Germany (the East Coast) and Imperial Japan (the West Coast). In the midst of it all, a resistance movement has been formed in a neutral zone to fight for freedom.

In September 2012, a high-school rock band from Lititz, Pennsylvania, called The Districts took to the stage at World Cafe Live in Wilmington, Delaware, as part of a local battle of the bands competition.

The band took first place in the competition, and John Vettese, editor of WXPN's local music website The Key, described their set.