Talia Schlanger

Talia Schlanger is a host and radio producer at World Cafe, produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. Schlanger joins the World Cafe team straight from CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, where she hosted a triple-A radio show on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She was the on-camera host for two seasons of the CBC television series CBC Music: Backstage Pass, which saw her interview some of Canada's best and brightest artists. Schlanger also hosted several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor featuring Serena Ryder, CBC Music SongCamp and the CBCMusic.ca Festival Special 2015. Schlanger served as the the interim host of CBC Radio 2's Canada Live and was a regular guest host on CBC Radio One's flagship artist and culture show q. She also filled in on Canadian current-affairs radio shows including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Some of her favorite music interviews include St. Vincent, Tanya Tagaq, John Fogerty, Barenaked Ladies and Grimes.

Schlanger's first project at CBC was as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip which won a Canadian Screen Award in 2014. She was also the digital producer for Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest, CBC Music's search for the next great hockey song.

Born and raised in Toronto, Schlanger is a proud alumna of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts program. She's also a professional actress, singer and voiceover artist. Schlanger spent most of 2012 performing in the first national tour of Green Day's rock opera, American Idiot, at various theatres throughout the United States. (She thought she would be really cool when she met Billie Joe Armstrong after he watched American Idiot. She was not cool at all.) She has also performed on stage with Mirvish Productions' original Canadian company of We Will Rock You, as well as in the ensemble and understudying lead roles in Scaramouche, Oz (Canon Theatre, 2007/2008), and in Mamma Mia! (Royal Alexandra Theatre, 2003/2004).

In this session, we welcome Gordi to World Cafe. The Australian singer-songwriter just released her lush full-length debut, which she created while working her way through medical school. In fact, when we spoke in August, she was just a few weeks away from her final exams.

Philadelphia's The Districts is the kind of band you just have to see live — and I'm so happy to share some of the band's explosive energy with you, from a live performance at the World Cafe.

Of course, that's not to say The Districts' recorded music isn't impressive — it is. And the band has been at it for some time: its debut release, Telephone, came out in 2012, when the members were still in high school.

Robyn Hitchcock's latest, self-titled album is slick, surrealist, psychedelic and oh-so-smart. Over the past 40 years, Hitchcock has released more than 20 records between his solo material and his work with The Soft Boys, the psychedelic art-rock band he founded in 1976.

If you were anywhere near a radio around 1998-99, there's no way you missed these lyrics: "Closing time / I know who I want to take me home!" Those lyrics were sung by our guest Dan Wilson, frontman and songwriter for the band Semisonic. "Closing Time" was a huge hit and career-maker for that band when it came out in 1998.

In this session, I'm bringing a little bit of my hometown of Toronto to you by way of The Wooden Sky. The band first blew me away at a live show about a decade ago. And then I realized the very tall lead singer looked familiar – hey, that guy was a teaching assistant in my radio production class back at University.

In this session, we bring you a live session with Overcoats. The duo's music rests on two voices so perfectly in sync you'd swear they were coming from the same person — or, at least, from people who are related. Or, at least, people who've known each other their whole lives.

Most of us know Chuck Berry as a pioneer, if not the pioneer, who defined rock 'n' roll. My guest today knew him as dad.

Charles Berry Jr. is here to share memories of growing up watching the elder Berry on TV, joining him on tour in his later years and contributing to what would be his final record, an album called Chuck that was released in June.

Picture what would happen if Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin met Ali Farka Touré in a garage in West Africa, and you've got an idea of what my guests today sound like. The band is Songhoy Blues. They're from Mali, and their new album is titled Résistance.

I talked with the band's lead singer, Aliou Touré. He is originally from the northern Mali city of Gao, but fled south after Islamist militants and rebels took over parts of northern Mali in 2012, causing a massive political crisis and banning music.

For fans who have been following Manchester Orchestra for the past decade and change, the sound of the band's new record, A Black Mile To The Surface, is a surprise. With early releases like I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child, Simple Math and Cope, the band built their following on loud guitars and big emotions. Their latest is full of emotion, but finds that feeling through the songs' stories. It's sweeping, cinematic and really quite beautiful.

Sheer Mag is a five-piece rock band from Philadelphia that sounds like it's headlining the EnormoDome, but comes from a busted-up building called the Nut House that's also home to slugs and roaches.

Feist On World Cafe

Jul 25, 2017

Leslie Feist's latest album, Pleasure, is gritty, defiant and intimate in a way that's different from anything else we've heard from her. And when she wrote it, she was having a hard time feeling — well, pleasure. She explains in this session that she chose that word as a way to try and talk herself out of the dark feelings at the other extreme.

Recorded in Music City at RCA's legendary Studio A, Jason Isbell's latest album, The Nashville Sound, tackles issues like race and privilege, anxiety, sobriety, hope and family. (Isbell is married to Amanda Shires, a talented fiddle player and singer-songwriter who is also a member of Isbell's band, The 400 Unit; they have a toddler named Mercy.)

This week, World Cafe digs into the archives for some of its best sessions from the last several months — conversations and performances that were so good we decided to bring them back for a second listen. You'll hear sessions with Father John Misty, Alison Krauss, David Crosby and more.

Fleet Foxes' lead singer, Robin Pecknold, says the band's new album, Crack-Up, is the kind of record he's always wanted to make. But it took a minute — six years, actually. The last Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues, came out in 2011 and was a huge success. But after touring that record, at a point where bands traditionally head back to the studio to try and keep the momentum going, Fleet Foxes took a break. And that led to a few changes.

After 33 years of David Letterman doing the job, it was an honor to get the chance to introduce Paul Shaffer myself. We welcome the former Late Show bandleader to World Cafe to perform with the World's Most Dangerous Band and discuss his life and career.

In this session, Angelica Garcia performs music from her haunting full-length debut, Medicine For Birds. What do we mean by "haunting"? First, the sound: She's got one of those voices that gets under your skin, and a sense of melody that'll make your hairs stand on end. And second, the source: Garcia created the album while living in a 200-year-old Gothic brick home in Virginia she's pretty sure is haunted.

Like to party? Meet Sweet Spirit, a punchy, powerful party band that features up to nine members onstage at any given time. The group's infectious live shows caught the eye of fellow Austinite Britt Daniel from Spoon, who invited Sweet Spirit to open at a bunch of his concerts and championed its full-length debut album, Cokomo, in 2015.

Allison Crutchfield has called a lot of bands and collaborations home — but this year, she released her first full-length solo record, Tourist In This Town. As you'll hear in this conversation, putting out music under her own name has been really important to her.

You know how the old adage goes: "What Would Lou Reed Do?" OK, so nobody really says that — except for Kevin Morby, who says that mantra gave him the confidence to experiment more as he worked on his fourth album, City Music.

Ani DiFranco's new album, her 20th, is called Binary. And, as is always the case with this artist, the music and the message are intertwined. The music on Binary is textured and ambitious — you can hear DiFranco's adopted home of New Orleans seeping through the floorboards. There are surprising guests, including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.

Phoenix's sixth and latest album is called Ti Amo; in case you're rusty on your Italian, that means "I love you." And the record is filled with love. It also evokes Italian discos in the summertime — a surprisingly fun and lighthearted tone, given the tense times in which it emerged.

Rev. Sekou is a preacher, pastor and social activist with music in his blood. In this session Sekou is joined by the North Mississippi Allstars — whose members Luther and Cody Dickinson produced his new album, In Times Like These — for a performance recorded onstage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

There are as many ways to celebrate summer as there are cover versions of George Gershwin's "Summertime." Maybe you're looking forward to hot fun in the summertime or slathering on sunscreen so you can soak up the sun.

Girlpool was formed by musicians Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker a few years ago after they met at a DIY space in Los Angeles. In 2015 Tividad and Tucker released their debut record, Before The World Was Big, as a duo — just two voices, two instruments (bass and guitar) and a whole lot of radical honesty.

(Sandy) Alex G has been making music since he was a teen — mostly in his Philadelphia bedroom. But he ventured downstairs in 2016 to contribute guitar stylings to Frank Ocean's albums Blonde and Endless. (Sandy) Alex G's latest album, Rocket, is his eighth, and we thought that was a mighty impressive output given that he's still in his early 20s. But he sees it a little differently, as he explains in this session. He also performs warm, heartfelt music with a homegrown touch.

We're almost halfway through the year, so we here at World Cafe decided the time was ripe to look back on the best of 2017 so far. In case you haven't noticed, it's been a pretty stellar year for new music.

Our guest in this session is The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, whose new solo album is called Waiting On A Song. The record is a product of Auerbach's move to Nashville, where he met some of the heavy collaborators who appear on it — including John Prine, who co-wrote the title song.

When it comes to today's guests, mystery is the name of the game. The band's name is the symbol of a triangle. It's pronounced alt-J. You won't find pictures of the three stars of the band very many places — certainly not on the cover of its new record, which features a drawing of an anonymous red body on the side of a highway. And not in the music video for the album's first single, which stars a scurrying wood mouse.

Forty years in, Blondie has a new record called Pollinator. The band's 11th studio album, it features original members Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke.

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