NPR Music

It's easy to forget that The Monkees' original run as a band lasted only from 1965 to 1971, a stretch that included a short-lived but much-loved sitcom and a string of bestselling albums. For later generations — especially the ones who came of age amid endlessly repurposed reruns on MTV and Nickelodeon in the late '80s — The Monkees' music has been reborn in reunion tours and on occasional albums, even as the group itself has dealt with internal strife and the 2012 death of Davy Jones.

Beginning at 7 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19, watch folk-pop band The Head And The Heart, new collaborators Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop, garage-country singer Aubrie Sellers and more perform at World Cafe Live as part of Philadelphia's 2016 Non-COMMvention.

The show is streaming live on VuHaus, a website that publishes studio sessions and concerts from public-radio stations across the country. Find the complete line-up below.


Maybird

Johnny Cash knew well how to hold on to the songs and people he loved.

Show Up Early To The Party With Andy Shauf

May 21, 2016

When you grow up on the prairies of Saskatchewan, you learn how to do a lot of things on your own. At least, that's how life went for Andy Shauf. So when it came time to record his new album, The Party, he decided to play almost all the instruments himself.

If Explosions In The Sky's records are watershed moments for its fans, then the band's live shows are a Biblical flood. The group recently released its sixth studio album, The Wilderness. On Thursday, Explosions In The Sky brought its epic, searching sound to a sold-out show at Washington, D.C.'s famed 9:30 Club.

Starting at 12 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19, watch roots-rock singer-songwriter Kevin Morby and veteran English rock band The Zombies perform at World Cafe Live as part of Philadelphia's 2016 Non-COMMvention.

Paul Simon has a new album coming out and it's wonderful. Titled Stranger To Stranger, it's his thirteenth solo release and he told me he it could be his last, at least for a while. For this week's +1 podcast, I sat with Paul Simon at NPR's New York bureau to talk about the new record, but more specifically to talk about a single song on the album, the puzzling and quirky opening cut, "The Werewolf."

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

Big Thief is a band bound by great songs. Its first album opens with singer Adrianne Lenker on acoustic guitar, recorded on what sounds like an old cassette machine. By the second song, you hear the blossoming of an artist into a band, a community, a force.

The scene was electric at the B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square as Bunny Wailer, 69 years old, took the stage before a capacity crowd.

Born Neville Livingston, Bunny is the last living original member of the legendary reggae group The Wailers, which he founded along with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley in the early 1960s.

Tortoise On World Cafe

May 18, 2016

It's been more than 20 years since the post-rock instrumental band Tortoise released its first album. Now, the beloved Chicago group has a new album called The Catastrophist, which grew out of a commission the band received from the city of Chicago itself to write and perform material that saluted the city's rich history of improvisational music. The purposefully loose structures Tortoise developed for that project took on a somewhat more defined shape as The Catastrophist.

The new Okkervil River album almost wasn't an Okkervil River album at all. That's how the band's lead singer and songwriter, Will Sheff, explains it. "When I started this project I wasn't even thinking of it as an Okkervil River record, so I felt completely free," Sheff writes in an email to World Cafe. "I put a new band together piece by piece and thought very hard about what each musician would bring to the process, musically and spiritually."

At White House state dinners, it's customary for a president to nod to the strengths and contributions of guest countries. And when hosting Nordic nations on Friday, President Obama paid tribute to a particular Finnish export.

Remembering Country Craftsman Guy Clark

May 17, 2016

Grammy winner, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and Academy of Country Music Poet's Award honoree Guy Clark has died at 74 after a long battle with illness. Born in Monahans, Texas, Clark was exposed mainly to mariachi music until he moved to Houston and worked the folk-music circuit. It was there that he developed his own style of blues-infused folk-country, and in 1975, he released his debut album, Old No. 1.

This week's essential mix from All Songs Considered includes a surprising, electronic, mostly instrumental cut from The 1975 — a British group known more for its brash Top-40 pop and rock — an intimate home demo recording from My Morning Jacket and a spare, moody cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" by the Irish folk singer known as

RLYR's moniker is an upcapped, vowel-less tribute to Yes' 1974 album Relayer. You know, the one with the incredibly epic gatefold art by Roger Dean? While RLYR isn't quite a fantasy-themed fusion/prog-rock band, the members know a few things about heroic and heavy instrumental rock that storms the gates of delirium.

Mike Cooley On Mountain Stage

May 17, 2016

Mike Cooley appears on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. Best known as a singer and guitarist in the enduring Georgia band Drive-By Truckers, Cooley gives a lot of solo performances, but they're always special.

The VuHaus Song Of The Day

May 17, 2016

Watch intimate live performance videos daily from America's leading public radio stations. Powered by VuHaus, the new Music Discovery platform.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

What's most striking about Japanese Breakfast's first full-fledged album, Psychopomp, is how gracefully it treads over difficult territory. What started as singer and guitarist Michelle Zauner's side project — she took on the moniker to release solo work when not performing with Little Big League — eventually became an outlet for songs of grief and mourning in the aftermath of her mother's death. Sonically, Psychopomp is a far cry from the Philadelphia emo band's music, trading crunchy indie rock for haunting pop songs with swirling synthesizers.

Inspired by the colorful sticker, Trapper Keeper and lunchbox art from which Lisa Prank takes her punny name, Seattle singer Robin Edwards makes bubblegum pop-punk for lovesick, rainbow-colored unicorns. Built around an electric guitar and a drum machine, her songs are simple and catchy like the Ramones', but are recast for the intimate and imaginative space where these songs begin and expand.

World Cafe Next: Kyle Craft

May 16, 2016

As he was growing up in Shreveport, La., Kyle Craft's primary source of musical inspiration was a David Bowie greatest-hits compilation that he brought home from a big-box store. Years later, Craft tried outrunning the heartbreak of the end of a relationship and moved to Portland, Ore., where he made a series of home recordings that have become his debut album, Dolls Of Highland.

The Heavy On World Cafe

May 14, 2016

From the start, British band The Heavy, from Bath, England, has been successful in bringing a retro-soul sound to indie rock. The band's 2009 debut album contained "How You Like Me Now?", a song beloved by music supervisors and heard in shows like The Vampire Diaries, Entourage, and Community.

Congratulations, music lovers! We managed to get through an entire week without a major album dropping out of the blue. So if you're like us this means you've finally had a chance to catch your breath and dig into all the amazing stuff that has come out.

Airports are like petri dishes for humanity's worst traits. Most people are in various states of agitation over endless lines or invasive searches or some perceived slight. Everyone's exhausted. Everyone's on high alert.

There is new music from Gregory Alan Isakov, the South African-born, Philadelphia and Colorado troubadour. It's an album with the Colorado Symphony and his band. This song, "Liars" was written by Ron Scott and will be on Gregory's new album Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony.

Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop On World Cafe

May 12, 2016

Collaboration is nothing new to Sam Beam of Iron and Wine: He has recorded with Calexico and recently made an album of cover songs with Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses. For Beam's new album with Jesca Hoop, Love Letter For Fire, he says he wanted to try it differently.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.

Review: Mudcrutch, '2'

May 12, 2016

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

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

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