World Cafe on WXPR

Monday through Thursday 9-11 PM

The premier public radio showcase for contemporary music serving up an eclectic blend that includes blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country. 

Mark Mulcahy On World Cafe

Sep 10, 2013

If you were an indie-rock fan in the mid-1980s, then you undoubtedly stumbled upon Miracle Legion. In the post R.E.M. jangle-rock landscape, they called it "college rock" and the Connecticut-based Miracle Legion ruled. It happened again with his work on Nickelodeon's Adventures of Pete & Pete with the fake-band Polaris made up of Miracle Legion musicians.

World Cafe Next: Royal Bangs

Sep 10, 2013

Our World Cafe: Next artist this week is Royal Bangs, a band originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. The band formed in 2001 and had their first album released by The Black Keys' Patrick Carney on his own Audio Eagle Records in 2008. He actually discovered the band on MySpace.

The band is fronted by Ryan Schaefer and their new album, Brass, was produced by Carney. It's scheduled to be released on September 17, but you can hear two tracks from it on the World Cafe: Next podcast.

The Head And The Heart On World Cafe

Sep 9, 2013

This session, from Dec. 12, 2011, is the second in our Vintage Cafe series, where we revisit some of our best studio performances.

The Head and the Heart was formed after five twentysomethings met at an open mic night in Seattle.

"None of us knew each other beforehand," recalls singer Josiah Johnson. "I just happened to go to the same open mic. [Jonathan Russell] played some songs and I played some songs, then we started talking and hanging out."

Franz Ferdinand On World Cafe

Sep 6, 2013

Scottish dance-rock band Franz Ferdinand are back with its fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. A year-and-a-half in the making, the record includes collaborations with members of Hot Chip and Peter Bjorn and John. In this episode of World Cafe, we speak with lead singer Alex Kapranos and drummer Paul Thomson, and the band treats us to a live set.

Latin Roots: Joe Arroyo

Sep 5, 2013

In this installment of our Latin Roots series, The Latin Alternative co-host Ernesto Lechner discusses his favorite singer, an influential Colombian musician named Joe Arroyo.

Arroyo began singing at age 10 in the whorehouses of Cartagena. He was discovered by Fruko (a.k.a. Julio Ernesto Estrada) when he was a teenager and soon joined the salsa player's band, Fruko Y Sus Tesos.

James Cotton On World Cafe

Sep 5, 2013

Harmonica master James Cotton is a giant of the blues. Born in 1935 on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Miss., he learned the instrument from Sonny Boy Williamson, who had a radio program right across the river in West Helena, Ark. After listening to the show and imitating him on a harmonica, Cotton met Williamson, who took him under his wing.

At 15, Cotton met and played with Howlin' Wolf, who took him to record at Sun Studios in Memphis. Later, while on tour, Muddy Waters asked Cotton to replace Junior Wells in his band; Cotton stayed on the road with Waters for a dozen years.

Natalia Clavier On World Cafe

Sep 4, 2013

There was never any doubt that Argentine vocalist Natalia Clavier could sing. She's been proving that for years, performing jazz and serving as the anonymous voice on hundreds of techno and dance songs, most recorded when she lived in Barcelona after moving there from Buenos Aires. For years, she's also been the go-to live voice for Thievery Corporation, and she remains part of its live act.

Youth Lagoon On World Cafe

Sep 4, 2013

Youth Lagoon is the work of Boise, Idaho's Trevor Powers. The title of his first album, 2011's The Year of Hibernation, captures what was going on: a solo bedroom project that explored the theme of emerging from isolation. It sounded great, and the positive response got Powers out of the bedroom and on the road for a year.

Houndmouth On World Cafe

Sep 3, 2013

Houndmouth is a rootsy rock band from New Albany, Ind., right across the river from Louisville. In an age of loops, samples and all things digital, Houndmouth is a refreshingly straightforward rock band with guitars, B-3 and all members singing in harmony.

The group recently released its debut album, From the Hills Below the City. Hear Houndmouth perform four of its songs on this installment of World Cafe.

World Cafe Next: Caroline Rose

Sep 3, 2013

Singer-songwriter Caroline Rose grew up in Vermont the daughter of two artists, so it was never a far stretch to imagine she would become a performer herself. What is a little surprising is the grit in this young woman's performance. Turns out her mother is from the South, and there were many trips and exposures to Southern culture along the way. She started writing songs in her early teens hasn't stopped since, and most of her debut full-length, America Religious, was conceived on the road. It's a tough-sounding record from an artist to watch.

The Black Keys On World Cafe

Sep 2, 2013

Welcome to the first in our weekly Vintage Cafe series of interviews from the archive. Each week we are going to be re-visiting significant session with major artists. For this installment, we bring back our Black Keys session, recorded in December 2011 right before the release of El Camino.

Buddy Guy On World Cafe

Aug 23, 2013

We recorded this interview with blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy the day after he turned 77 — and he turned up early for our 9 a.m. start.

In this edition of Latin Roots, we look at the music of Colombia's Caribbean coast. Our guest, Beat Latino host Catalina Maria Johnson, selected some older music from Petrona Martinez and her family, as well as a more modern example from Lido Pimienta, who is part of the large Colombian population based in Toronto. Pimienta uses traditional elements in her music, yet records on her laptop.

Smith Westerns On World Cafe

Aug 22, 2013

The wonderful half-garage, half-glam band Smith Westerns recently released its third album, Soft Will. In this installment of World Cafe, the group's members tell us that a lot of the record was written as a reaction to returning home to Chicago after touring for five years during their late teens and twenties. And, of course, they perform some of their songs live in the studio.

Sarah Lee Guthrie is the granddaughter of Woody Guthrie, while Johnny Irion is the grand-nephew of author John Steinbeck. Since marrying in 1999, Guthrie and Irion have released five albums together, including this year's Wassaic Way.

The duo recorded its latest LP with help from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone in the band's loft. In this edition of World Cafe, Guthrie and Irion perform songs from Wassaic Way and chat with host David Dye about Wilco's many connections to the Guthrie family.