Music

Julia Holter's music exists in tiny universes, colliding in torch songs and bits of cosmic cabaret that are as reverent as they are perverse. The most minute details and the plainest words suddenly form a grandiose spectacle.

When Owen Husney first met Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician was barely old enough to vote — and still going by his government name. "When you meet someone before they became the unapproachable icon, you tend to have a different relationship with them," he says.

Fair warning: Wicker Man-inspired costumes, grisly occult dealings and static-flickering VHS tapes lie ahead. For some of us (read: me), director Torin Langen's video for Crosss' "Golden Hearth" is the stuff of nightmares, but the heavy weirdness is definitely worth your time.

In the early '90s, The Jayhawks looked like the next Uncle Tupelo, complete with Midwestern roots, potential for outsize influence, and a lineup rife with infighting and creative differences.

In the second season of HBO's noirish crime drama True Detective, it was clear that the singer-songwriter Lera Lynn played a singer-songwriter of a different sort on TV — specifically, a heroin addict clinging to a bottom-of-the-barrel bar gig.

Whether he's playing in bands like Superchunk (or his former solo project, Portastatic) or co-heading Merge Records, Mac McCaughan keeps plenty busy. Last year, he released his first solo album under his own name, Non-Believers.

The music of T-Rextasy is an impeccable combination of sarcastic, swaggering humor and timeless pop-punk grooves. Throughout the band's upcoming debut album, Jurassic Punk, singer Lyris Faron scolds misogynists, plans for punk-rock domination and praises both a cafeteria woman and a one-night-stand-loving lady. The last track on Jurassic Punk, "Gap Yr Boiz," crystallizes the band's formula of punchy lyrics and catchy hooks.

Singer-songwriter David Childers was new to World Cafe when the show took its Sense Of Place visit to North Carolina, even though his recordings date back almost 20 years. Childers' folk-rock/country songs often have religious themes that reflect his personal journey — especially on his latest album, Serpents Of Reformation, which was recorded by his son, Robert.

Music is only one part of that journey; Childers is also a painter and a practicing lawyer who shepherds clients through mazes of bureaucracy.

A swing-revival band formed in 1993, Squirrel Nut Zippers got together in Chapel Hill, N.C. Best known for its breakthrough single, "Hell," the group visited the World Cafe studio in 1996 to perform four songs, discuss how Squirrel Nut Zippers formed, and explain how they took a different approach to recording Hot, their latest record at the time.

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