Music

Tori Amos has spent the past several years exploring other worlds of music. She released two albums of classical-inspired work, including a collection of her earlier pop songs retooled as orchestral tracks. Most recently she helped write a musical for the London National Theater. But this month Amos is back with Unrepentant Geraldines, a new album filled with her signature piano-driven baroque pop songs.

Paul Janeway's vocal range is some kind of miracle. For the young, Alabama-based soul stirrer and his band St. Paul & The Broken Bones, the sounds of Memphis and Muscle Shoals go marrow-deep. On Half the City, the group's unbelievably mature debut, Janeway channels '60s R&B greats like Otis Redding, James Carr and Al Green, while the band cranks out seriously funky rhythms and soaring melodies.

During a recent on-air performance, the KEXP studio could barely contain the seven-member group and the heat of its tight grooves. Get ready to get saved.

World Cafe Next: Sonny Knight

May 5, 2014

"These are dreams that I had forgotten. Only now that they are starting to come true do I remember that I had them at all."

These words are from our World Cafe: Next artist this week, Sonny Knight.

Lake Street Dive On Mountain Stage

May 5, 2014

Lake Street Dive makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va.

The four virtuoso musicians who comprise Lake Street Dive met as students at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. They became friends and formed a group to play outside of class; it was originally conceived as a "free country" project. That sound quickly morphed into one that includes influences from jazz, R&B and classic pop.

The product of an unlikely pairing of musicians, Sylvan Esso works in equally unlikely ways: Singer Amelia Meath first surfaced as a singer in the largely a cappella Vermont folk group Mountain Man, while Nick Sanborn plays bass in the versatile North Carolina psych-rock band Megafaun.

First Listen: Swans, 'To Be Kind'

May 4, 2014

Only on occasion does it make sense to praise music as scary, and somehow many of those occasions coincide with Swans sending new sounds out into the world. Since 1982, when the band emerged from the same New York "no wave" scene as noise-rock acts like Sonic Youth, Swans' seething intensity has been a default mode. Every element of the Swans sound is alarming, brutal, dark and sublimely beautiful for all the rage that gets articulated — and the sense of release that gets promised, too.

Mirah wrote Changing Light, her fifth full-length solo album, in the years-long aftermath of a punishing breakup. Maybe it's the amount of time it took for the material to gestate, or maybe it's the thoughtfulness and patience gleaned from a nearly 20-year career, but Changing Light keeps looking at her ache from wise angles. Nervy and sonically inventive in spots, tender and graceful in others, it's a breakup record that eschews childish outbursts and pointless wallowing.

It's been four years since Agalloch released Marrow of the Spirit, a spectacular record that exposed the cultish metal band to a wider audience seeking something ritualistic and caustic in heavy music. For all of its lengthy and textured songs, Marrow kept things fairly linear — thrilling in its momentum, for sure, but onward and forward.

David Crosby On World Cafe

May 2, 2014

As a member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young our guest today, David Crosby, is one of folk-rock's superstars. He has made four solo albums, worked with his partner Graham Nash, produced Joni Mitchell, and formed a band with his son James Raymond.

He's had such a wild life, we're thankful that he is still with us — and turning out work as good and relevant as his fourth solo album, Croz.

Pages