Music

Our childhood haunts us. In playgrounds, forests, bedrooms and on neighborhood streets, we try to understand a new world as beings in constant formation — full of wonder, full of fear. It's there we first make ourselves human and, in many ways, that nascent humanity scars like an old wound never stitched.

Steve Gunn On World Cafe

Aug 16, 2016

The guitarist, singer and songwriter Steve Gunn has become increasingly well known for his dense, energetic playing. Even when he's not working on his own material, Gunn always seems to have another project going on; most notably, he was an early member of his friend Kurt Vile's band The Violators.

The fabulously flamboyant duo PWR BTTM takes a melancholy turn on its latest single. The sweetly sentimental sounding "New Hampshire" ponders the end of everything, from a love affair to the birds in the sky and the burning sun. But it shrugs it all off as an inevitable evolution of any life. "Don't be sad," sings guitarist Ben Hopkins. "I've done my share of living."

After a five-year hiatus, Blind Pilot released its third album, And Then Like Lions, last week. The group's frontman, Israel Nebeker, wrote the songs coming out of a period of grief following the death of his father (Oregon painter and teacher Royal Nebeker) and the end of a long relationship. The album leads with songs, like "Umpqua Rushing," that open quietly and bloom into lush and hopeful folk-pop arrangements.

Florence and the Machine dropped an EP today with three new songs. The tracks, "Too Much Is Never Enough," "I Will Be" and a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," were recorded for the Final Fantasy XV video game.

Chicago's Brett Sova spent the better part of this decade working through a haze of rhythms, psychedelic notions and loosely connected processes as Axis: Sova, releasing two albums and a handful of singles as a solo project. Relying on a drum machine and a barrage of effects pedals, the project staked out its own amorphous claim on select minds, occupying a liminal territory where genres and concepts didn't bleed into one another so much as force themselves out of separate dimensions to claim the same space.

For today's Throwback Thursday, World Cafe is re-airing a 2011 session with Gregg Allman. Explore some of the musical connections in Allman's life — from a musician who influenced him early on, to one who took his brother's place in The Allman Brothers Band.

Local Natives' much-anticipated third full-length album, Sunlit Youth, is set for release in September. The band, a hometown favorite here in Los Angeles, performed a stirring set of all-new songs for Morning Becomes Eclectic. This one, "Villainy," is a love letter to L.A.

SET LIST

  • "Villainy"

Photo by Brian Lowe for KCRW.

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