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Music

If you've listened to the Cafe for a while, you know and hopefully love today's guests. Calexico is a band whose music is a jangly desert mashup of Western Americana, Latin influence and any other sounds, instruments or collaborators they've picked up along the trail. It's no wonder they're perfectly named after a border town between California and Mexico.

www.earthsongs.net

Arthur Renwick

FEBRUARY 4, 2018 BY  1 COMMENTArthur RenwickHaisla First NationWebsiteFacebookSoundcloud

In addition to being widely recognized as one of the great American guitarists, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo is also a published writer, poet and visual artist. His latest solo album, Electric Trim, features Sharon Van Etten, Nels Cline of Wilco, Kid Millions and more.

Giving Up sounds like a demolition derby crashed by a stolen school bus, a giddy smash of screw-eyed indie-pop and junk punk. Based out of Garner, Iowa, with members now spread out across the Midwest, Giving Up has been at this mix for over a decade now. Where its previous records touted lo-fi production and a wild abandon towards songwriting, Garner Cardinals gives the formula a bit of spit-polish, not only injecting some studio dynamics but also focusing the manic-pop into tuneful blasts.

Los Angeles rock band Mt. Joy released a few songs into the world in 2016 with modest expectations. To their surprise, their music started gaining traction on Spotify, racking up millions of streams. By 2017, they were on the road touring with bands like The Shins, The Head and the Heart and The Lone Bellow.

Valentine's Day is coming up and whether you're single or coupled the day can bring on complicated mixture of memories, regrets and desires. The latest from Oakland-based dream-pop artist Jay Som depicts a specific kind of romantic encounter in a bright, meandering tune.

Sense Of Place, South Africa: Freshlyground

Feb 1, 2018

As a part of our Sense of Place, South Africa trip, we traveled to Cape Town and recorded the band Freshlyground on their home turf.

The group is led by the energetic and powerful singer Zolani Mahola, and includes members from Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as South Africa, where Mahola grew up. Mahola talked about what it was like for her to realize how Apartheid impacted her father's life as well as her own, and shared the funny reason she got kicked out of a ska band before joining Freshlyground.

Sense Of Place, South Africa: Johnny Clegg

Feb 1, 2018

For this Sense Of Place session, we spent some time in South Africa with guitarist and songwriter Johnny Clegg. The visionary musician was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago, and spent the latter part of 2017 on a world tour he called "The Final Journey." It was a productive three months that also included a new solo album, King of Time. But rather than feature that new material, Clegg performed four of his most beloved songs from yesteryear.

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


Philly art-rock group Palm might look like a normal band: two guitars, a bass, drums, a couple singers. But if you listen to Rock Island (or really anything else the group has released), it becomes clear that any passing resemblance to normality is purely accidental.

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