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August is shaping up to be American music month in Shanghai. Metallica, the legendary heavy metal band, has just wrapped up its long-awaited China debut with two packed shows at the city's Mercedes-Benz Arena. This weekend, Limp Bizkit headlines a two-day festival. Next week, Aerosmith plays a Shanghai soccer stadium followed by a concert by Pitbull, the Cuban-American rapper from Miami.

Mikal Cronin On World Cafe

Aug 15, 2013

Mikal Cronin's second solo album, MCII, contains more of his delightful, frequently dazzling, guitar-drenched pop-rock. Originally from Southern California, Cronin wrote his first record in response to making the post-college move to San Francisco. The new album is more about what happened when he got there and started playing in Ty Segall's band.

On this episode of World Cafe, Cronin sits down to chat with host David Dye and play a few songs with his band live in the studio.

Doom is as doom does. No matter how many sub-sub genre tags you put on it — blackened, atmospheric, sludge, bedazzled (okay, I made that up, but what if) — all descend from Black Sabbath. But you knew that. Doom thrives on repetition, in both its riffs and its tributes. The Salt Lake City doom-metal band SubRosa isn't out to reinvent the stone wheel, but it does offer a unique perspective by looking back to America's melancholic folk roots for something darker and more soulful.

Daughn Gibson On World Cafe

Aug 14, 2013

Daughn Gibson is the alter ego of Pennsylvania singer-songwriter Josh Martin. The former stoner-rock drummer took on his nom de plume as an homage to country legend Don Gibson, which makes sense: Martin's life thus far sounds like a country song. He's worked behind the counter in an adult book store, poured tall ones as a bartender and worked as a long-haul trucker.

Martha Wainwright On World Cafe

Aug 13, 2013

On this episode, Martha Wainwright joins us to talk about her late mother, Kate McGarrigle, and to sing us some of McGarrigle's songs.

McGarrigle, who died after a battle with cancer in January 2011, made a series of wonderful albums with her sister Anna during a career that spanned decades, beginning with their self-titled debut in 1975. The duo is probably best known for its cover of Linda Ronstadt's "Heart Like a Wheel."

While the cat's away, the mice will play rock-and-roll! On this week's episode of All Songs Considered, with Bob Boilen on vacation (to hunt through the treasure trove of memorabilia in his basement), co-host Robin Hilton and NPR Music's Stephen Thompson attempt to fulfill their vision of a perfect bizarro world episode, with premieres from Cults, Minor Alps, Weed and more.

One question remains: Can Bob really resist the temptation of trying to ruin Stephen's vision of a Bob-less show? Hear the show to find out.

World Cafe Next: New Country Rehab

Aug 12, 2013

Out of the Toronto music community comes New Country Rehab, an alt-country band that just released its second album, Ghost Of Your Charms.

The foursome, led by singer and fiddle player John Showman, combine a bluegrass aesthetic with some really strong songwriting chops. We love their song "Luxury Hotel," which may make you think differently about your summer vacation spot.

Phoenix On World Cafe

Aug 12, 2013

The French band Phoenix seems to be appearing at the top of music charts all over the world. In 2009, Phoenix's album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix guided them to fame with popular tracks like "1901" and "Lisztomania."

Alpine's music doesn't instantly present itself as Tiny Desk material: The Australian sextet crafts busily impeccable pop music with a danceable sway, prominent synths and the charming shared lead vocals of Phoebe Baker and Lou James. That's a lot of ingredients to strip down to a semi-acoustic set in the NPR Music offices; there's virtually no margin for error.

Syracuse-based rock group Ra Ra Riot's latest album, Beta Love, is steeped heavily in science fiction and futurist theories, with tales of robots, lives stranded in space and, on the song "Binary Mind," the merging of computers and human brains. In a new video for the track, the band members' disembodied heads playfully float and bob in a kaleidoscopic, digital landscape.

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