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Music

Matt Dorrien audibly shifts in his chair, his feet pushing onto the pedals of a piano, as the opening chords of "Baby I'm So Lost" ring out. It's a simplistic, purposefully plodding introduction that's unusual in its total disregard of modern pop convention. But like most interesting things, patience is rewarded here. A beautifully broken love song slowly unfurls, complete with sad sack vocals and dueling clarinets that could close any dive-y lounge down.

Instrumental music speaks. Like a look from a lover or the clench of a fist, there is sometimes more (e)motion in the flick of a riff or the hum of an organ than words can supply. The Texas-based trio Khruangbin got its start digging on '60s and '70s Thai funk, gospel, R&B, surf, psychedelic rock and dub, creating chill instrumentals seemingly tailor-made for groove-seeking beatmakers and blissful dancers at outdoor festivals.

The latest album from LA rocker Ty Segall is 19 songs strong. He premiered a handful of new tracks from Freedom's Goblin, as well as a cover of The Groundhog's "Cherry Red," during his live appearance on KCRW. The most surprising was the glam-disco number "Despoiler of Cadaver."

SET LIST

  • "Despoiler of Cadaver"

Photos: Davis Bell/KCRW.

Sense Of Place, South Africa: Native Young

Jan 25, 2018

Native Young began as a bedroom project for Cape Town-based musician Yannick Meyer. But after hours of recording, the white South African realized that to truly make the songs what he wanted them to be, he would need some help. Meeting the traditional Xhosa Marimba player Mark Sikele launched him into further collaborations and the resulting album Kings won a South African Music Award in 2017 for Best Alternative Album.

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.

Mark E. Smith, founder and frontman of the UK band The Fall, has died at the age of 60. The band's manager, Pam Vander, said in a written statement, "He passed this morning (24th January) at home. A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days."

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