KNBA - KBC

Talia Schlanger

Joshua James' new album is called My Spirit Sister. Released a little over a decade into his career, it features staggering honesty — the kind of stuff that's difficult to say out loud, let alone sing. For example, James wrote the song "Millie" when his wife was pregnant with their second child and he was having severe doubts. "I really just had no idea how to cope with it," James says. "Should I just leave this gal with her mom and just depart and try to start again? What am I to do?"

Josh Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, joins World Cafe to chat and to perform songs from his new album, Pure Comedy. In this session we talk about Tillman's childhood: He spent his formative years at a Pentecostal school, where he was regularly told there were demons inside of him that needed to be exorcised — a process Tillman says is strangely relaxing.

You hear a lot of different types of music on World Cafe, but you may not have ever heard anything like Tanya Tagaq, who has collaborated with Björk and won Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

As the old adage goes, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." Fifty years ago — May 12, 1967 — the Jimi Hendrix Experience made about as tremendous a first impression as it gets. The band's first full-length record, Are You Experienced?, is widely considered one of the greatest debuts in rock and roll. It introduced audiences to pyrotechnic psychedelia, amps that were at once incendiary and melodic and an artist that would define the dreams of nearly anyone who picked up a guitar for years to come.

You might have seen Maggie Rogers wowing Pharrell Williams in a viral video that captures the time she played him her song "Alaska" during a master class at NYU. In the video, as "Alaska" plays, you can see Pharrell is feeling it — and when the song ends, he gives Rogers his feedback: "Wow. I have zero, zero, zero notes for that. And I'll tell you why.

Jesse Hale Moore is based in Philadelphia, where he got a leg up on his debut solo record from two members of local favorite sons The War on Drugs — bass player Dave Hartley did some producing early on, and drummer Charlie Hall plays in this session.

At this moment in the music industry, the regular model for releasing a record has been pretty much blown apart. Artists can release singles or EPs online at any time, in whatever format. That can have some pretty interesting results, as it did for Hanni El Khatib.

The New Pornographers just released its seventh album, Whiteout Conditions -- and it's power-pop harmony heaven. This is music that moves your body and your brain, a hybrid that chief songwriter AC Newman says he envisioned from the beginning:

Here at the World Cafe studios, we have a bunch of different microphones for artists to use when they come in to perform. The other day, our senior producer, Kimberly Junod, pulled out one that had been used a couple weeks ago — and it was covered in face paint, lipstick and glitter. She showed it to the rest of us and said, "Give you one guess who used this last."

Hip-hop-flavored indie-rock band Portugal. The Man joins us in this session. And for a danceable band of low-key, really nice dudes from Alaska, Portugal. The Man has stirred up some controversy. It all has to do with the super-catchy, danceable radio hit "Feel It Still".

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