Stephen Kallao

The first thing I remarked after finishing my conversation with Marcus King: "This guy doesn't act or sound like a 22-year-old at all." He's incredibly perceptive, and thoughtful, and the music he's making sounds like it's coming from someone who's been working at it for decades.

Kurt Vile's song "Loading Zones" is in my head. It's a song about Kurt's adventures driving around Philadelphia. In particular, I've been thinking the last few minutes, wherein he repeats this line over and over: "I park for free."I parked for free. Until I didn't.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II is a musicians' musician.

In the 1990 book  Bound To Lead: The Changing Nature Of American Power, economist Joseph Nye introduces us to a term he coined; soft power. Soft power is the act of trying to change things through coercion and appeal rather than force and intimidation.

There's one obvious thing to get out of the way up front. Yes, The Nude Party actually played without clothes during the band's formative years at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. During their college years, the members hadn't picked a name for the band and because of their lack of wardrobe, the locals dubbed the group "The Naked Party Band."

Watching Joseph Arthur and Peter Buck of R.E.M. onstage together as Arthur Buck shows an obvious dynamic in energy. Arthur's a firecracker; a ball of energy. He sings with all his heart and his body.

So much of the music of the last few years has been influenced by the sounds of the 1980's. The revolutionary (and affordable) gear made it's way into musicians hands and people continue to go back to those sounds and textures. However, for this generation of young adults making music, there's another decade to explore ripe with it's own stylistic quirks — the 1990's. Hatchie is one of those artists.

Ten years ago, my guest introduced himself to me as a lanky, biracial kid from suburban Chicago who graduated from Harvard with a Kenyan diplomat for a dad. Nope, I wasn't interviewing Barack Obama. It was Tom Morello. If he had dropped Neo-Marxist into his introduction, the jig would have been up.

If you've been to New Orleans, you know how easy it is to strike up a conversation with a stranger on the street. It just happens! It's also how the band The Revivalists was founded.

My introduction to Dave Wakeling was a little unusual. Sure, I'd heard The English Beat as a kid growing up, (shout out to my Dad who had ALL of their vinyl), but the first time I saw the ska crooner pogoing around the stage was at a club show in a tiny college town in Illinois back in 2001. And that was 19 years after the last Beat record at the time, 1982's Special Beat Service.

When you work at World Cafe, you quickly realize you are not making an episode entirely on your own schedule. The biggest moving pieces are, of course, the guests. We hope to catch them for a few hours as they criss-cross the country in search of sharing their craft and art with an audience, and hopefully some merch sales. It's part of our job to be ready then, for the tiniest of windows.

Here's a story for you about two teenage boys named Salvo and Diego. One is Mexican, one is Italian, and both are immigrants living in America. They're into punk rock like MC5 and The Stooges.

Aaron Lee Tasjan has a way with words and on his latest album, Karma For Cheap, he walks a fine line between timelessness and a record very much of this moment.

Wayne Kramer has seen some things. He saw the Detroit Riots of 1967 firsthand when a tank rolled up to the house he was staying at. He oversaw a career in crime and therefore got a good, long look at the inside of prison cell.

Meg Myers makes explosive, aggressive rock coupled with synthesizers, strings and plenty of distortion. Her music is a bit like Nine Inch Nails got into a fight with Pixies — the latter of whom she's toured with — and threw some incredibly dynamic vocals into the mix.

Gorillaz' Damon Albarn drew me a portrait. Imagine my surprise to learn this. After all, this is an audio medium and he's half a world away in London while I'm chilling at the World Cafe studios in Philadelphia.

The first single off Rayland Baxter's latest album Wide Awake is about a dysfunctional relationship. That's a near-universal truth we can appreciate. However, when you learn the woman's name is Sallie Mae, you realize he's not singing about a human being, but instead, the giant student loan corporation.

Today, we're featuring a mini-concert from an artist you might first know as an actor. Lera Lynn's turn on the second season of True Detective introduced her to a lot of America, including myself.

Jukebox the Ghost is the type of band you want to play your party. Why? For one, Because they're talented, but that's just table stakes. The second reason gets us a little closer. The band members are excellent entertainers, but even that doesn't really capture it.

If you don't know who Nick Lowe is, there's a very good chance you know at least one of his songs — perhaps "Cruel to Be Kind" or "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass," or his song that longtime friend and collaborator Elvis Costello made famous, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding."

Jim Lauderdale is rightfully considered one of the kings of Americana music.

It's easy to throw the word legend around when you talk to musicians who regularly appear on World Cafe. So when a real legend shows up, you've run out of superlatives.

Low Cut Connie is a lot of fun. Sure, it's developed a healthy reputation as a party band, but there's a lot more to discover underneath the sweaty sheen of its intense live shows. Speaking of which, I wish you could see the way lead singer Adam Weiner attacks the piano. At some points, he plays it the same way Superman flies, his body parallel to the ground.

Are you up for having a good time today? Trick question — it's impossible not to have a good time with The Suffers, as Kam Franklin explains in the opening lines of "Do Whatever": "Full on disclosure, I'm not here for exposure / I came to have a good time, so let me shine."

On paper, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore are a musical alliance that shouldn't necessarily work.

For over 50 years, Paul Simon has shared his amazing talents with us: first, as a part of Simon & Garfunkel, one of the most important musical duos, and later as a solo artist. Few musicians have had as a critically-acclaimed and beloved career as Simon. He's won 16 Grammys, three of those for album of the year.

Rare Essence has been waving the flag for go-go music for four decades. So, what is go-go music? Not to be confused with go-go dancing or go-go boots, go-go music is an offshoot of funk that combines elements of R&B, hip-hop and blues. It's built live thanks to the audience and the band feeding off one another's energy. Fans frequently sing lines back during the show.

Spinal Tap made its mark as one of England's loudest bands, releasing slightly above average records like Shark Sandwich. Now, Derek Smalls, the band's legendary bassist, is making waves of his on his own with a new reflective solo record in the vain of David Bowie's Blackstar and Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker.

Welles has the look, the voice, the licks, the hooks and the attitude of a real rock star. His classic rock-meets-grunge debut  Red Trees and White Trashes  alternates between being big, chunky, bombastic and driving and also intimate, sensitive, quiet and reserved. There's no shortage of ballads and barn-burners.

Peter Hook's first bass rig when he was a child was "no good," as he puts it. The low notes sounded terrible, so instead, he worked his way up the fretboard. Few musicians have more of a signature sound, or personality, than Peter Hook. He was one of the founding members of Joy Division, pioneers of the post-punk genre. When the band's lead singer, Ian Curtis, died on the eve of its first American tour, the remaining members didn't mourn.

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