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The new quartet album by alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and pianist Laurent Coq is called Rayuela, which means "hopscotch." It's named for Julio Cortázar's novel, the fragmented tale of a wandering bohemian and his social circles in Parisian exile, as well as back home in Buenos Aires.

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The musician known as Cat Power has a penchant for goofing around. That might come as a surprise to those familiar with her music, which is always at least a little bit mournful.

Every Tuesday night at the 5 Spot, some 200 people show up the East Nashville bar for Two Dollar Tuesdays: a $2 coverage charge, $2 beers and five musical guests. It's hosted by Derek Hoke, an unassuming, laid-back guy with the cowboy hat and retro-vintage eyeglasses.

"I call it a speed showcase," Hoke says. "Everybody plays five songs, and I tell them to play the 'best of' — you know, get up there, kill and get off. There's somebody coming up right after you, and we have to plow through this thing."

Annoying Music For Labor Day

Aug 31, 2012

Monday is Labor Day, which means it's a good time to turn to the hardest-working man in the annoying-music business: Jim Nayder, a man with whom every conversation is a labor of love. In a recent interview with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, Nayder -- host of The Annoying Music Show! produced at Chicago Public Radio -- describes a passel of tunes with which to wind down the summer.

"Shine on Harvest Moon," Singin' Sisters of Syracuse

"Juanita Banana," J.R. Corvington

"Oscar Mayer Anthem," Evolution Control Committee

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
http://holdmyticket.com

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars will perform Live From Studio A on September 7, 2012 during the Global Village. 

Family Band On World Cafe

Aug 30, 2012

The Brooklyn-based ambient-folk duo Family Band is a collaboration between visual artist turned frontwoman Kim Krans and her husband, former heavy-metal guitarist Jonny Ollsin. Together, they craft beautifully dark, folk-influenced songs, which they fittingly describe as "heavy mellow."

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Chan Marshall, the creative force behind Cat Power, has long been indie rock's standard-bearer for melancholy navel gazing. In a career spanning nearly two decades, she's produced a large catalog of mostly moody confessionals, mixing blues, folk and arty punk with a swoon-inducing, transcendent voice. She could sing random figures from her tax returns and convey more heartache and angst than many other artists could match in their deepest moments.

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The Montreal pop band Stars has always kept several sensibilities in rotation: Its arsenal includes fizzy pop, melancholy dance music, boy-girl ballads that flesh out the painful realities of modern romantic life, and anthems that address war, politics, gender dynamics and even the meaning of life. As such, Stars' albums tend to jump around a bit — rarely more so than on The North, the group's sixth full-length record, out Sept. 4.

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"Duquesne Whistle," begins in the middle of a scene, like the fade-in in a classic Western. It's the first song we get to hear from Bob Dylan's Tempest, the album he will release on September 11, 50 years and six months after the commencement of his recoding career.

Anders Osborne: Live from Studio A REPLAY

Aug 27, 2012
www.nola.com

Anders Osborne performed live from WCBE's Studio A on August 21st, 2012. Check out the performance again here on Live from Studio A REPLAY. Enjoy!

Do you like what you hear? Let us know what you think about our online Live from Studio A REPLAY series!

Thom Bennett / http://thombennettphotographs.com/home.html

Tune in this Friday at 9pm for the American Routes special "Summer's Last Chance to Dance: New Orleans Live", hosted by Nick Spitzer! Recorded during the 2012 New Orleans Jazz Fest weekends, this music is sure to get your barbeque hopping and your picnic popping. 

Regina Spektor plays the piano so loudly, she has to convince piano tuners to adjust the instrument to her liking.

"It gets so loud that the strings reverberate in a certain way," Spektor says. "And I always want them to work on the voicing and to soften the hammers, and they get kind of argumentative with me — they're like, 'You're not supposed to play this loud.'"

In 2009, The Avett Brothers became one of the surprise hits of the year. Paste Magazine considered their I and Love and You the best album of that year, calling it "an overpowering acoustic album brimming with sadness and soul."

That sadness took on new meaning recently. Bassist Bob Crawford took a temporary leave from the band to tend to his infant daughter, Hallie, after she developed a brain tumor.

Next month, The Avett Brothers release a new album, The Carpenter, which explores the delicate balance between life and death.

Sean Rowe has a voice and a style that stands out in popular music. His voice is deep — really, truly deep — fine, and often doleful. He's a baritone troubadour who sings of roads not taken, regrets and the dreams that shake you awake at 3 in the morning.

After years of working bars, road houses and more bars, Rowe is playing concert stages and winning over critics for his story-songs and that remarkable voice. But, as he tells NPR's Scott Simon, he wasn't always so proud to be a singer.

Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson is a modern-day troubadour whose crooning voice and acoustic folk songs often get him compared to Bob Dylan. Matsson recently released his third full-length solo album, There's No Leaving Now, under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth.

English singer-songwriter Beth Orton is one of the best-known practitioners of a subgenre in which folk songs are set to electronic beats — it's a sound she employed to popular and powerful effect throughout the late '90s and early '00s, on hit albums such as Trailer Park, Central Reservation and Daybreaker.

Here's Anders playing Love is Taking its Toll.

Seth and Scott Avett spend a good chunk of their lives on one tour bus or another, so asking them to perform in one isn't all that different from asking them to perform in one of their own living rooms. They may be far away from their native North Carolina — to be exact, they're captured here in a Camden, N.J., parking lot in conjunction with the XPoNential Music Festival — but the setting is cozy enough for Seth Avett to brew tea before performing.

Aimee Mann's eighth studio record, Charmer, comes out in a month. Charmer is also the title — and subject — of the album's first video, which features a robot double of Mann played by three-time Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Linney of The Truman Show, The Squid and the Whale and The Big C.

The video, directed by Tom Scharpling, deals lightheartedly with the idea of fame and persona with Mann playing herself and Linney playing her robot double.

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America is an album packed with melody and noise, minimalism and excess, harshness and beauty — sometimes all the same time. Dan Deacon's music is steeped in pop, electronics and classical music, making this record an absolute adventure.

The prelude to Canadian singer-songwriter Corb Lund's new album sounds like a classic country music song. Lund built a cabin in rural Alberta with his longtime girlfriend and favorite uncle, but after the cabin was completed, his girlfriend left and his uncle died. Snowed in for weeks at a time, Lund emerged with Cabin Fever, the title of his new album.

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The word "supergroup" gets thrown around like so much confetti, then affixed to any band whose members have worked on high-profile projects of any kind in the past. But not all supergroups are the bloated product of committee thinking or Frankensteinian ego exercises; some are just established musicians who've discovered organically that they like working with certain other established musicians.

The White Stripes' "Little Room" is only 50 seconds long. Jack White sings about working on "something good" in his little room, only to have that something good move him to a bigger room, where he's lost and has to consider downsizing to re-center. It is riotous and lean. While it's almost certainly an inventory of personal success, even a manifesto on the subject, for me, in this moment, it is also about Detroit.

On this week's show hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share some of their favorite new discoveries, including the Kate Bush-inspired Swedish duo Niki And The Dove, German experimental pianist Nils Frahm, and a surprising new album from singer Amanda Palmer.

Also on the show: the best new music in a decade from the Chicago-based band Sea And Cake; the inimitable storytelling of Swedish pop singer Jens Lekman; and an epic new album from post-punk veterans Swans.

Debo Band: Ethiopian Funk, Reinvented

Aug 13, 2012

Boston's Debo Band takes inspiration from a golden era of popular music in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the late '60s and early '70s. During a brief period of cultural freedom in Ethiopia, funk and soul music fused spectacularly with local traditions. Debo Band's debut album both honors and updates the sound of "swinging Addis."

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