The National's rise has been slow and steady, to match the growth and evolution of its dour but beautiful rock sound. In this installment of World Cafe, the band tells host David Dye how sleep deprivation led its members to craft more straightforward songs on their new album, Trouble Will Find Me.
Hanni El Khatib is a first-generation American who grew up with a Palestinian father and a Filipino mother in San Francisco. His music has origins in '50s and '60s soul, blues, R&B and garage rock, with all those influences filtered through an intense love of punk music.
Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchinson has been creating compelling, sometimes even uplifting, songs about abject failure since the Scottish band's first album, Sing the Greys, came out in 2006.
On this installment of World Cafe, Hutchinson tells host David Dye how the entire band was involved in writing lyrics for its new album, Pedestrian Verse. The singer also discusses Frightened Rabbit's unique experience during a recent tour of northern Scotland.
Listen To Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside On World Cafe
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside's music was raw and forthright from the beginning, when its album Dirty Radio came out in 2011. The Portland band captures the energy of early-'50s music, with blues and country influences that earned it a rockabilly designation early in its career.
RNDM is a new band featuring Joseph Arthur, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Richard Stuverud. Ament and Arthur met when the latter opened for Pearl Jam on tour.
Ament tells World Cafe host David Dye that he was mesmerized by Arthur's ability to create band sounds by looping his guitar and vocals. He also describes how RNDM formed and explains the process behind creating its debut album, Acts.
In this installment of World Cafe, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (the stage name of Will Oldham) and Dawn McCarthy perform their own versions of classic Everly Brothers songs — as heard on their latest album together, What the Brothers Sang.
Laura Stevenson describes herself as an "unfunny Woody Allen," which is another way of saying that her work channels her obsessions with death and doubt. On her third album, Wheel, she finds a way to make it all sound downright jaunty.
Stevenson came to her more folk leanings from roots in punk, as well as a musical family; her grandfather, choral director Harry Simeone, was responsible for "Little Drummer Boy." Listen to two songs from Wheel on this page.
At 81, music mogul and Columbia Records president Clive Davis has slowed down just enough to write his autobiography, The Soundtrack of My Life. The book, which describes how he's consistently made hit records, has itself become a bestseller.
Rod Stewart has little to prove as a rock star. He's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame twice, once solo and once with The Faces. More recently, he's had enormous success with a series of standards titled The Great American Songbook, and published an autobiography that inspired him to return to songwriting.