Michigan-born singer-songwriter John Grant has dealt with his share of hardship, including a rough upbringing and family life, a struggle to come to terms with his own sexuality, alcoholism and HIV. But in spite of all that, he's blossomed with three critically praised solo albums and found stability and happiness in Iceland, where he now lives.
Originally formed in Buffalo, N.Y., in the late '80s, Mercury Rev hasn't always had an easy time finding an audience beyond its devoted cult following. But the band did see success in the U.K. with 1998's Deserter's Songs, and breakthrough albums like Yerself Is Steam and See You On The Other Side are still highly regarded.
The St. Louis indie-rock band Foxing just released its second album, Dealer, whichexpands on the sound of its debut, The Albatross. How do these musicians respond to pressure to come up with new material? Foxing has an unofficial motto that helps: "We're a band, and someday we won't be a band." That takes the pressure off.
Hear two songs from Foxing and download the World Cafe: Next segment on this page.
FFS is two headliners in one: Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, whose song "Take Me Out" was a worldwide hit in 2004, plus the American pop-rock group Sparks, which was formed in 1972 by brothers Ron and Russell Mael.
On today's Latin Roots segment, Josh Norek of The Latin Alternative brings World Cafe a couple of Spanish-language versions of well-known rock songs in English. Two groups from Texas, Grupo Fantasma and The Chamanas, cover The Beatles and Portugal The Man, respectively.
EL VY grew out of the writing that Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls had been working on together for the last few years. Lately, they've dedicated more time to their collaboration, and the result is a new album, Return To The Moon, and a nearly sold-out tour.
The first time you experience Christopher Paul Stelling singing and playing guitar is eye-opening. Stelling's attack on the nylon-string acoustic guitar is uniquely forceful, and it serves his songwriting well on his new album, Labor Against Waste. Hear him perform some of those new songs live in the studio as part of today's World Cafe session.
The Vulgar Boatmen was an unusual group, to say the least. After starting at the University of Florida, it eventually became two bands: one led by Robert Ray in Florida, the other by Dale Lawrence in Indiana. Ray and Lawrence collaborated long-distance on songwriting.
One of The Vulgar Boatmen's best albums, 1989's You And Your Sister, is being reissued on Nov. 28. On this page, discover (or re-discover) two songs from that album, including a new remix.
North Dakota singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin released her debut album, Steady On, in 1989. Her breakthrough came in 1996 with the album A Few Small Repairs and its Top 10 song "Sunny Came Home," which won the Grammy for Record and Song Of The Year.