Singer-guitarist Erika Wennerstrom performs with elegance and power, and she's been doing so with Heartless Bastards for a good long time now. The band recently performed songs from its new album Restless Ones live on stage at Philadelphia's Non-COMMvention. Wennerstrom says she and the band got to take their time with the new album — enough time to let happy accidents happen along the way.
Best Coast just returned with a new album called California Nights, which expands on the band's soaring beach-rock sound. In fact, expansion seems to be the point of California Nights: Members Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno allow themselves to head into uncharted areas, both sonically and lyrically.
World Cafe first got to know Bill Ricchini in Philadelphia, where he produced his first record as Summer Fiction, then didn't hear from him for a while. Four years later, he calls Brooklyn home and has a new Summer Fiction album out called Himalaya. Ricchini traveled to a small U.K. studio to record his latest batch of guitar-driven pop with producer Brian Christinzio (BC Camplight).
San Fermin's new second album is Jackrabbit, and you can hear in this World Cafe session how things have changed for the band since its debut. The group's self-titled debut was entirely written and arranged by Ellis Ludwig-Leone — for him, the band had grown out of a post-Yale composition project.
World Cafe welcomes back Oregon duo The Helio Sequence, featuring Brandon Summers on vocals and guitars and Benjamin Weikel on drums and keyboards. They recently released their self-titled sixth album, which contains some of their most refined pop music yet.
This week's World Cafe: Next pick is Sydney's Meg Mac, who was named Triple J radio's Unearthed Artist Of 2014. While Mac's big voice is a major part of the attraction, it's her intense live connection that brings her gospel-tinged soul music home. In this segment, you can hear two songs from the MEGMAC EP — and download World Cafe: Next podcasts at worldcafe.tumblr.com.
For My Morning Jacket, the place in which music is recorded makes a difference in the experience — and the outcome. The band's new album The Waterfall was recorded near Stinson Beach in Northern California, and singer Jim James describes the beautiful vista outside the studio's giant window in this World Cafe interview. James says that waterfalls specifically inspired him, and that he often thinks about being able to stop one with his mind.
Eco Del Sur is a group of Philadelphia-area Latin musicians whose mission is to explore the wide variety of music from South and Central America, with an emphasis on Andean culture. At the audio link above, hear World Cafe's conversation with longtime leader Jorge Gomez and a set from the show's first-ever Latin Roots Live event.
You'd think it would be difficult for Brian Wilson to pick his favorite Beach Boys song, but he's decisive: It's "God Only Knows." In this conversation on World Cafe, he also says that while he loves the new Wilson biopic Love & Mercy (out Friday), there are parts that were hard for him to watch.