Whether he's playing in bands like Superchunk (or his former solo project, Portastatic) or co-heading Merge Records, Mac McCaughan keeps plenty busy. Last year, he released his first solo album under his own name, Non-Believers.
Singer-songwriter David Childers was new to World Cafe when the show took its Sense Of Place visit to North Carolina, even though his recordings date back almost 20 years. Childers' folk-rock/country songs often have religious themes that reflect his personal journey — especially on his latest album, Serpents Of Reformation, which was recorded by his son, Robert.
Music is only one part of that journey; Childers is also a painter and a practicing lawyer who shepherds clients through mazes of bureaucracy.
A swing-revival band formed in 1993, Squirrel Nut Zippers got together in Chapel Hill, N.C. Best known for its breakthrough single, "Hell," the group visited the World Cafe studio in 1996 to perform four songs, discuss how Squirrel Nut Zippers formed, and explain how they took a different approach to recording Hot, their latest record at the time.
Will Toledo, the 23-year-old who records as Car Seat Headrest, isn't really a new artist. His last album, Teens Of Style,compiled songs from the 11 albums he'd already recorded and made available on Bandcamp. Teens Of Denial, which comes out May 20, contains new songs recorded with power and presence. The music puts a more polished edge on Toledo's self-deprecation, cynicism and honesty. Rarely does teen angst sound so fun.
World Cafe kicks off its "Sense Of Place" trip to North Carolina with a visit to Mount Moriah's practice space, which is also lead singer and songwriter Heather McEntire's home outside of Raleigh, N.C.
Fueled by the ubiquitous stomp-along "Ho Hey," The Lumineers' self-titled 2012 debut album went to No. 2, and "Ho Hey" itself sold more than two million copies. The Lumineers released a follow-up, Cleopatra, last week. In today's session, the band performs some of the new music on stage at World Cafe Live.
Through May 15, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is housing "International Pop," an exhibit that showcases a global collection of pop art from 1956 to 1972. If you visit, you'll find well-known names like Warhol and Lichtenstein, but also many others from Argentina, Japan and elsewhere, including a large number of female artists.
Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams' new album, The Ghosts Of Highway 20, is her second double album in a row — she's most certainly been prolific in recent years. The titular stretch of highway passes through resonant places in Williams' life and provides perfect context for songs about the people and events she's encountered along the way.
Jet Plane And Oxbow, released earlier this year, is Austin rock band Shearwater's ninth album. In this session, lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg says Shearwater made a conscious effort to make sure each song on the record made you want to see and hear it performed live, adding that the band pulled many sonic choices straight out of the '80s.
In the player above, hear Shearwater perform three songs from Jet Plane And Oxbow, recorded live in the World Cafe studio.