The 1980s in LA were a tumultuous time musically. A number of homegrown movements formed in reaction to the over-produced, corporate music scene, and filmmaker Penelope Spheeris was there to document these beginnings with a series of three extraordinary films titled The Decline of Western Civilization. The first is on the LA punk scene and came out to unanimous praise in 1979. She used extreme filmmaking methods, got inside the nascent scene with her camera and at times seemingly dove off the stage in small venues.
Our World Cafe: Next artist Kevin Gordon has been releasing albums since 2001, and his new one coming out in September, Long Gone Time, is a great example of the swampy rock he favors. Pay attention to his lyrics: After a punk rock youth in Monroe, La., he went on to graduate with a master's from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Gordon lives in Nashville now, and he can't shake his love of punk, poetry or Southern blues.
Warren Haynes is best known for playing lead guitar for Gov't Mule and being in the final lineup of The Allman Brothers Band, who recently put their career to bed with a last series of concerts at The Beacon Theater in New York. Meanwhile, Haynes has been making solo studio albums, each with a distinct style. His last one, 2011's Man in Motion, was his soul album.
For World Cafe's latest Latin Roots segment, Ernesto Lechner from The Latin Alternative is here to discuss progressive salsa. This 1970s music was influenced by the burgeoning prog-rock movement in the U.K. and the U.S., and, as Lechner puts it, there was a conscious effort to be as experimental as possible. He'll play a couple of examples (and include a Spotify playlist) on this page.
The Eaux Claires music festival — a celebration of the musical community surrounding the Eau Claire, Wis., area — begins Friday, and the World Cafe studios are filled with musicians who call the city home.
Jordy Asher, who goes by the name Boots, knows what it's like to work with high-profile artists: He's produced and written for musicians like FKA twigs and Run The Jewels. He didn't come into his own prominence, though, until his name was listed with many tracks on Beyoncé's self-titled 2013 album.
After starting out in the punk scene, Oklahoma singer-songwriter John Moreland decided it was best to start writing about himself. That attitude, and a new Americana sound, helped lend depth and honesty to his new album, High On Tulsa Heat. Moreland's World Cafe session is one of the most unexpectedly beautiful in a while — check out the audio link on this page for more.
Oscar Scheller is a North London-based purveyor of electronic grooves, creating music in his bedroom that he calls "gangsta melancholy." The resulting sounds, though, are much grander than the space in which they're created. When his work goes out into the world, he drops the last name and records as Oscar.
So far, Oscar has released an EP of songs carried by his rich voice, called Beautiful Words. You can hear and download two of its songs on the World Cafe: Next podcast.
Melbourne-based pop singer Meg Mac got her start when her song won an unsigned-artists contest in Triple J Radio's Unearthed competition, which was a big enough deal to jump-start things in Australia. Now, Mac has made her way to the U.S. with a new EP and a cool, powerful performance style.
Lowland Hum's Lauren Plank Groans and Daniel Levi Groans are a married couple from Greensboro, N.C. After they got married, they released their debut album Native Air in 2013, and put out a self-titled follow-up this year.