First Listen

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe ®

XPN2 - XPoNential Radio

24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

World Cafe Archives

Join David Dye as he navigates the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

Folk Alley

Folk music radio streaming on the web; Americana, Roots Music, recordings, and stories from folk's best.
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First Listen

Enjoy previews of select, upcoming albums, in their entirety on FIRST LISTEN.

  1. First Listen: Shemekia Copeland, 'Outskirts Of Love'
    The blues singer continues to resist genre constraints while tackling big issues and sounds. The resulting album speaks to the times in bold, rabble-rousing ways. More....
  2. First Listen: Petite Noir, 'La Vie Est Belle/Life Is Beautiful'
    A bright new star from South Africa, Yannick Ilunga doesn't need to be sonically tethered to his African roots to gather notice in rock and electronic-music circles. More....
  3. First Listen: Ben Folds, 'So There'
    The ambitious singer and pianist splits his new album into halves: one recorded with the New York classical ensemble yMusic and one 21-minute "Concerto For Piano And Orchestra." More....
  4. First Listen: Jonas Kaufmann, 'Nessun Dorma: The Puccini Album'
    With a muscular, mahogany-colored voice, one of the today's finest tenors sings his way through the hits and lesser-known operas by Puccini. More....
  5. First Listen: Gary Clark Jr., 'The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim'
    Cool and in control, Clark can shed his voice's earthier timbre and slide into a dreamy falsetto at will. That makes for a striking contrast with his turbulent guitar attack. More....
  6. First Listen: Low, 'Ones And Sixes'
    Intimacy, unease and aggression coexist in bracing, beautiful ways throughout Ones And Sixes, which feels as intimate as a whisper over pillows and as obtuse as transmissions from a faraway satellite. More....
  7. First Listen: Dam-Funk, 'Invite The Light'
    The man born Damon Riddick makes an epic 20-song album that draws on the entire history of funk. Six years in the making, Invite The Light has a sound that's almost impossible to pin down. More....
  8. First Listen: Joan Shelley, 'Over And Even'
    Songs on the Kentucky folk singer's second album sound ancient and true, even on first hearing. More....
  9. First Listen: The Arcs, 'Yours, Dreamily'
    In his new band, The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach plays immersive, funky R&B and soul that's embellished with velvety harmonies, hissy tape recordings and lip-curling attitude. More....
  10. First Listen: Cécile McLorin Salvant, 'For One To Love'
    Salvant explores the quaint art of jazz singing, but with her own aesthetic idiosyncrasies intact. Her toolbox contains anywhere from a rich, husky voice to one that tiptoes theatrically, girlishly. More....