December 31, 2012 - The Alabama Shakes made many best of 2012 lists! The Shakes' style is marked by Howard's powerful voice and the ensemble's irresistible energy: they enthusiastically blend rock with soul, country, blues and roots, earning critical as well as popular acclaim for their electric performances and foot-tapping self-titled debut.
December 25, 2012 - In this edition of World Cafe, Beat Latino host Catalina Maria Johnson sits down with host David Dye to discuss the Christmas music traditions of Latin America. One thing that sets Central America's music apart from that of North America, she says, is the fact that a lot of it is made for dancing!
December 28, 2012 - Singer-songwriter Ben Schneider is the creative force behind the rhythmically inventive folk-pop band Lord Huron. The band started out as a multimedia solo project, but it now includes Mark Barry on percussion and vocals, Miguel Briseno on bass and percussion, Brett Farkas on guitar and vocals, and Tom Renaud on guitar and vocals.
December 28, 2012 - A band's sound is only as big as its members, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' music is huge. The 10 members are a whirl of roving horns, as well as whistles, claps, shouts, strummed string instruments and percussion involving drums, hands and anything else they can find. The group's communal folk sound blew up in 2009 with the heart-pounding, foot-stomping single "Home"; with its universal sentiment, the song includes a back-and-forth between frontman Alex Ebert and bandmate Jade Castrinos.
December 27, 2012 - Gotye (a.k.a. Wouter "Wally" De Backer) has become an international pop star on the strength of his new album, Making Mirrors. The poppy collection includes "Somebody That I Used To Know," which has topped the charts in six countries and hit the Top 20 in 14 others. There's something hauntingly relatable and undeniably catchy about the insightful, ubiquitous break-up song.
December 27, 2012 - 2012 was a greatyear for The Lumineers. In addition to releasing its eponymous debut, the band played a ton of sold-out shows across the U.S. The Lumineers' open-hearted melodies, rousing acoustic folk sound and simple but raw lyrics have earned the group comparisons to Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars and The Avett Brothers; still, The Lumineers' members have a way of embedding fiery emotion into their music that's all their own. Rollicking, incandescent and reflective, it's music built on a foundation of classical training and roots-rock touring.
December 26, 2012 - Bonnie Raitt is a blues-rock legend with nine Grammys and five platinum albums under her belt. Her rootsy and passionate take on everything blues — combined with her intimate understanding of composition, deft slide-guitar skills and soulful vocals — helped Raitt become an icon.
Becoming a rock star has major implications — just ask John Mayer. The singer-songwriter's personal history and relationships are all public knowledge, thanks to the enormous media attention that the 34-year-old attracts. The attention in turn attracts trouble, but Mayer, who has just released his fifth solo studio album, tries to take it all in stride.
December 25, 2012 - The Polyphonic Spree celebrates the 10th anniversary of their annual Holiday Extravaganza with the release of a brand new album, Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays Vol. One, their first ever holiday album. This is a truly spectacular performance from the 18 member strong Polyphonic Spree live from the World Cafe studio at WXPN in Philadelphia. tudio. This performance could be a record for the number of musicians: a string section, horn section, two drummers and a six piece chorus. We meet their leader and singer Tim Delaughter and hear the band playb live. The group is lead by Tim DeLaughter and, though the line-up changes constantly, typically involves some 20-odd individuals who provide talents from singing to piccolo.
December 24, 2012 - When veteran U.K. singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn decided to put together her own Christmas album — a project she'd been pursuing for several years — she opted for a slightly less traditional approach. The Everything but the Girl singer's new album, Tinsel and Lights, has only one very familiar holiday tune, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The rest of the record is a mix of Thorn's original work and traditional songs that, while still written in the holiday spirit, aren't as well-known as the songs we hear in every shopping mall throughout the season.