Studio SessionsMusicians perform and discuss their work in the studios of NPR and NPR Music station partners. Live music sessions, interviews, and the best new songs in rock, pop, folk, classical, jazz, blues, urban, and world music. Watch video sessions.
With roots in Colorado and North Dakota, Rebecca Folsom and Celeste Krenz now call Nashville home. But the duo isn't tied to Music City — the Rhythm Angels are always on the road, spreading angelic Americana. Watch videos from their session at Folk Alley.
Long Island native Mindy Smith continues to move beyond the boundaries of mainstream country by pairing sugary vocals with surprisingly dark lyrics. On her new album, Stupid Love, Smith expands her musical palette with the addition of rich instrumental layers, all while exploring the turbulent nature of relationships. Hear her in a session on World Cafe.
Since 1996, the Scottish band has been playing infectious, poetic indie-pop to ever-wider acclaim. The orchestrally inclined group performs material from its newest release, the sunny My Maudlin Career, at WXPN.
They're a big outfit as indie bands go, but the 13-piece Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have created quite a buzz in Los Angeles, and in the indie world writ large, making excellent '60s-style folk-rock that could be called revivalist. With their converted school/tour bus, their back porch acoustics and their almost communal air, this is one band not to miss.
In Here Comes Science, They Might Be Giants tackles the scientific process, plasma physics, the role of blood in the body and the importance of DNA, all in song. Band members John Linnell and John Flansburgh discuss the album and play some science tunes.
At the core of The Jayhawks' alt-country music is the combined talent of Gary Louris and Mark Olson. These guys seem to have it all: impeccable guitar lines, smooth harmonies and songwriting capabilities that rival just about any musician (or group of musicians) around.
What grew from a music competition in Detroit is now a full-fledged string quartet. Hear the excellent young players of the Harlem Quartet play a classy arrangement of the jazz standard "Take the 'A' Train," a vibrant rendition of Ravel's String Quartet in F and a rambunctious conga at the WGBH studio in Boston.
Alvin is a Grammy-winning guitarist, singer and songwriter whose interpretation of roots music has won countless fans for its raw yet dignified power. For more than 25 years, he's been cooking up batches of folksy songs that range from rockabilly to punk to blues. His latest project, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women, is yet another step in yet another direction.
Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women on World Cafe 09/23/09
The Strawbs' members are survivors. Enduring for more than 40 years, their brand of rock has defied categorization, creating a virtual timeline of pop music. In a session from WXPN, the band goes through its long history and performs two songs.
Out of the hallways at KEXP, passersby could hear an explosive, enthusiastic burst of guitars and drums. The sound was huge, but it came from only two scrawny young men, each playing furiously. Japandroids may be a duo, but it sure doesn't sound like one.
Reduced to a duo for this charming session in the NPR Music offices, Telekinesis is all heart: Without the insistent crunch of electric guitars or drums, the band's performance radiates sweetly awkward warmth. After opening with the unreleased "Plankton," the abbreviated Telekinesis showcases three gorgeous songs from its debut: "Coast of Carolina," "I Saw Lightning" and "Rust."
Guitarist Charlie Barnett says the band seeks "the hottest sounds of 1962 that really didn't happen in 1962." He and vocalist Marilyn Older discuss the group's new album Second Hand Smoke and perform as a duo at NPR.
Pianist and composer Matthew Shipp has an intricate and heady approach to his music, with avant-garde impulses that have led him to experiment with free jazz styles, tape loops and even turntable artists. Here, Shipp settles into one of his favorite environs, the duo format, as he and McPartland explore the outer reaches on "Naima" and Shipp's own "Gamma Ray."
The son of a church organist, Ade knew from a young age that music was his life's passion. He left grammar school in the 1960s, started a band and hasn't looked back since. He's been the member of multiple groups over the years, founded his own label and has been recording all the while. To date, he's put out more than 100 singles and LPs, and earned two Grammy nominations in the process.