Standout 'World Cafe' Performances of 2022 : World Cafe Whether in-person or sent from afar, World Cafe digs back through the 2022 performance session archives.

Standout 'World Cafe' Performances of 2022

Tank & The Bangas (Paige Walter/WXPN), Wet Leg (Hollie Fernando), Helado Negro (Nathan Bajar) Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

Tank & The Bangas (Paige Walter/WXPN), Wet Leg (Hollie Fernando), Helado Negro (Nathan Bajar)

Courtesy of the artists

2022 was a year where the show started to feel normal again. Things picked up in the World Cafe Performance Studio in Philadelphia. Bands were touring again, which meant more in-person visits and live recordings instead of taped ones over Zoom. Today, whether in-person or sent from afar, we're digging back through the archives to highlight some of our stand out performances of the year. Enjoy!

Standout 'World Cafe' Performances of 2022

  • Big band and Old Hollywood inspired Father John Misty's latest album

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    Guy Lowndes/Courtesy of the artist

    Father John Misty

    Guy Lowndes/Courtesy of the artist

    In this session, Father John Misty joins us for a mini-concert from the stage of World Cafe to play songs from his latest album, Chloë and the Next 20th Century. It's a showcase for singer-songwriter Josh Tillman to bring his beautifully cynical ideas and lyrics to life. Sonically, Tillman mined inspiration from big band and traditional music, with traces of an "Old Hollywood" sound that suits his flair for the absurd. Read more.

    Father John Misty on World Cafe

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  • Anaïs Mitchell returns to her roots on a new self-titled album

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    Courtesy of the artist

    Anaïs Mitchell performs live for World Cafe

    Courtesy of the artist

    Anaïs Mitchell took Broadway by storm in 2018 after a decade spent working on her successful folk opera, Hadestown. After several grueling years on the theater circuit (and after winning eight Tony awards), Mitchell has released a new self-titled album that takes her back to her roots as a songwriter. It's a confessional, intimate album a world away from Midtown Manhattan. Read more.

    Anais Mitchell on World Cafe

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  • Billy Bragg's music bridges political themes with the intensely personal

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    Peter Dunwell/Courtesy of the artist

    Billy Bragg

    Peter Dunwell/Courtesy of the artist

    I don't think I'm dropping any sort of bombshell when I say that, lately, a lot of things have felt ... pretty bleak. For your sake and mine, I won't list things off here, but if you keep up with the news, you might end up feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and angry.

    An artist I often turn to when I feel that way is Billy Bragg. His music bridges political themes with the intensely personal. His voice carries in it such an honesty and, as you'll hear, his decades of activism and songwriting have only helped crystallize and empower his thinking on what we need to make the world a better place. Read more.

    Billy Bragg on World Cafe

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  • Big Thief's new album will give you the feeling of coming home

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    Alexa Viscius/Courtesy of the artist

    Big Thief

    Alexa Viscius/Courtesy of the artist

    Picture this: You're walking alone on a cold and blustery night; the wind is whipping your hair back, your cheeks are frozen, and when you finally get to your destination, you open the door, and inside ... there's a fireplace glowing, it's cozy, it's warm, you're greeted with a hug from your partner or your family or your closest friends — you're HOME. Or ... maybe you're inside the new Big Thief album. That feeling of home, of safety, of being surrounded by people who give you space to be your truest self — you can hear it in the warmth and creativity of Big Thief's music, and you can hear it and SEE it when you speak to them. Read more.

    Big Thief on World Cafe

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  • Listening to Tank and the Bangas' 'Red Balloon' is like scanning the radio dial

    Tank and the Bangas perform live at a WXPN Free At Noon Concert Paige Walter/WXPN hide caption

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    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Tank and the Bangas perform live at a WXPN Free At Noon Concert

    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Tank and the Bangas' latest album, Red Balloon, is full of energy and information. With lyrics spanning everything from going out dancing to watching The Simpsons to being Black in America to the Jan. 6 riots to the politics of dating, it's an album experience that feels almost like channel flipping or scrolling through social media or scanning a radio dial — which is what Tarriona "Tank" Ball envisioned. Read more.

    Tank and the Bangas on World Cafe

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  • The Head and the Heart revisit that place where everything felt magical and easy

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    Dani Reis/Courtesy of the artist

    The Head and the Heart

    Dani Reis/Courtesy of the artist

    Sometimes, when you're with someone for a long time, your relationship can start to get complicated. There are resentments and roadblocks and emotional triggers that can make you feel far apart from each other — and far away from how you felt at the beginning when you first met. But it is possible to get back there, to that place where everything felt magical and easy. And for their latest album, Every Shade of Blue, the Head and the Heart did just that. Read more.

    The Head and the Heart on World Cafe

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  • Brace yourself, because Grace Cummings will blow you away

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    Gil Gilmour/Courtesy of the artist

    Grace Cummings

    Gil Gilmour/Courtesy of the artist

    When I heard today's guest for the first time, I did a double take at my speakers because her voice is just incredible — she's like a force of nature. Her name is Grace Cummings; she's from Melbourne, Australia; and a little while ago, she came halfway around the world and performed in front of a live World Cafe audience. She also had a conversation with me about her new album, Storm Queen, how she discovered her voice and what "America" means to a person who grew up in Australia. Read more.

    Grace Cummings on World Cafe

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  • Does Sharon Van Etten have an alter ego?

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    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Sharon Van Etten

    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Sharon Van Etten did something unusual in the lead up to the release of her latest album — no advance singles, no lyric videos, no abundance of promotion. One day, there was no music; the next, a full album, meant to be experienced front to back in one sitting. It's a calculated risk in the hyper-competitive world of new music — but for Van Etten, the risk was worth what she was trying accomplish with We've Been Going About This All Wrong. Written during the pandemic, it's an intimate and moving collection of songs that are stronger because of how they all fit together. Read more.

    Sharon Van Etten on World Cafe

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  • Wet Leg talks about their friendship and their journey to their new debut album

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    Hollie Fernando/Courtesy of the artst

    Wet Leg

    Hollie Fernando/Courtesy of the artst

    Wet Leg is the kind of band that people like to say "came out of nowhere." The duo of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers hail from the Isle of Wight, and that's about as much as most people really knew about them when they released their debut single, "Chaise Longue," back in June 2021. That song became a viral — and, for them — unexpected hit that catapulted them into the public eye and onto late night TV shows and festival line-ups. Read more.

    Wet Leg on World Cafe

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  • Momma's 'Household Name' is the rise and fall of the rock star

    Momma Paige Walter/WXPN hide caption

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    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Momma

    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Momma is an indie-rock band from Los Angeles founded by members Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten. Their new album, Household Name, is, in their words, "the rise and fall of the rock star and the tropes and tribulations that come with that arc." It sees them pay tribute to and reference some of their musical heroes, like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt. Read more.

    Momma on World Cafe

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  • Old Crow Medicine Show on how Nashville has changed since the mid-'90s

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    Kit Wood/Courtesy of the artist

    Old Crow Medicine Show

    Kit Wood/Courtesy of the artist

    It's great to mark time by watching an artist's career — especially if it's by the trajectory of Old Crow Medicine Show, who were so ahead of their time in igniting interest in the String Band tradition. They were also ahead of the curve, landing in Nashville in the mid-'90s well before it was declared the It City. We talk of the changes they've witnessed, the creative collaborations at hand here and the music on their new album, Paint This Town, as I catch up with Ketch Secor and Jerry Pentecost for this World Cafe session. Read more.

    Old Crow Medicine Show on World Cafe

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  • In their latest album, Parquet Courts remain hard to define

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    Pooneh Ghana/Courtesy of the artist

    Parquet Courts

    Pooneh Ghana/Courtesy of the artist

    Parquet Courts are a rock band. They're a post-punk band. A garage-rock band. They're a bit experimental. They're kind of funky? On their latest album, Sympathy For Life, they remain hard to define, bringing in more synths, keyboards and dance than ever before — but as always, that array of sounds forms the foundation for lyricist Andrew Savage's razor-sharp poetry. Read more.

    Parquet Courts on World Cafe

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  • 'Misadventures Of Doomscroller' hopes to pull you away from the information overload

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    Ward Kwskin/Courtesy of the artist

    Dawes

    Ward Kwskin/Courtesy of the artist

    Early on in the pandemic, a journalist named Karen K. Ho coined the term "doomscrolling." It caught on quick, striking a nerve for folks who were stuck inside, hungry to keep up with everything that was going on amid all the news that was constantly coming out, scrolling and refreshing and scrolling and refreshing ... but never really feeling any better about anything. Sound familiar? "Doomscrolling" was officially added to the dictionary in 2020 and now it's immortalized by Dawes with their new album, Misadventures of Doomscroller. It's an album that hopefully will get you off your phone, away from all that information overload. Read more.

    Dawes on World Cafe

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  • Hurray for the Riff Raff's 'Life on Earth' is an affirmation of humanity

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    Akasha Rabut/Courtesy of the artist

    Hurray for the Riff Raff

    Akasha Rabut/Courtesy of the artist

    Hurray for the Riff Raff's last album, 2017's The Navigator, was a concept album focused on Navita Milagros Negron — a character that acts as a stand-in for band founder Alynda Segerra — as they leave home in search of a sense of self and understanding where they came from. It was a bold and big record, establishing Segerra as a musical force. Read more.

    Hurray for the Riff Raff on World Cafe

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  • Memories become songs on Kevin Morby's 'This Is A Photograph'

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    Chantal Anderson/Courtesy of the artist

    Kevin Morby

    Chantal Anderson/Courtesy of the artist

    Have you ever been leafing through a family photo album and come upon a picture of a loved one that makes you stop and linger? Maybe there's a look in their eyes you've never seen before. Maybe you wonder what they're thinking. Maybe the contrast between who they were then and who they are now is particularly striking. And wouldn't it be interesting if you could step inside that photograph and meet them in that moment? Read more.

    Kevin Morby on World Cafe

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  • Amos Lee wants to remind us that there is a path to mental wellness

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    Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist

    Amos Lee

    Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist

    The first single from Amos Lee's new album, Dreamland, was called "Worry No More," a song that acknowledges how hard it can be to live with anxiety — while reminding us that there is a path to wellness of mind. It's a path Amos Lee was walking prior to the pandemic, and continued on while he was making this record. Read more.

    Amos Lee on World Cafe

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  • Spoon captures the energy of the stage on 'Lucifer on the Sofa'

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    Oliver Halfin/Courtesy of the artist

    Spoon

    Oliver Halfin/Courtesy of the artist

    Spoon has earned a reputation as one of the most consistently solid rock bands over its almost three decades together. And for a band so dependable, finding your groove means you can experiment endlessly without ever losing the essence of what makes your music so great. Read more.

    Spoon on World Cafe

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  • The Dip pulls from soul, R&B, pop and rock to make a sound that's all its own

    The Dip perform live at NON-COMM 2022, recorded live for World Cafe Paige Walter/WXPN hide caption

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    Paige Walter/WXPN

    The Dip perform live at NON-COMM 2022, recorded live for World Cafe

    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Recently, the home station of World Cafe, WXPN in Philadelphia, hosted a music and radio convention with a lot of showcases featuring some very talented bands and artists. One thing that struck me was, when I asked some radio and record people what band they were looking forward to seeing, one band kept being brought up: The Dip — and for good reason. The Seattle seven piece pulls from soul, R&B, pop and rock to create a sound all its own — and one that really shines live. The group met while attending college at the University of Washington in the early 2010s. Their new album is the tight and focused Sticking With It. Read more.

    The Dip on World Cafe

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  • Jeff Tweedy talks about what led to Wilco's first true country album

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    Annabel Mehran/Courtesy of the artist

    Wilco

    Annabel Mehran/Courtesy of the artist

    A band that's resisted the country label for a majority of their career just went and made their version of a country record. Wilco, born out of alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, released their 12th studio album, Cruel Country, this spring. It is, by their admission, their first true country album. It's also a meditation on the current state of affairs in America, one that is complicated and flawed, as Jeff Tweedy tells it. Read more.

    Wilco on World Cafe

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  • The Lumineers are expert chefs when it comes to making songs together

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    Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist

    The Lumineers

    Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist

    You know when you've been doing something for a long time — you get the basics down, you learn the rules, you become an expert. That's when you can start to wing it. It's kind of like cooking. Once you know how flavors work together, you can leave recipes behind and just try stuff out. After more than 15 years of being a band, The Lumineers are expert chefs when it comes to making songs together — and so for their latest album, it was time to mix things up. Read more.

    The Lumineers on World Cafe

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  • For Kurt Vile, 'settling down' doesn't necessarily mean 'staying still'

    Kurt Vile performs live at at WXPN Free At Noon Concert Paige Walter/WXPN hide caption

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    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Kurt Vile performs live at at WXPN Free At Noon Concert

    Paige Walter/WXPN

    Kurt Vile has always been a Philly guy — it's where he grew up; it's where he started his music career. The cover artwork for one of his albums is even immortalized as a mural in Philly's Fishtown neighborhood. But it's only in the last couple of years that Kurt's had the time to truly settle down in his own little patch of the city after years of non-stop touring. Not that "settling down" necessarily means "staying still." Read more.

    Kurt Vile on World Cafe

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  • Tim Heidecker's latest is largely inspired by his own high school memories

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    Andrew Levy/Courtesy of the artist

    Tim Heidecker

    Andrew Levy/Courtesy of the artist

    A little while ago, I picked up a box of my high school diaries from the basement of my parents' house. Reading them was pretty funny. I was very dramatic, I was very sure of myself. I had a lot of crushes ... but it was also ... kind of ... touching. It was a document of this person who was becoming a person — and it's a pretty neat thing to be able to look back, as an adult, and feel some tenderness for that teenage version of you, and see the beginnings of who you are now. Read more.

    Tim Heidecker on World Cafe

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  • In 'Far In,' Helado Negro speaks to the longing to find solace inside ourselves

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    Nathan Bajar/Courtesy of the artist

    Helado Negro

    Nathan Bajar/Courtesy of the artist

    For a period of time in 2020 and 2021, the word "outside" felt like a loaded word. We can't go outside! I miss the outside! Outside felt like a dream — a world away that we only experienced in our dreams. Roberto Carlos Lange, who performs as Helado Negro, has made an album that speaks to that longing by finding solace deep inside ourselves. Far out, man! But actually, the album is called Far In. Read more.

    Helado Negro on World Cafe

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