The New York band Hospitality makes music that's unmistakably friendly and welcoming — it's hug-and-a-handshake pop that lives up to its name by jangling and chiming comfortably. The group doesn't overwhelm so much as it wears listeners down with a subtle charm offensive.
Make a list of bands with integrity, still highly respected and still making music after 25 years, and that list will have Cowboy Junkies near the top. The band remains prolific, tender and poignant, as evidenced by this performance at the NPR Music offices.
It'll take just a few seconds to find out if you're likely to fall in love with Jolie Holland. In this intimate performance at the NPR Music offices, Holland plays songs from 2011's Pint of Blood with an unadorned style that makes her lyrics and voice all the more touching.
Singing in a number of South African languages, as well as English, Soweto Gospel Choir fuses the praise music of many Christian cultures, with nods to traditional African songs of celebration — complete with occasional clicks and bird songs.
Novalima infuses traditional Peruvian music with new life by adding electronic sounds to create songs that sound both familiar and new. In this performance at the NPR Music offices, the band plays in a lean, funky configuration that gets the room grooving along.
Caveman writes guitar-based pop songs full of subtlety and space and melodies you can carry around in your head. The band's songcraft and handcrafted instruments are on display in this performance at the NPR Music offices.
Edwards isn't a flashy singer-songwriter, but her music sticks: Easygoing and accessible, it burrows in deep and then stays put. In the NPR Music offices, she sings four sweet, warm, relatable songs that soothe as they nourish.
Real Estate wears placidity well: It's a band born and bred to convey and celebrate laconic comfort. In its three-song concert in the NPR Music offices, the quintet re-creates its studio sound with airy precision.
The saxophonist's new repertoire salutes electric funk, South Indian modes and swarming improvisation. It's impressive on record, but it becomes a bug-eyed, mouth-agape experience live. Naturally, you could spot a few contorted faces when he played the NPR Music offices.
Pistolera conjures the sounds of the Mexican desert by way of a cold basement in New York City's Chinatown. With the aid of a stellar band and insightful lyrics, songwriter Sandra Velasquez performs the music of her youth in California at the NPR Music offices.
A band of selective minimalism, Milagres gets the most of simple sounds at the NPR Music offices. The result is songs which sound big and strong — delicately built, yet sturdy enough for the emotive sounds of Kyle Wilson's voice.