Our World Cafe: Next artist this week is a singer-songwriter from Eastern Kentucky named Sturgill Simpson. Earlier this year he self-released his second album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. He has called it a "social consciousness" concept album disguised as a country record. That may be, but there is no disguising Sturgill's amazing voice and the songwriting on this record.
When people think of Toronto's music scene, the first name that comes to mind rhymes with "fake." But there's actually a bunch of great new folk acts operating in and around Canada's queen city, too. Jennifer Castle possesses one of the scene's prettiest voices, as you can hear in "Sailing Away," a highlight of her upcoming album, Pink City (due out Sept. 2).
With this Tiny Desk Concert by the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet, we have the opportunity to explore the world of a single composer. With the arguable exception of Béla Bartók's six string quartets, it's generally accepted that the 15 by Dmitri Shostakovich are the strongest body of quartets since Beethoven.
It had been almost a year to the day since Sam France of Foxygen fell off a stage, canceling the band's 2013 tour just as it was getting started. But now he and songwriting partner Jonathan Rado are back with a glittery, glammy vengeance. On the day of their live session at KEXP, the two announced the follow-up to their epic We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic with the even-more-epic 24-song, four-suite double LP ...And Star Power.
As the end of summer nears, here's one more bouncy tune to carry you into fall. "Black Lemon," by Generationals, two former high school buddies Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, mixes marimba-based jolliness and lyrics tinged with darkness. It looks at life's ties that bind and searches for ways to chill and not fight every battle.