World Cafe is a cutting edge, two-hour program of alternative contemporary music. It offers a broad range of innovative sounds drawn from American as well as international music. It includes music that is familiar but also showcases works by new and emerging artists.
At 22 years old, Adele was inspired by the works of Etta James, Jeff Buckley and Jill Scott when she decided to enroll in the BRIT school. By the time of graduation she had perfected her sound and emerged as a soulful songbird and MySpace sensation in 2007 and 2008.
It's a stretch to call "Beth/Rest" the year's most divisive song, but it's hard to discuss Bon Iver's second album without weighing in on its '80s-style closer. Next to the lush, impeccably crafted grace that precedes it, "Beth/Rest" couldn't be more jarring: With its electric keyboards, saxophones and epic guitar solos, the track could double as the lost love theme to a misbegotten action movie in which Morgan Fairchild seduces a suave diamond thief played by Lou Diamond Phillips.
Though Annie Clark began as a member of Sufjan Stevens' touring band and The Polyphonic Spree, those experiences do little to explain the incredible things that happen on Strange Mercy, her third album under the moniker St. Vincent. As if unleashed from the constraints of her previous work, Clark straight-up shreds.
Ditching the prog-folk of their previous two albums, The Decemberists have taken a more cut-and-dried approach with The King Is Dead. Recorded in a barn outside of Portland, the album has strong ties to R.E.M. in sound and production — Peter Buck, guitarist for R.E.M., decided to climb on board for three songs.