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Watch Of Monsters and Men play an exclusive acoustic “Silouhettes” for World Cafe (plus other videos from Iceland!)

Of Monsters and Men recording for World Cafe in their practice space | Photo by John Vettese
Of Monsters and Men recording for World Cafe in their practice space | Photo by John Vettese

All this week, WXPN’s World Cafe has explored the music of Iceland in its Sense of Place series, and it culminated today with a video of poppy indie rock collective Of Monsters and Men performing an acoustic version of their song “Silhouettes” in their practice space in a remote location just outside of Reykjavik.

Originally appearing on the Hunger Games soundtrack, the song was performed live for the first time here, and the contemplative acoustic reinvention was a treat to hear. The performance was recorded on the fly by World Cafe producer Kimberly Junod after a red-eye flight and an early morning bike tour on the streets of Reykjavik; I shot video under similar conditions, while XPN digital content manager Rich McKie edited the final product together safely ensconced back here in Philly.

We’re pretty psyched about the final product, and you can check it out below.

This was just one of a series of videos featured this week from the Cafe’s travels in Iceland. After the jump, check out performances by haunting folk ensemble Árstíðir, ambient / classical composer Ólafur Arnalds and bright electronic pop outfit Sin Fang. Continue reading →

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Download Chrissie Hynde’s World Cafe performance of “You Or No One”

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Chrissie Hynde recently released her solo debut album, Stockholm. It’s been 35 years since the Pretenders released their incredible self-titled debut, and stepping out on her own, Hynde collaborated with Björn Yttling, of the Swedish pop band Peter Bjorn and John, on Stockholm. Hynde was recently on World Cafe with Cafe host David Dye. They talked about the new album, the process of collaborating with Bjorn, and performed four songs during the session. Listen to the entire session here.

Below, download a World Cafe performance of “You Or No One.”

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Preview Strand of Oaks’ Free at Noon by listening back to their World Cafe session

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Emotional Philly rock four-piece Strand of Oaks have been busy lately. Recently, the band did a session with the World Cafe. In it, lead singer, Tim Showalter discusses growing up in a Mennonite community, his journey to Philly and the production of the album. In particular, the album title is meant to be shouted, Showalter explained, since it’s a command to heal. Furthermore, Showlater declared that he “is proud to say that he’s from Philly because it’s people that only care about the music…none of the frivolous stuff…the bands are real.” Strand of Oaks performed “Goshen ’97″, “Heal” and “Plymouth”.

Their newest album HEAL came out this past Tuesday. Highly praised, the album is a brutally honest memoir of Showalter’s personal tragedies. The anthem nature of HEAL, especially the title track, makes the tone of the album one of resilience and hope. Earlier this week, we ran a great interview where The Key’s Elliot Sharp talked with Showalter about the various and interesting day jobs he’s held over the years. And this morning, Strand of Oaks was added to the lineup of the XPoNential Music Festival.

Strand of Oaks will also be tomorrow’s Free at Noon artist. RSVP and get more info on the show here. Listen to the session below.

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Download a World Cafe version of “Indefinitely” by Old 97′s

Photo by Eric Schuman
Photo by Eric Schuman

Alt-country rockers Old 97′s return to WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival on Sunday, July 27th. Rhett Miller and the 97′s have a long standing history with XPN and the festival. The band first appeared at the festival in 1999, when the festival was called “Singer-Songwriter Weekend.” Always a crowd favorite, the 97′s recently released Most Messed Up, and made a stop at WXPN to record a session for World Cafe. Listen to their full session (interview and performance) here. Below, download a Cafe version of “Indefinitely.”

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Download a World Cafe version of The Felice Brothers’ “Cherry Licorice”

The Felice Brothers | Photo by Cameron Pollack
The Felice Brothers | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Ramshackle roots rockers The Felice Brothers made a stop recently on the World Cafe and performed a live set of songs from their new album, Favorite Waitress. In case you missed it, you can listen to the session here.

Early in their careers, The Felice Brothers’ mix of Americana, folk, and rock was influenced by the band’s admiration of Dylan and The Band. The “Basement Tape-isms” of the band’s sound have been fundamental to their charm, and the band’s shuffling, not always-all-together ensemble playing, coupled with their bouyant songwriting shines once again on their new album, especially on the fun “Cherry Licorice.” Download the World Cafe version of song and and watch their live performance of it from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

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Download a World Cafe performance of “Tarifa” by Sharon Van Etten

Photo by Cameron Pollack
Photo by Cameron Pollack

Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten recently released her stellar new album Are We There, and did a World Cafe session with Cafe host David Dye.

The Brooklyn based musician’s career has flourished since her 2009 debut, Because I Was In Love, and as she has pushed herself to improve on each new release, Van Etten’s remarkable emotional honesty and intimacy of her songs has remained constant.

WXPN Welcomes Sharon to Union Transfer on Wednesday, June 18th. Go here for tickets and more information to the show. Below, download a World Cafe version of “Tarifa.”

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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11 free World Cafe songs that you should download right now

Old 97's photo by Eric Schuman
Old 97′s photo by Eric Schuman

Throughout the years World Cafe has opened its doors to thousands of musicians for intimate performances and conversation with Cafe host David Dye. Many of these performances are available on World Cafe CD’s however, we’ve compiled 11 recent performances from Jessica Lea Mayfield, Ages and Ages, Chet Faker, the Old 97′s, Angelique Kidjo, Dan Wilson and others that are available for you to download below.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Download Courtney Barnett’s World Cafe Session for free

Courtney Barnett | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Courtney Barnett | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Fans of Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett can take her recent World Cafe session home with them, thanks to NoiseTrade. The session features a conversation with World Cafe host David Dye in between live performances of “Avant Gardener,” “History Eraser” and more. Stream and download the session below, and revisit Barnett’s Union Transfer appearance here.

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Download the Dum Dum Girls’ World Cafe performance of “Rimbaud Eyes”

Photo by James Orlando
Photo by James Orlando

Dum Dum Girls recently made their debut on World Cafe. With hooked filled songs, flavored with lots of reverb and deftly walking a balancing act between lo-fi garage rock and sheeny pop, they played songs from their recent album, Too True, on Sub Pop Records. Listen to the full session here. Below, download their Cafe performance of “Rimbaud Eyes.”

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Download two songs from Pattern is Movement in the new World Cafe: Next podcast

Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer
Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer

On the heels of the release of their sweet new self-titled outing via Hometapes Records, Philly experimental pop duo Pattern is Movement was featured on this week’s World Cafe: Next podcast. Host David Dye writes “there are beautiful, almost baroque aspects of this largely electronic and percussive music;” download “River” and “Suckling” here via NPR Music.