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Nick Lowe has always been something of a prankster. The guy who called his first album Jesus Of Cool and once notoriously rhymed "Rick Astley" with "ghastly" always loved to give people's expectations a bit of a tweak. So in retrospect it's not surprising that his 1984 album Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit featured only one actual country tune, a cover of the Faron Young hit "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," buried at the end of the LP's second side.

If the word "aura" is defined as a pervasive atmosphere, then it's a perfect title for this piece by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, who has a knack for creating vivid sonic environments.

When Amber Coffman left Dirty Projectors, the split was acrimonious enough to inspire the band's first song since 2012.

Most musicians who achieve a certain amount of acclaim only to disappear from the public eye get cast as reclusive. The baggage that label carries has never quite fit Cody ChesnuTT. Even if you tried to pin it on him, he'd no doubt shake himself free. In between the release of his sprawling 2002 lo-fi debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, and the 2012 studio follow-up, Landing On A Hundred, the soul conjurer's mystique only grew.

It was not uncommon, in the mid-20th century, for black American artists and writers to take up more-or-less permanent residence in Europe. Jazz musicians like Bud Powell and Dexter Gordon spent years living in Paris and Copenhagen, enticed by the artistic respect and comparative lack of racial discrimination they found while touring the Continent.

There's a perception these days (not entirely unfounded) that country music rewards its male performers for following a particular formula. The combination of gleaming, rhythmic Top 40 hooks, flirtatious frat-party swagger and small-town backdrops has served as a pattern in the industry, largely because it works., and artists who helped lay out the template, like Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt, have contributed mightily to the growth of country's millennial fanbase.

Mac DeMarco On World Cafe

May 24, 2017

Mac DeMarco is just turning 27, but his new album, This Old Dog, seems to represent a more mature persona than he's projected in the past. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, DeMarco has always been known for bringing the party — and then taking it over the top. But when his father (with whom he's had a difficult relationship for most of his life) became ill, DeMarco wrote the more sober "My Old Man" for him, thinking he was not going to recover.

Early Tuesday morning I awoke to the horrific news of the Manchester terror attack. A suspected suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and injured dozens more at an Ariana Grande concert.

I must admit that I don't know Ariana Grande or her music, but since then I have learned that she has a large fan base of female teens and tweens. So I now wonder: Was this attack a deliberate attempt to silence those young women and girls enjoying themselves at a concert?

"It's so heartbreaking because so many little ones attend our shows ... I just keep thinking about them," Ariana Grande's drummer wrote on Tuesday.

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