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Mica Levi fronts the wildly playful and inventive British rock band Micachu and the Shapes. Normally, the group plugs in, turns up the volume and plays as a trio. But for this video performance at the South by Southwest music festival and conference, Levi plays by herself, with just a child-sized acoustic guitar. Watch how she stretches the limits of six nylon strings and a magic marker.
After an extensive negotiation involving three cups of hot green tea and a late change of venue, PJ Harvey and John Parish agreed to a performance and video shoot. The two showed up, sat down, produced a steel guitar and two amplifiers, and performed two beautiful songs from their new album, A Woman a Man Walked By.
Lots of artists mix digital and acoustic sounds, but Mirah does it with remarkable control and grace. Her songs are never overly produced or overly sentimental. They're just a little dark, with something bubbling quietly beneath humming electronics and gently strummed guitars. See Mirah perform three new songs from her latest album, (A)spera, at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas.
The Mexican electronic rock band Kinky performs songs from its latest album Barracuda. Lead singer Gil Cerezos talks with host Michel Martin about the band's collaborative spirit, and how it's managed to win over a devoted international following despite little commercial radio airplay.
Through the '90s, until the group disbanded in 2006, Grandaddy built a loyal audience by making beautifully orchestrated, neo-psychedelic space-pop. Former frontman Jason Lytle returns this year with his debut solo album, Yours Truly, The Commuter. He showcased some of his new songs for this NPR Music video session.
The latest viral video doesn't just come from YouTube — it's a remix of it. Amateur musicians with video cameras and homemade gadgets are all the playthings of an Israel-based musician and producer named Kutiman, who blends their sounds and images into unique songs.
As a teenager, the singer-songwriter was already touring the world with his rock band. His new album takes him back to before then, when country music blasted out of Texas radio stations. He performs a solo acoustic set in NPR's Studio 4A.
By the time she was 16, Janis Ian already had a Grammy and a permanent place in the American consciousness. Her new autobiography shares the sometimes shocking stories behind her life and music. In a session from Folk Alley, she performs a cross section of her songs.
Last week, host Andrea Seabrook asked listeners to send in home recordings and photographs of their oddest musical instrument. The responses were eclectic, and some were indeed strange. Here is a smattering of some of the more interesting instrument descriptions from listeners.