World Cafe

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe

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24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.
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The Walkmen - Heaven - Fat Possum

We should’ve seen this coming. For the past decade, The Walkmen have quietly released six studio albums, all of which have been relatively well-received, and have garnered fans at a steady pace. They’ve had some minor indie hits with songs like “The Rat” from 2004’s Bows + Arrows and “Angela Surf City” from their last studio effort Lisbon. But to the general public, they still flew under the radar amongst a growing wave of blog buzz bands. As The Walkmen celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band what’s clear now is that they’ve carved their own path. The past ten years has been a cultivation of a band and a sound that now seems fully realized on the new album Heaven.

If you’re a fan of a band, no matter the artist, Heaven is the album you wait for. It’s the album in a catalog of releases that you point to for identity. And that’s not to say its all downhill from here, hardly the case. But from the opening track “We Can’t Be Beat,” which is graced with harmonies from Fleet Foxes frontman Robyn Pecknold, there is warmth and grandeur that promises robust ambition. Musically it’s delightful as frontman Hamiton Leithauser croons amongst just a simple acoustic guitar lick and the backing harmonies. No, it’s not the typical approach from The Walkmen. However, it’s a statement song in that hints at musical maturity and boasts collective confidence. From there the album opens up to more of their true rock personality with standouts like “Love is Luck,” “Heartbreaker” and the title-track “Heaven.”

On Heaven The Walkmen capitalize on their ambition and come right to the capacity of realizing their own potential. Where you once really liked this band, Heaven may be the deal breaker to finally fall in love with this band. It’s a culmination of ten years of hard work and continuing to achieve more album by album.

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