Smith Westerns: TAS In Session

Earlier this summer, Smith Westerns arrived at WFUV and The Alternate Side prepared to play an acoustic session of songs from Soft Will, an unplugged gesture that mirrored the subtle sonic adjustments that the rakish Chicago rockers have made since their 2009 debut. Not that the band's latest release, Soft Will, doesn't reverberate with a certain punkish bravado, but there's a grander maturity to Smith Westerns' taut songcraft these days. Watch videos of Smith Westerns in performance at FUV and listen to the session on FUV Live on Tuesday, July 23, at 9 p.m. ET  (also streaming) or onTAS on 91.5 WNYE on Friday, July 26, at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online.

MS MR: TAS In Session

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Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow are the NYC duo known as MS MR. They recently released their full length debut, Secondhand Rapture, and stopped by The Alternate Side and FUV's Studio A to play some of their new songs and chat with Alisa Ali about their music making process. Watch MS MR live in performance, listen to the session in the FUV archives or on TAS on 91.5 FUV this Friday, July 19, at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online.

Junip: TAS In Session

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Although Junip, the Sweden-based trio of José González, Tobias Winterkorn and Elias Araya, got slightly sidelined a decade ago as González' solo career took off, the band has more than made up for the delay. Junip's second, self-titled album continues from where 2010's Fields left off, mixing a maze of bold, sharply melodic layers with a melancholy drift. Watch Junip in session with FUV and TAS and listen to González and Winterkorn in conversation with Russ Borris on FUV Live tonight, July 8, at 9 p.m. ET (also streaming) and on TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, July 12, at 11 a.m. ET, also available online.

Nick Cave: FUV Interview

Over the last week TAS has been revisiting some of our favorite FUV interviews from the past six months. Watch and listen to Eric Holland's fascinating FUV conversation with Nick Cave at the Bowery Hotel earlier this spring, detailing the "the adventurous making" of Push The Sky Away, Cave's 15th album with the Bad Seeds. In addition, Nick Cave discusses the absence of guitar on the new album, the impact of Grinderman, Miley Cyrus (really) and the "counterpoint" that exists in his writing.

The National: FUV Live

This week The Alternate Side is looking back at some of our favorite FUV Live sessions from the last six months and we thought that New York's own The National fit perfectly with Independence Day. The band released Trouble Will Find Me earlier this spring. Watch videos of the band playing live, catch up with The National session in the FUV archives or listen to The National this Friday, July 5, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online.  

Low: WFUV Live Session

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Over this long and leisurely July 4th holiday week, The Alternate Side will highlight some of our favorite FUV Live sessions from the first half of 2013, beginning with Low. This year, Low celebrates 20 years together as a band, and they recently released a tenth full-length album, The Invisible Way. Produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, it's a beautiful pairing of thoughtfully-introspective lyrics and sparse musical arrangements. The veteran indie rock trio performed a few of the new songs, like the haunting "Plastic Cup," in Studio A back in March. Listen to Alisa Ali's conversation with Low, playing Chicago's Pitchfork Music Fest on July 20.

Still Corners: TAS In Session

As adrift in moody atmosphere as a Jane Campion film, Still Corners' second album, Strange Pleasures, takes a nocturnal journey through London, reflecting the romantic evolution of a relationship. The Anglo-American duo of Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray just wrapped a tour with Chvrches, appearing in New York last week for three gigs, including their own headlining slot at Mercury Lounge. Between soundchecks, Still Corners traveled to The Alternate Side to play a set of songs from their haunting new record. Watch videos of Still Corners' performance, read highlights of their conversation and listen to the entire session this Friday, June 28, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online.

John Grant: TAS In Session

John Grant's personal struggles have fueled, not foiled, his artistic output. A recovering drug addict and alcoholic who, newly sober, then faced an HIV-positive diagnosis, Grant discovered that honesty about those predicaments freed him creatively. For his powerful second solo album, Pale Green Ghosts, Grant relocated to Iceland, delving into the electronic music that defined his adolescence. Listen to a compelling TAS session with John Grant on TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, June 21, at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online. Watch videos of Grant's performance in Studio A now (backed by his Icelandic bandmates) and read highlights of his candid conversation with The Alternate Side's Russ Borris.

Villagers: TAS In Session

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For Villagers' second album, Awayland, Conor O'Brien says that he was more "open-minded," delving into electronic ambience, fresh instrumentation and a robust collaboration with his bandmates. The result, much to O'Brien's satisfaction, is a more confident album than Villagers' 2010 Mercury Prize-nominated Becoming a Jackal. The Irish singer-songwriter recently brought the acoustic — read that as solo — version of Viilagers to FUV and TAS to play songs from Awayland. Watch videos of O'Brien's performance, read highlights of the interview and listen to the entire session on FUV Live tonight, June 10, at 9 p.m. ET, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, June 14, at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online and in the FUV archives now. Villagers play New York's Bowery Ballroom on June 11.

Portugal.The Man: TAS In Session

Portugal.The Man's seventh full-length album, Evil Friends, is released this week amid some fanfare. While the band still clings to a certain DIY rigor, it's indisputable that working with producer Danger Mouse — and finding a major label home on Atlantic Records — takes the group to a different level. Curiously, Portugal.The Man had some trepidation about working with the Grammy-winning producer, a conundrum which frontman John Gourley discussed in conversation with TAS' Alisa Ali. Watch videos of Portugal.The Man live in Studio A, read highlights of the interview and listen to band's session on TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, June 7, at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online, or via FUV Live beginning tomorrow, June 4.

Foals: TAS In Session

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Foals' kinetic live shows have anchored the Oxford band artistically, as aptly described by the title of the quintet's powerful third album, Holy Fire. There's an emotional grandeur and confidence to the new album, reflecting Foals' determination to forge fresh paths, unsettling old habits. A few weeks ago,  Foals — bound for New York's Governor's Ball Music Festival on June 9 — visited The Alternate Side and frontman Yannis Philippakis discussed the unusual recording of the album, which involved the boiling of bones and broken microphones. Watch Foals live now and listen to the session and interview when it airs this Friday, May 31, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE at 11 a.m., also streaming online.

Watch The National Perform 'Graceless' In Session With WFUV

Watch The National play "Graceless" off of its new album, Trouble Will Find Me, for FUV at the Cutting Room Studios in Manhattan, on now. And tonight, listen to the session on WFUV tonight at 9 p.m. ET, also streaming online and available now.

Daughter: TAS In Session

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When London's Daughter visited FUV and The Alternate Side last October, the band members — three self-professed perfectionists — were still working on their debut album, If You Leave. The album was finally released in March. Daughter wraps its first lengthy North American headlining tour this week, but the band returns this August to tour with The National. Late last month, Daughter's Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella stopped by for a conversation with The Alternate Side (Elena Tonra was battling a cold). Listen to the interview, including performance highlights from Daughter's fall TAS session, this Friday, May 24, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE at 11 a.m. ET, also streaming online.

Watch Iron And Wine Live At WFUV

Iron and Wine's Sam Beam recently released his fifth full-length album, Ghost On Ghost, which is an expansive affair, complete with lush backing vocals, strings,  a horn section and a deep affection for a retro-'70s sound. Beam brought along nearly a dozen bandmates when he played live for WFUV a few weeks ago. Watch the videos here and listen to Iron and Wine's session with WFUV. Better yet, catch Iron and Wine at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY this Sunday, May 19.

Haerts: TAS In Session

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Newcomers Haerts are an international band, embracing members from Germany, Britain and the States. They've got just one released single to their name, "Wings," but the quintet is already generating early adoration from the blogosphere and readying the release of a full-length debut later this year. Haerts are touring now with the Shout Out Louds and Atlas Genius later this spring, appearing with the latter at Bowery Ballroom on June 18. Watch Haerts perform "Wings" and a new track, "Hearts," in Studio A and listen to their TAS session this Friday, May 17, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE, also streaming online.

Phoenix: TAS In Session

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Phoenix has been spending a lot of time in New York of late — far removed from decent Parisian croissants — recording at Oscilloscope Laboratories, playing "Saturday Night Live" and "The Late Show with David Letterman," and doing loads of press for their new album, Bankrupt!. On Monday, May 13, Phoenix will play a sold-out show at the Apollo Theater with another date at the Barclays Center in October. The quartet chatted with The Alternate Side's Alisa Ali about an array of eclectic inspirations, zigzagging from the eBay pruchase of Michael Jackson's recording console to a tiny toy keyboard. Listen to the TAS conversation with Phoenix this Friday, May 10, on TAS on 91.5  WNYE at 11 a.m., also streaming online

The Black Angels: TAS In Session

Indebted to the Velvet Underground, Austin's The Black Angels have shaped their own style of darkly evocative psychedelic rock. On the band's fourth album, Indigo Meadow, politics also step to the lyrical forefront. The Black Angels are on a lengthy North American tour this spring and have also lined up the Glastonbury Festival this June. Not long ago the band did an acoustic set for The Alternate Side. Watch the videos now and listen to The Black Angels session this Friday, May 3, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE at 11 a.m., also streaming online.

Caveman: TAS In Session

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The members of local band Caveman have gauged their process wisely, opting to gig diligently around New York City rather than setting off in a van for the North American hinterlands. Collaborating with producer Nick Stumpf of French Kicks, Caveman released its second, self-titled album on Fat Possum earlier this month. The guys recently did a live session for The Alternate Side which you can hear this Friday, April 26, at 11 a.m. EDT on TAS on 91.5 WNYE, also streaming online.

Ra Ra Riot: TAS In Session

Ra Ra Riot has taken some dramatic turns over its seven years in existence. The band's latest shapeshifting feat on its new album, Beta Love, brings an electronic sweep to Ra Ra Riot's sound, reflecting not only a change in lineup and approach, but a new producer. The group recently visited Studio A for a session and a conversation: watch the live performance videos now and listen to Ra Ra Riot this Friday, April 19, at 11 a.m. EDT on TAS on 91.5 WNYE, also streaming online

Watch Phoenix Live In Studio A, Listen To The WFUV Session

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There is much anticipation and excitement around the forthcoming album from Phoenix, called Bankrupt! The foursome from France joined Rita Houston at FUV recently to talk about the making of the album, the challenges of following-up their recent success, and their love of New York City. Check out a stripped-down version of "Entertainment" and hear some insights into the band's always interesting lyrics in Rita's conversation with Phoenix, in the WFUV archives now.

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