It's New Year's Eve at The Blue Whale, a "live jazz + art space" in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 2009 by singer Joon Lee, this is a listening room. There's food at the bar, poetry (Rumi!) on the ceiling, and wall-to-wall people. The Blue Whale has been sold out for days, and the phone keeps ringing off the hook because everybody wants to be on the air, cheering for Billy Childs live on NPR's Toast of the Nation.
The Irish indie-folk duo The Lost Brothers makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of Ohio University in Athens. Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland aren't actually brothers; they met nearly a decade ago, while they were both working with other bands in Liverpool. The two began writing songs together in their spare time, and liked the results so much that they decided to form a singing duo.
The New Jersey band Titus Andronicus doesn't shy away from big ideas: It's named for Shakespeare's first tragedy, and its last record (2010's The Monitor) is a concept album drawing on the history of the Civil War. The group's big, shambling rock 'n' roll doesn't mess around with the everyday, opting instead for life-and-death urgency.