WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

Kevin Tidmarsh

A bright red phone sits on the desk in NPR's main studio in Culver City, Calif. It's an '80s era hotline that serves as a permanent link for host David Greene to his counterparts in NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. No number. No ring time. Just a permanent connection. It's the first thing the members of the alt-pop trio MUNA mention when they sit down for their interview.

"We should have that in our houses," Naomi McPherson says.

"We should!" Katie Gavin and Josette Maskin both agree.

Sleater-Kinney got a new beginning a few years ago. In 2006, the trio — guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss — announced a hiatus, after half a dozen albums that had made it one of the most respected and beloved rock bands around.

Carly Rae Jepsen has evolved into one of pop's most endearing and indelible voices; her relatable lyrics hit home but her dance-pop arrangements soar above the everyday. She's a long way off from the bubblegum pop days of "Call Me Maybe." Over the course of her first three records, Jepsen went from a relatively unknown Canadian Idol contestant to a viral phenomenon to a lowkey critical darling. Still, Jepsen had yet to really let fans in until now.

DAWN is a survivor. You can hear it when she tells her story and you can hear it when she sings her songs.

The singer-songwriter-producer, f.k.a. D∆WN or Dawn Richard, first rose to notoriety as a member of Diddy's R&B group Danity Kane. The group dropped its debut album in August of 2006, one year after Hurricane Katrina hit DAWN's hometown of New Orleans. She still remembers being stranded on a highway with her family when Katrina hit.