On Wednesday, federal prosecutors charged a 28-year-old man named Cameron James Pettit in connection with the death of rapper and producer Mac Miller last year.

North Carolina has strong associations with folk music, but it occupies a much bigger piece of American music history: It's been a hub for burgeoning indie rock, the cradle of the Piedmont blues and the birthplace of titans like Nina Simone, Elizabeth Cotten, George Clinton, Thelonious Monk and Link Wray.

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.

A-WA is made up of three Israeli sisters, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim. This melodic trio of Jewish women of Yemeni descent women emphasize mixing their culture's traditions with forward-thinking modifications to sound, visuals and ethos. The sisters are known for eye-popping music videos that challenge gender stereotypes. Picture women in traditional robes that are neon pink while off-roading across a barren desert. The trio's sound is just as distinctive.

Cedric Burnside is a drummer, guitarist, singer and performer. You can hear all of those elements come together on Benton County Relic, his latest album. He grew up in Benton County in rural Mississippi where he was raised by his grandfather, the late bluesman, R.L. Burnside.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Every Tuesday, The Spy adds new music to its rotation. Here are the adds for the week of September 3, 2019. This week's playlist includes a collaborative song from Thom Yorke and Flea, Bombay Bicycle Club's first new song in five years, a track from Sturgill Simpson's upcoming film, and so much more.

Listen to this playlist via Spotify.

Picher, Oklahoma has been called one of America's most toxic towns. So, what better inspiration for a noise rock band?

Oklahoma City band Chat Pile takes its name from the large waste remains of the early 20th century lead mining that had been done in Picher. Adopting stage names like Raygun and Stin, the band released a noisey debut EP titled This Dungeon Earth in Maychanneling what had happened to Picher.