NPR

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union are poised to win Germany's national elections Sept. 24. But for the first time since the Second World War, Germany's Parliament, the Bundestag, also looks set to include an extreme right-wing party — the Alternative fuer Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) or AfD.

Since its founding in 2013, the party, led by economist Alice Weidel and former CDU politician Alexander Gauland, has been shaking up the German political landscape. It is currently represented in 13 of Germany's 16 state legislative bodies.

Dego & Kaidi have one of those long-running, non-exclusive musical relationships the quality of which is impossible to deny and hard to explain if the context — London's multi-cultural club-life — is unfamiliar. Theirs is a classic example of how, given enough time, underground harmony solidifies into cultural bedrock.

Shilpa Ray is nothing if not honest. Her new album, Door Girl, captures New York nightlife in all its sordid, sweaty chaos and supplies caustic commentary on life in the unfeeling city.

If the Tiny Desk offers one lesson, it's that greatness doesn't diminish with less volume. The lesson doubly applies here.

During their performance, Bomba Estereo's Simon Mejia (bass and keyboards) observed that it was the quietist the band has ever played; they rose to the occasion with an intense performance that reflects their earliest days working smaller venues in Columbia.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders plan to hold a controversial independence referendum on Monday. Kurds are expected to overwhelmingly vote in favor of separating from Iraq. The United States and other allies have warned them not to go ahead.

Here's what to know:

Who and where are the Kurds?

An estimated 30 million Kurds live in territory overlapping northern Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. They are the fourth-biggest ethnic group in the region after Arabs, Persians and Turks.

Every year, summer gives way to fall, and in movie theaters, blockbusters give way to awards contenders. On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, film critic Bob Mondello of All Things Considered and I spoke with Tasha Robinson of The Verge and film writer Bilal Qureshi about some of what we all saw at the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off the fall movie season.

The last time Macklemore released a solo album, it wasn't ironic to call him a conscious rapper.

The president had ascended to the nation's highest office despite losing the popular vote. The country was embroiled in an immigration debate stoked, in part, by the politics of fear. And a natural disaster in the making would soon highlight the systemic fault lines of race and class in America.

In 2005, The Language of My World touched on all of those social issues and more. It couldn't have come at a more appropriate time — unless it was released today.

Tensions continue to mount at the University of California, Berkeley, where a conservative student group is planning to host an event it's calling "Free Speech Week" starting on Sunday.

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