KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Robin Hilton

When Tracy Chapman released her self-titled, debut album back in 1988, the 24-year old singer was widely praised for her acute observations on the struggles of working class Americans. The album was political and, for some, possessed the kind of anthems that could spark a revolution. Not long after releasing her album, Chapman sat down with NPR's Margot Adler to talk about both the singer's growing popularity and her battle against stereotypes as a black woman with a strong voice in the predominantly white world of modern folk.

Singer Kevin Morby is back with a followup to last year's much beloved full-length Singing Saw. The new album is called City Music and is due out June 16 on Dead Oceans. Morby has also shared the record's first single and lyric video, the moody and transfixing "Come To Me Now."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of what many consider Elliott Smith's best album, Either/Or. To mark the occasion, Kill Rock Stars is releasing an expanded version of the late singer's record, with remastered versions of the original songs, live recordings and previously unreleased bonus tracks.

When Bob Boilen and I sat down to record this week's podcast, we were a little bleary-eyed after staying up late the night before to see the The Flaming Lips' show at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C. But — between the band's confetti cannons, laser light show and the electric, rainbow-colored unicorn that frontman Wayne Coyne rode into the audience (I'm not making that up) — it was well worth the loss of sleep.

It's been nearly six years since the Fleet Foxes released any new music. But Tuesday morning the group announced it's got a new album coming in the spring called Crack-Up. In making the announcement, frontman Robin Pecknold shared a lyric video for a nearly nine-minute song called "Third of May / Ōdaigahara."

Paul McCartney is giving fans a preview of what to expect from the upcoming deluxe reissue of Flowers In The Dirt, an album he originally released in 1989. The newly remastered version will include rare outtakes and demos from the recording sessions, snippets and goodies from which McCartney has been sharing in the build-up to its release.

Dirty Projectors frontman David Longstreth decided he couldn't wait any longer.

Spoon's latest video is a surreal, black-and-white tale shrouded in mystery. Nearly everyone in this three-and-a-half minute, funk-inspired jam wears a creepy mask or some sort of ogre costume while riding bikes, dancing, chasing and intermittently accosting one another. It's anyone's guess what it's all about, but it's a curious and compelling watch.

When the Los Angeles-based rock group Giant Drag released it's debut full-length, Hearts And Unicorns, in 2005, fans were immediately taken by frontwoman Annie Hardy's playful and fearless crush of the innocent into the profane. She intentionally subverted her image - pigtails with large, bashful eyes and an almost childlike voice - with brawny guitar noise and provocative songs like "You're Full of S*** (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)" and "YFLMD." (I'll let you look up that second one).

Everything about the long-running Rockabye Baby! music series sparks a smile. On its surface alone the project, which turns hits by Black Sabbath, Prince and other pop and rock artists into tinkling lullabies, is pure comedy, mining the gulf between Iron Maiden and a pacifier. But it's also notable for how fully realized and deftly orchestrated these cover songs are.

Hold on tight: it's another relentlessly exuberant, propulsive jam from The New Pornographers. The latest in the band's deep catalog of clever and addictive power pop is "High Ticket Attractions," taken from the group's upcoming full-length Whiteout Conditions. It's the first new music from The New Pornographers since 2014's Brill Bruisers album.

When Bob Boilen and I sat down to record this week's podcast, the Presidential inauguration and weekend marches were still fresh on our minds and the songs we ended up playing this week seem connected.

Hints have been trickling out since late in 2016, but the official word is here: The latest album from Dirty Projectors is self-titled and due out Feb. 24 on Domino Records.

On this week's +1 podcast, singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten talks about how and why she made the surprising decision to take an acting role on the Netflix series The OA.

By now you should be pretty excited about the upcoming Grandaddy album, the group's first in more than a decade. Back in October, when the band announced it'd be releasing the long-awaited full-length Last Place, it shared the track "Way We Won't," a song so true to Grandaddy's sound it could have easily come from any of the group's earliest albums.

Laura Marling's latest taste from what may be her best album so far is "Wild Fire," a beautiful, breezy reflection on the universal search for identity and purpose. It's an immediately arresting mix of spare, fluttering percussion and gospel harmonies with gently strummed acoustic guitars. Marling lets the song breathe and slowly open up. It feels like the dawn.

The latest single from Bonobo's upcoming album, Migration, is a brooding, four-on-the-floor dance thumper featuring vocals from Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker). At first, "No Reason" seems to drift into focus from another dimension, glittering with Murphy's delicate falsetto over gently arpeggiated synths. But the mood makes a subtle shift toward something darker and edgier once the beat kicks in.

The Joshua Tree, the album that made U2 global megastars, turns 30 this year. To mark the milestone, the band will perform the seminal album in its entirety at several live performances scheduled throughout the year, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo in June.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.