KTEP - El Paso, Texas

All Songs Considered

Happy Friday the 13th! On this week's New Music Friday, All Song Considered's Robin Hilton speaks with NPR's Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson, Lars Gotrich, and Sidney Madden about the best new releases of the week. Highlights include Wiz Khalifa's long-awaited followup to the 2011 pop-rap breakout Rolling Papers, the calming songs of Luluc, affirmations of love from the Dirty Projectors and more.

Featured Albums

  1. Rayland Baxter: Wide Awake
    Featured Song: "Strange American Dream"

You always remember your first romantic encounter. Left behind on the night stand of a rented lake cabin, dog-eared and water-stained, its lurid cover slightly sun-faded. Smuggled into your bunk at overnight camp by that one girl who knew the names for acts you never even knew to imagine, with tell-tale spine cracks at all the juiciest bits. Late at night in a sleeping house, silent save for the hum of central air, when you finally worked up the nerve to click on the "M" rated Harry/Draco fic whose summary had been tantalizing you for weeks.

The Tree of Forgiveness, his first album of originals in 13 years, is not just classic John Prine. When so much of humanity seems closed off, Prine knows when to be a little goofy, too.

Roy Montgomery's music is like swimming through phantoms, each entity a haunting, illuminating new spectral phase. It was Montgomery's guitar work and deep, warbling vocals that have disoriented far-out New Zealand rock bands like The Pin Group, Dadamah and Dissolve, along with his solo material, since the 1980s. But Montgomery has always been self-effacing about his own voice: "It's lazy," he told Perfect Sound Forever in 2003.

You're 22, just finished a grueling two-hour nap and have $8.43 left on your prepaid debit card. A friend of a high school acquaintance's cousin invited you to brunch, but you lost your metro pass (again) and free-range restaurant eggs cost a minimum $6. What do you do? You charge to the grocery store around the corner and make a beeline for the three-dollar wine. And when the tired cashier asks if you want to save 10% on all future purchases, you stay focused. Um, do you look like the type of person who can afford an in-store membership? Being alive is expensive. Bad wine is not.

We're hitting the middle of summer, so you're either on a beach with a cooler and extra sunscreen (reapply every two hours!), or making that dollar at work and staying cool in air conditioning, counting down the hours to a neighborhood cookout and perhaps a nice glass of rosé.

The 7-inch sat in my college dorm room, unplayed but displayed — a bright pink foldover cover with red lettering and a crude drawing of two dashing men. There wasn't a way to hear the songs outside of a turntable (at the time, still sitting in my parents' living room), no digital copy available. When you mail-ordered a record, you listened to the record, not the MP3s from a download card.

Yasmin Williams only started playing the guitar after beating all the songs on expert-level on Guitar Hero II. "I figured, well, I beat that game, I can probably play a real guitar now," she says.

Our 2018 Tiny Desk Contest tour has come to an end. Over the last two months, we've hosted concerts in eight cities featuring 21 bands who entered the Tiny Desk Contest — plus our winner, the brilliant guitarist and singer Naia Izumi.

It's an exciting week for new music. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks to NPR's Rodney Carmichael, Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson and Tom Huizenga, along with WBGO's Nate Chinen about the best releases for June 29. This includes Drake's highly-anticipated double album, Scorpion, Florence and the Machine's tentative turn toward optimism with High as Hope, previously unheard and unreleased music from jazz legend John Coltrane and much more.

Featured Albums

In the video for "Hunger," Florence + The Machine's first single from the new High As Hope, vibrant flower buds and moss bloom atop the stony surface of an old statue: What was once cold and revered, only marveled at from a distance, becomes a lush promise of renewal.

When Beezewax first formed in 1995, its early records recalled the muscular yet melodic riffage of Hüsker Dü and Buffalo Tom — fuzzy guitar chords, fuzzier emotions, hearts on sleeve. What set the band apart, especially on 1998's South of Boredom, was a sweetness possibly gleaned from its Norwegian indie-pop locale.

Summertime usually stirs up the urge to leave work behind and hop in the car, top down and windows open, to speed through the desert, mountains and along the coast.

The first official music video for Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1969 hit "Fortunate Son" is, appropriately, exactly that — taking you down the Pacific coast and across the South. It's an idyllic picture of the pool halls, river rope swings, vintage cars and beguilingly worn-out cities of the U.S. — and a representation, however stylized, of the Americans who aren't in the top one percent.

For every sticky summer fling, there's even more stabbing heart pangs. Longer nights and shorter homemade jorts sightings mark the official kickoff of uncuffing season; add to that the typical diet of rejection and letdowns in the cruel snowglobe of modern dating, and you got some pretty convincing reasons to pop a bottle.

A great power-pop song has one foot in happy-go-lucky hooks and another stomping a triumphant riff. That's a space occupied by The Toms' pop ballast, Shoes' handsome two-day scruff and Buzzcocks' sunniest kiss-offs. Spend just two minutes with Saturday Night's "Curse or Blessing," and it's immediately clear these 20-somethings live in power-pop's in-between, where the sugar is just as important as the grit.

Chaka Khan is bringing back hot fun in the summertime. Her new funky single "Like Sugar" is a sweet, simple reminder that sometimes an infectious groove and boogieing with friends can bring the greatest joy.

Watch Mitski's Colorfully Surreal 'Nobody'

Jun 26, 2018

In "Nobody," the deceptively up-tempo, new single from her upcoming album, Be The Cowboy, Mitski grapples with a lingering loneliness – an emptiness that even her own celebrity can't erase.

Even a professional gamer is no match for Kamasi Washington in the arcade classic Street Fighter II Turbo.

Pages