All Songs Considered

"These are just the strongest melodies and the strongest ideas that occurred to me over a three to four year period, distilled."

During the climactic final scene of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Brad Fiedel's moody, pummeling synth score turns tender as industrial sounds clang in the background. That melody is as seared into viewers' memory as the scene itself. So it's hard to shake that melody from the first half of Good Willsmith's "What Goes In The Ocean Goes In You," which is centered on a modal, minor key as synths whir to life around it.

On this week's All Songs Considered, we've got several new favorites including Bob Boilen's No. 1 discovery of 2016 so far, Lucy Dacus. Robin Hilton shares songs by several artists he thinks are about to release their best albums yet, including Santigold and Ane Brun.

Every year around this time, many of us on the All Songs Considered team — including Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me — each dredge through nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. And every year, we wind up missing something. In pursuit of music by thousands of bands, hundreds slip past our radar altogether.

Three years ago, Save Ends released Warm Hearts, Cold Hands, an energetic and earnest pop-punk record with dueling guy/gal vocals; the sound was unapologetically in love with the turn-of-the-millennium emo of The Get Up Kids and The Anniversary. The Holliston, Mass., band returns in February with the Hugs Your Friends EP, which features a more tonally reflective sound.

Remember that "mindblowing psychedelia from Thailand" YouTube video from five years ago, with the pan-generational band (Khun Narin), a hodgepodge of percussion, and a dude wailing on an electric, double-necked stringed instrument called a phin? It's still a trip to watch. Now imagine those droning Thai folk melodies getting blasted through a motorik rhythm section and blown out by a saxophone — that's the cosmic modus operandi of Sunwatchers.

First things first: Bloodmist is a kind of a messed-up name for a band, but it perfectly describes the sonic terror therein. Jeremiah Cymerman (clarinet, electronics), Mario Diaz de Leon (guitar) and Kayo Dot's Toby Driver (bass) are three of New York City's most extreme practitioners of dark experimental music, originally brought together over a week-long residency at the Roulette in 2012. Sheen, the band's debut, hangs in the air like a malevolent spirit — yet it rarely strikes, only stares.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, globalFEST, one of America's premiere showcases of musical talent from around the world, once again took over the three stages at Manhattan's Webster Hall. The one-evening festival has few American rivals in the way it simultaneously expands and condenses musical perspectives. The performances here move naturally between those that are heady and thought-provoking and those that are rhythmically sumptuous and sweat-inducing.

Sometime between today and tomorrow, more than 67 million Americans in 19 states are facing blizzard or winter storm warnings. So we at the Tiny Desk had an idea.

What is the role of a white person in the struggle of black people fighting injustice? That's the question posed by Ben Haggerty, better known as Macklemore, as he puzzles out his own role as a white artist in love with hip-hop on a new song called "White Privilege II." Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released the song as a free download overnight via a website that also offers links to "supporting black led organizations," and already, conversation and controversy have begun.

Grindcore is about the economy of extreme music; about cramming as much metallic insanity into one minute as possible. It's been six years since the last album by Magrudergrind, a Brooklyn-via-D.C. trio that knows how to make the guitar-drums-vocals format sound something like fireworks exploding in an aluminum trash can.

It's our first show with new music in 2016! After nearly two months of best-of's, holiday and Sweet 16 specials, we get back to doing what we do best and love most: playing great new music.

Eric Bachmann has reinvented himself several times in the last quarter-century: After breaking through in the '90s, with the jagged, sneering indie rock of Archers Of Loaf — and releasing an album of rock instrumentals as Barry Black — Bachmann took on the name Crooked Fingers, which he's used for solo works, experiments and full-band explorations.

Our fondness for a song is often connected to a string of memories — when a lyric or a melody made the world feel larger, more full of possibility for a moment. When the artists who made the music are no longer with us, it can feel like a piece of that moment is lost, too.

It's no surprise that the latest song from Violent Femmes, "Memory," feels like a classic. Frontman Gordon Gano actually wrote it a long time ago. "We even recorded it as a demo many years ago," he tells NPR Music via email. "And then it was forgotten about until digging into [our] archives, which led us to record it anew and release it."

What's your favorite memory of listening to a David Bowie song? We want to hear your story: In an audio recording, set the scene and tell us why that particular song matters to you in a minute or less. To get the ball rolling, here are two examples from our own staff: NPR editor Dana Farrington remembers her father singing Bowie's "Letter to Hermione" as a lullaby.

After seeing exactly 662 bands in each 2013 and 2014, my concert attendance plummeted in 2015. This past year I saw only 506 bands take the stage, but I have an excuse. I wrote a book.

Michigan singer-songwriter Chris Bathgate takes just enough time off between records that he needs to be reintroduced every time he resurfaces. His 2011 album Salt Year followed a four-year gap — watch him perform a few of its songs at the Tiny Desk — while its forthcoming follow-up, an EP called Old Factory, took nearly five.

Every year around this time we like to take a break from our usual musical discoveries and get together with old friends for what we call the All Songs Considered Holiday Spectacular, a seasonal special done in the tradition of old-time radio.

At the entrance of the endless abyss, a whale-serpent imprints the complete discography of Aluk Todolo's instrumental occult rock into your being. It's true! (It's not.) The process is terrifying at first, but as the squeals of cosmic guitar feedback and sinister rhythm section course through your veins and brain, you become one with the depths of vibration.

When I was first offered the job of producing All Songs Considered not long after it started in 2000, NPR couldn't guarantee me the show would be around for more than a year. After all, it was an experiment: an Internet-only, streaming music show in an era when most people were still on dial-up connections that couldn't handle much more on a page than text and photos.

When the grindcore band Agoraphobic Nosebleed officially hit the stage for the first time in its 20-year history, expectations were extremely high. "We want people's minds to be blown," vocalist Richard Johnson told me a few weeks before Maryland Deathfest in May, leaving fans to speculate about just how the hell they were going to pull this off. After all, ANb's extremely complex and chaotic noise was always designed for the studio.

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