KTEP - El Paso, Texas

All Songs Considered

Note: With hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton away this week, we've got an encore presentation of The Worst Songs Of All Time, from May. 2011.


This week: the moment it all went wrong, relived in vivid detail. Members of the All Songs Considered crew share stories of hope and heartache as they remember some of the bands they've broken up with over the years and why. NPR Music's Daoud Tyler-Ameen joins hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton for the discussion.

There are a number of reasons why the 26-year-old, Los Angeles-based producer recording under the moniker Delroy Edwards stands out from the pack of young guns who've begun impacting the American house music underground over the past half-decade.

Wilco's latest song is the Beatles-inspired "Someone To Lose," both a woozy acoustic strummer and a fiery rock song with a playful melody. Partly a reflection on past mistakes in romance and relationships, "Someone To Lose" perfectly captures the almost comical cluelessness we sometimes experience as we fumble our way through life and love. "Wouldn't you know it," sings frontman Jeff Tweedy. "I keep rollin' considerin' no one... ...I'm so confused, I can't lose."

Bon Iver's latest song, "33 'God,'" from the upcoming album 22, A Million, starts as a dewy piano ballad before erupting into a disjointed, drum-and-bass-heavy strutter.

In the five years since the group reactivated, Witch Mountain's ascent has been swift and monumental. In 2011, the Portland doom-metal band was rejuvenated after a decade of dormancy by Uta Plotkin, a raw yet multifaceted singer. Three stellar albums followed before Plotkin left the band to pursue other projects, with bassist Charles Thomas exiting soon thereafter.

Early in his career, on some forgotten talk show (perhaps it was David Letterman in 1990), Dwight Yoakam chatted with the host about his birthplace of Eastern Kentucky. Describing the earthen mounds that protected roadways from the elements, he used the word "berm." His interviewer was taken aback. Berm? That's a fancy word for a honky-tonk country singer, he said. Yoakam just laughed. He knew that only the precisely right word, not just "heap" or "ridge" or "barrier," would make his story sing.

Here's something I find remarkable: There are only three professionally made recordings of The Beatles playing live in concert. Sure, there are bootleg recordings that don't sound very good. And there's a single-microphone recording from the band's days performing in Hamburg in the early '60s, but that's it.

It's been 17 years since the Urbana, Ill., emo group American Football released its self-titled debut album. In the years since, fans have elevated the group and its sole release to legendary status, anxiously awaiting any kind of follow-up. Today, the members of American Football announced that the wait is over: They've got a new record coming Oct. 21 (it's also self-titled) and a beautifully wistful new song called "Ive Been So Lost For So Long."

Sharon Van Etten has released a new song she wrote in memory of the victims of the June shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. "Not Myself" is a gorgeous, haunting elegy, with Van Etten's voice layered over simple piano and a droning synth. "It's too much to take," she sings. "It's too much at stake. I want you to be yourself around me."

When you stop to think about it, there really is no one like Barbra Streisand. There's Barbra the young Broadway legend, the movie star, the glass-ceiling-smashing movie director, the recording artist and now the venerated elder stateswoman of the showstopper.

There's always an air of introspection hanging above self-titled albums produced by musicians well into their careers. It's especially prominent when producers who've spent their entire creative lives hiding behind monikers, suddenly jump out. The moment can't help but scream "personal statement." In the case of Alan Abrahams, the Cape Town, South Africa-born electronic producer who for the better part of two decades has been successfully floating upward in the European dance music scene, under the names Portable and Bodycode, this moment may be especially salient.

Joey Vannucchi's music treasures a sort of troubled quietude. The California native writes and records as From Indian Lakes, ably tackling all of the instruments himself with an ear for warm, organic sound. Everything Feels Better Now, his third album, tracks in moody indie-rock songs that look to the terse internal monologues of Now, Now and the atmospheric pop of Mew.

The band San Fermin plays painstakingly orchestrated folk-rock, performed with two singers at the fore. The deep, dreamy male voice belongs to Allen Tate, who's about to put out his first solo record. But he's not straying too far from San Fermin: That group's mastermind and Tate's longtime friend, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, produced the forthcoming Sleepwalker.

I've missed Lisa Hannigan. Five years ago, the Irish singer-songwriter made an unforgettably beautiful record called Passenger. She came by to play a Tiny Desk concert that year, and then we had to wait for half a decade; it was tough, because I've missed her sad, delicate songs. It turns out the five-year gap wasn't her plan.

When Jerry Garcia died unexpectedly in August 1995, his Grateful Dead bandmate Bob Weir went right back out on the road to deal with the loss of his friend.

There's new music from The Tallest Man On Earth. Though the song, "Rivers" feels familiar, there's an immediacy here, as though singer Kristian Matsson quickly captured a passionate moment in time. The voice is rawer and homespun, with lovely horns and piano accompanying a tale about leaving.

The fabulously flamboyant duo PWR BTTM takes a melancholy turn on its latest single. The sweetly sentimental sounding "New Hampshire" ponders the end of everything, from a love affair to the birds in the sky and the burning sun. But it shrugs it all off as an inevitable evolution of any life. "Don't be sad," sings guitarist Ben Hopkins. "I've done my share of living."

It's been five years since a new Bon Iver record, but at the band's performance last night at Justin Vernon's very own Eaux Claires Music Festival it announced and performed a new record called 22, A Million. The music is cryptic, angular, adventurous and brilliant. There's hardly any hint of that acoustic guitar which was such a part of the sound on Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, now almost ten years old.

Florence and the Machine dropped an EP today with three new songs. The tracks, "Too Much Is Never Enough," "I Will Be" and a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," were recorded for the Final Fantasy XV video game.

Jack White is sharing a previously unreleased White Stripes song called "City Lights."

The song was originally written for the band's 2005 album Get Behind Me Satan. But it was forgotten until White revisited the album for a 2015 Record Store Day vinyl reissue.

If you've watched the Netflix series Stranger Things, you've likely noticed how the synth-heavy soundtrack is as full-on '80s as the clothes and cars. It's an icy, pulsing, oh-so-analog sound that Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the Austin band SURVIVE shrewdly re-created for the show, a supernatural thriller set in 1983.

Now, Dixon and Stein are sharing a new song they wrote for Stranger Things called "Kids."

This week, we've got a surprise: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton both went on vacation and left the All Songs studio unlocked. Apparently neither one of them uses two-step verification, so it took only a very minor effort for a couple of highly skilled NPR Music team members, Daoud Tyler-Ameen and Saidah Blount, to hack into the elaborate system of tubes, funnels and hamster wheels that feed podcasts from our microphones into your earbuds for a very special takeover edition of All Songs Considered.

Let The Games Begin: A Playlist For Rio

Aug 5, 2016

A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead's ninth and quietest record, owes much of its sound to the band's visionary guitarist, violist, electronics wiz and arranger Jonny Greenwood. On this week's All Songs +1 podcast I talk with him about how A Moon Shaped Pool came to be.

Pages