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All Songs Considered

On more than one occasion, I've passed along James Toth's songwriting tips and tricks to help musician friends out of a rut. These are just a few of his actionable suggestions for a creative in crisis: "Put a capo on a random fret," "Write a song that sounds like what you imagine the unheard band/record sounds like, based solely on the description in the review," "Borrow an instrument from someone who plays the same one that you do."

Bob Dylan is about to release a triple album of classic songs. These are not his classics — Triplicate continues Bob Dylan's passion for making new recordings of the Great American Songbook.

Nick Hakim, sitting in the cold outside at the Songbyrd Cafe, on the flat stretch of a hill in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood, laughs when I say his new record sounds like it's being played back on an old 78.

Cloud Nothings began when leader Dylan Baldi was a freshman in college back in 2009, and the Cleveland band's early recordings capture the bratty scrappiness of seemingly directionless kids.

The music business is infamously — or maybe just famously — litigious. Lawsuits are filed with striking regularity by artists who claim, with often teeth-skin-thin justification, that they had penned a phrasing or spun a melody that was later stolen by one monumentally successful artist or the other.

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.

I've heard the same story from both our previous Tiny Desk Contest winners: They weren't going to enter the Contest until someone encouraged them to do it. Well, the entry period closes at 11:59 p.m. ET this Sunday, Jan. 29.

American composer Philip Glass turns 80 years old on January 31. To mark the occasion, we asked several of Glass' colleagues and collaborators to pick a piece of his music and write about it.

There they were, Greenpeace activists hanging from cranes in the sky. The banner, reading "RESIST," unfurled within sight of the White House after President Trump froze EPA grants and ordered the environmental agency to remove climate-change research from its website. It was a potent image Wednesday, perhaps setting a tone for years to come.

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

Geneviève Castrée died in July. She made deeply searching music as Ô Paon and Woelv, and illustrated comic books with the same emotional intensity. She was also the wife of Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum and the mother of their child. A Crow Looked At Me, written and recorded last fall, is an album-length response to Elverum's past year, and today brings its first song, "Real Death."

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.

He released Iceland's largest selling debut album ever in 2012, and now Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson, best known simply as Ásgeir, is back. Today we're debuting "Unbound," the new song from Afterglow, the 24-year-old singer's follow-up to In The Silence.

Wire made three of my favorite albums of the late 1970s: Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978) and 154 (1979). Now, 40 years later, this brash, sonically adventurous British band is back with "Short Elevated Period," a song from a brand new album called Silver/Lead, coming March 31, and they didn't let me down.

For more than 50 years, the recently knighted Sir Raymond Douglas Davies, CBE, has been fascinated with American music and American culture. In the early 1960s, he and his brother Dave formed The Kinks to play Little Richard songs and original tunes steeped in rock 'n' roll.

Members of the Philly punk scene and from across the country have come together for Don't Stop Now, a compilation of covers that benefits the American Civil Liberties Union. It was released today via Bandcamp, with this note:

This compilation is an expression of love, anger, hope and protest on inauguration day. Let it serve as a reminder that the fight for justice is not over, that the celebration of diversity is essential to progress, that we must work together for what is fair and good. Can't stop. Won't Stop. Don't stop now.

Long before Marea Stamper was The Black Madonna, feminist DJ heroine, she was a known and beloved figure on the Midwestern rave scene: the mixtape girl. Stamper, who grew up in a small eastern Kentucky town and found her dance-music calling early because of a record-collecting stepfather, spent a chunk of her late teens and the mid-1990s going from party to party all over Middle America, selling DJ mix cassettes and spreading the rave gospel, while simultaneously receiving an unparalleled music education.

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.

We've officially closed the books on 2016 (finally), and we're ready to fall in love with some new music, from the big and hopeful to the crushingly sad.

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