All Songs Considered

All Songs Considered
3:20 am
Sat June 21, 2014

The Good Listener: What Makes A Summer Song?

Summer is a season of simplicity.
iStockphoto.com

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside that one CD which appears to have been pulverized by a steamroller is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what transforms a mere hit single into the agreed-upon song of the summer.

Kemper writes via Facebook: "When do we know what the song of summer will be? Have we already heard this year's song? If not, when do we typically start to hear it? Why do the other seasons lack their own song?"

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All Songs Considered
11:42 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For June 20

This week we're back to a mix of classic rock and pop, with a few (relatively) recent loves of mine thrown in. As always, if you have a drum fill (or intro) you think should be included in this weekly puzzler, let us know in the comments section, or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.

All Songs Considered
8:54 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Song Premiere: The Shins And Zach Braff Reunite

The soundtrack album art for the film "Wish I Was Here"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:51 pm

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All Songs Considered
3:45 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Sole Of A Band, June 19

Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
12:38 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Song Premiere: alt-J, 'Hunger Of The Pine'

alt-J, from left: Thom Green, Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton.
Gabriel Green Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:21 pm

In 2012, alt-J made its debut with An Awesome Wave, and every one of those 13 songs would slay me. Now the band has returned with another shifting and intrepid sonic adventure, "Hunger of the Pine," which will appear on alt-J's second album, This Is All Yours, out on Sept. 22.

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All Songs Considered
10:44 am
Tue June 17, 2014

New Mix: Tom Petty, Lana Del Rey, Adult Jazz, More

Clockwise from top: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Adult Jazz, Lana Del Rey
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:11 am

On this week's All Songs Considered: Red-blooded rock-and-roll from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, a dramatic and cinematic turn for singer Lana Del Rey, the off-kilter, genre-bending sounds of Adult Jazz and more.

Co-host Robin Hilton, riding high on a wave of caffeine and nostalgia, kicks off the show with "American Dream Plan B," a straight-ahead guitar-rock cut from the upcoming Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album Hypnotic Eye.

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All Songs Considered
9:46 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Viking's Choice: Sweat To The Metallic Gloom, Ye Mortals

Mortals.
Samantha Marble Courtesy of the artist

As much as metal continues to expand outward, taking influences from within and outside its heavy foundations, adjective-happy genres like "blackened sludge-thrash" or "crusty stoner-doom" or what-have-you eventually inhabit their own mashed-together signifiers. It's where experimentation loses ground and has the potential to become streamlined. From Mortals' second album, Cursed to See the Future, "Epochryphal Gloom" dynamically digs into the gnarliest extremes of metal in eight minutes.

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Song Premiere: Sinead O'Connor, 'Take Me To Church'

Sinead O'Connor.
Donal Moloney Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 3:23 pm

Sinead O'Connor's nearly 30-year career forms a portrait of an artist in conflict; a brilliant singer who remains musically, politically and personally uncompromising after forays into folk, pop, standards, reggae and points beyond. By definition, her catalog is erratic, but it's consistently bold and surprising.

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All Songs Considered
10:09 am
Fri June 13, 2014

The Good Listener: When We Call Songs 'Filler,' What Does That Mean?

For fans of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, filler is in the eye of the beholder.
David Black Courtesy of the artist

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the large wooden crates housing our new summer interns is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what makes some albums seem padded and inconsistent.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For June 13

You don't always have to love the music to appreciate the talent behind it. Some of the artists featured in this week's puzzler are masters in genres I rarely reach for (fusion anyone?), but lord are they gifted musicians. I also think some of the fills in this batch are particularly challenging, but give a listen and see how you do. Safe drum fill-naming, heroes!

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All Songs Considered
11:33 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Viking's Choice: Consider Yourself Ravaged By Bastard Sapling

Bastard Sapling.
Tony Lynch Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 12:12 pm

Dorthia Cottrell is one of the most haunting vocalists in metal right now, howling like Ozzy Osbourne in a wind tunnel. But either out of aesthetics or shyness, her voice has always been buried by the relentlessly heavy mix on her two excellent records singing for Windhand. Thankfully, some friends convinced her to serve as the focal point of a track from a fellow Richmond metal band.

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All Songs Considered
9:45 am
Tue June 10, 2014

New Mix: The New Pornographers, Mapei, Moon Hooch And More

Clockwise from upper left: The New Pornographers, Mapei, Moon Hooch.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 11:46 am

On this week's All Songs Considered: New music from the pop giants in The New Pornographers, hip-hop and R&B singer Mapei, the riff-rock sax group Moon Hooch, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and more.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Tue June 10, 2014

I Hear Bells: The NPR Music Wedding Puzzler

If it's June, let the wedding bells, and the music, ring out.
iStockphoto.com

Can you hear the wedding bells? June has arrived. Theories vary on why this is the month for marriage. Old traditions like the timing of the harvest season (and pregnancies) might have had something to do with it, or more modern practicalities such as nicer weather and abundant fresh flowers. And then there's the name of the month itself, thought to be inspired by Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage.

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All Songs Considered
11:39 am
Fri June 6, 2014

The Good Listener: What Makes A Hit Song Overplayed?

You can't spell "Pharrell's song is overplayed" without "Happy."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 1:54 pm

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside Bob Boilen's 64-ounce tub of Kirkland-brand gong polish is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what separates a mere hit from an invasive irritant.

Chris Kiraly writes via Facebook: "When (if ever) does a song earn the distinction of being 'overplayed'?"

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For June 6

Most of the time, I just pick songs with moments that get me air drumming, regardless of the genre or drummer — or the programmer behind the beats. But for this week's puzzler, I've selected works by undeniable legends in the business, from classic rock pioneers to jazz virtuosos. Good luck, heroes!

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Songs Considered
6:52 am
Thu June 5, 2014

After Learning To Loosen Up, Spoon Readies Its Return: The All Songs Interview

Spoon.
Tom Hines Courtesy Of The Artist

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 8:30 am

Spoon's first album in four years is called They Want My Soul. It won't be released until Aug. 5, but frontman Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno recently joined All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton to play some of the record and share the stories behind it. You can hear the full interview using the link above, or read edited highlights below.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Tue June 3, 2014

New Mix: Premieres From Jenny Lewis, My Brightest Diamond, Elephant Stone, More

Clockwise from upper left: Jenny Lewis, My Brightest Diamond, Elephant Stone, Shinedoe.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 8:34 am

On this edition of All Songs Considered, we highlight music that reflects on the passage of time, with special premieres from Jenny Lewis, My Brightest Diamond, Elephant Stone and more.

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All Songs Considered
1:33 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

A 'Pink Frost' Remake Heralds The Return Of The Chills

The original art to The Chills' "Pink Frost" 7" single.
Courtesy of the artist

In certain corners of the record-collecting world, few rock songs are revered as much as The Chills' "Pink Frost." The tune turns 30 this year, and to celebrate, the band has re-recorded it and included it as the B-side to its first single since 1995.

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All Songs Considered
8:47 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Recommended Dose: The Best Dance Tracks Of May

Dutch producer Shinedoe teamed up with The Knife's Karin Dreijer for one of our favorite dance tracks of May.
Jos Kottmann Courtesy of the artist

Another month means another Recommended Dose from All Songs Considered. We listen to literally hundreds of new electronic music tracks each month, test the standouts on some very loud speakers and highlight the best of the best in a 30-minute mix.

You can stream this month's mix here or NPR Music's SoundCloud account. If you'd rather just hear each song individually, check out the playlist below.

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Miranda Lambert's 'Priscilla,' An Ode To 'Being Queen Of A King'

Miranda Lambert's album, Platinum, comes out on June 3.
Randee St. Nicholas Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 6:56 am

Pop stars are the ideal companions of their fans' daydreams, speaking their most romantic hopes and defiant declarations through the songs on the Top 40. Miranda Lambert, however, is the kind of friend who's not going to take anybody's bull. As country's most lauded million-selling artist, beloved by everyday listeners and critics alike, Lambert has crafted a body of work grounded in the realism of muscle, flesh and heart.

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All Songs Considered
8:19 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For May 30

Drummer Topper Headon, seen overhead, with the rest of The Clash, at the band's first U.S. performance, in 1979.
Roger Ressmeyer CORBIS

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 9:02 am

The warmer weather brings out the air-drummer in me, which means I'm remembering and rediscovering some of my favorite fills, including the ones in this week's puzzler. I think most of these will sound familiar to anyone who's had commercial FM rock blasting with the windows down. So turn it up, pay attention, and good luck!

As always, if you have a drummer or a fill you'd like to see featured in these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.

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All Songs Considered
12:21 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Viking's Choice: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Lose The Flute Solo

Blood Ceremony.
Matthew R. Manna Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 12:31 pm

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All Songs Considered
11:31 am
Tue May 27, 2014

New Mix: Royksopp & Robyn, LP, Bishop Allen, More

Clockwise from upper left: Röyksopp & Robyn, LP, Bishop Allen, Strand Of Oaks
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:14 pm

On this edition of All Songs Considered we roll the windows down with a wind-whipped, sun-dappled mix of rock and pop, starting with an epic jam from the musician Timothy Showalter, who writes and records as Strand Of Oaks. The song, "JM" — a tribute to the late Jason Molina — rumbles and roars, propelled by Showalter's scorched guitar and voice.

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All Songs Considered
11:19 am
Fri May 23, 2014

The Good Listener: When's The Right Time To Delete Your Music?

Sometimes you just have to erase some files.
Olivia Merrion NPR

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the six-pack of Hanson-branded beer that cost $25 to ship is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on disposing of music in a digital age.

Tami Anderson writes via Facebook: "How long do you keep songs in your collection when you rarely/never seem to listen to them?"

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, With Michael Benjamin Lerner Of Telekinesis

Michael Benjamin Lerner, drummer and lead singer for the band Telekinesis, performing live at Austin City Limits.
Tim Mosenfelder Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 7:38 am

Michael Benjamin Lerner is the drummer, lead singer and songwriter behind the Seattle-based band Telekinesis. There are times, while listening to his music, when I think it's just about the greatest pop band on the planet. Every song is perfectly realized and memorable.

Michael sits in as our guest Quizmaster for this week's puzzler, sharing fills and intros from some of his favorite drummers who've inspired his own work. Good luck, close-listeners!

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All Songs Considered
12:07 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Sole Of A Band, May 22

To what musician do these sparkly boots belong?
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 12:31 pm

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
9:24 am
Thu May 22, 2014

NPR Music Wants You To Play In A Massive World Premiere

Sunny Jain at the Brooklyn Public Library.
NPR

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 7:24 am

Sometimes we like to turn things up really loud, especially in the summertime. So for this year's edition of Make Music New York, we commissioned Sunny Jain, founder of Red Baraat, to write a new song that would kick off the season in massive, marching-band style. He came back to us with "100+ BPM."

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All Songs Considered
2:03 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Jack White's 'Lazaretto': The All Songs Interview

Mary Ellen Matthews Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 10:29 am

  • Listen To Jack White On All Songs

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All Songs Considered
11:43 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Question Of The Week: What's Your Go-To Windows-Down Song?

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 3:02 pm

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All Songs Considered
11:03 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Viking's Choice: Replicants Live On In Perturbator's Dark Synths

Ariel Zucker-Brull's artwork sets the dystopian tone throughout Perturbator's Dangerous Days.
Ariel Zucker-Brull Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 2:23 pm

We're only five years away from Ridley Scott's 1982 vision of a retro-futuristic Los Angeles, when all that stands between human and biorobotic android is the Voight-Kampff machine. But the dark tones and moral ambiguity of Blade Runner never left the film's cult fans — particularly those beguiled by Vangelis' synth-driven soundtrack.

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