All Songs Considered

If you've read anything about Beach Slang, one comparison keeps coming up: Goo Goo Dolls. Before visions of Nicolas Cage montaging Nicolas Cage-y feelings to the tune of "Iris" flood your brain, stick with us as you hit play on "Dirty Cigarettes" from Beach Slang's second EP of 2014, Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street.

On this week's All Songs Considered, Robin Hilton kicks off the show by meditating on the perils of old age, and insisting that he still wants to be Daniel Lanois when he grows up. Cue "Opera," a powerful cut from Lanois' upcoming solo album, Flesh and Machine, and an unparalleled headphone listening experience.

Today is Mexican Independence Day. On Sept. 16, 1810, the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores") was delivered in the town of Dolores near the city of Guanajuato, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence that ended Spanish rule.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the Amazon Prime order containing items we could have acquired at the nearest vending machine is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on fatigue and embitterment.

Slowly but surely, The Cure has permeated heavy music. From Krallice to Thou to Deftones, Disintegration's boomy production and pulsating gloom, in particular, inspires a different kind of heft. The Louisville post-hardcore band Xerxes always had some caustic melody to it, but its new album Collision Blonde explodes the palette. Listen to its slow-burning title track:

Jim Eno is a less-is-more drummer. His work as the longtime drummer for the band Spoon is distinctive for its carefully plotted lines. It's elegant and melodic, never over-the-top or showy. It's a style and taste he shares with all of the drummers he selected for this week's puzzler as our guest Quizmaster.

Eno and the rest of the guys in Spoon are currently on tour for their latest — and one of the year's best — album, They Want My Soul.

Crafting dreamy, synth-based pop songs is not the traditional route for formally-trained pianists, but it's worked out just fine for Anthony Ferraro, the Oakland-based musician behind Astronauts, etc. His first singles, released online in 2012 and led by his distinctive falsetto, were full of hooks that hid just below the surface, under layers of murky keyboards and skittering drum machines.

Now comes the song "Up For Grabs," on which Ferraro swirls radiant synthesizers with an elegant, catchy guitar hook.

On this week's show we share music from the intimate and raw new solo album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O, warped garage rock from Meatbodies and several new discoveries, including two music collectives, one from Sweden and the other from Brooklyn.

Barbra Streisand, one of the most loved singers of all time and the best-selling female recording artist ever (according to RIAA statistics) has teamed up with the ever soulful, gospel-inspired singer John Legend on a song she originally recorded with Bee Gees singer and songwriter Barry Gibb in 1980.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside a stuffed Pikachu the size of an ottoman is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on music to accompany the new football season.

We've had a good run of guest Quizmasters for Drum Fill Friday (and more to come), but this week we thought we'd feature a puzzler made up entirely of your favorite fills and intros. Each of the artists appearing in the quiz below come from listener suggestions in our comments section.

The Hopscotch 5

Sep 4, 2014

Life is full of choices. If you happen to be at the fifth annual Hopscotch Music Festival, taking place Sept. 4-6 in Raleigh, N.C., those choices would include the Dallas thrash-metal band Power Trip, supreme bummer (in the best way) Sun Kil Moon, L.A. electronic duo NGUZUNGUZU and the hooky-as-hell punk group Potty Mouth — and that's just on Friday past midnight.

Each month, we listen to hundreds of new electronic music tracks, test the standouts on loud speakers and highlight the best of the best in a 30-minute mix.

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

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the gigantic bottle of Marmite we probably shouldn't have ordered on a late-night whim is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on getting your parents into your favorite music.

Erik writes via Facebook: "How do you get your parents to respect the music of today?"

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Mark Reznicek, drummer for the Fort Worth rock group Toadies. The band is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of its breakout album, Rubberneck with a tour, and a reissue of the album with bonus tracks.

As always, if you know a fill (or intro) or drummer you'd love to see featured in this game, let us know in the comments section, or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday. Good luck, careful listeners!

Music is about connection. Sometimes that connection is a feeling, a theory or a technique, but mostly music connects time and provides a record of how we choose to interact with it.

On this week's All Songs Considered, Robin Hilton returns from vacation with "Back To The Shack," the fantastically hard-rocking first single from Weezer's upcoming Everything Will Be Alright In The End.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the letters informing us that we've won amazing prizes in contests we didn't enter is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on etiquette at outdoor concerts.

Karyl writes via email: "Is it OK to ask incessant loud talkers to stop talking or to talk softly at an outside concert?"

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Joe Easley, drummer for the D.C.-based rock group The Dismemberment Plan. It shouldn't be too hard for fans of the band to hear why he loves the fills and intros he selected from some of his favorite artists and songs.

The Dismemberment Plan is currently performing select shows for its latest album, and first in more than a decade, Uncanney Valley.

In Television's "Marquee Moon" from 1977, Tom Verlaine issues a shuffling call to action. First, he's "just waiting," then "hesitating" for "a kiss of death, the embrace of life" — life only comes to him. But then something shakes Verlaine in the third chorus as a defiant voice finally boasts, "I ain't waiting, uh-uh." That's where the music finds purpose, with the iconic riff suddenly becoming a staccato slash through the dark.

Guest DJ Ty Segall

Aug 19, 2014

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When people think of Toronto's music scene, the first name that comes to mind rhymes with "fake." But there's actually a bunch of great new folk acts operating in and around Canada's queen city, too. Jennifer Castle possesses one of the scene's prettiest voices, as you can hear in "Sailing Away," a highlight of her upcoming album, Pink City (due out Sept. 2).

As the end of summer nears, here's one more bouncy tune to carry you into fall. "Black Lemon," by Generationals, two former high school buddies Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, mixes marimba-based jolliness and lyrics tinged with darkness. It looks at life's ties that bind and searches for ways to chill and not fight every battle.

Drum Fill Friday, With Guest Host Matt Wilson

Aug 15, 2014

Drummer and bandleader Matt Wilson is one of jazz's most sought-after players; he's recorded on over 250 albums, not including those of his own three current bands. He's one of the music's great optimists as well, whose energy and good humor (on or off the drum stool) serves him well as a teacher, public radio host or general ambassador. His latest recording, Gathering Call, came out early this year.

Viking's Choice: Accept, 'Final Journey'

Aug 13, 2014

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