All Songs Considered

On this week's All Songs Considered, Bob kicks off the show with The Juan MacLean's "A Place Called Space," an ecstatic dance-rock number from the group's upcoming album In A Dream. Seeking to find a subdued yin to Bob's euphoric yang, Robin premieres London producer The Bug's "Void," the opening track to his upcoming album Angels and Devils.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the flyers that either wildly underestimate or wildly overestimate our credit-worthiness is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what constitutes "indie rock" in 2014.

Antfitgodd writes via Facebook: "The term 'indie' has been subsumed by major labels, whose acts often try to mimic indie-rock sensibilities — which changes what it means to play music that is not bland Top 40 drivel. Do you think 'indie rock' as a genre is dead?"

This week's drum fill puzzler comes courtesy of guest Quizmaster Daniel Cundiff, percussionist for the Roanoke rock band Eternal Summers. The band's latest album is The Drop Beneath.

For Drum Fill Friday, Daniel picked cuts by some of the artists who've influenced his own work over the years, from smooth jazz to new wave and noise rock. Good luck, heroes!

Steve Gunn's Time Off was one of 2013's most unfairly overlooked records. The guitarist blends the traditional and the avant-garde, fusing the sounds of John Fahey, The Grateful Dead and Will Oldham into back-porch masterpieces. Time Off is the kind of album that can suck the energy out of any room — in a good way.

On this week's All Songs Considered: After some speculation on Pink Floyd's just-announced album The Endless River, Robin kicks off the show with Broncho's "Class Historian," which he describes as the most immediately catchy song he's heard all year. Not to be out-catchied, Bob retaliates with Rubblebucket's "Carousel Ride," from the band's upcoming release Survival Sounds.

It seems the unlikeliest of collaborations: Cat Power, a American songwriter and singer who can be quiet and somewhat insular, and Coldplay, now a veteran band from London that is immensely popular, confident and bold. And still, what happens in this recording, the title track for the film Wish I Was Here, feels so right.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside our neighbors' mis-delivered subscription copies of unnerving magazines is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on sharing music that might inadvertently expose someone else's kids to foul language.

This week we celebrate our nation's independence with drum fills (and one intro) from songs that say "America, we love you!" Some may be more blatantly patriotic than others, but all capture, in some way, the spirit of freedom that unites and binds us.

The year is half over and that means NPR Music and our public radio partners have been obsessing over our favorite songs of the year so far. The full list of 50 songs makes a potent stew ranging from power pop and brash hip-hop to electro-fueled dance music and intimate portraits from jazz vocalists, classical guitarists and folk troubadours.

On this week's All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton play new songs from upcoming releases by Bon Iver, Luluc and White Fence and talk with members of the NPR Music team about some of their favorite music from the first half of the year.

On Monday at noon we're premiering a brand-new song from an artist we love. Until then, we're leaving you this puzzle to ponder: Who is Monday's Mystery Musician?

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

Another month means another Recommended Dose from All Songs Considered. We listen to hundreds of new electronic music tracks each month, 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 a $23.95 book of cat cartoons by The Jesus Lizard's David Yow is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when and whether once-successful musicians should give up.

This week's guest Quizmaster is Mike Kinsella, the drummer for the bands Owls, Joan Of Arc and Cap'n Jazz and a singer and guitarist in Owen and American Football. When I first took a stab at identifying the fills and intros he selected I was immediately reminded that sometimes this little game can turn me on to some pretty awesome music I hadn't heard before. Maybe that'll be true for you. Good luck, rock stars!

Claire Boucher, best known as Grimes, has a new song. It's the first new music we've heard from Grimes since she made a lot of noise with her album Visions in 2012. In a press release, she calls the new song, "Go," which features Michael Diamond, a 22-year-old L.A.

On this week's show, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson to recount their favorite music from the first six months of 2014. They spin the ferocious punk energy of Perfect Pussy, the magnetic vocals of Broken Twin, absurdly catchy electro-pop from Sylvan Esso and much more.

Pallbearer's Sorrow and Extinction was one of 2012's most heartbreaking metal records — equal parts Black Sabbath and Candlemass in its stately sad-bastard doom. But those masterful twin-lead guitars, the funeral-paced riffs, and Brett Campbell's gripping voice sometimes got buried in the mix.

Sylvan Esso, some of the brightest new makers of music this year, have just remixed "I'm With You," the leadoff track from Grouplove's 2013 album Spreading Rumors. What Sylvan Esso's electronic wiz Nick Sanborn has done to the song is transformative.

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?"

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.

Sole Of A Band, June 19

Jun 19, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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