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All Songs Considered

Did you know there's a Wikipedia entry for "political hip-hop"? Kind of like having an entry for "wet rain" or "loud thunder," ain't it? Even when totally devoid of overt sociopolitical commentary, rap consistently speaks volumes about the state of The Union.

When Bob Boilen and I sat down to record this week's podcast, we were a little bleary-eyed after staying up late the night before to see the The Flaming Lips' show at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C. But — between the band's confetti cannons, laser light show and the electric, rainbow-colored unicorn that frontman Wayne Coyne rode into the audience (I'm not making that up) — it was well worth the loss of sleep.

PWR BTTM is goofy as hell, like we could ever forget. The fab rock 'n' roll duo's "Answer My Text" is the latest single from their upcoming Pageant, a nervous flirtation wrought in emojis and a "funny joke from that TV show you said that you like."

It's been nearly six years since the Fleet Foxes released any new music. But Tuesday morning the group announced it's got a new album coming in the spring called Crack-Up. In making the announcement, frontman Robin Pecknold shared a lyric video for a nearly nine-minute song called "Third of May / Ōdaigahara."

There are infinite reasons as to why people go to dance clubs, but once they're there, it often boils down to variations — and the interplay between — two themes: escape and meditation. We here at Rx Dose are down with both, though when searching for tunes — falling harder for some, remaining choosy about others — it's safe to say that we gravitate towards the latter, in spite of our awareness that balance is the optimal terminus.

My favorite rock band, alt-J, has a pleasantly surprising piece of new music this morning — "3WW" comes from the band's third album, Relaxer, which they announced this morning and will be out June 9 on Canvasback Music. Unlike some of their brasher music, this song has the feel of a West African tune, with a gentle plucked sound that reminds me of an ngoni or kora.

We watched more than 6,000 videos. Ten judges weighed in. Now, the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest has a winner.

Last night, after all was said and done — you might've heard about a late-in-the-evening mix-upMoonlight was deservingly crowned last year's best film by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Paul McCartney is giving fans a preview of what to expect from the upcoming deluxe reissue of Flowers In The Dirt, an album he originally released in 1989. The newly remastered version will include rare outtakes and demos from the recording sessions, snippets and goodies from which McCartney has been sharing in the build-up to its release.

On Wednesday, as protesters near the Dakota Access Pipeline began to break down their shelters and leave the area, Brooklyn singer Holly Miranda released a song, a cover of an obscure late-'70s science-fictional folk song, that she'd been working on for two months in support of those leaving.

Buried somewhere in the fathoms of YouTube is a recent clip of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, apparently filmed with a smartphone in Santiago de Cuba. The band, synonymous with the ebullient spirit of New Orleans, is playing a staple of its book, Professor Longhair's "Go to the Mardi Gras." What's notable about this version of the song, from December of 2015, is the punchy assist provided by some Cuban percussionists, who fall right into step with its second-line groove.

For nearly 20 years, Little Big Town's members have plugged away through label troubles, divorces and the death of loved ones, but they've never endured a lineup change.

Here's your "Awwww" and "Whoa!!" moment for today: a demonstration of a teeny-tiny, working pipe organ. It's an instrument made out of nothing but paper and cardboard (with one side covered by translucent plastic so that you can see its inner workings), and it's powered by nothing but an inflated balloon.

Dirty Projectors frontman David Longstreth decided he couldn't wait any longer.

"It's really easy to throw in the kitchen sink," says Seattle producer Jeff McIlwain, who's made music under the moniker Lusine (or permutations thereof) since 1999. "It's a lot more difficult to take away."

We're talking about the role self-editing, or subtraction, plays in McIlwain's creative process. While Lusine's catalog is too varied and too open to genre wanderlust to allow for sweeping description, there is a through-line of crystalline restraint across the breadth of his discography.

Fire-Toolz's hyper-digitalia sounds like a row of belching slot machines expectorating into a pachinko machine in Hades. The glowstick noise that Angel Marcloid makes as Fire-Toolz is an oblong step past The Soft Pink Truth's electronic black-metal covers project in 2014, but far more unhinged — and that's saying something — and far more fluid in how it simultaneously dismantles and celebrates its own click-and-drag melange.

Though Byron Blaylock made his recorded debut as Byron The Aquarius only a year ago, by most standards his musical journey had already been long and fruitful. Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Blaylock had been a keyboard and hip-hop production prodigy during the golden Myspace days of the late-Aughts.

Update: You can now stream Future's album in full on Spotify, Apple and other streaming services.

Future woke fans up Tuesday with a surprise announcement via Twitter: "I was preparing the feast. U walked away from the table too soon," he posted.

Pharmakon's industrial noise is a pus boil cauterized into a scar. For over 10 years Margaret Chardiet has left a permanently disfigured mark on the New York City experimental music scene and beyond, hammering her deeply tumulted noise into grueling punk structures. Contact is Pharmakon's third LP made available to a larger audience — at least, those not already combusted by her previous work — following two earlier full-lengths and intermittent releases on limited cassettes and CD-Rs.

Prince's music is a guide to this thing called life. Over the course of his impossibly fruitful career, the Minneapolis maestro fleshed out a philosophy grounded in the belief that humanity's purpose is to realize the unity of body and spirit, through pleasure, relationships and music itself. It's all laid out musically in his manifesto "D.M.S.R.," from 1999: "Take a deeper breath and sing along with me," Prince exhorts, "Dance music sex romance!"

Sincerity, community and beauty is how I think of Lowland Hum; the sounds of Lauren and Daniel Goans. Thin is the husband and wife duo's third album since their 2013 debut, further refining their hushed harmonies and aural paintings. It's a sound that makes them a quiet Sunday-morning favorite. Some of the imagery comes from the beauty they see in the landscapes and locales they traverse and visit all over this country; art centers, cafes, nightclubs, house shows, racking up something like 45,000 miles in a Toyota Sienna between 2014 and 2015.

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