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All Songs Considered

The War On Drugs is sharing its first new music since 2014's well-regarded Lost In The Dream. Clocking in at more than 11-minutes, "Thinking Of A Place" is both epic and wistful, with moody reflections and memories of a time gone by. And what do you know — it also includes some extended guitar shredding.

"Thinking Of A Place" will be a 45 RPM 12" release for Record Store Day this Saturday, April 22.

GAS isn't really meant for the club, but that's where I first heard it — a cavernous basement was hosting a night of experimental music, the definition of which was determined by the DJ. It sounded and felt like a symphony buried underground, beats programmed from a different galaxy. Pop didn't change the landscape of ambient music — it evolved its purpose, its tone, its movement.

"Smell The Roses," the first song Roger Waters is sharing from his upcoming album Is This The Life We Really Want?, is a rage against complacency and an elegy to the American dream.

"Wake up and smell the roses," he sings. "There's nothing but screams in the field of dreams. Nothing but hope at the end of the rope."

(You can find a playlist of the artists I saw this week at the bottom of this piece.)

Call it math-pop, technical sugar-pop, J-punk, jazzy post-rock — whatever it is, the Kyoto-based Tricot makes sophisticated music that's as sweet and bubbly as soda. The band has self-released two albums in Japan, but is now getting some stateside shine from Topshelf with the simply titled 3. Here's the closing track "Melon Soda" — it's a compact piece of pop wizardry that finds hooks in weird corners, and someone should sync it up to the fizzy lifting drink scene from Willy Wonka already.

Roger Waters is set to release his first album of all-new rock songs in nearly 25 years. Is This The Life We Really Want? was produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, U2) and is due out June 2 on Columbia Records. Water's previous solo studio release was 1992's Amused To Death.

Perfume Genius has released the second single from his upcoming album No Shape, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2014's Too Bright. "Go Ahead," one of the most challenging songs on No Shape, is everything that first single "Slip Away" wasn't — a spare, nearly melody-free, drum-pad-driven and string-sluiced examination of confidence amidst a mire of paranoia.

The title track to Lana Del Rey's upcoming album Lust For Life is a hazy take on '60s doo-wop and girl groups featuring the lilting falsetto of The Weeknd.

Buildings' noise-rock is like a burrito supreme sprayed across the windshield: gross, hilarious, awesome. On its third album, You Are Not One Of Us, the Minneapolis trio has become far more adept at wrapping its angular riffs around punk, noise-rock and post-hardcore with a certain amount of dexterity. Buildings' have a bit of that Jesus Lizard nastiness, but with the determined backbone and heady chops of Dazzling Killmen.

Bands reunite and it's not really a big deal anymore. Pavement's done it, like, 12 times already. Chicago's Riot Fest has made a regular habit of bringing back the '80s and '90s year after year, and scored some nice coups (The Replacements, Glenn Danzig with Misfits, among them). But here's one that no one in the punk scene saw coming: Jawbreaker.

So I took last Friday off to clean out my garage and ended up using the time to listen to the new Kendrick record, DAMN. over and over again. It was a glorious, uninterrupted stretch of several hours, but even that wasn't enough to really understand everything he covers on it. DAMN. is dense, packed with religious imagery, deep thoughts on race, fame and identity, and a whole lot of personal stories and memories. Those are some initial observations.

What's weirder? A hip-hop loving Bill Nye the Science Guy, or a science-loving Tyler, the Creator?

There is regular brains rock music and there is broken brains rock music. No slight against the former, but sometimes squares gotta be oblonged and thought patterns obliterated. Mark Feehan and Kilynn Lunsford both made a regular habit of scrambling brains with Harry Pussy and Little Claw, respectively, but with their new Philly-based band, they rock the body manic.

Katie Crutchfield has been nothing but honest as Waxahatchee. Her careful words carry keen insight — and she writes sharp songs to match. Waxahatchee's fourth album, Out In The Storm, takes a hard look not just at broken relationship, but also at the spiraling aftermath.

Bert Jansch's percussive fingerpicking was rooted in traditional folk music, but he swung around melodies like a jazz musician, the rhythms swaying in his Scottish soul. Turns out that even skilled guitarists who admired Jansch couldn't figure him out.

This is one of those things that's been on the Internet for a while and for whatever reason is only now making its way to my eyeballs. But now that I've seen it, I can't look away.

No label, no careShamir just gifted us with a new album and it's already making Monday a whole lot brighter.

Hope was recorded over the weekend, a whirlwind attempt for the unclassifiable pop star to fall in love with music all over again.

Tell me if you've heard this one before: Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie walk into a studio... and actually make a record together. Fleetwood Mac's drama-filled history is the stuff of a "great play," to say the least.

Not much in contemporary music rivals standing under a roof with Chris Stapleton and his band as they raise it in honor of American music. Stapleton ascended to stardom after sweeping the 2016 CMA Awards for his powerful debut album Traveller, but by then the 38-year-old Kentuckian Nashville mainstay had spent a young lifetime in the slipstreams of Southern sound, and already understood how commitment, craft and love can make listeners' preconceptions about what's cool or current fall away.

The wait is over. Kendrick Lamar unleashed DAMN., his fourth studio album, on streaming services shortly after midnight on the east coast Friday, hours after it leaked online and about an hour after pre-orders popped up on his fans' phones.

DAMN. follows To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) and good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012), both pieces so ambitious and varied, richly envisioned and perfectly executed that Lamar could have retired a legend based on them alone. Expectations are justifiably high. Oh, and... U2? (Yes, U2.)

That bopping beat, that thick and wobbly synth bass, those voices — it's like I'm back at a middle school dance in the Atlanta suburbs, not knowing what to do with my hands.

Of all the songs from The xx's excellent album I See You to remix for the dance-floor, "A Violent Noise" is, thematically, a funny choice. Sung mostly by Oliver Sim, it is about negatively losing yourself in the music, an escape where "every beat is a violent noise." The notion is mirrored by the music, while the band's low-end atmospheric production and glacial doomed echoes layer on the dread, it does so without truly following through on either of the chorus' warnings: There is no beat and there is no violence.

Timmhotep Aku is an NPR Music contributor and occasional guest host for our +1 podcasts. This week he talks with Matt Martians and Syd of the soul band The Internet.

The Internet is greater than the some of its parts. The Internet I'm referring to in this case is the band consisting of founding members Matt Martians and Syd, as well as guitarist Steve Lacy, bassist Patrick Paige II and drummer Christopher A. Smith, a group of millennials in love with the traditions of R&B and soul.

Legend has it that the band Pink Floyd once played so loudly at a show that the sheer volume had killed all the fish in a nearby pond.

Now there's a new species of shrimp, named after Pink Floyd, that can kill fish by making a loud noise. Synalpheus pinkfloydi rapidly opens then snaps closed its large claw, creating a sound that can reach up to 210 decibels — louder than a typical rock concert and loud enough to kill small fish nearby.

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