All Songs Considered

Growing up sucks. Growing up is awesome. You trade in the insecurities of one age for another, and yet somehow become wiser in the process — or at least that's the idea. After just a couple of solid EPs, that seems to be the crossroads where the Brooklyn band Chumped stands right now. "Name That Thing" comes from a debut album with an appropriate title: Teenage Retirement.

The band Sleater-Kinney (Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss) is back together, and we're all pretty excited at All Songs Considered! After an eight-year hiatus, and nearly ten years since releasing their last album, Carrie and company have announced a new, upcoming record and a brand new song called "Bury Our Friends." The album, No Cities To Love, is due out Jan. 20.

If you're like most people, the first time you hear a song might well be through laptop speakers. But if you're listening to an instrumental rock band as mammoth as Black Clouds, those tinny sound holes become pathetic little slaps to the face. The bass frequencies and thundering drums of "And Then I Dove" are meant to vibrate through the chest, while the Washington, D.C. band's heavy melodies are tastefully driven through what's surely a spaceship-console-worthy rack of effects pedals.

Viking's Choice: Wildhoney, 'Fall In'

Oct 21, 2014

What happened to your brain the first time you heard the way My Bloody Valentine's seismic guitar crunch seemed to bend space? Did you bend with it? The first 10 seconds of Wildhoney's "Fall In" know that moment, wash it in a mess of crashing cymbals, and pull back the gauzy covers for a dreamy pop song that feels like the day between summer and autumn. It's bright and carefree, full of purpose and light, as Lauren Shusterich coos and leads us into the swirling foliage.

Sleater-Kinney is back together, has a new album coming out Jan. 20 via Sub Pop records, and will go on tour early next year. The album is called No Cities to Love, and you can listen to the first single, "Bury Our Friends," right here.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the shoes our kids outgrew in the time it took to have them shipped is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on remedial music fandom.

One thing that really struck me while putting together this week's batch of drum fills is how different they sound. I don't mean the timing or fill patterns themselves. I mean the timbre of the drums and the way they were recorded. You've got the super tight kits that pop with no ambient trails, the roomy kits that sound like they were captured with a single microphone twenty feet away, a brushed kit that rumbles and rattles. I love it! And all of the chosen kits and recording choices have a massive effect on how we ultimately feel about the song.

Next week, the CMJ Music Marathon will fill New York City with even more great music than normal. Every fall, the festival brings hundreds of bands to the city's many venues, and NPR Music will be there again this year. On Oct. 22 at (Le) Poisson Rouge, we will present a free concert featuring a multi-genre lineup of rising stars, and we'd love to see your smiling faces there.

New Mix: Röyksopp, Hozier, Deerhoof, More

Oct 14, 2014

Host Bob Boilen kicks off this week's show with a buzzing song from Toronto-based The Rural Alberta Advantage's new album, Mended With Gold. Inspired by the track's killer percussion, Robin Hilton shares the neurotic, upbeat "Paradise Girls" from Deerhoof's upcoming album La Isla Bonita, out Nov. 3.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the promotional ghost peppers we unwittingly spilled on our pants is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for music to fill your head with sound, but not distractions.

Quint Smith writes via Twitter: "I'd love to see that editing playlist with Stars Of The Lid you mentioned on [Pop Culture Happy Hour] posted somewhere. I'm in need of ideas."

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Stella Mozgawa, drummer for the L.A. rock group Warpaint. The band is currently on tour for its moody, self-titled album, released at the beginning of the year. Mozgawa's picks for this week's quiz range from '80s pop to experimental rock, R&B and electronic music. Good luck, careful listeners!

Brooklyn's The Lone Bellow seemed to arrive fully formed: Its self-titled 2013 debut came stuffed with intricately assembled bundles of crowd-pleasing folk-pop, each more dramatic and infectious than the last. Charismatic, photogenic, endlessly hooky — The Lone Bellow has been the complete package since day one.

In the uncertainty between dreams and reality, there's a moment before waking when images blur into a glassy-eyed soup. Originally released on cassette in January and now seeing wider release, Hungry Cloud Darkening's "I Am Seen" embraces that beautiful unease on the trio's forthcoming Glossy Recall.

Earlier this year I heard a voice like no other. In fact, when I heard the song "Different Pulses," I was sure it was a woman. I imagined someone like Janis Joplin. But the singer, the young Israeli Asaf Avidan, is the man in the photo above. He's well known back home and in Europe — an unauthorized remix of "One Day/Reckoning Song" has fifteen million views on YouTube. When he came to the U.S.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the ingredients to an Ozzy Osbourne costume that'll fit a 10-year-old girl is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on managing a library while maintaining one's connection to music.

I don't get out to see many films these days. But I did recently catch a matinee of the super duper popcorn movie Guardians Of The Galaxy. In addition to some spectacular CGI, the film was supported by a solid foundation of Top 40 Hits, largely from the 1970s, such as Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" and The Runaways "Cherry Bomb." At some point it occurred to me that the soundtrack had a lot of good candidates for a puzzler. So ... here it is: The Guardians Of The Galaxy edition of Drum Fill Friday. Good luck, careful listeners!

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.

This week's All Songs Considered kicks off with a pair of anniversaries.

Let's go out on a very distant limb here: If Mr. Mister's atmospheric 1985 ballad "Broken Wings" had been written for a proggy space opera, it might sound something like Kayo Dot's "The Mortality Of Doves." It's not just because of birds, either. Toby Driver has always been an extremely fluid composer in the realms of avant-metal and prog-rock, but this 12-minute lead track from Coffins On Io is a surprise.

I once went to a show where the lead singer stripped naked on stage and tried to set his pubic hair on fire. Tragically, his lighter wouldn't work. Try to picture him standing there, completely naked, sadly flicking the lighter over and over and only getting sparks. Finally, one of the three or four people actually in attendance reached up to the stage and handed him theirs. The singer thumbed the lighter, his hair went up in one almost instant poof and the stench of burnt hair filled the club.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and among the Penzeys Spices catalogs that help us remember our ex-roommates' names is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on pop music's nadir.

Josh in Chicago writes via email: "Paula Abdul had four No. 1 hits, spanning 1989-90. One of them featured a rapping cartoon cat. Was that period the nadir of pop, pre-Nirvana?"

Dabney Morris has been laying down beats for the Nashville-based band Wild Cub since the group first formed in 2011. The band's debut full-length is Youth and was recorded with help from (Spoon's drummer and Drum Fill Friday Alumnus) Jim Eno. There are at least a couple of fills in Dabney's puzzler you should know right off the bat. The other three, maybe not as much. Either way, good luck, careful listeners!

Do you find yourself saying "no" more often than not? Robin Hilton does, which is why he kicks off this week's All Songs Considered with L.A.-based Afternoons' joyful sing-along, "Say Yes."

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and producer Atticus Ross continue to tease their upcoming soundtrack for the movie, Gone Girl. The longtime collaborators have posted four new songs from the score to their Soundcloud page.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the unsolicited phone books we toss straight into the recycling bin is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on words we'd prefer never to hear associated with music.

Eleanor writes via email: "You've tweeted about your hatred of the word 'songstress.' Writing about music is tricky, but what words do you think should ALWAYS be avoided, and why?"

We're back to basics in this week's Drum Fill Friday: No tricks or special themes, just a mix of vintage rock and iconic pop fills (okay, and one intro). Good luck, careful listeners!

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.

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.