All Songs Considered

All Songs Considered
5:12 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Dear 'Awful Band Name,' We Forgive You

Singer Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople made some amazing music. The band name, on the other hand, could have used some work.
Robert Altman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:00 am

I first found the music of Gashcat buried among 2,000 other songs in a playlist NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson put together to help us prepare for South By Southwest earlier this year. I assumed I wouldn't like them and only listened because I thought the name was ridiculous. Gashcat. What does that even mean?

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All Songs Considered
2:10 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

New Mix: Andrew Bird, Ty Segall, Pantha Du Prince, Casket Girls And More

Asha Mines Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 9:26 am

Host Bob Boilen has been on the road having way too much fun. (CMJ Music Marathon, Moogfest, Peter Gabriel).

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All Songs Considered
4:05 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

First Watch: Ben Sollee, 'A Few Honest Words'

Ben Sollee
Magnus Lindqvist Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:12 pm

Ben Sollee is not only an unconventional cellist, but also an unconventional human being. Recently, he took his cello, walked up the long steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the mall in D.C. (along with the Mason Jar Music film crew) and began to perform. It's not legal to do that, but like I said, Ben Sollee — the guy who bikes his cello across the country — is not a follower. The following video captures the moments in the shadow of Lincoln amid a throng of tourists.

From Ben Sollee:

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All Songs Considered
12:24 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

What Can You Make With $80 And A Hot Glue Gun?

Courtesy of the artist

Here's a puzzle: You're a not particularly well-known rapper with a couple of albums under your belt, trying to introduce yourself to a wider audience. You've got a song with a harp sample and lyrics with a wide range of references that include Afrika Bambaataa, Cash Money Records, Rammellzee, Burt Bacharach, the Brill Building, Zola Jesus, Human League, outrageously expensive high-fashion brands like Prada and Balenciaga and low-budget but prolific art collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Win Or Lose: Your Election Night Theme Song

Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 11:13 am

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All Songs Considered
4:10 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Watch The Creepy New Video By Mercury Prize Winners Alt-J

Alt-J flying in Delta formation
Jory Cordy Big Hassle Media

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:03 am

Alt-J is a quirky band that, over the past few months, has found its way to the top of my listening pile and is now my favorite album of the year. I'm not alone. Yesterday Alt-J's album, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize. This choice prize for bands in Great Britain is selected by music journalists and other music business folks and often goes to underdogs. This year is no exception.

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All Songs Considered
10:20 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Song Premiere: Pere Ubu, 'Free White'

Pere Ubu
Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 6:32 pm

Pere Ubu made some of the darkest and most creative music of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Thirty five years after its release, The Modern Dance would easily make my top 10 of all time. We hear the word "industrial" bandied about to describe music — The Modern Dance exemplified that genre.

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All Songs Considered
11:12 am
Thu November 1, 2012

First Watch: Walk Off The Earth, 'Red Hands'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:28 pm

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for a confetti cannon. But even more so, I love it when visuals draw me into a song. It doesn't happen often, but this video for the song "Red Hands" by Walk Off The Earth had me scratching my head wondering how it was done while it kept me smiling at the same time.

It's not the first time this band has made me smile. Earlier this year this Canadian band gathered round a single acoustic guitar and recorded themselves playing a cover version of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" that has now been watched 138 million times.

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All Songs Considered
3:20 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

The Best Of Moogfest 2012

Moogfest always draws a creative crowd. But the festival's proximity to Halloween inspires some fans to dress in unusual costumes.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 2:01 pm

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All Songs Considered
10:02 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Song Premiere: Ilsa, 'Fluid Bound'

Ilsa by candlelight.
Courtesy of the artist

Ilsa makes no secret of reveling in debauchery and exploitation flicks, so Intoxicantations is a perfectly clever title for the band's new album. The word-mash is a little hokey, like a B-movie with a lot of blood and bare-chested women, but still a line every metalhead or pulp comic-book writer will wish he'd thought of first. But even the most awesomely gruesome titles and covers need real guts (spilling out or otherwise), and with "Fluid Bound," the Washington, D.C., metal band drips with demented horror.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Song Premiere: Haley Bonar, 'Bad Reputation'

Haley Bonar.
Courtesy of the artist

Haley Bonar has been crafting gorgeous, stately pop and wounded ballads for more than a decade now, and her fans still often find themselves explaining, "It's pronounced Bonner." At this point, Bonar deserves to have people pronounce her name correctly and then some, because she's a remarkable performer, with a terrific ear for detail and a gift for masking melancholy observations with hooks that stick.

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All Songs Considered
1:56 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

We Get Mail: The Top Five Secret Ingredients To Make Any Song Awesome

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:00 pm

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All Songs Considered
3:00 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Question Of The Day: Top Five Bands That Should Be Way Bigger Than They Are?

Five Eight giving yet another one of its many memorable live performances.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 2:48 pm

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All Songs Considered
10:45 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Song Premiere: El Perro del Mar, 'Hold Off The Dawn'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 11:24 am

Ask Swedish singer Sarah Assbring, sole member of the moody pop group El Perro del Mar, and she'll tell you these are grim times, but not without a flicker of hope. "In this world, you think you have no reason to believe in love or in anything much," she says. "Then one day, when you least expect it, a light appears on the far horizon. It's a flickering light, begging you to come, telling you to stay away."

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All Songs Considered
4:30 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Dear Dad: I'm Sorry I Blew Out Your Nice Stereo Speakers

I think we can all agree that he deserves at least a little bit of the blame: Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer on stage with his Moog synthesizer.
Ed Perlstein Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 11:36 am

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All Songs Considered
11:21 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Song Premiere: Pelt, 'Of Jack's Darbari'

Pelt.
Courtesy of the artist

I'm convinced that I will write about Jack Rose for the rest of my life. Truly, few things in music could make me happier. In his 38 years on earth, Rose ignited not only a small revolution in acoustic guitar, but also a holistic way of thinking about sound, and what it means to move forward with decades of tradition at your callused fingers.

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All Songs Considered
9:46 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Song Premiere: Neighbors, 'New Century'

Neighbors.
Courtesy of the artist

There's something strangely hypnotic and charming about "New Century," an immensely infectious bummer from Neighbors, which consists of a guy named Noah Stitelman and anyone else who happens to be around to help. For all of Stitelman's fretful miserablism — "I wanna lie down and hide in the dark 'til I don't have to figure it out," he sings early on — Neighbors' music is steeped in smoothly pleasing brightness. If anyone out there remembers the D.C.

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All Songs Considered
3:00 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Song Premiere: Laura Gibson, 'The Carob Trees'

Courtesy of the artist

It's been fascinating to watch the creative development of Laura Gibson, the singer-songwriter who, among other things, inspired NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts series.

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All Songs Considered
9:52 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Hear Jason Lytle, Sea Of Bees Cover Each Other's Work

Courtesy of the artists

According to legend, once in each millennium, the Music Gods come together and, after much debate, agree to bestow a single magical gift upon the world — a song or album or project so breathtaking, it leaves throngs of people weeping in the streets at its splendor and forever changes the way we hear music. That time is now, as Jason Lytle and Sea of Bees have opted to cover each other's songs.

Okay, fine: Maybe it's not that special. But it's still cool when a couple of your favorite artists dig each other's music and want to work together.

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All Songs Considered
1:46 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

CMJ 2012: Hundred Waters, Turbo Fruits, Foxygen And More

Clockwise from upper left: Hundred Waters, Turbo Fruits, Brick + Mortar, Foxygen, People Get Ready.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:59 pm

Each fall, hundreds of little-known bands descend on New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon. As festivals go, it's one of the best for surprises, since so many of the acts are new and emerging. For the artists, it's a chance to be seen and heard and, hopefully, loved. For the rabid music fan or journalist, it's an overwhelming flood of musical discoveries.

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All Songs Considered
12:58 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Four

Performers in People Get Ready's Specific Ocean at New York Live Arts.
Ian Douglas Courtesy of the artist

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All Songs Considered
1:43 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Bob Boilen's CMJ Discoveries: Day Three

Little Green Cars play at the Union Square Ballroom during CMJ 2012 in New York City.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:53 pm

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Drum Fill Friday, From Dinosaur Jr. Drummer Murph

Karl Walter Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:19 am

This week's drum-fill quiz comes from Murph, longtime drummer for the band Dinosaur Jr. A couple of these are pretty easy, but this was otherwise one of the harder ones I've done. See what you think. Just drag the drum fill or intro to the album it's from. If you get it right, the song names will appear.

Previous drum-fill quizzes.

Here's what Murph has to say about the fills and intros he picked:

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All Songs Considered
5:07 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

The Drop: A Kaarvai Moment With Michael Mayer

Courtesy of the artist

The best gateway into electronic music might be the human voice. There's something about our vocal cords in a dance song that, well, speaks to us. We don't even need to know what the words mean — heck, we don't even need words — to trigger an emotional connection and turn music designed for the brain or the feet into something with which our hearts can get down.

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All Songs Considered
12:38 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Two

Drummer Zach Hill of Sacramento-based band Death Grips, during the group's speaker-busting set at (Le) Poisson Rouge.
Loren Wohl for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:54 pm

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Barbra Streisand Live: Brooklyn Girl, Still Making Good

Barbra Streisand on stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on October 11, 2012
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 9:48 am

This past week Barbra Streisand, born and raised in Brooklyn, played the borough for the first time since she was eight years old. Back then it was on somebody's stoop on Pulaski Street in Bed-Stuy. Now 70 — after winning all the awards (Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Oscar, etc.) — she was only the second performer at a new venue in her hometown, a 19,000 seat basketball and entertainment arena called the Barclays Center.

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All Songs Considered
10:34 am
Wed October 17, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day One

Ben Gibbard performs at The HiFi Bar in New York City's Lower East Side during the CMJ Music Marathon.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:05 pm

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All Songs Considered Blog
6:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Song Premiere: The Daredevil Christopher Wright, 'A Man Of The Arts'

The Daredevil Christopher Wright.
John Hanson Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 9:15 am

The Daredevil Christopher Wright is a band featuring brothers Jon and Jason Sunde, along with the percussion and voice of Jesse Edgington. The band began in 2004 in Eau Claire, Wis., and put out a second full-length album, The Nature of Things, earlier this year. Now we've got a new song, "A Man of the Arts," which will appear on a split 7" single the group is sharing with the Brooklyn band Cuddle Magic. It may be too simple to say that what attracted me to this song was its vibe, but it's the truth.

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All Songs Considered Blog
1:45 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Song Premiere: Benoit & Sergio, 'Lipstick & Lace'

Benoit & Sergio.
Kieran Behan

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 9:16 am

If next week's New Ships EP is any indication, "If it ain't broke, do it better" is Benoit & Sergio's mantra. The D.C. dance-pop duo has experienced a sharp, steady rise since releasing its debut EP (2009's What I've Lost), in part because it keeps sharpening its knack for punching out melodic club tracks.

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All Songs Considered Blog
3:07 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

First Watch: Astro, 'Colombo'

Astro.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 2:46 pm

Astro belongs to Chile's fantastic wave of modern musical exports, alongside rapper Ana Tijoux, pop singer Alex Andwandter and indie-folk singer Gepe, among others. Yet Astro stands apart from its contemporaries: Tijoux, Gepe and even Andwandter are inspired by Chile's folk tradition and serious social issues, while the band heads in a different direction with its fun, irreverent lyrics and synth-heavy sound.

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