All Songs Considered

All Songs Considered
12:03 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ashley Paul Incites A Microscopic Riot On 'Watch Them Pass'

Ashley Paul.
Courtesy of the artist

Even in still moments, particles incite microscopic riots. Brooklyn-via-Boston composer and multi-instrumentalist Ashley Paul is used to making a huge racket, most regularly with her husband Eli Keszler. On her Line the Clouds, there's tension in patience as she navigates a singer-songwriter's reactions.

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All Songs Considered
9:52 am
Wed March 27, 2013

First Watch: Phosphorescent, 'Song For Zula'

Courtesy of the artist

The brand new video for Phosphorescent's "Song For Zula," from the band's sixth album, Muchacho, forgoes a literal illustration of song's heartbroken story for something more allegorical. In a single slow-motion tracking shot, the camera approaches a distant figure dressed in rags, bashing at chains that hold her to the ground.

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All Songs Considered
11:07 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Question Of The Week: What Is The Perfect Pair Of Headphones?

An American zoo tried experiments of playing music to animals to see if it subdued them.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 12:17 pm

I've been buying headphones for 30 years now, have owned more they I can possibly remember and still haven't found the perfect pair. I must chew through one or two sets a year in a never-ending, desperate (and futile) search to find the right acoustics, feel and functionality. I've tried in-ear buds, over-the-ear hooks, full-sized cans and wireless. Some sound great but fit horribly. Or the fit is perfect but the sound too tinny, or the controls don't quite work. The truth is, I hate headphones, especially because I hate being tethered to my stereo. It's like wearing a leash.

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All Songs Considered
8:51 am
Tue March 26, 2013

New Mix: Vampire Weekend, Savages, Giant Drag, Eluvium And More

Clockwise from upper left: Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass of Boy, Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, Vampire Weekend, Annie Hardy of Giant Drag
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 11:19 am

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share some final discoveries from this year's South by Southwest music festival, including the British noise-rock group Savages and Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass, the Swiss-German pop pair that records and performs as Boy.

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All Songs Considered
10:13 am
Fri March 22, 2013

New Sigur Rós, New Direction? Watch The Video For 'Brennisteinn'

Lygia Clark's cover art for Sigur Rós' forthcoming album, Kveikur.
Lygia Clark Courtesy of the artist

This is the most exciting new Sigur Rós song I've heard in a long time, and I love the band's music. "Brennisteinn" (sulfur) is a remarkably aggressive piece of music for musicians who can sound so ethereal: Dreamy elements remain, but they provide an underpinning rather than driving the pulse of the song.

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All Songs Considered
9:35 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Song Premiere: John Grant, 'It Doesn't Matter To Him'

Horour Sveinsson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 12:00 pm

Some songwriters are so adept at capturing the mess and miracle of everyday emotion that their work resonates as exceptionally truthful. John Grant is one of those. In recent years, the 44-year-old former frontman for Colorado rock band the Czars has produced two exceptional collections of funny, brutal, nuanced songs — 2010's collaboration with the band Midlake, Queen of Denmark, and now Pale Green Ghosts, which will be released in the U.S. on May 14.

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All Songs Considered
2:13 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Song Premiere: Paperhaus, "Helicopters"

Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 2:42 pm

The musicians in Paperhaus live in my hometown of Washington, D.C., so I've seen this dynamic band more than a few times. In fact, they put on some of the best house concerts in the city, over a hundred of them at their own venue, also called the Paperhaus, so I've seen them both in clubs and their intimate living room.

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All Songs Considered
10:59 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Electronic Edition: James Blake And Brian Eno, DJ Koze, Bonobo, More

Clockwise from upper left: Joker, Bonobo, James Blake, DJ Koze, Julio Bashmore
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:21 am

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All Songs Considered
11:44 am
Mon March 18, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Five Highlights

50 years after the band was founded, The Zombies still count as a discovery for many attendees of SXSW. Here, Rod Argent (left) and Jim Rodford play to a warm reception on the festival's final night at Brazos Hall in Austin, Texas.
Sean Mathis Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:34 am

As the 2013 South by Southwest festival was winding to a noisy end — sirens, car horns and even a helicopter passed could be heard on the streets of Austin, Texas — there were plenty of smaller, quieter moments worth singling out. On the festival's final night, the All Songs Considered gang gathered to talk about what they saw, heard and felt during their last few hours in Austin.

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All Songs Considered
3:05 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Five In Photos

Earl Sweatshirt performs at SXSW 2013.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 3:59 pm

It's the last day of SXSW and now it's time to go on that smoothie detox to cleanse five days worth of BBQ, beer and breakfast tacos.

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All Songs Considered
3:29 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Four In Photos

Solange performs at Stubb's.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 4:44 pm

You can depend on Solange to be the best dressed anywhere — that pink suit! — but her commanding live presence at SXSW is a thing of wonder, even if her funky R&B can be quiet and unassuming. We also took in the crushing doom metal of Batillus, spazzed out to Metz, and got gloomy with Diamond Rings.

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All Songs Considered
11:13 am
Sat March 16, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Four Highlights

Noise-rock band KEN mode pummeling Red 7 at SXSW 2013.
Mike Katzif WNYC

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:32 am

"If you want to do something, just do it." Words of wisdom from Bob Boilen that sum up day four of South By Southwest for the All Songs Considered gang perfectly. Bob, along with Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers were joined by Mike Katzif and Will Butler, both former All Songs interns. Will's journey to Austin was inspired by Amanda Palmer's recent TED Talk.

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All Songs Considered
12:11 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Three In Photos

Ecstatic Cafe Tacvba fans at Alt.Latino's SXSW showcase at Auditorium Shores.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:02 pm

¡Viva! Alt.Latino presented a killer showcase from Auditorium Shores with Cafe Tacvba and Bajofondo on Thursday.

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All Songs Considered
8:28 am
Fri March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Three Highlights

The Flaming Lips on stage at the Belmont in Austin, Texas. The band played its 2002 album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
Jordan Naylor Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:30 am

The span of South by Southwest is so huge that sometimes the festival can be about the bands you miss as much as the ones you see. After the hectic Thursday on the streets, bars and venues of Austin, Texas, the All Songs Considered crew regrouped to recount the long walks, long lines, tough decisions, missed opportunities and happy accidents of day three.

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All Songs Considered
4:30 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Two In Photos

Sky Ferreira plays The Fader Fort at SXSW 2013.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Before our eyes were glued to stellar performances by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at our official SXSW showcase on Tuesday — not too mention rapper Le1f's amazing dance moves — we roamed the streets of Austin.

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All Songs Considered
8:26 am
Thu March 14, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day Two Highlights

Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O lights up the night at Stubb's during NPR Music's SXSW showcase.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:28 am

For the All Songs Considered gang, the second day of the South By Southwest music festival was packed with familiar favorites and new discoveries. On the heels of NPR Music's SXSW Showcase at Stubb's, Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers once again huddled in their favorite Austin churchyard to discuss the standouts and surprises from the day.

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All Songs Considered
2:50 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Baby Bands, Pop Stars And Room-Filling Joy: What To Expect At SXSW 2013

Twin Horns Of Joy? Members of the band The Bottom Dollars play on the street in Austin, Texas, during the opening night of the South by Southwest music festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 7:55 am

Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered by clicking the audio link.


The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.

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All Songs Considered
12:02 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day One In Photos

A member of Beach Fossils jumps into the crowd at The Mohawk.
Adam Kissick for NPR

What do Best Coast, Boba Fett, Beach Fossils and street yogis have in common? They were among the many artists and fans who came for the first day of South by Southwest. See a gallery of photos by Adam Kissick here and follow us on Flickr for much, much more.

All Songs Considered
8:26 am
Wed March 13, 2013

SXSW 2013: Day One Highlights

Jim James onstage during the opening night of the 2013 SXSW Music festival in Austin, Texas.
Rita Quinn Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 11:11 am

The All Songs Considered gang has made their way to Austin, Texas for this year's South By Southwest music festival. The five day event, which showcases performances by over 1500 bands and artists, takes over the city, and this year officially starts one day earlier than in the past — Tuesday night.

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All Songs Considered
8:16 am
Mon March 11, 2013

SXSW 2013 Music Preview

Clockwise from upper left: Shakey Graves, Skewby, Hannah Georgas, Hiatus Kaiyote, Air Review, K-X-P
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 3:07 pm

It's that time of year again! All Songs Considered is headed on another musical trek to Austin for this year's South By Southwest festival. Before hitting the road we listened to songs from more than a thousand bands scheduled to play the festival, in search of some great new discoveries. On this edition of the show hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson and NPR Music critic Ann Powers come together to share some of what they found, and talk about the bands they're most excited to see.

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All Songs Considered
8:16 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Time To Shake: Clutch's Earth-Rocking One-Two Punch

Clutch.
Dirk Behlau Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 2:34 pm

There's a statement of intent in the sequence of an album's opening one-two punch. There's Harvey Milk's The Pleaser, a title reversal of set 'em up ("Down") and knock 'em down ("Get It Up & Get It On").

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All Songs Considered
1:31 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

We Get Mail: Picking The Perfect Travel Playlist

This little scamp gets ready for Norway's Trondheim Metal Fest by psyching himself up with the music of Napalm Death.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 12:14 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:24 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

First Watch: Julianna Barwick, 'Offing'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 3:38 pm

In a way, singer Julianna Barwick's ethereal voice and seemingly shapeless songs are a form of abstract art: colorful and curious, with lines that drift and flow in unexpected but beautiful directions. For her latest video, and a new song called "Offing," Barwick finds commonality in architect Philip Johnson's Glass House and a strange sculpture from artist Ken Price. Barwick performs alongside the sculpture for a live audience, filling the Glass House with layers of her sublime voice.

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All Songs Considered
10:24 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Run From Life And Crash Kvelertak's Blast Beat Party

Kvelertak.
Stian Andersen Courtesy of the artist

For a party-friendly metal-punk band like Kvelertak, "Spring fra Livet" sure is a curveball. The stomping, AC/DC-style intro? That's a party-starter. But 20 seconds in, there's a twangy, melodic riff that sounds like an Allman Brothers-indebted '90s alt-rock band, like Better Than Ezra or Toad the Wet Sprocket or maybe just the Empire Records soundtrack — if the Empire Records soundtrack were about to lay into a blast-beaten chorus. Respectfully, Kvelertak, just what is going on here?

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All Songs Considered
12:46 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Our SXSW Plans: Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Youth Lagoon, More

Mito Habe-Evans NPR Music

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:03 am

Get some earplugs and a case of your favorite caffeinated beverage ready: The annual sensory-overload-joy-fest known as South by Southwest is almost here. Bob Boilen, Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson and I, along with a small army of other NPR Music peeps, will be there next week for the whole thing. Whether you'll be in Austin for the festival, or watching and listening on our website, we hope you'll join us for these events:


WEDNESDAY, March 13

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All Songs Considered
10:16 am
Tue March 5, 2013

This Week's Mix: New Flaming Lips, Surfer Blood, Sufjan Stevens, More

Clockwise from upper left: Flaming Lips, Sufjan Stevens, Maria Schneider, Surfer Blood.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:52 pm

This week on All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by some familiar friends from the NPR Music team, who share their latest musical finds.

Bob starts things off with a brand-new track from the Floridian indie-rock band Surfer Blood. Its new album Pythons isn't out until June, but you can hear "Demon Dance" before anyone else right here.

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All Songs Considered
4:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side,' 40 Years Later

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 9:04 am

It begins with a heartbeat. Released in 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon was Pink Floyd's eighth studio album. It would become one of the best-selling albums of all time, and its iconic cover image still hangs in college dormitories everywhere.

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All Songs Considered
8:45 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Take A Kaleidoscopic Train Ride In Zs' New Video

Greg Fox

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 9:24 am

After 10 years of gleefully dismantling genres and challenging audiences to submit to its avant-prog-jazz-drone-noise-whatever hypnosis, the New York City band Zs promptly dismantled itself last summer. Only founding member and saxophonist Sam Hillmer remains, joined now by guitarist Patrick Higgins and drummer Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, ex-Liturgy). So it's only fitting that Grain, the first taste of new Zs material, features unreleased leftovers of previous line-ups completely dismantled.

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All Songs Considered
12:34 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

We Get Mail: With Kids In The Car, Who Controls The Stereo?

This little scamp has no say over the car stereo.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 12:14 pm

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All Songs Considered
1:39 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

First Watch: The Zolas, 'Escape Artist'

Courtesy of the artist

In "Escape Artist," the new video from Canadian pop duo The Zolas, the band plays around with audience expectations about race, culture and sexuality. As frontman Zach Gray sings about his mysterious alter ego, a group of kids kick around their neighborhood, playing basketball, chatting up girls and passing the hours. One of them clearly feels like an outsider.

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