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All Songs Considered

D∆WN 's had a busy 2016, dropping three separate videos for " Not Above That ," a fashion film for " Wake Up ," a single for Adult Swim , a feature on Machinedrum's " Do It 4 U ," and not to mention a sleepy and creepy cover of Adele's " Hello " at the end of last year. But it's all been leading up to the final entry of an album trilogy from of the artist formerly known as Dawn Richard. RedemptionHeart is imminent. The hyper, brassy "Renegades" is the first single, very much in line with D∆WN...

The 2014 album The London Sessions wasn't so much a revitalization of Mary J. Blige 's decades-long career as a way the R&B singer could reframe her music, with producers and songwriters attuned to her emotional and vocal range. Now Blige is back with Strength Of A Woman , due out this year on Capitol. In announcing the album last night, she shared her new single "Thick Of It," co-written with Jazmine Sullivan . It's a thoughtful and powerful blend of Blige's history — classic R&B balladry...

There are so many ways to be, so many ways to love and be loved. With last night's announcement of her long-awaited new album, Here , Alicia Keys offers a new song, "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)," featuring a verse from rapper A$AP Rocky. It's an acoustic guitar-driven song, decorated by cascading piano and a boom-bap beat, about starting a new family with a son from a previous marriage, mirroring Keys' own life. "I'm so excited for you to hear this song," Keys writes. "It means so...

Dirty Projectors guitarist and singer Amber Coffman's long-anticipated solo album is finally about to see the light of day. It's called City Of No Reply , and the first single from it is a gorgeous, soulful — if slightly bent — ballad called "All To Myself." A video for the song shows Coffman strolling along the seaside, looking somewhat forlorn, while singing to herself. Later she's buried up to her neck in sand. "I've got to sing it out," Coffman sings. "Sing it all to myself, there's no...

What does a new album from The Rolling Stones sound like in 2016? If "Just A Fool" is any indication, it's a lot like the band's earliest recordings from more than 50 years ago. This cover of a Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra tune is the kind of harmonica-honked, barroom piano-plonked, dirty blues that introduced the world to the Stones, when the British band made a name for itself by interpreting American blues songs. Mick Jagger is especially settling into his ragged older man voice like...

Grimes surprised fans today with seven new videos, including four songs from her most recent album, Art Angels , and three tracks from her friend and collaborator HANA's self-titled EP. In a series of Tweets , Grimes says she, HANA and Grimes' brother Mac Boucher shot the videos guerrilla-style over a two-week period while traveling through Europe. "There was no crew, makeup, cameras, lights," Grimes says. "Just us and a phone, so maybe don't expect anything too fancy." The videos are for ...

Do you ever want to hear another rock guitar solo again? That's where the fight began. Robin played a song with a lot of guitar wankery by the band Major Stars. He loved it and I frankly couldn't wait for it to end. It got me wondering: Is this sort of music even relevant in 2016? But there are lots of other sounds on this week's show, including a song from a favorite new album of mine by a band that certainly has the most adorable name: Cuddle Magic. It's a spare bit of electronic pop...

Soul singer Charles Bradley is battling stomach cancer and has canceled several tour dates, according to a statement posted on his official Facebook page Tuesday. The 67-year-old singer issued a statement saying he's determined to come back stronger: "I'm getting the best medical care and we are all extremely optimistic. I will fight through this like I've fought through the many other obstacles in my life. My upcoming tour dates will be postponed so I can concentrate on healing. Thank you...

This past week I was at the 17th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, listening to and having conversations with musicians. One songwriter and singer I've admired from the world of Americana during this decade is John Paul White , whom you may know as a former member of the duo The Civil Wars . White's new solo album, Beulah , came out in August, and it's a quiet, poignant work. Over the past few years I've been talking with musicians about a song that changed them, a...

For weeks, Bon Iver fans have been tantalized by cryptic imagery, pop-up murals and a symbol-heavy track list that would make any copy editor shudder. Now, the band's long-awaited third album, 22, A Million -- its first in five years — is finally available. Bon Iver performed 22, A Million in full at bandleader Justin Vernon's Eaux Claires music festival in August, and teased the album with three singles: "22 (OVER S∞∞N)," "10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄" and "33 'God.'" The music is full of...

Solange announced her new album, A Seat At The Table , on Tuesday, calling it "a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing." Now the follow-up to 2012's excellent True EP is here, accompanied by a book , and featuring spots from Kelela, Q-Tip, Kelly Rowland, Lil Wayne, Dev Hynes, Sampha, Moses Sumney, The-Dream, BJ the Chicago Kid, Sean Nicholas Savage and Tweet. It's a floating melange of R&B, bold in its quiet and understated sounds, bolder in its message. You can...

Kate Bush has toured only once in the last 35 years. Fortunately, that string of live performances, at the Hammersmith Apollo in London in 2014, was recorded and will soon be available for everyone to hear. Concord Records will release Before The Dawn , a three-disc set of the recordings, on Dec. 2. Bush produced the set herself, with no additional recording or overdubs. The 22-concert run, which sold out in less than 15 minutes , marked Bush's first live shows since 1979. The three-disc set...

Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath was one of the coolest records to come out in 2014, with Ozzy-era Black Sabbath songs recast as heavy Latin-funk jams. But it's not just some joke made after a night of tequila. Master of Reality and Ray Barretto, the Austin, Texas-based collective Brownout truly found new grooves in these already-heady classics. Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras says it's a "a reflection of the kind of cross-cultural life many Latinos in the U.S. live in, one where a 1970s...

Named for a Drive Like Jehu song, Super Unison came out fully formed with a furious eight minutes of hip-shaking punk released last year. Featuring vocalist and bassist Meghan O'Neil Pennie (ex-Punch), drummer Justin Renniger (ex-Snowing) and guitarist Kevin DeFranco, Super Unison proves that melody can still leave a nasty bruise. The Oakland band's debut album, Auto , makes good on the EP's promise, and refines some of the rough edges for a huge sound produced by Jack Shirley (Oathbreaker,...

When Conor Oberst started releasing music more than 20 years ago, first as a solo artist and later as Bright Eyes , he was just a teenager from Nebraska. Everyone marveled at how a kid could write and record at such a breathlessly prolific pace, producing inspired, sonically adventurous songs with a wisdom and world view beyond his years. Now just in his mid-30s, he's already a veteran, with dozens of albums and EPs behind him. Oberst returns this fall with one of the most intimate records of...

While Bob was gallivanting about Nashville last week for AmericanaFest, I was hiding under a pile of covers fighting a case of Hand-Foot-And-Mouth disease (it's as Medieval as it sounds). But show business never sleeps, which means Bob made it back home, I recovered and we're back in the studio this week to geek out over our favorite new music. Bob kicks things off with a big surprise: Brian Eno is singing! The ambient pioneer and producer hasn't released a vocal record in years. But he was...

A new David Bowie box set released late last week includes a complete (and remastered) version of his long-lost album, The Gouster . Bowie originally recorded the album in 1974, but eventually shelved the project. Reworked versions of "Somebody Up There Likes Me" and "Can You Hear Me" wound up on 1975's Young Americans . Other tracks, like "It's Gonna Be Me" and "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)," trickled out in various forms in the years that followed. But this is the first time Gouster 's...

The political endorsement song is a strange beast. It's something more than just a campaign anthem — the kind of track that pumps up rally audiences before a candidate's entrance onstage. Instead, this kind of tune is an odd hybrid: part commercial jingle, part aspirational anthem and, with nearly no exceptions, a soon-forgotten novelty. (One outlier: the sturdy Whig song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" from the 1840 presidential campaign, which was most recently resurrected by They Might Be...

Dirty Projectors ' early career opened a virtual fire hydrant of ideas: albums overstuffed with sound and chaos, reined in by real artistry, released in rapid succession. But as bandleader David Longstreth honed his vision, the hydrant's flow has given way to a trickle. It's been more than four years since the last new Dirty Projectors album, Swing Lo Magellan , and Longstreth himself has stayed largely out of the public eye. If "Keep Your Name" is any indication, the time off hasn't gone...

In the music of Alcest, beauty reigns above all. Even in the French band's early days playing gauzy black-metal, attention was paid to the curves of song and sound. From 2014, Shelter departed completely from Alcest's metallic roots for shoegaze, a conscious move on mastermind Neige's part that, while pretty, was airy in its noticeable lack of heft. Leading off the forthcoming Kodama with gracefully savage riffs, the title track doesn't return to form so much as Alcest takes ownership of its...

They came, they measured, they built and they plotted. But first, they had to borrow a few things from the NPR office. Blue Man Group designed new instruments and a small-scale show solely for a one-time performance at the Tiny Desk. Celebrate the group's 25th anniversary with this musical and comical adventure, which you can watch this Monday, Sept. 26, at npr.org/tinydesk . Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

For the past 25 years I've had this notion that on every successive Leonard Cohen record his voice would get deeper and deeper until one day he'd put out an album so subsonic that you'd just feel it, not hear it. Well, we're close. On this day, Leonard Cohen's 82nd birthday, he's given us a gift: It's dark, it's beautiful and it's deep. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to his soon-to-be-released album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. The album of nine songs, out...

The Americana Music in Nashville is never quite what I think it will be. This week's All Songs starts with Yola Carter, a British singer of mixed race. Next is the white Australian C.W. Stoneking, sounding like blues legend Willie Dixon. The third song on the show is by Marlon Willams, a soulful young New Zealand singer. The common thread as we explore the newest and most promising voices at AmericanaFest is a love of folk, country, roots music, but how that gets interpreted varies, and that...

Classic Dose: Larry Heard

Sep 16, 2016

It's been 30 years since a handful of singles from the Southside of Chicago — handed out to and played by Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy, two local DJs then helping define the sound that came to be known as "house" — transformed dance music all around the world. The tracks came from Larry Heard, a twenty-something musician who worked at the Social Security Administration by day, and drummed in cover bands (art-rock, reggae, jazz fusion) by night; but it was only when Heard decided to invest...

Advisory: This interview contains profanity. On this week's All Songs +1 podcast, I'm taking the host chair usually occupied by Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton for a conversation with Danny Brown about the Detroit rapper's upcoming album, Atrocity Exhibition , his admiration for contemporaries like ScHoolBoy Q and what Brown calls his all-time favorite rap song, Nas' "The World Is Yours." In our talk, Brown also explains how he hooked up with South African singer/producer Petite Noir for the new...

Justin Trosper's creative arc is as jagged as it is long. Through the '90s, his band Unwound brought an extraordinary catalog of noisy, desperate music to life. When Trosper returned with Survival Knife in 2014, it was a thoughtful and loud exercise in "regular" rock 'n' roll that was anything but. His music is a study in unconventional rock that, at its edges, makes its own conventions. With his new band, Nocturnal Habits, Trosper once again reshapes not only his songwriting, but also his...

There is a magical new film by Bill Morrison, who has has garnered love and accolades for his films that use archival footage to tell new stories. His work has been shown around the world, recently as part of a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Along with his use of found footage, Bill Morrison often teams up with modern composers. He's made films using music by Philip Glass, Harry Partch, Vijay Iyer and Bill Frisell which gives you an idea of his reach into...

The gang's finally back together! And by gang we mean hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, who find themselves in the studio together for the first time in a month. With the summer break finally over, the two return with this week's essential mix, from both veteran artists and new discoveries. Robin opens the show with an epic, trance-inducing piece from Scottish singer-songwriter King Creosote , who calls it a "plaintive, hymn-like lament of frustration and debasement." Bob follows with a...

There's a new album from Phish coming on Oct. 7, the band's 13th, titled Big Boat , and this news is always met with some conflicted opinions from fans. Throughout an impressive career that now spans 30 years (including a couple hiatuses - breakups - reunions along the way), Phish is still known best for its epic live performances rather than its albums. For at least a portion of the diehard concert-collecting fanbase, new songs are more of a refined framework for the lengthy improvisations...

There's a new film about Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds directed by Andrew Dominik called One More Time With Feeling . The setting of the film is a recording studio for a performance of songs from Skeleton Tree , the band's 16th studio album. But the backdrop to the film is tragic. In the summer of 2015, Nick Cave's 15-year-old son Arthur fell from a cliff while hallucinating on LSD. The film was made about five months later. Cave has not spoken at any length about his son, and this film is, in a...

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