All Songs Considered

Rock 'n' roll is ugly. If not, it's not rock 'n' roll. Hell, even when rock 'n' roll is pretty, it's ugly. For The Wilful Boys, rock 'n' roll is slammin' 40s in front of a righteous garbage fire. The New York band's debut album, Rough As Guts, lives up to its name, with one mud-crusted boot in '70s hard rock and another in punk-splattered '90s noise-rock. For all its twin-guitar riff grit, "621" sure does swing, courtesy of drummer Steven Fisher, who pulls double duty as a howler with an Australian drawl.

On this week's All Songs Considered we come full circle. Robin Hilton opens the show by looking back in time with a weird, psychedelic track by Cornelius from his long out-of-print, newly reissued album Fantasma. If the song doesn't justify itself, Bob Boilen provides an argument for looking back with a song by The Wild Reeds called "Everything Looks Better (In Hindsight)."

Also on the show: We also play an electro-folk track by the Israeli sisters A-WA and a new song by Tiny Desk veterans Bellows.

But first, Robin and Bob talk knee surgery.

Success never shields us from tragedy; it's just a barrier waiting to break down. While on tour in October 2014, vocalist Jeremy Bolm received news that his mother's cancer had finally taken her life. Touché Amoré's new album title, Stage Four, carries a double meaning; this is both the post-hardcore band's fourth album and an emotional autobiography that attempts to make sense of a lifetime with his mother.

Legendary musician Peter Gabriel has just released a new song, "I'm Amazing," inspired by the life of Muhammad Ali. In a press announcement, Gabriel — long the leader of the band Genesis, as well as a massively influential solo artist — wrote:

Hozier has just written a new song called "Better Love," and it's for a big budget Hollywood movie: The Legend Of Tarzan.

Before Deafheaven's Sunbather ended up in iPhone ads, another rose-colored metal album crossed over in surprising and significant ways. Ten years ago, Boris released Pink -- a wild and stunning amalgamation of the Japanese trio's previous decade — to U.S. audiences. Pink was prescient in how metal would rethink what it meant to be heavy, with metallic shoegaze butting up against feedback-sick drone and glittery punk.

For the last decade and change, American metalcore has been the sound of suburban teenage angst. Eyes will roll from metal's elders, but the number of stage-diving, arm-swinging maniacs at shows proves the genre's staying power, particularly capturing an age group for which heavier, more caustic music provides a new means of cathartic release. Norma Jean wasn't there at the beginning, but was among those bands in the early 2000s that innovated, gave this extreme music shape and smartly grew along with its fan base.

On this week's All Songs Considered mix, we play songs about longing, loss, and healing, with premieres from The Tallest Man On Earth, pop singer LP and more.

Haley Bonar's songs marry fizzy arrangements to cuttingly quotable observations about love, disappointment, identity and the curdling of youth. Her new album, Impossible Dream, finds the underrated Minnesotan in top form, mixing darkness and light with a deft touch.

It's been a while since we've heard from Lorde. Now, a new song the singer co-wrote with her fellow New Zealanders in Broods, has just come out. "Heartlines" is a bubbly, revelatory dance track with references to "jumping state lines" and midnight car rides. The artists not only share a country, but also a producer, Joel Little, who helps shape the sound of both Lorde and Broods.

You'd figure Paul McCartney, the most well-known songwriter on planet Earth, would, by now, have confidence in his ability to write a song. But as he tells us in this week's All Songs +1 podcast, "You never get it down. I don't know how to do this. You'd think I do, but it's not one of these things you ever really know how to do."

This month's survey of the dance music underground is energetic to say the least. Looking for mellow backyard BBQ jams? Hold off on those for another month. All six of our selections for May 2016 keep the tempos in the 120s or above, ranging from the ecstatic screams of the anonymous Mainline to the tribal polyrhythms of Lisbon's DJ Marfox.

On this week's All Songs Considered, we play songs about facing fears, being true to yourself and not worrying about what everyone else thinks, plus a new song from Angel Olsen and a conversation with her about her surprising new sound.

Robin Hilton opens with an introspective pop gem from the Portland, Ore. band Ages And Ages inspired by the ephemeral nature of nearly everything. Bob Boilen follows with a sonic adventure from the Asheville, N.C. folk group River Whyless.

Sean Lennon's latest collaboration is with Primus bassist and lead singer Les Claypool. They're calling themselves the Claypool Lennon Delirium, and their new album is a collection of trippy, psychedelic space jams called The Monolith Of Phobos (a reference to a large rock discovered on Phobos, a moon orbiting Mars).

For some, summer means swimming pools and drinks with tiny umbrellas. For others, summer means tallboys and sweaty bodies engaged in what can only be called a crusty display of full-contact Bacchanalia. "Dispatch" is the meanest and bloodiest VHÖL track to date, from a metal band that normally liquefies thrash into T-1000 badassery.

It's been nearly five years since the charming Portland folk-pop band Blind Pilot released its second and most recent album, We Are The Tide, and that record's roiling title track has only recently begun popping up in beer commercials. Given that the band used to tour up and down the West Coast via bicycle, it should come as no surprise that Blind Pilot is accustomed to taking its time.

We're guided, derailed and thrown out by passion, and we keep crawling back because it's what we know. Ever since Mike Kinsella started Cap'n Jazz with his brother Tim at age 12, he's lived the musician's life with scattered rewards. But over the last three decades, he's seen how his Chicago bands like Joan Of Arc, American Football and Owls have shaped a thriving and evolving rock scene.

On this week's episode we've got one of the sunniest bands of all time, mesmerizing music from the Sahara and an elegy to growing old.

Co-host Robin Hilton gets things started with a sweetly sad song from Matt The Electrician, a pop-folk singer based in Austin who no longer has anything to do with his own hands, while host Bob Boilen follows with Esmé Patterson, a singer with roots in folk music and a new album that stretches into the world of gritty rock.

Summer is almost here and you need summer jams. There are always competitors for the title "songs of summer," but when you're sitting on a porch or hanging by a pool, there's no room for competition; you just want a steady string of tunes.

Looking for a musically sensitive, responsive bandmate? Maybe you should try out Shimon.

It's easy to forget that The Monkees' original run as a band lasted only from 1965 to 1971, a stretch that included a short-lived but much-loved sitcom and a string of bestselling albums. For later generations — especially the ones who came of age amid endlessly repurposed reruns on MTV and Nickelodeon in the late '80s — The Monkees' music has been reborn in reunion tours and on occasional albums, even as the group itself has dealt with internal strife and the 2012 death of Davy Jones.

Paul Simon has a new album coming out and it's wonderful. Titled Stranger To Stranger, it's his thirteenth solo release and he told me he it could be his last, at least for a while. For this week's +1 podcast, I sat with Paul Simon at NPR's New York bureau to talk about the new record, but more specifically to talk about a single song on the album, the puzzling and quirky opening cut, "The Werewolf."

This week's essential mix from All Songs Considered includes a surprising, electronic, mostly instrumental cut from The 1975 — a British group known more for its brash Top-40 pop and rock — an intimate home demo recording from My Morning Jacket and a spare, moody cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" by the Irish folk singer known as

RLYR's moniker is an upcapped, vowel-less tribute to Yes' 1974 album Relayer. You know, the one with the incredibly epic gatefold art by Roger Dean? While RLYR isn't quite a fantasy-themed fusion/prog-rock band, the members know a few things about heroic and heavy instrumental rock that storms the gates of delirium.