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All Songs Considered

When MF DOOM emerged from the ether just before the last millennium's end, with a metal faceplate masking his grill, a raspy voice and a vicious internal rhyme scheme, he quickly amassed a cult-like following.

His villainous persona, an amalgamation of comic book characters ranging from Dr. Doom to G.I. Joe's Destro, masked his true identity as he exacted revenge on an industry which had metaphorically disfigured him.

It's only rolled out a few songs so far, but the Brooklyn band Frances Cone has already carved out a distinct sound — a sweet slow burn in which songs build gradually and carefully into something truly grand. The gorgeous "Unraveling," from a forthcoming album called Late Riser, really gets at what works about Frances Cone's music: Each cooed "ooooh" is in the exact right place, weaving together to form a warm and hypnotic tapestry.

Guest DJ Week: Björk

Aug 16, 2017

Note: Our week of Guest DJs continues with Björk. The Icelandic singer recently announced she'll be releasing a new album, possibly before the end of the year.

Wilco has released a new song against ignorance and violence in the wake of last weekend's unrest in Charlottesville, VA. The track, called "All Lives, You Say?" is a short country shuffle that takes aim at the slogan "All Lives Matter," designed as a counter-protest to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Guest DJ Randy Newman

Aug 15, 2017

Note: This week we're featuring select episodes from our Guest DJ archives. Today we've got a conversation with Randy Newman. The singer, composer and pianist recently released his 11th solo album. It's called Dark Matter. Bob Boilen originally spoke with Newman back in 2008 when Newman released his previous record, Harps And Angels.

The Ghana-born, L.A.-based Moses Sumney has released a second track from his first full-length record, Aromanticism, featuring a stellar line-up and stunning, soulful meditations.

"We manufacture bull---- here in Fresno; there's no way any one person can succeed in Fresno."

This weekend, Bay Area music festival Outside Lands celebrates its 10th anniversary, and you can listen to many of its eclectically-curated sets right here.

Advisory: This is a live stream. Language is unpredictable.

In talking about her new album, Rainbow, Kesha describes making the impossible possible with boundless optimism — like ending up with collaborators from her "wildest of dreams," from the kinds of secret aspirations you're too scared to say aloud. (This includes a duet with Dolly Parton, guitar solos from Eagles Of Death Metal and a horn section courtesy of the Dap-Kings).

When a band says it's over, we've gotten to the point where there's a good chance that's not necessarily a lie, but... it's basically a lie. Every band reunites, even the ones you never knew existed.

We're (hopefully) far enough removed from "emo revival" trend pieces to let this music grow as it should. That's not a knock against the bands that mine disparate '90s sounds, or others that seek to evolve it, just that the continuum isn't a straight line, but a spiral. Over three albums and a scattering of EPs, Prawn is a sterling example of emo's possibility, even as it continues to outgrow the genre's parameters.

In a chaotic world stuffed with stimulation, Florist offers a respite. Formed by singer and songwriter Emily Sprague, guitarist Jonnie Baker and bassist Rick Spataro, the Brooklyn-based band make gentle synth-folk music that, pared down to the textural and emotional essentials, still remains spacious and inviting.

Wailin Storms — the name alone conjures a howlin' hurricane, ominous and awe-inspiring. The Durham, N.C.-based band does a lot to live up to that name, swirling in the gothic post-punk croon of early Samhain and 16 Horsepower's fiery proselytizing. After a couple EPs and a debut album, the first single from Wailin Storms' Sick City indicates an unholy reckoning.

Part of the thrill of Kelela's work, I suspect, has always been her ability to cast erotica against any form.

When Cut 4 Me, a 2013 mixtape in collaboration with UK bass corps Fade to Mind, showed us what spiked, proggish grime against the silk of her voice could possibly do, the impact was surprisingly sumptuous, if not flat-out hot.

Yumi Zouma has never had much of a home. After the 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, its members moved to Paris and New York, except for singer Christie Simpson, who remained in Christchurch. To continue working the group emailed tracks back and forth, crafting dream-pop that feels like the air swooping in and out your lungs. For all its light atmosphere, Yumi Zouma's pop music is romantically, wistfully dense.

She walked on stage on a cool summer evening, wearing a mink jacket over a glittering gown. She stepped a little gingerly, as if she were stiff or feeling some discomfort.

She waved to the audience and then unleashed her voice: "Like a warrior that fights to win the battle ...." The sold-out crowd roared as she sang the No. 1 hit she recorded in 1987 with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."

Moments of unexpected magic are the Newport Folk Festival's calling card. The festival typically sells out well before its lineup is even announced — but the official lineup is more of a rough guideline, anyway, since the weekend is peppered every year with surprise performances and collaborations.

The legendary New York DJ duo of Stretch and Bobbito have reunited.

This weekend, NPR Music is headed back to one of our favorite summer events: the Newport Folk Festival.

As it was for many of us, 2016 was a helluva year for Margo Price — except while we were trying to keep our heads from spinning over presidential politics and mourning the deaths of one beloved musician after another, she was also having one of the biggest artistic breakthroughs of the year. After a decade of trucking away with various bands in the East Nashville scene, Price finally released her masterful debut, Midwest Farmer's Daughter, via Third Man Records.

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