All Songs Considered

Twenty years after forming, Australian folk-rock trio The Waifs sound both comfortably loose and tighter than they've ever been. It's a best-of-both-worlds situation for the band, whose seventh studio album, Beautiful You, will be released later this year.

Chapel Hill's MAKE is all about the journey, man. The band thrives on heavy, atmospheric jams, inspired by the likes of Isis, Popul Vuh and Neil Young's Crazy Horse, all of which made MAKE's Scott Endres a perfect match as Horseback's guitarist on 2010's doom-and-gloom choogler Invisible Mountain.

Guest DJ: SOAK

Jul 14, 2015

In the best way possible, "KYBM" doesn't let its listeners get comfortable — which is apt for a song inspired by social justice activists who spend their time and resources combating complacency.

Singer and rapper Tunde Olaniran works for Planned Parenthood, and is an active supporter of the LGBT pride scene around Detroit and his home base of Flint, Mich. The non-musical side of his resumé hints at the hard and unpredictable work of taking on social issues, so it's no surprise that his music reveals a restless spirit and seemingly bottomless supply of energy.

Protomartyr's latest song, its best yet, is a fierce and unforgettable shredder. "Why Does It Shake?" — from the Detroit band's upcoming album, The Agent Intellect -- rumbles and roars with a gritty chug as frontman Joe Casey stares down his own mortality. "Sharp mind, eternal youth / I'll be the first to never die / Nice thought / And I'm never going to lose it."

Teri Gender Bender, founder and lead singer of garage punk outfit Le Butcherettes, has one of the best stares in showbiz. As demonstrated in her supremely memorable Tiny Desk Concert, Gender Bender (Teresa Suárez by birth) makes direct and unblinking eye contact with individual audience members and the camera, confronting and reversing the viewer/performer dynamic.

Punk is not typically where one turns for mature thoughts on self-care and ending relationships in a healthy manner. But Columbus, Ohio quartet All Dogs is not where one turns for typical punk. The band makes punk music, but calls its songs "loud pop songs," and that's exactly right, too. The vehicle is loud guitar, unpolished but affecting vocals and fuzzy garage drums, but the destination is upbeat, catchy anthems with lyrics that are destined to be memorized before the end of the song.

All Songs +1: The Best Opening Tracks

Jul 10, 2015

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This song couldn't have been released as anything other than a single. A full-length album would collapse under the plaintive, heartbreaking weight of Sara Rachele's "Rebecca," and picking songs to cushion it in a track list would be nearly impossible.

One of the most outstanding and challenging new bits of music I've heard this year comes from Makeunder, the project of Hamilton Ulmer, an Oakland-based musician with a penchant for exploration. "Great Headless Blank" was the inspired track we played on All Songs Considered back in April, now it's the title track to Makeunder's latest EP, which we are proudly premiering here, along with track-by-track thoughts from Hamilton Ulmer.

For the sake of argument and reduction, let's say there are three ways to approach the architecture of extreme metal as it mutates and cross-pollinates genres: those who build blocks, those who construct M.C. Escher-like puzzles, and those who throw spaghetti against the wall. All are valid in their deconstructions, none are set in stone, and the resulting innovations eventually become their own signifiers for younger bands. The members of Chicago's Immortal Bird, for their part, are metallic mutant builders who hint at staggering puzzles.

Thursdays this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an

Sometimes an excellent song makes its writer work for it, and sometimes it pours out almost too fast to catch. The latter was the case for Spokane, Wash. singer Cami Bradley and Huntsville, Ala. singer/songwriter Whitney Dean, who met on a whim and, less than a year later, are making music that seems to contain decades of intimacy.

Punk has always been hospitable to filth. Blood, sweat, spit, vomit, beer and hair gel from a melting fauxhawk — all are crucial to the movement. Punk embraces the taboo, the base and the precious, forcing all three into conversation. But that's not to say individual punks are inherently interested in being disgusting. Then again, sometimes they are, and write a whole song about it.

**Language advisory: This track contains language that may be offensive to some**

King Los' long-awaited major-label debut, God Money War, dropped on June 23 while our collective attention was — and is — turned to American terrorists, burning churches, music streaming services, and much more widely hyped album releases from other hip-hop artists. From a publicity standpoint, it's an inopportune time to release an album, but in a way it's perfect timing for a record like Los' debut.

Earlier this week, All Songs Considered shared our favorite music from debut albums released in the first half of 2015. The NPR Music team also got together to make epic lists of albums and songs we already think might make our year-end lists in December.

Kashikura Takashi is a hell of a drummer. Fifteen years into the existence of toe, he's often been the focus of the instrumental Japanese post-rock band, and for good reason. Takashi is aerobic and musical all at once, capable of Questlove-level precision and soul one moment, and a cyclone of controlled chaos the next. But the thing that's always set toe apart from its technically minded peers is its ability to tell short, concise stories — ecstatic, noodly, complex pop songs that unfold in less than five minutes.

Thursdays this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a personal memory about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email:

There's a new album coming from Beach House, the dreamy Baltimore-based duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. That album, called Depression Cherry, comes out on Sub Pop on Aug. 28. Today we get to hear a first song from the album, called "Sparks," and I interviewed Beach House about it.

This week marks the mid-point of 2015, and the All Songs Considered team is ready to take stock. On this week's show, we share our favorite music from debut albums released in the first half of this year. It's only June, but we picked the music we're already eyeing for our year-end lists in December.

Your first impulse on hearing "Fight Song," the latest single from Minneapolis trio Bad Bad Hats, might be to lean in. Lead singer Kerry Alexander's bright, lively lines swim over catchy acoustic guitar and velvety keyboard. Impeccable production by Brett Bullion (Bon Iver, Poliça) is programmed to fire all neural pathways associated with carefree indie rock fun. But beware: These lyrics will bite.

The collective excitement surrounding a major album release is infectious, but the satisfaction of turning friends on to a great new album by an unknown artist is true joy. That's why, for next week's All Songs Considered, we will play songs from our favorite debut albums of 2015 (so far).

We also want to give you a chance to share your own discoveries.

Using the form below, tell us your favorite song by an artist you've discovered this year. We'll compile and share a playlist of your picks in the coming weeks.

Thursdays this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email:

Donnie Fritts knows what it's like to be held in the silver shimmer of celluloid, and he's had years of experience playing wingman to a heartthrob. That's why "Errol Flynn," a song written by the cabaret raconteur Amanda McBroom for her actor father, David Bruce, works perfectly as the lead single from Oh My Goodness, Fritts' new album. Contemplating the tattered poster she's tacked to her wall of her dad standing with the song's titular leading man, McBroom ponders fame and mortality and cautions listeners to treasure personal connections over Hollywood fantasies.

In the middle of a bunch of stage-dive-provoking hardcore acts at Damaged City Festival in May, one punk band set up in a straight line at the edge of the stage. It wasn't meant to keep the leaping kids at bay, so much as an equalizer that seemed to say, "Take 20 minutes and watch." Nervosas had a commanding presence, but also complex, melodic musicality. It was the kind of performance that sent several people — myself included — running to buy 2013's self-titled debut.