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All Songs Considered

SXSW 2016: Photos Of The Week

Mar 21, 2016

Amid the mess of heat, rain and tacos, there was a rich gallery of motion and color at the SXSW music festival. Here are the most stunning images of the week from photographer Adam Kissick and our own Bob Boilen.

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SXSW 2016 Late-Night Dispatches: Weekend

Mar 21, 2016

Three hours before the members of our team at SXSW began to depart from Austin, Texas, they gathered for one last late-night recap. At 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Stephen Thompson pondered an eternal question ("How did we survive another year of this?") to which everyone offered more or less the same answer: The music. Bob Boilen remembered Diet Cig defying gravity and his day of stellar voices — from Holly Macve to New York group Overcoats.

SXSW 2016 Late-Night Dispatches: Friday

Mar 19, 2016

On the third night of SXSW music, Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton and Stephen Thompson slipped out into the streets of Austin to recap a day of concerts. It was a day of stand-out falsettos — Gallant and our South X Lullaby artist Mt. Wolf, especially — and a day of secret shows and lucky happenings. John Congleton — producer for acts like David Byrne and St. Vincent — put on an intense, twisted show that captivated Bob and Robin.

SXSW 2016 Late-Night Dispatches: Thursday

Mar 18, 2016

It's our third All Songs Considered podcast of SXSW 2016, recorded long after midnight in the streets of Austin. Robin Hilton is considering having former interns carry him around; Stephen Thompson is measuring distances by the length of his collapsed body. Yet youthful Spanish band Hinds perhaps best encapsulated the overall feeling of our group at the start of their set yesterday: "You know that feeling where you are very excited and very drunk and very hungover at the same time? We are having this."

SXSW 2016 Late-Night Dispatches: Wednesday

Mar 17, 2016

It was opening night of SXSW Music, and the NPR Music team had a show to put on.

SXSW 2016 Late-Night Dispatches: Tuesday

Mar 16, 2016

SXSW, like a perennial that blooms tacos and hot sauce, is here once again. Each day this week, we'll report back with a podcast, photos, a recap of our favorite sets of the day and a special intimate performance we call the South X Lullaby (don't miss Lucius' from two nights ago).

In the course of a riff or a chord progression or a melody, repetition becomes meditation. The singular movement of the song becomes surreal in its one-mindedness to the point where it becomes real, an aural hypnosis. D.C. trio Puff Pieces makes minimalist, repetitive punk that is hyper-aware of its spastic funk, yet never takes itself too seriously. The band's debut album, Bland In D.C., is and isn't a tribute to the city's punk scene, is and isn't a sock in the jaw to gentrification, is and isn't whatever you want it to be.

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When Nick Millevoi plays the guitar, it's like a rocket darting skyward between clouds. With credits in Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band, a quartet that performs John Zorn's Bagatelles, and his own Many Arms punk-jazz band, the Philly musician comes at his instrument with an open mind.

There's new music from Iggy Pop and it's pretty great.

Welcome to Guest Dose. Every month, NPR Music's Recommended Dose crew invites a knowledgeable and experienced DJ/selector to share with us their personal perspectives on electronic and beat-driven music, and make a mix from some new tracks they are digging.

I'd already been thinking a lot about George Martin. I've spent the last year writing a book about the songs that changed the lives of musicians, and in the introductory chapter I offer my own selection. "A Day in the Life," by The Beatles, changed the way I think about music. It's a song George Martin, who died on Tuesday at the age of 90, had a clear hand in.

Few fingerstyle guitarists have made the transition to singer-songwriter mode as gracefully as Sam Moss. Spend some time with his earlier instrumental music and you'll hear the astute attention he pays to technique and atmosphere, as well as a love for American folk music. But as Moss' voice has crept in, it's as if it had always been there, a lilting, whisper-quiet presence that rolls around his fingers and strings.

This week on All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton talk about Sturgill Simpson's more rock-inspired sound and how parenthood inspired Simpson's new LP, A Sailor's Guide To Earth. Bob also plays some great, guitar-driven rock from Weaves and Heron Oblivion.

I don't know if you'd agree, but we at Rx Dose have been noticing that the world seems like an increasingly bizarre place, full of instability and chaos but bearing also an endless supply of leftfield wonders. Has this always been the case, and we simply have more access to the information that spotlights our current state? (Because Internet.) Or is it just the sign of the modern times? (#WATTBA, etc.)

"'One More' is in your face. It's raw." Those words from Jasmyn Burke are plainspoken and true. Her band Weaves was my No. 1 discovery at CMJ 2015, quirky, loud and mysterious, four amazing and downright fascinating players. "One More" is the first song off their very first album. The Toronto-based band has worked on its upcoming debut for the last two years, almost as long as the musicians have been playing together.

As one of the judges for this year's Tiny Desk Contest, I was so inspired by all the incredible entries we received — the level of thought, creativity and care that went into producing them and, of course, the music people made. But I'd be lying if I said that the judging process wasn't, at least sometimes, mind-numbing. After the first 100 or so videos (out of more than six thousand submitted), your eyes and ears start to glaze over.

Holy Ghost is a split record Modern Baseball shares with itself, meaning that songwriters/guitarists Jake Ewald and Brendan Lukens each get a side (A and B, respectively) to do their respective thing. Okay, okay, but when OutKast split a record between songwriters, the pair only returned to do reunion shows — and we're all still bitter about it. But, hey, if that's what these Philly pop-punks want to do, we can't stop them, just hope they keep on keepin' on.

NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with Martin Molin, creator of the marble machine, on Weekend Edition Sunday. You can hear their conversation at the audio link.

Jack White stopped by the season finale of The Muppets this week, injecting some of his raw blues rock into the show.

There is new — and quite wonderful — music from Mitski. Mitski Miyawaki is an intense singer and guitar player who has been putting out albums since 2012. Yesterday she announced a new album, her fourth, which will be called Puberty 2. It's as impassioned as her previous records, but there's something warmer in it.

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