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All Songs Considered

First Watch: Astro, 'Colombo'

Oct 11, 2012

Astro belongs to Chile's fantastic wave of modern musical exports, alongside rapper Ana Tijoux, pop singer Alex Andwandter and indie-folk singer Gepe, among others. Yet Astro stands apart from its contemporaries: Tijoux, Gepe and even Andwandter are inspired by Chile's folk tradition and serious social issues, while the band heads in a different direction with its fun, irreverent lyrics and synth-heavy sound.

Song Premiere: Witch Mountain, 'Bloodhound'

Oct 11, 2012

For a group that had been dormant for a decade, Witch Mountain sure has been prolific lately, with two albums in two years (South of Salem made my 2011 year-end list, while the equally mighty Cauldron of the Wild came out in June) and now a five-week tour that will take the doom-metal band across the U.S. and back home to Portland.

Were the 25 voices of The Silver Lake Chorus to belt out "From the Snow Tipped Hills" on a mountainside, I'd run for fear of an avalanche. The original, written for the group by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, is built around an ethereal vocal arrangement, bare in instrumentation and full of power.

Song Premiere: Daniel Bachman, 'Copperhead'

Oct 10, 2012

In the last decade or so, it's been invigorating to watch new developments in the American Primitive style of acoustic guitar, as it finds new voices and revives its progenitors. By my estimation, enough time has passed since the first Imaginational Anthem and By the Fruits You Shall Know the Roots compilations to influence a younger crop of guitarists.

Peter Bjorn and John are releasing a catchy, espionage-inspired track on the latest installment of the Yo Gabba Gabba! soundtrack. Yo Gabba Gabba! is a popular children's show in its fourth season on Nick Jr. The colorful cast of characters and landscapes captivates kids, while the show's soundtrack featuring alternative rock stars appeals to parents.

This week, Bob and Robin kick off the show by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, and how well it coincides with a new cut from Swedish pop trio Peter Bjorn and John called "I Wish I Was A Spy."

Here's a pretty incredible night of music: Flying Lotus, Death Grips and (we're happy to announce) Buke & Gase, all on one stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC. It's also your chance to meet us. NPR Music is coming together with WNYC's Soundcheck during the CMJ Music Marathon for this show on Wednesday, Oct.

The Drop: Bedroom Dancing With The 2 Bears

Oct 4, 2012

The idea of dancing alone has inspired pop stars from Billy Idol to Robyn, while Le Tigre's members were happy to sway in front of the bedroom mirror in the aptly named "Eau D'Bedroom Dancing."

If it were the late 1960s, Lawrence Arabia might be one of the biggest bands in the world. The group, which is essentially the sole work of New Zealand artist James Milne, makes trippy, perfectly composed, melodic pop, similar to classic works by The Zombies or The Beatles.

The latest tease from this fall's upcoming collection of remixed Philip Glass tunes comes from Beck. The 20-minute song, "NYC: 73-78," includes snippets from more than 20 Glass songs, which Beck cut together and re-imagined.

After raising more than $125,000 on Kickstarter, the synth-psych-rock group Black Moth Super Rainbow is set to self-release its fifth full-length record. The gritty, beat-heavy Cobra Juicy is due out on Oct. 23, but the band is giving fans an early taste now with the thick and dirty "Gangs in the Garden."

Brooklyn-based electronic-music producer Jonathan Dagan, a.k.a. J.Viewz, writes songs that whirl and clatter like tiny Rube Goldberg devices. So it's only reasonable that his videos might function the same way. Witness "About the Sea," in which small green squares reveal a series of patterns before giving way to gorgeous animated nature scenes.

Film director and screenwriter Jim Jarmusch is also a musician — not surprisingly, a very cinematic musician. His tastes in music are so much a part of his films: He often casts musicians in key roles and music as part of the storyline. Think about his film Down by Law, with saxophonist John Lurie and singer Tom Waits. Or Stranger Than Paradise, in which "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins is a key character. The list is pretty long.

Last night, two of today's most recognizable voices lifted the rafters of a glorious synagogue on New York's Lower East Side. The surprise show was announced with just about 12 hours notice, and lucky fans who answered an RSVP quickly filled the venue's few hundred spots.

Following a series of tapes and 7-inch singles, Love Is Love // Return to Dust is the first full-length by Code Orange Kids, and it's an untamed, unpredictable beast of a hardcore record. With its members just out of high school, perhaps the hardcore/doom/noise/post-rock shuffle-play chaos of the young Pittsburgh band is a sign of where we're at in heavy music — fewer boundaries, more ways to crush eardrums. But it's one thing to acknowledge your influences and another to destroy them altogether.

All Tomorrow's Parties is an extra special music festival. Oddly, it's not just about the music. It's about film, comedy, lecture/conversation and new friendships all bound together by everyone's love for eclectic and passionate music. This year, following a move from Asbury Park (which followed a move from its original Catskill mountain hotel home) to a giant pier on southern tip of Manhattan, it felt more like a convention than a camp. Gone was the coziness of hotel lobbies where artists and participants co-mingled at all hours.

I haven't been able to stop listening to Alt-J since I saw the group in concert last week. Its sound is understated. The band's lead singer has a quirky affect you may love - or not - but the songs are smart, filled with pop culture, film and literary references, from Maurice Sendak to the movie Last Exit to Brooklyn.

Song Premiere: Neurosis, 'At The Well'

Sep 20, 2012

For 27 years, the members of Neurosis have demonstrated what metal can be and what it can aspire to: transcendent, cathartic, graceful, innovative. Like the best films, Neurosis' albums are thoughtful and sometimes sublime escapes, navigating pain and salvation through Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly's words, as well as a dense atmosphere of distortion and noise. In the past decade, more deliberately paced and folkloric passages have made their way into Neurosis' sound, too.

This will be the last in our summer-long series of polls in search of the albums everyone can love. We've featured a few hundred records since we started back in May, and have found a lot of surprises.

My favorite new artist seems to change week to week, or sometimes even day to day. It turns out there's a lot of great music being made. But for now, my new favorite is Dana Falconberry. She's been putting out records for a few years, but only popped up on my radar this week. She's got a fantastic new record coming out soon called Leelanau, which includes this meticulously crafted little gem, "Crooked River."

Song Premiere: Early Graves, 'Pure Hell'

Sep 18, 2012

By many accounts, Early Graves' Makh Daniels was a passionate, kind man, as well as a ferocious vocalist who lived for the road. That he died in a van accident a little more than two years ago while on tour with The Funeral Pyre is just a reminder that sometimes the best die young.

First Watch: Corin Tucker Band, 'Neskowin'

Sep 18, 2012

Kill My Blues, the second album by the Corin Tucker Band, is out today, and to celebrate, we've got the excellent video for the band's song "Neskowin."

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