All Songs Considered

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.

This week on All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton call up Mitski to talk about her new song "Your Best American Girl" from her just announced album, Puberty 2.

On the fourth of July in 2005, Sufjan Stevens released Illinois, a record that made him a household name, at least among a particular set of indie rock fans and music critics.

There has not been one year since 2010's All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood that The Body has not released an album, a collaboration or a split EP. The experimental doom-metal duo is constantly evolving and learning from its previous works, and in March, it'll release two albums that represent opposite ends of The Body's spectrum. One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache is a collaboration with the noise-metal band Full Of Hell, and it is some nerve-shredding scum.

If your memory of virtual reality still includes climbing on a platform at the mall and strapping on a clunky headset, know that the '90s are long over and the future is in your hands ... literally. Recently VR has evolved into a medium where anybody with a computer or smartphone can experience it.

On this week's All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share songs from a trio of bands on the verge of releasing breakthrough albums. Bob starts the show strong with a jaw-dropping new song from Car Seat Headrest called "Vincent," which we also featured as a First Watch.

When the Buchla Music Easel was introduced in 1972, it was a philosophical compromise for a modular synth company that believed in the future of music, which did not originally include a conventional keyboard. The synth pioneer Don Buchla had to keep up with Robert Moog, whose keyboard-driven instruments were being used by the likes of Keith Emerson in over-the-top arena-rock shows.

Martin Atkins knows many of the secrets of life, especially band life. He's played in Public Image Ltd, Nine Inch Nails, Pigface, Killing Joke and more. These days, after a life of touring nightmares and general music business foolery, he writes and teaches about music in Chicago and he's distilled his knowledge of life into bits of wisdom.

It's been four years since The Haunted Man, Bat For Lashes' dark and shimmering third album, a "Technicolor canvas with shades of gray" as our own Stephen Thompson wrote in 2012.

Listen To This Completely Fake (But Convincing) Sun Kil Moon EP

Feb 18, 2016

In the most recent phase of Mark Kozelek's more-than-two-decade musical career, he's developed something of a reputation. Beginning with 2012's Among the Leaves, he's written three albums of highly-lauded, unvarnished autobiographical songs. It's a distinct and often touching style. Turns out it's ripe for parody.

There is new music from Quilt and that makes me happy. The band's third album, which is out next week on Feb. 26, is called Plaza, and its winsome, wandering electric folk thrills my late-1960s soul. The songs on Plaza, a combination of brand new material and newly invigorated older tunes, often revolve around place and family. We asked Anna Fox Rochinski (vocals/guitars), Shane Butler (vocals/guitars) and John Andrews (drums/vocals) to tell us how they were made.

It's been a good year.

Here's a quick way to get your blood pressure boiling: Turn out the lights, ease yourself into a state of calm with some aromatherapy candles, and play the strobe-light-incarnate post-hardcore of Primitive Weapons as loud as possible.