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All Songs Considered

There is a ceiling-gazing quality to Juliana Daugherty's songs — that's not an attempt at coining a new, fake genre, but a functional image. Light is the singer's first solo album after playing around the Charlottesville, Va. folk scene. Having spent a little time with Light, I just want to curl up in a circle of pillows and stare upwards at eggshell paint that could so easily be cracked by the quiet and contemplative poetry Daugherty sings with gentle, but aching lilt.

You know the kinds of teens and 20-somethings who listened to PJ Harvey and Sleater-Kinney and wore Mary-Jane Doc Martens with socks? The cool ones in those art films you saw in high school?

We have some new music from Big Thief in the form of live concert footage. The band is performing at Point Ephémère in France this week and this beautiful video was captured by La Blogothèque and published on ARTE, the public Franco-German TV channel.

The Weeknd has (at least partially) returned to his dark side.

On My Dear Melancholy, the Toronto-hailing singer drudges up a heartbreak and attempts to drown it in modulated piano, muffled sirens and foggy synths. As its title implies — note that comma — the songs play out as maudlin 'memos to self' to keep track of all the things he'd wished he said before their downfall.

New Music Friday: March 30

Mar 30, 2018

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton chats with NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Felix Contreras, Marissa Lorusso, Sidney Madden and Ann Powers about the must-hear albums out on March 30. This includes country singer Kacey Musgraves' boundary-pushing Golden Hour, Cuban big band Orquesta Akokán, conceptual hip-hop from Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, crazy infectious pop from Haley Kiyoko and much more.

Featured Albums:

  • Orquesta Akokán: Orquesta Akokán
  • Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour

When A Tribe Called Quest released We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service days after the November 2016 presidential election, it felt as if the group had recorded the album in a prescient state.

Wild Animals must have fans all over the world. No less than seven record labels spread across the U.S., Spain, Italy, Chile and Japan are co-releasing The Hoax; a lot of people really want you to hear the Madrid trio's new album, which recalls Superchunk's crunchy pop-punk and Bob Mould's triumphant, post-Hüsker Dü jangle with Sugar.

A whole generation of musicians born in the 1980s have released formative albums in the last few years that mine the production landscape of their birth decade. Thunderous synths, trash-can lid percussion, and the volcanic, Phil Collins-style drum fills are back en vogue. Truly, the percussive emphasis of a well-timed shimmy of castanets is the tragically forgotten chef's kiss of '80s pop production.

On Laura Jean Anderson's debut single, she expertly checks most of these boxes and adds a diva-sized belt to the mix.

An enterprising YouTube user, MrBroks00, took the time to make a primer on Kanye West's sonically disparate discography by using a selection of timeless scenes from The Office as conceptual analogues.

New Music Friday: March 23

Mar 23, 2018

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks with NPR Music's Lars Gotrich, Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson about the essential albums landing today, including Jack White's sprawling, completely bonkers Boarding House Reach; Americana from Courtney Marie Andrews; R&B singer Toni Braxton's first new solo album in nearly a decade; far-out Canadians Yamantaka Sonic Titan and more. Hear the discussion and songs with the play button at the top of the page or by subscribing to the All Songs Considered podcast.

Featured Albums:

Something's askew in "Oh Baby," the suspiciously peppy second single off Hot Chip member Alexis Taylor's upcoming, Tim Goldsworthy-produced album Beautiful Thing.

With a production assist from his Hot Chip partner-in-crime Joe Goddard, and band members on the track, it scans as a rollicking alternate-universe reincarnation of the electronic music class clowns as a power-pop group.

Sarah Louise must have a sick sense of humor, or just perfectly inappropriate timing: The second day of spring has been welcomed with heavy snow on the East Coast, and I am grumpy about it. But dangit, her new song helping keep the soul toasty.

Our bleary-eyed, ear-ringing week of seemingly non-stop live music in Austin, Texas has ended and we're back one last time to reflect on the 2018 South by Southwest festival and play some of our favorite discoveries.

Aisha Burns' heart was like a glass emptying and filling itself. Her mother had died, but she had also found love in a new relationship, all at once. The conflicting emotions would be enough for any heart to spill over with grief and joy, but Burns channeled it all into her new project.

Late Night Dispatches From SXSW

Mar 14, 2018

The annual SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas can be overwhelming. With thousands of bands performing over five days across the city, there's no way to see everything, but there's always a great opportunity to discover a great musician you've never heard before. That's one of the reasons that at the end of each night during SXSW, members of our team in Austin gather and discuss the best of what they saw and heard that day.

The members of Wax Chattels introduce "In My Mouth" as "our homage to Auckland's best dive bar." If that's the case, this dive bar has been shattered, battered and fried into a post-punk surrender. No survivors, just a fluorescent strip dangling from the ceiling, flickering the remnants of a crazed brawl.

Soul music savant Leon Bridges has announced a new album, Good Thing, and with it, two new tracks.

On the 2017 debut Jump Ship, No Thank You frontwoman Kaytee Della Monica offered the kind of millennial snark heard from the edge of a cigarette with lyrics like "Still listen to Nimrod when I'm getting high / I'm twenty something, I'm doing just fine."

Two weeks ago, we reached out to Haley Heynderickx, a three-time Tiny Desk Contest entrant and Slingshot artist, about writing for the Tiny Desk Contest newsletter. "The Tiny Desk Contest changed my life," she said, so we asked her to tell that story in her own words:

Hello everyone!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! At least it is for avid music fans like us and anyone else attending the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The annual endurance challenge gets underway this week, with thousands of bands from around the world — and many more fans — converging on the city for a seemingly endless bender of live performances — shows both big and small that last all day, every day, into the wee hours of the morning, with music pouring out of every club, restaurant, street corner and alleyway for miles.

"Worthy." That's the word that singer-songwriter India.Arie had projected behind her when she performed at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony, before the telecast. The timing couldn't have been more apt.

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