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All Songs Considered

On weekends, I love to cook and listen to records. It's a ritual that began out of a necessity for meditation from the week — minding a pot of grits and sipping tea while Neil Young or Leon Thomas LPs spin in the background.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is back with an incredibly infectious new song called "Fireproof." It's the first single from the band's upcoming full-length, The Tourist, due out Feb. 24.

"Fireproof" is a thumping, synth-heavy look at how naive people can be. "I know it's hard to win," sings frontman Alec Ounsworth. "But how could I have thought that we'd ever lose."

Two weeks from our bleak midwinter, Big Freedia is coming through for y'all. New Orleans' Queen of Bounce has just released an EP titled A Very Big Freedia Christmazz, and it serves up the booty-shakin' holiday cheer we all need. It includes the requisite covers — "'Twas The Night" and "Jingle Bell Rock" — rendered ridiculous and glorious, plus two originals ("So Frosty" and "Santa Is A Gay Man").

Here we are at the end of 2016, a year fraught with national strife and general WTF-ery. What better way to soundtrack the fraying of nerves of America than the first At The Drive-In song in 16 years?

The Jesus And Mary Chain will release a new album next March, nearly 20 years after the band's last full-length release, 1998's Munki. The new album is called Damage And Joy, and our first taste of it is the grimly-titled but relatively poppy single, "Amputation."

There is no name for the music Krallice makes, only a sphere that encompasses it. In recent years, the band's mutant metal has become what can only be called extreme chamber music, with pieces averaging 10 minutes and an insatiable thirst for newness.

You'd be forgiven for viewing nominations for the 59th Grammy Awards, announced Tuesday morning, as a battle between two powerhouse singers: Beyoncé, whose Lemonade leads the field with nine, and Adele, whose 25 has been a sales juggernaut since its release late last year.

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NOTE: Voting for this year's best-albums list has closed. Check back Wednesday, Dec. 14 for the results!

What were your favorite 2016 releases? Using the form below, write in and rank the five albums you loved most this year. Your No. 1 favorite album goes in the first space, your second-favorite in the second, and so on. We'll tally the votes and share the results in the All Songs Considered podcast on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Today's All Songs +1 podcast is a conversation with The Antlers' Peter Silberman on how hearing loss would eventually lead him to create his first solo album.

There are times when a beat can save your life, and others when it's the last thing you need. For the past three weeks or so, the sound of drum machines has mostly felt numbing — dissociative from the reality of the culture, and not in a good way. The music that has best soundtracked the current feeling of confusion and embattlement is mostly dark, ambient and atmospheric, though not without hope.

This week, all the songs I play ended up being about the ways people, particularly women, empower themselves in the face of difficult times. Singer Sam Phillips offers a feast of sound in less than two and a half minutes with "World On Sticks," a song about the indomitable human spirit.

Aretha Franklin performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings Thursday afternoon. And, as, the Queen of Soul usually does, she stole the show.

The first song the artist Cat Stevens released back in 1966 was titled, "I Love My Dog." He'd be the first to admit that it's a strange title, and subject, for someone nicknamed Cat. Now, 50 years later Yusuf / Cat Stevens has done a unique remake of this song; a direct-to-acetate recording at Jack White's renowned Third Man Records Blue Room. The single will also include Cat Stevens second U.K.

OK Go's latest (and astonishing) video, for the song "The One Moment," took only 4.2 seconds to film. But the whole thing — a series of rapid-fire explosions — was slowed down to fill the four-plus minutes it takes the band to sing the song. Remarkably, like OK Go's previous videos, the group manages to sync the whole thing using... I don't know, math?

Bob Boilen and I, along with the rest of the NPR Music team, have been prepping for our year-end coverage by listening to hundreds of songs and albums in one big shared playlist. Along the way, we've all discovered stuff we hadn't heard before — and even fallen in love with some of it.

Brian Eno is back with another ambient record. Called Reflection, it's due out Jan. 1 on Warp Records and consists of a single, 54-minute track. While Eno isn't sharing any samples of Reflection for now, he says it's similar to his 1985 album Thursday Afternoon, a moody, meditative record that was one 60-minute track.

In a prepared statement, Eno describes Reflector as a "generative" work because the sounds "make themselves."

Ty Segall's next album, which will be self-titled, is due out Jan. 27, 2017, on Drag City. It comes just over a year after Segall released his previous full-length, Emotional Mugger.

City Of Caterpillar was one of those bands that released one great album and then, like a mutant butterfly too beautiful and weird for this world, flew away. After a demo and a few split 7"s with pg. 99 and System 2600, the Richmond post-hardcore band released its self-titled debut album in 2002.

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