All Songs Considered

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Stella Mozgawa, drummer for the L.A. rock group Warpaint. The band is currently on tour for its moody, self-titled album, released at the beginning of the year. Mozgawa's picks for this week's quiz range from '80s pop to experimental rock, R&B and electronic music. Good luck, careful listeners!

Brooklyn's The Lone Bellow seemed to arrive fully formed: Its self-titled 2013 debut came stuffed with intricately assembled bundles of crowd-pleasing folk-pop, each more dramatic and infectious than the last. Charismatic, photogenic, endlessly hooky — The Lone Bellow has been the complete package since day one.

In the uncertainty between dreams and reality, there's a moment before waking when images blur into a glassy-eyed soup. Originally released on cassette in January and now seeing wider release, Hungry Cloud Darkening's "I Am Seen" embraces that beautiful unease on the trio's forthcoming Glossy Recall.

Earlier this year I heard a voice like no other. In fact, when I heard the song "Different Pulses," I was sure it was a woman. I imagined someone like Janis Joplin. But the singer, the young Israeli Asaf Avidan, is the man in the photo above. He's well known back home and in Europe — an unauthorized remix of "One Day/Reckoning Song" has fifteen million views on YouTube. When he came to the U.S.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the ingredients to an Ozzy Osbourne costume that'll fit a 10-year-old girl is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on managing a library while maintaining one's connection to music.

I don't get out to see many films these days. But I did recently catch a matinee of the super duper popcorn movie Guardians Of The Galaxy. In addition to some spectacular CGI, the film was supported by a solid foundation of Top 40 Hits, largely from the 1970s, such as Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" and The Runaways "Cherry Bomb." At some point it occurred to me that the soundtrack had a lot of good candidates for a puzzler. So ... here it is: The Guardians Of The Galaxy edition of Drum Fill Friday. Good luck, careful listeners!

Each month, we listen to hundreds of new electronic music tracks, test the standouts on loud speakers and highlight the best of the best in a 30-minute mix.

You can stream this month's mix here or through NPR Music's SoundCloud account. If you'd rather just hear each song individually, check out the playlist below.

This week's All Songs Considered kicks off with a pair of anniversaries.

Let's go out on a very distant limb here: If Mr. Mister's atmospheric 1985 ballad "Broken Wings" had been written for a proggy space opera, it might sound something like Kayo Dot's "The Mortality Of Doves." It's not just because of birds, either. Toby Driver has always been an extremely fluid composer in the realms of avant-metal and prog-rock, but this 12-minute lead track from Coffins On Io is a surprise.

I once went to a show where the lead singer stripped naked on stage and tried to set his pubic hair on fire. Tragically, his lighter wouldn't work. Try to picture him standing there, completely naked, sadly flicking the lighter over and over and only getting sparks. Finally, one of the three or four people actually in attendance reached up to the stage and handed him theirs. The singer thumbed the lighter, his hair went up in one almost instant poof and the stench of burnt hair filled the club.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and among the Penzeys Spices catalogs that help us remember our ex-roommates' names is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on pop music's nadir.

Josh in Chicago writes via email: "Paula Abdul had four No. 1 hits, spanning 1989-90. One of them featured a rapping cartoon cat. Was that period the nadir of pop, pre-Nirvana?"

Dabney Morris has been laying down beats for the Nashville-based band Wild Cub since the group first formed in 2011. The band's debut full-length is Youth and was recorded with help from (Spoon's drummer and Drum Fill Friday Alumnus) Jim Eno. There are at least a couple of fills in Dabney's puzzler you should know right off the bat. The other three, maybe not as much. Either way, good luck, careful listeners!

Do you find yourself saying "no" more often than not? Robin Hilton does, which is why he kicks off this week's All Songs Considered with L.A.-based Afternoons' joyful sing-along, "Say Yes."

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and producer Atticus Ross continue to tease their upcoming soundtrack for the movie, Gone Girl. The longtime collaborators have posted four new songs from the score to their Soundcloud page.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the unsolicited phone books we toss straight into the recycling bin is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on words we'd prefer never to hear associated with music.

Eleanor writes via email: "You've tweeted about your hatred of the word 'songstress.' Writing about music is tricky, but what words do you think should ALWAYS be avoided, and why?"

We're back to basics in this week's Drum Fill Friday: No tricks or special themes, just a mix of vintage rock and iconic pop fills (okay, and one intro). Good luck, careful listeners!

As always, if you have a drummer or a fill you'd like to see featured in these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.

If you've read anything about Beach Slang, one comparison keeps coming up: Goo Goo Dolls. Before visions of Nicolas Cage montaging Nicolas Cage-y feelings to the tune of "Iris" flood your brain, stick with us as you hit play on "Dirty Cigarettes" from Beach Slang's second EP of 2014, Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street.

On this week's All Songs Considered, Robin Hilton kicks off the show by meditating on the perils of old age, and insisting that he still wants to be Daniel Lanois when he grows up. Cue "Opera," a powerful cut from Lanois' upcoming solo album, Flesh and Machine, and an unparalleled headphone listening experience.

Today is Mexican Independence Day. On Sept. 16, 1810, the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores") was delivered in the town of Dolores near the city of Guanajuato, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence that ended Spanish rule.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the Amazon Prime order containing items we could have acquired at the nearest vending machine is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on fatigue and embitterment.

Slowly but surely, The Cure has permeated heavy music. From Krallice to Thou to Deftones, Disintegration's boomy production and pulsating gloom, in particular, inspires a different kind of heft. The Louisville post-hardcore band Xerxes always had some caustic melody to it, but its new album Collision Blonde explodes the palette. Listen to its slow-burning title track:

Jim Eno is a less-is-more drummer. His work as the longtime drummer for the band Spoon is distinctive for its carefully plotted lines. It's elegant and melodic, never over-the-top or showy. It's a style and taste he shares with all of the drummers he selected for this week's puzzler as our guest Quizmaster.

Eno and the rest of the guys in Spoon are currently on tour for their latest — and one of the year's best — album, They Want My Soul.

Crafting dreamy, synth-based pop songs is not the traditional route for formally-trained pianists, but it's worked out just fine for Anthony Ferraro, the Oakland-based musician behind Astronauts, etc. His first singles, released online in 2012 and led by his distinctive falsetto, were full of hooks that hid just below the surface, under layers of murky keyboards and skittering drum machines.

Now comes the song "Up For Grabs," on which Ferraro swirls radiant synthesizers with an elegant, catchy guitar hook.

On this week's show we share music from the intimate and raw new solo album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O, warped garage rock from Meatbodies and several new discoveries, including two music collectives, one from Sweden and the other from Brooklyn.

Barbra Streisand, one of the most loved singers of all time and the best-selling female recording artist ever (according to RIAA statistics) has teamed up with the ever soulful, gospel-inspired singer John Legend on a song she originally recorded with Bee Gees singer and songwriter Barry Gibb in 1980.

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside a stuffed Pikachu the size of an ottoman is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on music to accompany the new football season.

We've had a good run of guest Quizmasters for Drum Fill Friday (and more to come), but this week we thought we'd feature a puzzler made up entirely of your favorite fills and intros. Each of the artists appearing in the quiz below come from listener suggestions in our comments section.

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