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All Songs Considered

"Restless" is one of 2017's first great songs: a dreamy, sweetly throbbing electro-pop jam with a warmly soaring, heartfelt vocal at its core. The latest single from darkDARK, a production duo based in LA and Austin, the track features some of the best ingredients around, from charming analog synths to the relentlessly pleasing voice of Haley Bonar.

The latest single from Bonobo's upcoming album, Migration, is a brooding, four-on-the-floor dance thumper featuring vocals from Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker). At first, "No Reason" seems to drift into focus from another dimension, glittering with Murphy's delicate falsetto over gently arpeggiated synths. But the mood makes a subtle shift toward something darker and edgier once the beat kicks in.

The Joshua Tree, the album that made U2 global megastars, turns 30 this year. To mark the milestone, the band will perform the seminal album in its entirety at several live performances scheduled throughout the year, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo in June.

As the lead singer and songwriter in The Hold Steady — and, before that, Lifter PullerCraig Finn filled the air with a frenetic flood of words, singing vividly about antiheroes who seek escape and redemption in the form of drugs, religion, rock 'n' roll and many pursuits in between.

Julien Baker never imagined her sad songs would be loved beyond a small circle of friends.

Note: This week's +1 podcast is hosted by NPR Music contributor Timmhotep Aku.


Hannibal Buress is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor loved for his brand of irreverent comedy and his gift for finding absurdity in the seemingly mundane. It's an audacity that informs not only his sense of humor, but also his taste in music.

The brainchild of classically trained songwriter and bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin has evolved from an immaculate, studio-bound chamber-pop ensemble to a looser, livelier full-time operation.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.

Swedish pop artist Jens Lekman is back with his first new album in nearly five years. The singer, known for his darkly comical storytelling, says he'll release the calypso- and disco-inspired Life Will See You Now later this year. In making the announcement he shared the album's first single, "What's That Perfume That You Wear?," a playful, up-tempo tale about lost love and the ways a certain smell can spark a rush of memories.

Brian Eno's new ambient work, Reflection, is just that: 54 minutes of what sounds like plinking chimes, rippling vibraphone and deep synth tones mirroring a parallel world. Released on Jan.

We had some memorable conversations with a lot of our favorite musicians in 2016.

I could call this list "The Songs I Love To Drive Around With." More often than not, these 2016 songs set you up for a brilliant climax, often an unforgettable chorus. And I found a wide variety of artists that made songs with that memorable character, artists ranging from barely 20 years old to a reflective 82, from Niger to Nashville, from British hip-hop to yearning falsetto. I'd be thrilled to turn on a radio and hear this broad world of sound represent the Top 40.

Bob Boilen's Top 40 Songs Of 2016

"What did you get from Santa, honey?"

We dropped a classic today (what)
We did a tablet of acid today
Lit joints with the matches and ashes away
SKRRRT! We dash away
Donner and Dixon, the pistol is wrapped on the way

Trent Reznor promised new Nine Inch Nails material by the year's end, and has now delivered with Not The Actual Events. The EP, recorded with co-conspirator and now official band member Atticus Ross, is among Reznor's heaviest and most manic work. "Branches/Bones" and "The Idea Of You" team with chaotic punk, and the industrial doom of "She's Gone Away" and "Burning Bright (Field On Fire)" rivals Godflesh in its gloomy clank.

We at NPR Music love a big, flashy rock 'n' roll concert as much as the next person. But we're especially fans of those moments when our favorite artists bring their music into smaller spaces, when singers and guitarists and producers and drummers reckon with the particular intimacy and joy that go along with performing in close quarters.

More love songs should sound like a vintage Dodge Charger slamming into a brick wall. The Sacramento noise-punk band So Stressed channels the chaotic scuzz of Spazz with ramming speed, but pulls a brooding melody out of a jam.

So Stressed announces its third album, Please Let Me Know, with a lovesick bruiser titled "The King's Wig." Guitar, synth and drums careen at incredible speed with surprising control until the sludgy anti-chorus, as Morgan Fox declares (threatens?), "I only think about you / I only write love songs, and I would not change it for anything."

Grouper's music exists between the hues of memory, reflected in quiet swirls of guitar and Liz Harris' voice. Her most recent album, 2014's Ruins, stripped away much of the ambiance (to chilling effect) and played with environment as an instrument.

Bob Boilen is like a child this time of year, his eyes and ears full of wonder, as he traipses through the NPR Music offices, vigorously jingling his collection of sleigh bells. He believes, in his heart, that he's truly getting everyone in the spirit of the holiday season. But it's always been a steady source of irritation for me.

So the other day Martin Atkins sent me an audio file that made me smile. It's called Bad Day, and it's sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

Martin, a funny guy driven by a kind heart, used to be the drummer for Public Image Ltd. This is the story of how he quit that band — even though they had a big hit with "This Is Not A Love Song" — and wound up digging ditches for Bon Jovi's drummer in New Jersey.

Recommended Dose is devoted to surfacing the world's most intriguing underground dance music, and our 2016 mix is no exception. The 25 tracks that make up this 2-hour mix came to us from small dance communities all over the globe. Berlin and Vancouver are obvious hot spots right now (and that's reflected in the mix), but there are developing scenes in Atlanta, D.C., Melbourne, Glasgow, Cairo and Tokyo that are generating truly memorable tunes.

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").

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