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All Songs Considered

Rufus Wainwright has always been keen to tackle the classics — this is, after all, a guy whose most recent album, 2016's Take All My Loves, reinterprets Shakespeare sonnets — and his stylistic palette has remained broad enough to encompass, among many other things, an opera.

When you listen to Sylvan Esso singer and lyricist Amelia Meath talk about the band's new album, What Now, you quickly learn how profoundly she's motivated by love. There's the love of magical sounds and the euphoria she feels when music "lifts you off the earth." There's the love for the audience, of connecting with and freeing them through song. And, especially for Meath, there's the love of dance and of feeling the body (literally) become the music.

As the 50th anniversary of the greatest rock album of all time rapidly nears, Capitol Records is sharing a previously unreleased outtake from the Sgt. Pepper's recording sessions. The clip, premiered at The Guardian, is a stripped-down version of the album's opening title cut and includes some fantastic chatter between John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

So is a gnarwhal a whale that shreds the gnar? And what does the whale shred? Does the whale shred with its tusk? These are hard-hitting questions for Gnarwhal, but the Nashville guitar-and-drums duo only responds with wild yelps, frantic guitar work and crashing drums.

"Light-Up City" comes from the band's third album, Crucial, and it's a raw and switchback-crazy seven minutes of chaotic math-rock. Drive Like Jehu's most emotionally wrought moments come to mind, but stripped down to the bare essentials.

I want to introduce you to Chad Clark, a Washington D.C. artist with the band Beauty Pill, which begins a tour today with a musical hero of Clark's and of mine, Arto Lindsay.

Already an industry veteran at 20, Rosie Carney writes songs that feel lived-in and worn, conveying a bruised ache well beyond her years. The Irish singer-songwriter has been letting singles trickle out for a few years now, and her latest, "Your Moon," strikes a sure-footed balance between airy tenderness and coolly jazzy melancholy.

Sevdaliza's debut album feels like a lifetime examined — and past lives exhumed.

To be clear, Radiohead did not cover the reggaeton hit "Gasolina" at the band's April 17 show in Berkeley, Calif. But a video that's surfaced online sure makes it seem like they did.

For this week's show, Bob Boilen and I throw open the studio door to welcome a parade of guests from the NPR Music team, each sharing their favorite April releases. This includes Jake Witz, one of our fabulous Spring interns, who has some relatively restrained music from U.K. grime artist Mr. Mitch.

This isn't the easiest time to enter the job market, especially not when so many opportunities are drying up in fields ranging from coal mining to retail.

Goldie has released a remix of "Inner City Life," his landmark drum and bass song from 1995's Timeless, by none other than Burial.

Bill MacKay's become a stealth fixture on the Chicago music scene over the last decade and change. The guitarist deftly glides through folk, experimental rock and jazz in his band Darts & Arrows and has worked with everyone from Fred Lonberg-Holm and members of Bitchin' Bajas to a blossoming creative partnership with with Ryley Walker — they released an album of guitar duets in 2015.

The War On Drugs is sharing its first new music since 2014's well-regarded Lost In The Dream. Clocking in at more than 11-minutes, "Thinking Of A Place" is both epic and wistful, with moody reflections and memories of a time gone by. And what do you know — it also includes some extended guitar shredding.

"Thinking Of A Place" will be a 45 RPM 12" release for Record Store Day this Saturday, April 22.

GAS isn't really meant for the club, but that's where I first heard it — a cavernous basement was hosting a night of experimental music, the definition of which was determined by the DJ. It sounded and felt like a symphony buried underground, beats programmed from a different galaxy. Pop didn't change the landscape of ambient music — it evolved its purpose, its tone, its movement.

"Smell The Roses," the first song Roger Waters is sharing from his upcoming album Is This The Life We Really Want?, is a rage against complacency and an elegy to the American dream.

"Wake up and smell the roses," he sings. "There's nothing but screams in the field of dreams. Nothing but hope at the end of the rope."

(You can find a playlist of the artists I saw this week at the bottom of this piece.)

Call it math-pop, technical sugar-pop, J-punk, jazzy post-rock — whatever it is, the Kyoto-based Tricot makes sophisticated music that's as sweet and bubbly as soda. The band has self-released two albums in Japan, but is now getting some stateside shine from Topshelf with the simply titled 3. Here's the closing track "Melon Soda" — it's a compact piece of pop wizardry that finds hooks in weird corners, and someone should sync it up to the fizzy lifting drink scene from Willy Wonka already.

Roger Waters is set to release his first album of all-new rock songs in nearly 25 years. Is This The Life We Really Want? was produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, U2) and is due out June 2 on Columbia Records. Water's previous solo studio release was 1992's Amused To Death.

Perfume Genius has released the second single from his upcoming album No Shape, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2014's Too Bright. "Go Ahead," one of the most challenging songs on No Shape, is everything that first single "Slip Away" wasn't — a spare, nearly melody-free, drum-pad-driven and string-sluiced examination of confidence amidst a mire of paranoia.

The title track to Lana Del Rey's upcoming album Lust For Life is a hazy take on '60s doo-wop and girl groups featuring the lilting falsetto of The Weeknd.

Buildings' noise-rock is like a burrito supreme sprayed across the windshield: gross, hilarious, awesome. On its third album, You Are Not One Of Us, the Minneapolis trio has become far more adept at wrapping its angular riffs around punk, noise-rock and post-hardcore with a certain amount of dexterity. Buildings' have a bit of that Jesus Lizard nastiness, but with the determined backbone and heady chops of Dazzling Killmen.

Bands reunite and it's not really a big deal anymore. Pavement's done it, like, 12 times already. Chicago's Riot Fest has made a regular habit of bringing back the '80s and '90s year after year, and scored some nice coups (The Replacements, Glenn Danzig with Misfits, among them). But here's one that no one in the punk scene saw coming: Jawbreaker.

So I took last Friday off to clean out my garage and ended up using the time to listen to the new Kendrick record, DAMN. over and over again. It was a glorious, uninterrupted stretch of several hours, but even that wasn't enough to really understand everything he covers on it. DAMN. is dense, packed with religious imagery, deep thoughts on race, fame and identity, and a whole lot of personal stories and memories. Those are some initial observations.

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