Bob Boilen

Bill Baird's video for "Facial Disc" creates a world of patterns and scenes as abstract as the noise he makes on guitar and synthesizers. Baird describes the video as "me getting 'swallowed by the internet,' trapped inside a multi-dimensional cube, and transformed into an owl and then an 'owl priest.'"

Guest DJ: boygenius

Nov 19, 2018

Fifty years ago, just before the holidays in 1968, The Beatles put out not just a new album, but a double album, something relatively unheard of at the time.

A single voice can send a powerful message - and that's just what Jim James did at the Tiny Desk, with just his voice and an acoustic guitar. His lead-off song, "I'm Amazed," comes from My Morning Jacket's 2008 album Evil Urges. It's a prophetic song in many ways - it speaks not only of a divided nation and the need for justice but also to the beauty in the life and plight of others.

This week's essential mix includes songs of letting go, of healing, moving on and finding a deeper appreciation for the wonder of life. Tarriona "Tank" Ball (of the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest-winning band Tank And The Bangas) offers a surprising and beautiful take on the sentimental 1938 classic "I'll Be Seeing You." The psych-pop multi-instrumentalist (and former All Songs Considered intern) J.

I recently hosted a "pitch session" at the DIY Music Conference hosted by CD Baby in Nashville. It was an opportunity for independent artists to have their music heard and critiqued by a panel of music industry folks including a record producer, a music supervisor and music journalist.

The video begins nightmarishly enough: a police officer with a rifle holds a dog on a leash, there are three people with paper-bagged masks over their heads, our main character under the covers, the famous Bob Dylan line from "The Times They Are a-Changin'" ("Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command") scribbled on paper. Meanwhile, J.S. Ondara, the singer from Nairobi, Kenya via Minnesota sings atop a sliding bass line: "It was just an American dream."

My No. 1 album for 2017 was Big Thief's Capacity. In 2016 their album Masterpiece was in my top five. So when I heard that Adrianne Lenker, Big Thief's singer and songwriter, had a new solo record, I was all ears.

Today we have some incredible, never-before-seen footage of John Lennon recording his seemingly cutthroat song, "How Do You Sleep?" It's a song he released in 1971 and directed at his former Beatle bandmate Paul McCartney. Here's just a sample of the lyrics:

AMERICANAFEST just ended and we're back from Nashville with 10 thrilling tunes for you. The artists are, for the most part, emerging musicians who tackle this diverse genre from all angles.

Defining Americana isn't easy. At the festival, there were musicians from all around the world. Some were rooted in blues, jazz, boogie rock, bluegrass, soul, gospel, comedy, country, Tejano and much more.

At 76, Paul Simon has been writing music for more than 60 years. And all that's about to come to an end.

They're vulnerable and fearless, filled with love but in pain, thoughtful but prone to cathartic outbursts. IDLES is the best 21st century punk-ish band I've heard. Where most outlandish bands spit out lyrics as one-line headlines, IDLES are tellers of truthful tales.

I love everything about Ohmme's debut album, Parts. Here we have two classically trained pianists, picking up electric guitars and diving into uncharted musical waters.

Today, The Band's Robbie Robertson is going to take us back 50 years, to a basement just outside of Woodstock, New York and the formation of a sound and an album that all these years later still shapes the musical landscape.

For all of the bigger names at this year's Newport Folk Festival, it was this under-the-radar quartet from the Boston area that I was most eager to see. Darlingside kicked off the weekend with extraordinary harmonies and a dystopic vision embraced on Extralife, including mushroom clouds, acetylene burns and a future forever trapped in a video game.

The Newport Folk Festival's nearly 60-year history is permeated with gospel music; though Moses Sumney uses loop pedals and an electric guitar to animate his work, his voice flows deeply in tune with a spirit and conviction that's recognizably tied to that tradition.

There is a moment, near the top of this Tiny Desk concert — when three voices gather 'round a single microphone to deliver the chorus of "That Ol' Train" — that is so pure and beautiful it made my eyes well up with tears when we filmed it. Not since bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley played the Tiny Desk in 2009 have I felt vocals resonate so deeply.

We recently put out a call asking listeners to share their thoughts about the songs on Courtney Barnett's latest album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, and other tracks from her rich lyrical catalog. On this week's show, we share some of those listener stories and thoughts, and Courtney talks about what inspires her, the creative process and how her music can be interpreted.

Listen to the full interview with the play button at the top of the page and read edited highlights below.

This Newport Folk Festival set from Lucius, their fifth, is maybe most poignant yet.

Accompanied by members of yMusic, students from the Berklee College of Music on strings and J. Blynn, along with Lucius regulars Jess Wolfe, Holly Laessig, Dan Molad, and Peter Lalish. The group also incorporated choreography into the set, with the dancers known as The Seaweed Sisters.

Fans of early Talking Heads albums, listen up. This group of teenagers from Brisbane could be your favorite new band. The Goon Sax frontman Louis Forster sings with a David Byrne-like delivery when he says the line that won me over, to his tenuous lover: "Let's get nervous in your room again." That's the moment I turned up the volume.

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