NPR Music

On this week's show, artists battle their inner demons – the kind that come out a night when you're alone in bed, trying to find sleep – speak truth to power, celebrate love, dig into complicated characters with troubled pasts and much more.

This includes a kind of demented nursery rhyme from singer Billie Eilish; the London-based duo Tender and their deep reflection on ruinous self-indulgence; and producer T Bone Burnett's new album with a prayer to overcome fear.

It's been 40 years since Steve Forbert released his debut album, Alive on Arrival, and he's marked the occasion with a new album and a new memoir. The new album is called The Magic Tree, a collection of songs, all but one of which have never been released before and some of which he started writing back in the '80s.

On Feb. 3, 1959, at only 22 years old, Buddy Holly left this world as one of the founding fathers of rock and roll. Now, 60 years after the crash that killed Holly, Mexican-American star Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper — or "the day the music died" — Holly's high school classmates from Lubbock, Texas, remember the young musician in the years before his rise to fame.

Month after month, member stations partake in Heavy Rotation and share with us songs that they cannot stop listening to. Out of the many talents and submissions, we condensed the list into ten songs, all of which scale the possibilities that this year has to offer in music.

This month's playlist is packed with new favorites, including French producer FKJ and a fresh bop from Future's The WIZRD, marking this start in 2019 as a hopeful one.

Chan Marshall, who makes music as Cat Power, is a live wire, sparking in fits and starts while creative currents run through her. Sometimes it's staccato and sometimes it's smooth, and you get the sense that sometimes it's in her control and other times maybe it's not.

Without gospel music there never would have been an Aretha Franklin, an Elvis Presley, a Ray Charles, a James Brown, or an Al Green.

William Ferris is the keeper of Southern folklife. Born in Vicksburg, Miss. in 1942 and inspired by the people in his rural farm community, Ferris' dedicated documentation of the American South has led to a 3-CD box set of his recordings, Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris, which has been nominated for a two Grammy Awards in the categories of best historical album and best album notes.

On this sprint through the week's best new albums, host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Lyndsey McKenna and Stephen Thompson for a whole lot of guitar rock, with a little bit of melancholy, acoustic beauty on the side. This includes Spielbergs, a group from Oslo, Norway, that makes its US debut with a fantastic squeal of feedback on This is Not the End; the L.A. quartet Cherry Glazerr, which just dropped its most emotionally potent and fully formed album ever; Girlpool, Le Butcherettes, the beautifully transporting songs of Tiny Ruins and more.

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For nearly 20 years, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero have been marrying their love of metal with nylon-stringed acoustic guitars, releasing an impressive catalog of albums that s

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Today, the great young, American singer Lucy Dacus

The Thistle & Shamrock: Songs Of The Bard

Jan 30, 2019

Discover the contemporary appeal of verses written by Robert Burns over 200 years ago. Fiona Ritchie features artists including the Paul McKenna Band, Corrina Hewat and Eddi Reader on this episode.

Fifty years ago today, on Jan. 30, 1969, The Beatles gave what would be their final concert. And on this special episode of All Songs Considered, we talk with someone who was there: Ken Mansfield wrote and just released a new book on this life-changing event called The Roof: The Beatles' Final Concert. Mansfield was the U.S.

On this edition of All Songs Considered I'm joined by Marissa Lorusso, our Tiny Desk Contest leader and also a critical contributor to NPR Music's Turning the Tables project.

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New Order, one of the most influential U.K. bands of the 20th century, formed in the long shadow of Joy Division, which disbanded following the 1980 death of singer Ian Curtis.

Lately, John Darnielle's output — both as the creative leader of The Mountain Goats and as an individual entity — has read like a laundry list of his interests: full-length concept pieces about wrestling and goth culture, a collaborative podcast about h

Emily Reo has a gift for coaxing the humanity out of the synthetic in her music. The Orlando-born, Brooklyn-based musician and songwriter's electronic pop conjures warmth and beauty from mesmerizing swirls of fluttering keyboard melodies and overlapping choirs of looped voices masked in robotic vocoder effects. That's especially true of "Strawberry," a vibrant and immersive anthem from her just-announced new album, Only You Can See It.

On this week's program, host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Sidney Maden and Stephen Thompson to talk about the must-hear albums out on Jan. 25. This includes hard-driving riff rock with a healthy sense of humor from FIDLAR and Mike Krol, the Compton rapper Boogie, woozy synth-pop from The Dandy Warhols, the shape-shifting sounds of New Orleans singer DAWN and more.

Featured Albums:

  1. FIDLAR: Almost Free
    Featured Song: "Can't You See"

On the eve of a new release, Sharon Van Etten (and her band) loaded into KCRW's basement studio to deliver a dynamic set featuring music from the critically acclaimed album Remind Me Tomorrow.

The music of Dianna Lopez feels like a secret you just can't keep to yourself. Her ability to blend ingredients of rock, avant-pop and R&B has made her a standout among Soundcloud's many bedroom-born hidden gems. And in 2019, she's ready to take things to the next level.

The latest release from the Rockland County, N.Y. singer, "Predictable," is a soft and fittingly pithy track about anticipating your partner's every move and deciding whether or not to change the routine.

Editor's note: This page has been updated to include more of the conversation between Bob Boilen and Ezra Koenig.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

Hear insights on song and novel writing, and unique projects uncovering Scottish connections in North America and Europe as Fiona Ritchie chats with multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Brian McNeill.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joan Shelley On Mountain Stage

Jan 22, 2019

Kentucky's beloved, siren-like singer-songwriter Joan Shelley makes her third appearance on Mountain Stage since 2014 in this stripped-down duo set, accompanied by longtime collaborator and acoustic guitarist Nathan Salsburg.

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Stephen Malkmus, known for fronting Pavement — pioneers of nineties lo-fi indie rock, has shared a video for "Viktor Borgia

Weren't we just here? Not that I'm complaining! David Crosby is one of my favorite people to talk to.

Crosby is in his late 70s and has released four albums in the past five years. What makes this current creative streak so inspiring and so puzzling to me is that none of these albums feels like a musical case of Déjà Croz. He's not making the same album over again. He's stretching sounds in ways that seem to surprise and delight even Crosby himself.

Reggie Young, a revered studio session guitarist, died Jan. 17 of heart failure in his home in Leipers Fork, Tenn. He was 82.

A lot has changed in Sharon Van Etten's life since she put out her last album, Are We There, in 2014. In the past five years, she's gotten into acting, gone back to school to get a degree in mental-health counseling, worked on film scores and became a mom.

John Prine was not even on the bill at Newport, but he stepped out on stage to introduce Margo Price. The set just got better from there.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

In the five years since her last music release, Sharon Van Etten has had her hands full: She became a mom, she took her first acting role in the Netflix series The OA, she wrote her first movie score, and she went back to school for psychology.

The title of her new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, is a nod to how busy she's been.

"There's a lot more of life pulling me in different directions," Van Etten says.

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