Katie Anastas

Valentine's Day is coming up and whether you're single or coupled the day can bring on complicated mixture of memories, regrets and desires. The latest from Oakland-based dream-pop artist Jay Som depicts a specific kind of romantic encounter in a bright, meandering tune.

Content advisory: The video below contains strong language and may be offensive to some.


Thousands of people took to the streets this past Saturday in the second Women's March on Washington, a nationwide event that marked the anniversary of President Trump's first year in office. Like last year, the marches were dotted with celebrities, including pop singer Halsey in New York City.

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

Many queer kids grow up wishing that pop lyrics had a different pronoun, that music videos depicted people like them, that queer artists could have the confidence in their sexuality that straight ones did. Troye Sivan continues to emerge as his generation's answer to those prayers.

Chances are you recognize The Shacks from the iPhone 8 commercial that features the band's version of "This Strange Effect" and also stars lead singer Shannon Wise. That tune comes from a self-titled debut EP, and it's a whispery cover of a 1965 song written by Ray Davies and recorded by Dave Berry.

Since the release of "Loveless" back in March 2017, the trio Lo Moon has slowly revealed a series of songs which grapple with various stages of a romantic relationship. Each has a slightly different sound.

Seattle trio Dude York's new holiday album, Halftime For The Holidays, begins with a goofy, rocking breakup song about a familiar scene: You go home for the holidays and see an ex, realize you still have all the same friends and overthink your every move.

Should you buy him a gift? If you leave the party early, are you letting him win? What glittery dress will make him miss you, but also assure him you've moved on?

As the days get colder and the sun sets earlier, sometimes you just want a powerful (if not angry) song to pump you up. Just in time for the chilly temperatures, pop artist Kimbra has released the funky, victorious "Top of the World."

Though every band aims to eventually become a headliner, touring as an opening act is an important step. It allows a group to reach new fans, visit different places and gain inspiration from the act it's supporting. It can offer visions of successes and challenges to come, both on and off the stage.

Join KEXP as the Seattle public radio station returns to the land of fire and ice, broadcasting live from KEX Hostel (no, that's not a typo) in Reykjavik for the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival.

KEXP's international broadcast featured 16 exclusive performances live on air from Nov. 2 to 5. Sets from all days were streamed with live video on KEXP's Facebook page. Click on the names of the artists below to view the performances.


Tuesday, Oct. 31