Mike Katzif

Italian composer Daniele Luppi's first noteworthy work in America has been heard millions of times over. The Los Angeles-based Luppi arranged Gnarls Barkley's ubiquitous "Crazy" in 2005. But it's fair to say Luppi's name first popped up on radars with his ambitious 2011 project with Danger Mouse, Rome, which painstakingly blended the widescreen orchestral landscapes of Ennio Morricone's evocative Spaghetti Western scores, with funky exploitation flick grooves — and the vocal talents of Jack White and Norah Jones.

Review: Bully, 'Losing'

Oct 12, 2017

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.

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.

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.

At one point or another, we've all wondered what we'd be doing if we had made different choices. For most people, life rarely goes in a straight line; rather, it's made up of detours and false starts that help us collect experiences or lead to unforeseen opportunities. Take Madeline Kenney, who took a fascinatingly circuitous path before arriving at making music: She earned a degree in neuroscience, she initially moved from Seattle to the Bay Area to pursue a career as a professional baker, she painted and practiced modern dance — all while nannying to pay the bills.

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.

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.

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.

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.

It's fun to imagine Hiccup's origin as a meet-cute story with a pop-punk twist. Hallie Bulleit and Alex Clute were first brought together to play in a made-for-TV house band, The LLC, on The Chris Gethard Show — the delightfully DIY and subversive public-access-turned-Fusion network show.

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.

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.

The way Melina Duterte tells the story, it was a tipsy, spur-of-the-moment decision over Thanksgiving in 2015.

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

In a run spanning more than 30 years, Phish has become one of rock's all-time great touring bands, thanks to dynamic live performances full of lengthy improvisations and whimsical antics. But even with 1,600-plus shows under its belt since the 1980s, the Vermont quartet still has detractors, including those who point to Phish's uneven discography. Fair or not, it's true that the group's studio output is a different beast next to countless hours of live recordings.

There's a new album from Phish coming on Oct. 7, the band's 13th, titled Big Boat, and this news is always met with some conflicted opinions from fans. Throughout an impressive career that now spans 30 years (including a couple hiatuses -> breakups -> reunions along the way), Phish is still known best for its epic live performances rather than its albums. For at least a portion of the diehard concert-collecting fanbase, new songs are more of a refined framework for the lengthy improvisations to come.

Keaton Henson can't help but make things. But, as he establishes throughout his new album Kindly Now, the English songwriter not only suffers for his art; he also seems to suffer because of it. In "The Pugilist," one of Kindly Now's many heartbreakers, Henson reveals the inner struggle he endures so that he can craft work that connects with others, and possibly last after he's gone.

The video for "Two Cousins," a breakout track from Slow Club's second album, 2011's Paradise, still induces a smile. With a pair of impeccably dressed gentlemen high-kicking and stutter-step dancing to the song's fractured drum beat, gliding along with plinking piano notes, the clip is a joyful introduction to the Sheffield, England duo's charm.

When you're young, summers tend to feel endless and carefree. For many, memories of this age — when you have the freedom to attack a day with reckless abandon — still conjure a golden-hour glow in our minds. For Hockey Dad, that vibrant spirit and defiant charm fuels its debut album, Boronia. Messy and fun, the Australian duo's pop-punk bursts with chunky guitars and big riffs as they collide with yowling vocals and firecracker drumming.

On its fourth album, Ambulance, The Amazing has a way of unspooling melodies that don't grab you so much as slowly burrow under your skin. Playing with an unhurried improvisational spirit, the Swedish band lets ideas amble along and develop naturally; it takes time to explore the nooks of its songs in search of deeper resolution. That lovely, resonant quality conjures a meditative mindset suitable for solitary walks or the melancholic stillness of an early morning.

Deerhoof's never-look-back aesthetic has become a calling card, and its unpredictability a point of pride. Time and again, the San Francisco band has surprised listeners and pushed them in new musical directions they might not immediately want to go, and yet it's hard not to loyally follow along with each sonic jump.

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

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

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


No one can rewrite the past. We all carry around regrets and tragedies that haunt our memories or creep back into our lives if we let them. But one of the best ways to keep the demons at bay is to funnel that pain into art. Domenic Palermo, guitarist and singer of the Philly band Nothing, knows this better than most.

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

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