Music

Music

Each month, we ask music curators at public radio stations across the country to introduce us to one new song they can't stop spinning. In April, these denizens of the left side of the dial loved songs by Brooklyn electric-folk band Big Thief, Philadelphia power-pop quintet Sheer Mag, Louisiana garage-rock outfit Seratones and more. Hear all 10 selections below.

In Florist, Emily Sprague and fellow Catskills friends sing quiet, delicate songs filled with vivid memories. "Vacation" is about growing up and learning about love.

Like when I used to ride roller coasters with my dad

When a swimming pool in a hotel

Was a gift from God

Like, love, we're like a family

I don't know how to be

"Cool And Refreshing" finds Sprague singing about the childhood memories that we lose one by one.

Andrew Bird On World Cafe

Apr 28, 2016

Andrew Bird is back with a new album called Are You Serious? — and he's once again approaching his music in a different way.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

This Saturday, April 30, marks the fifth anniversary of International Jazz Day, a celebration organized by UNESCO to celebrate jazz across the globe. To do our part, we're highlighting some of our favorite jazz musicians to play behind Bob Boilen's desk. Rising stars, young virtuosos, NEA Jazz Masters and veteran ensembles alike have played in NPR's D.C. offices. Here are five standout jazz performances at the Tiny Desk.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The song "Shine" sounds like classic Ben Harper, and there's a good reason why: The Innocent Criminals. The group started out as Harper's backing band in 1993 and reunited, after an eight-year break, to record his latest album, Call It What It Is. Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals' live performance in our studio demonstrates how dynamic the band's presence remains.

SET LIST

  • "Shine"

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DMA's On World Cafe

Apr 27, 2016

Tommy O'Dell, Johnny Took and Matt Mason, who make up the Australian trio DMA's, were on World Cafe in 2015 when they released their self-titled EP. Now, just a year later, they've released their first full-length, a guitar-driven garage-pop record called Hills End. Hear DMA's perform four songs from the album in this special mini-concert for World Cafe.

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, says he's obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food.

After long forays into pop-punk and arty post-hardcore, Thrice returns after a hiatus with a sonically grandiose third act. The band's ninth album, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, at times breaks with Thrice's angular moves and aims straight for the gut with more anthemic songs.

Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is the rare album that traverses the entire world, both musically and lyrically. It’s dizzyingly diverse, jumping from one style to the next, with ports of call in Motor City and Music Row, Harlem and Stax, Berlin and London, yet it never leaves Simpson’s very specific point of view. It’s his most personal album as well as his most ambitious: a song cycle penned as a sailor’s poignant letter home to the wife and child he left behind.

I could walk by Peter Frampton on the street and not recognize him. His long blond hair, which shines like a halo on his album Frampton Comes Alive! may be gone, but as soon as he sat behind the Tiny Desk and began singing, 1976 came rushing back. I worked in a record store the year Frampton Comes Alive! came out, and it was one of those records that seemed to have universal appeal. We sold a ton of copies of that double live album and I can still remember the label and number (A&M 3703) from having written it on countless sales tickets.

Prince's sister says that when the musician died suddenly last week, he left no known will. On Tuesday, she asked a Minnesota court to appoint a special administrator to oversee the estate, which may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But no matter who the heirs turn out to be, they will be facing some tough choices.

Prince always had an aura of mystery. His death at 57 has only added to the puzzle.

The names James Brown and Apollo Theater have practically become synonymous; it's hard to think of one without the other. Beginning in 1963, Brown released three albums recorded there. But there was a fourth — recordings from Sept. 13 and 14, 1972 — that has been buried ever since. Now, Get Down with James Brown: Live At The Apollo Vol. 4 is finally out on vinyl, with a CD to follow this summer.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

We've all been dealing with so much unhappiness over the last week that hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton wanted to kick of this week's All Songs Considered with some celebrations. Bob leads off with some great pick-me up music from Moon Hooch. Robin continues to explore his love of "shrug rock" with a hilarious new song from the band PUP.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Amy Helm On Mountain Stage

Apr 26, 2016

Amy Helm performs on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. A singer, instrumentalist and songwriter, Helm had accumulated years of recording and touring experience before she embarked on a solo career in her 40s.

Freddie Mercury, the late frontman for the legendary band Queen, died almost 25 years ago. But he's still regarded as one of the best rock singers ever.

World Cafe Next: Karl Blau

Apr 25, 2016

Producer Tucker Martine was familiar with Pacific Northwest singer-songwriter Karl Blau through Blau's work on Laura Veirs' records; Martine is Veirs' husband and has produced her latest work. Martine had a vision of setting Blau's voice against lush, dreamy, string-drenched arrangements, and Introducing Karl Blau took shape.

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds: Tiny Desk Concert

Apr 25, 2016

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds' punchy horn section, bluesy vocals and uniquely transformative harmonica solos instantly demand attention. Their obvious joy in playing music together is contagious, and they brought the party to Bob Boilen's desk in a big way.

The "monoculture" has supposedly been dead for at least a decade, but it ain't necessarily so. World-devouring pop music phenomena do still exist, but today that universe is made entirely of Beyoncé — a Michael Jackson/Madonna/Prince figure whom everyone who cares about popular culture is supposed to grapple with and have big thoughts about.

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