Music

Music

The brainchild of classically trained songwriter and bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin has evolved from an immaculate, studio-bound chamber-pop ensemble to a looser, livelier full-time operation.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.

If Buddy Holly is somehow still capable of hearing the sounds emanating from this mortal plane, there's a good chance he's sporting a broad grin upon encountering "Tip My Heart." The title track from the debut album by Sally & George bears a Spartan sparkle not far removed from the kind that marked the late rock 'n' roll pioneer's venerated output.

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.

KSUT will feature the Infamous Stringdusters this Friday, checking out their brand new CD 'Laws of Gravity', and listening to some of their back catalog.

Our artist feature begins at 11:10 AM, during the Morning Blend, and concludes with our weekly trivia contest and your chance to win lunch from Zia Taqueria at 11:30.

Davy Knowles emerged last decade as a young, hotshot blues guitarist who displayed wisdom beyond his years. Knowles fronted the band Back Door Slam, which took its name from the Robert Cray song. The trio formed on the Isle of Man, off the British coast, and called it quits in 2009 when Knowles began making solo albums. His most recent release is Three Miles From Avalon.

Swedish pop artist Jens Lekman is back with his first new album in nearly five years. The singer, known for his darkly comical storytelling, says he'll release the calypso- and disco-inspired Life Will See You Now later this year. In making the announcement he shared the album's first single, "What's That Perfume That You Wear?," a playful, up-tempo tale about lost love and the ways a certain smell can spark a rush of memories.

Some are calling it Nigeria's new "boy band." An "old boy band" would be more like it.

A new singing group that burst onto the Nigerian musical scene over the new year consists of senior citizens — a chorus of prominent past political and military leaders from Africa's most populous nation. And they're singing about peace, unity and goodwill in 2017.

It'd be easy to look and listen to this young English singer and think he's just another sensitive songwriter with a guitar, singing about his troubles. But Declan McKenna writes about a much bigger world than you or I might expect from a singer who only recently turned 18. He came to NPR this past summer, a bit nervous but passionate. He stripped down three of his songs to their musical essence, and the power of their words eclipsed the hooks for which they're equally known.

In 2014, Angel Olsen reportedly told her publicist that she didn't want to do any more photo shoots in front of trees. That was the year she released her breakout record Burn Your Fire For No Witness, a melancholy heartbreaker that, in some cases, got her pigeonholed as a sad country singer. And lonely photos in front of trees weren't helping.

When Lin-Manuel Miranda was a teenager in the 1990s, he liked to make eclectic mixtapes for his friends. In those cassettes, he experimented with the rise and fall of energy in music: A musical theater number might play after a hip-hop song, only to be followed by an oldie or an obscure pop song. It was through mixtapes that he could bridge the gap between two seemingly opposing passions — Broadway and rap.

Brian Eno's new ambient work, Reflection, is just that: 54 minutes of what sounds like plinking chimes, rippling vibraphone and deep synth tones mirroring a parallel world. Released on Jan.

John Grant is not your run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter. He's a superstar overseas, but he's relatively unknown in the U.S., where he was born. He lives in Iceland and speaks four languages. He's openly gay. And he's HIV positive, as well as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

By day, Nicola Berlinsky and sisters Lisa Pimentel and Joanie Pimentel are all teachers at the same elementary school in southern California. By night, they're rockers, playing together in a band called No Small Children. It sounds like a lot to balance, but the members say they often find their two careers overlapping.

Ben Johnston doesn't follow the rules of music. Sure, he's got degrees from two colleges and a conservatory. But from an early age, Johnston heard music differently. When he was growing up in Georgia, he questioned the standard scales he was taught in school. "I played by ear and I invented my own chords," he says.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In the last week of 2016, we're featuring just a few of the songs that, for whatever reason, never got their due this year.

2016 has brought a ceaseless string of tributes to beloved musicians who've just died. So do yourself a favor and set aside a few minutes to watch this celebration, in which one living legend pays tribute to another.

In the last week of 2016, we're featuring just a few of the songs that, for whatever reason, never got their due this year.

The weather in LA is baffling. It is, depending on a number of factors (your mood, age, circumstance), either miraculous or infuriating how relentlessly beautiful it is out there. Blue-skied bliss is a constant.

By some force, the men of Studio OST have found a way to bottle this surrealism into song: "ITCZ" is music as ceaseless, freakish and leisurely as a belt of warmed air through the endless LA summer.

NPR first spoke with performance artist Taylor Mac this September, during rehearsals for a marathon physical and artistic feat: a 24-hour-long show covering the history of American popular music from 1776 to the present. Mac performed the full show, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, on Oct. 8, and it was a huge success. All 700 tickets sold out — and most people stayed awake the whole time.

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