Music

Music

Attention fans of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show: You are bound for glory! Big Easy Express is a new film featuring all three bands and their whistle-stop journey from Oakland to New Orleans aboard a vintage train.

We're a few weeks and a few polls into our summer search for the albums everyone can love, and so far the results have challenged some of our long-held assumptions. Most of you have never heard Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's soundtrack to the film Once (we thought it was wildly popular).

"These ideas of mine / percolate the mind," Fiona Apple sings in "Every Single Night," the song that opens her new album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. Some people are going to listen to the entire record and come away with the feeling that the percolation in Apple's mind has bubbled over like a coffee pot left on a stove too long. But for me and perhaps for you, Apple's bubbling thoughts, words and music are thrilling — eager and direct, heedless about being judged or misunderstood.

This week on All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton offer sneak previews of some of the summer's most anticipated releases.

There are as many ways to interpret someone else's song as there are to write one yourself, but covers needn't play out as complex deconstructions or intellectual exercises. Covers can be simple celebrations — a way of saying, "Damn, I wish this were my song."

I fell in love with Bruce Springsteen for his swagger. It was ridiculous and offered so much hope. Here was a bony dude with the worst haircut ever, who wore T-shirts covered in holes — seriously, he looked like the fry cook at the amusement park where I worked as a counter girl in the summer — making music as big as the known universe.

The Mix: 100 Essential Noise Pop Songs

Jun 25, 2012

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Dr. Dog On World Cafe

Jun 25, 2012

The Philadelphia pop-rock band Dr. Dog has continued to get better since forming in the early 2000s. The group's seven albums of layered psychedelia are deeply influenced by the best of '60s pop, adding up to a sound that's both timeless and classic.

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of Siamese Dream, the second album by The Smashing Pumpkins and the one, along with 1995's Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, that broke the band into the mainstream and spawned its most lasting hits.

Sonny Landreth’s 11th album, bearing the fittingly evocative title Elemental Journey, is something very different from the Louisiana slide wizard. Released on his own Landfall label, the new CD is Landreth’s first all-instrumental effort and his most adventurous work to date. Sonny will be in the region, performing at the Taos Solar Music Festival over the weekend.

A Summer With Fun.

Jun 23, 2012

Fun. is in the middle of quite a run. For six weeks this spring, the band had the No. 1 song in the country with "We Are Young," an anthemic pledge of drunken solidarity that has appeared in countless commercials and TV shows, and dominated radio playlists and sales charts since March (it's still in the top five).

"Why music?" It comes off like a Philosophy 101 essay question at first, but the more I twist my head around it, the more it causes a volcanic hurl of thought: Why do I love music? Why do I write about it? Why do I care what other people write about it? Do I love a song for the story or for itself? Does that matter? What if I go deaf? Am I going to miss my deadline?

For Family Band's Kim Krans, music and visual imagery are inexorably intertwined as means of expressing a dark, delicate vision. Recording with her guitarist husband Jonny Ollsin as Family Band, she's crafted a beautifully unsettling ballad in "Night Song," but it's almost difficult to imagine hearing it without the visuals she created for its video:

Metric In A Non-Synthetic Situation

Jun 20, 2012

In a matter of minutes, Metric singer Emily Haines and guitarist James Shaw went from rocking in front of thousands of fans on the main stage of the Sasquatch Music Festival to hiking through a rumored thicket of rattlesnakes overlooking the Columbia River. The duo gamely made the trek for an acoustic performance of "Synthetica," the title track from Metric's new record.

The results are in and it turns out most of you who voted in our mid-year poll really love Jack White's explosive and eclectic Blunderbuss. But the race was close: White's album beat-out the Alabama Shakes record Boys & Girls by less than 25 votes. Beach House's Bloom, one of the most popular records ever in our First Listen series, came in at third. The Shins' Port Of Morrow and Of Monsters And Men's My Head Is An Animal round out the top five.

Back in March, former All Songs intern Dan Raby used this space to sing the praises of Montreal singer-songwriter JBM, a.k.a. Jesse B. Marchant, whose deliberately paced folk-pop hangs on the lingering empty spaces between notes.

There's more than one way to qualify as a "guitar band": You can shred, sure, or you can lay down layer upon layer of guitars to weave an intricate tapestry. For Diiv — yes, the group was once called "Dive," and yes, it's from Brooklyn — guitars dominate, but as warm, chiming mood-setters.

Guest DJ Patti Smith

Jun 19, 2012

On this edition of All Songs Considered, poet and singer Patti Smith joins host Bob Boilen to talk about her musical passions, including doing fancy dance steps with her siblings in South Jersey. She talks about meeting Jimi Hendrix as a young journalist and later recording in his dream studio Electric Lady Studios, where she and her band made their latest album, Banga.

Nils Lofgren On World Cafe

Jun 19, 2012

Nils Lofgren has built a stellar reputation as a masterful guitarist in both solo and collaborative endeavors, and his extensive discography showcases a unique brand of high-energy blues-rock.

There's no clear formula for why a new song catches fire at one of our partner radio stations. Sometimes it's a hook you can't get out of your head, and sometimes it's a tune's ability to distill a station's overall vibe into three sublime minutes.

We asked five stations to select a song currently blowing up on their airwaves and tell us why. For a limited time, you can download their answers — the results include new music from the smart Canadian pop band Metric, U.K. singer Lianne La Havas, folk newbie John Fullbright, funk collective Brownout and British pop group alt-J.

This April, roots-rock singer-guitarist Bonnie Raitt released her first album in seven years, Slipstream. It's classic Raitt, mixing bluesy slide-guitar riffs with her soulful voice and a pop-friendly sensibility.

The delivery system, however, is brand-new. After years of working with the majors, Raitt decided to start her own label, Redwing Records. Raitt runs Redwing with the help of a tiny staff; Slipstream is the first release in its catalog.

I Never Owned Any Music To Begin With

Jun 16, 2012

A few days before my internship at All Songs Considered started, Bob Boilen posted an article titled "I Just Deleted All My Music" on this blog. The post is about entrusting his huge personal music library to the cloud. Though this seemed like a bold step to many people who responded to the article, to me, it didn't seem so bold at all.

Man, talk about a dream team pairing. After some enticing rumors and teases of a potential collaboration between David Byrne and St.

With Leftover Salmon headlining Friday night at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, we thought it only fitting to feature their brand new CD, "Aquatic Hitchhiker", their first studio album in 8 years, and the first to debut all original compositions.

Featuring Patti Smith's former New York punk-era colleague Tom Verlaine on solo guitar, "April Fool" is one of the prettiest songs on Smith's new album, Banga. Verlaine sends out long, thin, delicate tendrils of sound as Smith's voice suffuses the melody with full-throated urgency. Although Smith has said, with typical art-democratic directness, that "almost everybody in the world can sing," a few songs on Banga make you aware of what a good voice she has.

Trailer Trash Tracys: A Shoegazer's Dream

Jun 14, 2012

"Candy Girl," from Trailer Trash Tracys' debut album Ester, sounds like a shoegazer's modern take on Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" — the song that soundtracked the makeout scene in Top Gun. Both tracks share a similar pace and constant beating snare, but Trailer Trash Tracys' members diverge from the '80s hit by throwing in a ton of fuzz, reverb and depression. "It's 7 o'clock and my heartbeat stops, my candy girl," Suzanne Aztoria sings, her voice detached to the point where she seems sedated.

Back in early May, I went to the Beacon Theatre in New York City to see The Beach Boys' 50th-anniversary tour. I expected a decent show, but it was so much more than that: It was breathtaking.

Two creative siblings — Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy and writer Maile Meloy — say a summer road trip they took with their mother in the early '80s was a memorable musical experience.

Maile, a fiction writer whose latest novel is The Apothecary, says repetition was partly responsible for lodging the sounds of the trip in her memory.

Live Friday: Michael Kiwanuka In Concert

Jun 13, 2012

Born in London to Ugandan parents, Michael Kiwanuka was brought up in a home from which music was largely absent. His first introduction to rock — Nirvana, Radiohead — arrived as he began to hang with the skater kids in his north London suburb during his early teenage years.

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