Music

Music

When you're born with a musical bloodline and the perfect rap moniker to match, dropping dope lines on your daddy's critically-acclaimed album is almost inevitable. Just ask Blue Ivy.

After a week of Tidal/Sprint exclusivity, three additional bonus tracks from Jay-Z's 4:44 leaked last night — including one featuring freestyle bars from the first daughter of music's royal couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

Haim's sophomore full-length, Something To Tell You, is a straight-up relationship record at its core, with all the angst, heartache and defiance that can erupt when lives coalesce and collide — with the added complication of being in a full-time, touring and very successful band. It's an exploration through the various stages of grief, from the denial in "Nothing's Wrong" to the bargaining of "Ready For You," or the anger of "Found In Silence."

Starting this Sunday, HBO will devote five hours over four nights to perhaps the unlikeliest and most influential partnership in the modern music industry: rap producer and entrepreneur Dr. Dre and rock producer and music executive Jimmy Iovine. Directed by Allen Hughes, The Defiant Ones charts the duo's influence over music from the '70s on, and begins with a $3 billion deal jeopardized by — of all things — a Facebook post.

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Two hugely popular live entertainment companies are joining forces. Cirque du Soleil announced yesterday it is acquiring Blue Man Productions. NPR's Rose Friedman reports.

Rhye hasn't released an album since its seductive and stellar 2013 debut Woman, but its new single doesn't delay the gratification any further. In fact, it takes all of 10 seconds for Mike Milosh to elicit his first new swoon in "Please," as a gentle stomp-and-clap gives way to the skeletal beginnings of a piano hook, which suddenly disappears from the mix before popping dramatically back into place after a second or two.

Allison Crutchfield has called a lot of bands and collaborations home — but this year, she released her first full-length solo record, Tourist In This Town. As you'll hear in this conversation, putting out music under her own name has been really important to her.

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This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF JENS LEKMAN SONG, "WEDDING IN FINISTERE")

Haunted house rides are pretty corny — rubber monsters pop out of the dark while you spill soda between the seats. In this haunted house, the monsters are politicians, gentrification, racial profiling and corporal punishment.

For about a minute, "You're Like Me" sounds as if it's being played in the next room — you could be hearing it through a wall, or maybe your headphones aren't plugged all the way in. Then, it comes roaring into focus: still compact and compressed, still just a guy playing most of the instruments in his bedroom, but just as thunderous as the wiry rock 'n' roll on which Ted Leo first made his name.

The seven-year wait for a new record from Canadian collective Broken Social Scene was well worth it. The crew returned to our studio in great spirits and debuted "Stay Happy," featuring newcomer Ariel Engle, from the new album Hug Of Thunder.

SET LIST

  • "Stay Happy"

The other day, while listening to NPR's Code Switch podcast, I heard an insightful story about the new sanctuary movement. It's an informal network of churches across the U.S., all offering refuge to folks who face imminent deportation because of their immigration status.

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Lee Bozeman's always been something of a romantic and a provocateur — taunting ("Fame is lust to be loved / And fortune: to live off the fat of the land"), teasing ("Make you gasp / Make your heart skip a beat") and often both at once, with some wisdom woven in ("But some still call it making love / And some believe that'

If Atlanta's Omni were a machine with a rhythm switch, it would probably just have one setting: staccato. Nearly all of the trio's songs are built around twitchy, start-stop beats that instantly get pulses rushing and nerves tingling.

Sixty years ago, two young musicians happened upon each other in Liverpool, England, in a meeting that would change the course of popular music forever.

It was July 6, 1957. John Lennon, then 16, was playing with his skiffle group The Quarrymen at a church garden party in the midst of a stultifying heat wave. Paul McCartney, 15, was in the crowd, wearing a white sports jacket with a pink carnation.

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 world has had the better part of a week now, and through a bloated holiday weekend, to digest Jay-Z's latest album, 4:44. With 10 songs spread over 36 minutes, the album wields brevity without sacrificing breadth. Its sound, crafted wholly by producer No I.D., is surprisingly cloudy and narcotic, while Shawn Carter's lyrics are reflective and bent steadfastly toward honesty.

You have a video like this, admit it: awkward leaps across the screen, moodily staring into the camera, flailing on the ground, all the while lip-syncing to your rock star dreams. Granted, you probably wouldn't become Nirvana.

Most people love to sing, but in Estonia, they take their singing very seriously. At the Estonian Song Festivals, for example, over 30 thousand singers routinely show up to form one gigantic chorus. Among the Baltic country's smaller, professional vocal ensembles, the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is considered one of the world's best. When the group releases a new album, fans of choral music listen up.

Hippo Campus is a band made up of Minnesota 20-somethings who got swept up in the rock and roll lifestyle directly out of high school. After releasing a pair of EPs in 2015, the band has now put out its debut full-length, Landmark.

Tight, angular, surprising melodies leap from the songs on the new album. Hippo Campus' growth since its earlier work is evident right away; the band now boasts a less frantic sound and more mature songwriting.

Have you ever done anything for 24 hours straight other than binge-watch Game Of Thrones before a new season starts? This guy spun a fidget spinner for a full day, so you know, the sky's the limit. Endurance tests now just seem like excuses to sit on your butt and get praise for it.

A mysterious photograph appeared across various social media platforms Monday morning, depicting three dashing women — two in cowboy hats, one holding a pair of spectacles — lounging at a wooden table teeming with the evidence of a long night out. NEW BAND ALERT: BERMUDA TRIANGLE, the caption read. Anyone attuned to the Americana scene recognized the one in the middle: Brittany A. Howard, the main rule-breaker in Americana music's most exciting band of this century, the Alabama Shakes.

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