Junip relishes distortion, but with with tender melodies and soft tones set atop a bed of electronic production that teeters on chaotic. In songs like "Your Life, Your Call," you can sense the urgency in every note, even as singer José González keeps his delivery sounding hushed and sweet.
Guards' music captures the pop sound of the late '50s and early '60s, but with more power and polish. It's hard not to hear a bit of Buddy Holly's melody and spirit — think 1958's "Rave On" — when you hear Guards play "Silver Lining," the first song in this Tiny Desk Concert.
In the 1980's, few bands bridged the gap between hardcore punk and what would become alternative rock quite like Minnesota's Hüsker Dü.
The personalities in the trio, however, were not as harmonious, and their partnership dissolved before the decade's end. Guitarist Bob Mould went on to a successful recording career. Bassist Greg Norton dropped out of music and became a chef. And that leaves ... drummer Grant Hart.
It would have been easy for Radiation City to make a retread of its 2011 debut, The Hands That Take You. Moody and hazy, yet easy to like, it was that record which introduced Radiation City to Portland and beyond, helping it score Willamette Week's "Best New Band" honor along the way.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the aluminum-siding pamphlets disguised as jury summons is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a blistering rebuttal of last week's column.
Queens Of The Stone Age is one of the best rock bands working today, with a diverse and unpredictable catalog dating back to the '90s. Southern California native Josh Homme and his talented collaborators recently treated a small studio audience in Santa Monica to a full-on assault of sweat-inducing guitar riffs and head-banging drums from their new hit album ...Like Clockwork.
It's one thing for an artist to talk about his failures — that's easy fodder for a good song — but art at its best incites positive change. "Sigh A While," this song from Boston's Kingsley Flood, is written to inspire. Kingsley Flood's Naseem Khuri says this tune is about the failures in all of us, and in particular about the patterns we can fall into. "I wrote the song about a friend who for years assured me he'd quit his job and change the world with his art," Khuri writes in an email. "We were driving around in his beat-up car one day and he was making the same promises.
Jucifer is an odd bird among the droning doom crowd: It's likely to splinter speakers one minute, yet lull you into a false sense of security with a folksy pop song the next. But live, Jucifer is a total body experience — a non-stop, 45-minute HULK OUT of down-tuned distortion deeper than the Mariana Trench.
This week on All Songs Considered, Bob's so sure Robin will love a new song by the Australian rock band Pond that he lays down five dollars on the table. Then another challenge: Can Bob identify the collaborator on the new, mostly instrumental album by Arcade Fire violinist Sara Neufeld? Can you? Plus: Who made the right choice?