Music

Music

On July 2, Adele will make the final stop on a 15-month tour to support her 2015 blockbuster 25. The tour certainly hasn't hurt: Far and away the best-selling album of recent years — it was top seller of 2015 and 2016, and no other record came close — 25 also won the Grammy for Album Of The Year back in February.

Two Inch Astronaut works quickly! Just about one year since the release of Personal Life, the suburban D.C. post-punk band already has album number four in the bag. Can You Please Not Help continues the pop-focused mind-meld of previous efforts with monster hooks and a musicianship that only comes with a boatload of experience.

On March 18, Drake released More Life, 22 songs packaged as what he's calling a playlist and what everyone else (including the streaming svengalis at Apple Music and Spotify) have categorized as an album. Whatever you call it, on Monday, Billboard announced that More Life had arrived at the top of the Billboard 200, which tracks the performance of the world's most popular albums, mostly through fans streaming it on Spotify and Apple Music.

Don't call it a throwback; call it "American music that never died." With a mix of ragtime, jazz, country blues and Western swing, St. Louis multi-instrumentalist Pokey LaFarge breathes new life (and charm) into traditional roots music. In his third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va., LaFarge leads his six-piece band in a rip-roaring performance of "Hard Times Come And Go."

SET LIST

Slowdive's first album in 22 years is starting to come along quite blissfully, and now it has a name. A calmly geometric, geologic video for "Sugar For The Pill" announces Slowdive, not to be confused with the band's eponymous EP from 1990.

Metropolis: 3/25/17

Mar 27, 2017

This Week's Playlist

  • Emapea, "Enjoy" (Cold Busted)
  • Maggie Rogers, "Better" (Capitol)
  • Bonobo, "7th Sevens" (Ninja Tune)
  • Plastic Plates, "Good Times" (Promo)
  • Luces, "Once Over Twice" (Promo)
  • Plastic Plates, "Leave A Light On [feat. Dragonette]" (Sweat It Out!)
  • Flyboy, "Iceland [feat. Granvielle] [Kydus Remix]" (Ego)
  • Moonboots, "Tear My Heart [feat. Lulu James]" (French Express)
  • !!!, "The One 2" (Warp)

Overcoats' music has been undeniable for me from the first time I saw the duo perform. The deep friendship between Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell comes across in their vibrant harmonies and the bountiful dance parties that pop up as they go.

Rose Cousins has an arresting voice that gets right under your skin. She hails from Canada's eastern coast, near the Atlantic Ocean. Just like that body of water, her music is spacious, expansive and liquid. Her last full-length album, We Have Made A Spark, came out to rave reviews in 2012 and propelled her into a couple years of constant touring. When that period was over, Cousins was burned out.

Movie fans know that Hollywood opens its most prestigious films every December, right before the Oscar nomination deadline. The same is true of Broadway — except it happens in the spring, before the Tony nominations come out. This year's is an exceptionally crowded season, with 18 shows — half of them musicals — opening in March and April.

Last season was all about Hamilton. Everyone knew it was going to win the Tony for best musical, but Barry Weissler, who produced Waitress, didn't care.

Charley Pride, one of the first African-American stars in country music, has sold more records for RCA than anyone not named Elvis Presley. Since Pride has a lot to be proud of, we're going to quiz him on shame — three questions about people who've made big mistakes. Click the listen link above to hear how he does.

In July 2015, the music industry moved its formal release day for new records from Tuesdays to Fridays. These days, though, it seems like almost every day is New Music Day. Keeping track of all this new music can be a challenge, but that's why we love being music fans.

Valerie June started performing in the Memphis club scene when she was still a teenager. She's a New Yorker now, with a vocal style that takes traditional blues, country and soul and pushes them into another realm.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Unexpected releases, surprise announcements, the loss of giants - this week the music news kept coming. And here with the latest, NPR music editors Jacob Ganz. Hey there, Jacob.

JACOB GANZ, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.

We first met Becca Stevens when she sang a show-stopping solo vocal line on a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" during a World Cafe session with David Crosby. She was part of Crosby's young, Brooklynite backing band, and we were thrilled to learn that they also write songs together.

There's new music from Lucius: The New York quartet's song "Million Dollar Secret" will be featured on HBO's Girls this Sunday.

Kendrick Lamar wasted no time following through on his mysterious "IV" Instagram post. Last night, the Compton MC released a new song, "The Heart Part 4," and it's a no-holds-barred lyrical onslaught.

Within the span of five minutes, over shifting beats produced by Syk Sense, The Alchemist, DJ Dahi and Axlfolie, Lamar waxes philosophical, adversarial and political while dropping heat on everyone from phony rappers to President Trump.

Peace. It's a powerful word and a powerful idea. When you find it — if you're lucky enough to find it — you, understandably, never want to let it go.

In her quietly hopeful love song, "All The Beds I've Made," Nashville-based songwriter Caroline Spence sings about feeling a little bewildered, a little wary and very grateful to have, quite unexpectedly, discovered total peace in a romantic relationship.

Nighttime is restless. Even in our sleep, we are moving in our dreams, or involuntarily flopping around the bed disturbing a loved one, be it a significant other, a dog. Lullabies are written to calm these restless minds, but maybe they should also recognize the motion of the day.

Tale as old as tiiiiiiime ...

By which, of course, I mean "tired people return from South By Southwest."

But in any event: this week's show kicks off with a discussion with our pal Katie Presley of Bitch Media about the live-action version of Disney's Beauty And The Beast. How are the candlesticks? How's the new music? And, as Katie wonders, is there adequate eroticism within the Beast, compared to the cartoon Beast who set Katie's young heart aflutter so many years ago? And what's the Les Miz-iest part of the Beast's new tune, anyway?

Nick Hakim begins with a bit of a fake-out — languorous strings like something out of a Stars Of The Lid record rumble from a sampler, somber and hesitant. But as he begins to sing in a heartbroken falsetto, surrounded by optical fibers hanging from the ceiling of SXSW's Optic Obscura installation by Raum Industries, the ambient intro morphs into a quiet, psychedelic croon.

Thanks to La La Land, Hollywood is getting shine for its magical skyline and hamster-wheel hustle. But if the film's characters had been more into house music than old-school jazz, Phantoms could've provided the perfect soundtrack. The production duo — Kyle Kaplan and Vinnie Pergola, two former teen actors who traded the red carpet for the recording studio — makes escapist, vocal-heavy dance music inspired by the city's surreal nightlife, an amusement park of gritty warehouses and glitzy nightclubs in which everyone's trying to make it.

For more than a decade, the members of The Builders And The Butchers have specialized in a kind of white-knuckle Americana: Their acoustic folk-rock sound is shot through with nervy, hellfire-and-brimstone intensity.

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