KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Robin Hilton

Half-Light, the debut solo release from former Vampire Weekend producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, is one of the year's most arresting albums. Its breathtaking choral and string arrangements, idiosyncratic beats and intricate wordplay make it practically impossible to hear without giving it your undivided attention.

Okovi, the latest full-length from Zola Jesus, is a monstrously tortured album, built with densely layered grief and pain. Nika Roza Danilova, who's been writing and recording as Zola Jesus since releasing her debut in 2009, bares her most vulnerable thoughts and feelings as she sings about serial killers, suicide, crushing depression and fear. At times, even Danilova admits the songs are hard to hear.

Singer Dave Matthews, who formed his band in Charlottesville, Va. in 1991, will host a benefit concert for the city following last month's violent protests there. Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Chris Stapleton, The Roots and Brittany Howard of The Alabama Shakes are slated to perform, along with other not-yet-named special guests.

After three years of trickling out singles, Beck has finally announced Colors, a new full-length due out this fall. His latest track, "Dear Life," channels Beach Boys harmonies and the barrel-house piano of classic Beatles songs like "Martha My Dear" or "Lady Madonna."

Grizzly Bear's new album, Painted Ruins, isn't overtly political — it isn't built on any easily identifiable observations of a troubled world. Still, at times it seems to speak directly to events that have unfolded in recent weeks, from the saddening violence in Charlottesville, Va. to political tensions with Russia and North Korea, thriving as it does on examinations of paranoia and fear of the unknown, of loneliness and isolation.

It's been a little over a month since Bob Boilen and I have sat together and shared some essential tunes, but we're back with some keepers, including a new, swoon-worthy song from singer Julien Baker and a beautifully infectious track from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

On Monday, we'll turn the All Songs Considered 24/7 stream into a giant mixtape to score the solar eclipse and we want your help. With the form below, tell us what song you'd listen to while watching the sun disappear behind the moon and day turn to night.

Wilco has released a new song against ignorance and violence in the wake of last weekend's unrest in Charlottesville, VA. The track, called "All Lives, You Say?" is a short country shuffle that takes aim at the slogan "All Lives Matter," designed as a counter-protest to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tori Amos has always been a diviner with musical and spiritual roots deeply planted in the natural world, drawing both inspiration and metaphorical lessons from Mother Earth. In April, when she announced her next full-length, Native Invader, she called it an album that "looks to Nature and how, through resilience, she heals herself. The songs also wrestle with the question: 'What is our part in the destruction of our land, as well as ourselves, and in our relationships with each other?'"

Back in 1992, singer k.d. lang released a record unlike any other. Ingénue slithered against the popular music grain with songs that drew slow, deep breaths and sighed seductively. It had an alluringly divergent sound that landed somewhere in a blurry nexus of pop, country and global folk, with accordions, clarinets and Eastern European flourishes.

Composer Michael Andrews started writing music for movies back in 2001, when he scored the now-cult-classic film Donnie Darko (which included Andrews' haunting arrangement of the Tears For Fears song "Mad World"). His simple, brilliantly rendered songs perfectly reflected the movie's surreal narrative with moments that were both comical and creepy.

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."

In the summer of 1997, when All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer sat down with Colin Greenwood and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead to talk about the band's new album OK Computer, it sounds (in retrospect) like none of them – not our host nor the guys in the band – entirely knew what they were sitting on. O'Brien and Greenwood cracked jokes, gently brushed off questions they didn't care to get into and attempted to explain why this album was so different from the band's previous two releases.

Back in 2001, not long after All Songs Considered started, Bob Boilen and I made what was one of the show's first-ever musical discoveries, a then new band called The Be Good Tanyas. The trio of young women from Vancouver made incredibly infectious folk with the sweetest harmonies and a swoon-inducing surplus of innocent charm.

We follow Father's Day weekend with a mix of powerful new pop and rock from a lot of incredible women, including "Exhumed," a raging, cathartic song from Zola Jesus, and roaring doom metal from Chelsea Wolfe.

Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle has always been more comfortable with machines than people. It's a dynamic he's well-documented, and even romanticized, in his work, with tales of misfit characters and their troubled relationships with everything from robots to appliances. Perhaps it's because mechanical friendships don't require much of an emotional investment — they're not built on a lot of open and earnest discussions.

You're in a New York apartment, alone on a warm night, hearing the sounds of the city drift up from the streets. Or you're in Paris and part of the noise, moving through the crowded streets and sidewalks, both feeling the weight of the world and a being a part of that weight. Or maybe you've never even seen a large city, and mistake the glowing lights from afar for a mysterious fire.

We're not quite to the halfway point of 2017 and we've already discovered dozens of new artists who've gone on to become a permanent part of our musical lives, from Diet Cig and Charly Bliss to Overcoats, Vagabon, This Is The Kit and many more. We'll define a "new" artist as someone who released their debut full-length in 2017. (If they haven't released a full album, an EP or single can count).

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