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All Songs Considered

I recently hosted a "pitch session" at the DIY Music Conference hosted by CD Baby in Nashville. It was an opportunity for independent artists to have their music heard and critiqued by a panel of music industry folks including a record producer, a music supervisor and music journalist.

Our list of the best new albums out this week includes the comical and moving synth pop of John Grant, enchanting harmonies from The Watson Twins, an audacious jazz album from trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, the first new music from Elvis Costello & The Imposers in a decade and more. Host Robin Hilton returns to breakdown this week's essential releases with NPR Music's Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson, and Nate Chinen from WBGO.

Featured Albums

  1. Elvis Costello & The Imposters: Look Now
    Featured Song: "Under Lime"

Look: Big, dumb riffs are harder than you think. Palm-muted chugs and sidewinder pull-offs can rate on a scale of Honda Accord (safe, reliable, standard) to El Camino (muscular, mean, wild) depending on the driver who's stomping on the sonic gas pedal. Hair Puller was founded on this premise, and its 101 MPH sludge will pulverize your headbanging skull.

My No. 1 album for 2017 was Big Thief's Capacity. In 2016 their album Masterpiece was in my top five. So when I heard that Adrianne Lenker, Big Thief's singer and songwriter, had a new solo record, I was all ears.

With Robin Hilton out for one more week, NPR Music's Ann Powers and Lars Gotrich join me for a whirlwind tour of a busy release day. We've got the first album in five years by the spiky pop-rock band Swearin' (featuring the great and good Allison Crutchfield); the gorgeous first album in six years by Chan Marshall, a.k.a.

One Song Considered: Julia Jacklin's 'Body'

Oct 3, 2018

If last week felt a little more... exhausting than usual, you're not alone. And if you're already finding yourself in need of a palliative before lunchtime on a Monday, well, you've come to the right place.

If we had to guess, we'd say Bangaville is more a state of mind than a physical location. That's where we find ourselves at the beginning of the video for Tank and the Bangas' new single, "Spaceships."

Robin Hilton is out this week, so we kick off this installment of New Music Friday by blaring some Cher, whose new album of ABBA covers is a must for anyone who flipped out when the singer made her entrance in this summer's Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again.

Today we have some incredible, never-before-seen footage of John Lennon recording his seemingly cutthroat song, "How Do You Sleep?" It's a song he released in 1971 and directed at his former Beatle bandmate Paul McCartney. Here's just a sample of the lyrics:

It's another busy release week, with intimate home recordings from Prince, ragged rock from Metric, the angelic harmonies of Mountain Man and Richard Swift's final recordings among our shortlist for the must-hear albums out on Sep. 21. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks with NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lars Gotrich, Rodney Carmichael and Stephe Thompson, along with Nate Chinen from WBGO about the music you need to hear now.

Featured Albums:

  1. Metric: Art of Doubt
    Featured Song: "Die Happy"

What were you doing when you were 7 years old?

This week's run through the essential albums out Sep. 14 includes the first new music from Jump Little Children in 14 years, rapper Noname's incredible follow-up to her 2016 mixtape Telefone, one of the darkest and most distorted albums ever from the band Low, a bit of melancholy and hope from country singer Carrie Underwood and much more.

Featured Albums:

  1. Jump Little Children: SPARROW
    Featured Song: "Hand On My Heartache"
  2. Low: Double Negative
    Featured Song: "Quorum"

Last month Mary Halsey of Rhode Island posted a Facebook video of herself doing a karaoke version of Missy Elliott's "Work It." It quickly went viral, accumulating millions of views and drawing attention from Elliott herself who praised the performance on Twitter and called Halsey her "funky white sister."

The Reverend Al Green has long showed music lovers what it means to be blessed by the presence of a great voice. That is, Green's sporadic relationship with the music world beyond the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, where he's preached most Sundays since 1976, shows us in no uncertain terms that the person doing the blessing is the owner of the golden pipes fans cherish.

Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl, Lilys, Lorelei, Stereolab — these are just a few of the artists who released 7-inch singles on Slumberland Records in the late '80s and early '90s. That's a helluva run for any label, but also remarkably prescient, considering the simultaneously softer and stranger indie pop that would follow.

This week's essential new releases includes Paul McCartney's best album in 20 years, the funk and disco of St. Paul & The Broken Bones, dark and twisted sounds from the rap duo $UICIDEBOY$ and more. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lars Gotrich, Marissa Lorusso, Stephen Thompson and Rodney Carmichael.

Featured Albums:

  1. St. Paul & The Broken Bones: Young Sick Camellia
    Featured Song: "Got It Bad"

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