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All Songs Considered

9 a.m. Friday. Miami. You're stuck on the Palmetto Expressway, already late to your "minimum" "wage" desk job when you get a call: Sofi, your Soulcycling best friend with the ever-perfect manicure. "Muchaaaacha! Where are you?" she says. Her tío is out of town and lent her the boat. Juanchi, the dude you've had your eye on who resembles Maluma in abs, tiny man-bun and net worth, will be there. WYD?

In 2017, NPR Music published a list of the 200 Greatest Albums Made By Women. The list, selected by women from across the public radio system, launched our series Turning the Tables, which aims to radically change how we talk about the history of popular music.

When Ratboys' Julia Steiner wrote "Figure," she did so from a place of pain.

"I wrote 'Figure' in the middle of the night in my bedroom a few years ago," she tells NPR Music, "and for me the song was a way to air all of my disparate frustrations and fears in one place."

Nathan Bowles' clawhammer banjo music has always lived in three planes of existence: Rooted in the past, with a foothold in the present and an eye on the future. But as much as we think about folk music speaking across time — its seeking melodies and lyrics ever-resonant — Bowles wants to pluck sound from space itself.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Ann Powers, and Stephen Thompson to talk about July 20th's notable releases. Highlights include sultry R&B from The Internet, seething rock from songwriter Meg Myers, the "Joy" of Ty Segall & White Fence, a new album from the bluegrass group Punch Brothers and more.

Featured on this Episode

  1. The Internet: Hive Mind
    Featured Song: "Come Together"

Jeff Rosenstock has always made music for the slow days after the end-times, and "All This Useless Energy" is a kick-the-can punk ballad for crawling out of aimlessness toward a purpose.

It's a truth universally acknowledged that if it's pink, it'll likely be marketed exclusively to girls. (And, in that case, it'll probably cost more.) You may be tempted to think that fate has befallen our favorite pink drink, fretfully wondering: Is rosé just for women?

Success is relative. And for Berhana, the gluttonous trappings of music success don't actually make you happy once you get them. The Atlanta upstart premieres the song and music video for "Wildin'" on NPR Music, a divergent stance on defining your accomplishments by the industry's standards.

"There's a lot of things around success that can distract you and you forget what it is you're even doing this for," the singer says. "All this stuff around you kind of means nothing."

There's a dancing bear slapped on the back of a station wagon cranking out a copy of Europe '72 — it's no deep dive from one of Dick's Picks, but it's a solid collection of live sets, with Grateful Dead at the top of its game. You exchange eyes with the driver, acknowledge the good-times jams, and counter with a '77 date. Soon enough, you're holding up traffic, but the songs keep on truckin'.

I'm thrilled to have two new songs from one of our greatest living guitarists and songwriters, Richard Thompson. His just-announced 19th solo album, 13 Rivers, still finds him brimming with bursts of guitar magic and storytelling. It's a trademark sound that has been incredibly influential since the days when he electrified British folk music in the 1960s as part of Fairport Convention and, later, some of the most brilliant records of the 1970s with his wife at the time Linda Thompson.

Happy Friday the 13th! On this week's New Music Friday, All Song Considered's Robin Hilton speaks with NPR's Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson, Lars Gotrich, and Sidney Madden about the best new releases of the week. Highlights include Wiz Khalifa's long-awaited followup to the 2011 pop-rap breakout Rolling Papers, the calming songs of Luluc, affirmations of love from the Dirty Projectors and more.

Featured Albums

  1. Rayland Baxter: Wide Awake
    Featured Song: "Strange American Dream"

You always remember your first romantic encounter. Left behind on the night stand of a rented lake cabin, dog-eared and water-stained, its lurid cover slightly sun-faded. Smuggled into your bunk at overnight camp by that one girl who knew the names for acts you never even knew to imagine, with tell-tale spine cracks at all the juiciest bits. Late at night in a sleeping house, silent save for the hum of central air, when you finally worked up the nerve to click on the "M" rated Harry/Draco fic whose summary had been tantalizing you for weeks.

The Tree of Forgiveness, his first album of originals in 13 years, is not just classic John Prine. When so much of humanity seems closed off, Prine knows when to be a little goofy, too.

Roy Montgomery's music is like swimming through phantoms, each entity a haunting, illuminating new spectral phase. It was Montgomery's guitar work and deep, warbling vocals that have disoriented far-out New Zealand rock bands like The Pin Group, Dadamah and Dissolve, along with his solo material, since the 1980s. But Montgomery has always been self-effacing about his own voice: "It's lazy," he told Perfect Sound Forever in 2003.

You're 22, just finished a grueling two-hour nap and have $8.43 left on your prepaid debit card. A friend of a high school acquaintance's cousin invited you to brunch, but you lost your metro pass (again) and free-range restaurant eggs cost a minimum $6. What do you do? You charge to the grocery store around the corner and make a beeline for the three-dollar wine. And when the tired cashier asks if you want to save 10% on all future purchases, you stay focused. Um, do you look like the type of person who can afford an in-store membership? Being alive is expensive. Bad wine is not.

We're hitting the middle of summer, so you're either on a beach with a cooler and extra sunscreen (reapply every two hours!), or making that dollar at work and staying cool in air conditioning, counting down the hours to a neighborhood cookout and perhaps a nice glass of rosé.

The 7-inch sat in my college dorm room, unplayed but displayed — a bright pink foldover cover with red lettering and a crude drawing of two dashing men. There wasn't a way to hear the songs outside of a turntable (at the time, still sitting in my parents' living room), no digital copy available. When you mail-ordered a record, you listened to the record, not the MP3s from a download card.

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