KTEP - El Paso, Texas

All Songs Considered

When we started the Tiny Desk Contest, we had no idea how many people would want to participate. And here we are now: four years later and over 23,000 entries strong. We've seen the hard work that goes into producing your videos; we've heard your dreams of making it big. After everything you've given us to talk about, we wanted to keep that conversation going and kickstart turning those dreams into a reality. Introducing: Tiny Desk Talks.

As the lead singer of Big Thief, Adrianne Lenker has shown an incredible gift for pairing tender empathy with raw power. The band's first two albums, 2016's Masterpiece and last year's Capacity, are awash in bluster, but always grounded by the intensity and intimacy of Lenker's songwriting.

High On Fire helped usher heavy metal into the 21st century. When the band began in 1998, the scene was adrift in all things "nu," which undeniably left its mark on young listeners, introducing them to more extreme sounds. But those who carried the torch for metal — the kind handed down from Black Sabbath and Motörhead — kept the sound alive and thriving, even if only the dedicated few listened.

Our 2018 Tiny Desk Contest On the Road tour brought us incredible musical discoveries in every city we visited. Year after year, this Contest would be nothing without our dedicated community of creators from every state. We couldn't feature all these artists on our one (short) tour, but luckily, plenty of NPR Member stations from across the country produced their own events featuring some of their local Contest favorites — so we asked them to recap their shows for us. You can read about some of them below.


KCUR - Kansas City, Mo.

The roséwave lifestyle may be loose and laid back, it's not lethargic. After all, it takes stamina to keep up your social calendar in the summer months. You need endurance to power through fall marathon training and never-ending rooftop happy hours.

We recently put out a call asking listeners to share their thoughts about the songs on Courtney Barnett's latest album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, and other tracks from her rich lyrical catalog. On this week's show, we share some of those listener stories and thoughts, and Courtney talks about what inspires her, the creative process and how her music can be interpreted.

Listen to the full interview with the play button at the top of the page and read edited highlights below.

On this week's New Music Friday, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks to NPR Music guests Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson about the essential new releases for July 27, including the jangly guitar pop of Tony Molina, a celebration of queerness and the company we keep from Thin Lips and whimsical sing-a-longs from Raffi.

Featured on this Episode

  1. Israel Nash: Lifted
    Featured Song: "Rolling On"

Roger Miller wrote and performed some of country music's most enduring hits — most notably "Dang Me" and the eternal "King of the Road" — and dabbled in everything from Hollywood acting to writing a Tony-winning score. More than 25 years after his death, he remains a sizable influence on country's major stars, as a forthcoming tribute album makes clear.

Somewhere between dusk and nightfall, there's a point when the sky's deep reds and luminous notes of peach bleed into deep blues and silhouetted skylines. It's a somber, meditative medley of color, when the reflection of day turns dim; that's where the new record by Patrick McDermott, who records instrumental guitar music as North Americans, rests.

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.

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