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All Songs Considered

Yasmin Williams only started playing the guitar after beating all the songs on expert-level on Guitar Hero II. "I figured, well, I beat that game, I can probably play a real guitar now," she says.

Our 2018 Tiny Desk Contest tour has come to an end. Over the last two months, we've hosted concerts in eight cities featuring 21 bands who entered the Tiny Desk Contest — plus our winner, the brilliant guitarist and singer Naia Izumi.

It's an exciting week for new music. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks to NPR's Rodney Carmichael, Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson and Tom Huizenga, along with WBGO's Nate Chinen about the best releases for June 29. This includes Drake's highly-anticipated double album, Scorpion, Florence and the Machine's tentative turn toward optimism with High as Hope, previously unheard and unreleased music from jazz legend John Coltrane and much more.

Featured Albums

In the video for "Hunger," Florence + The Machine's first single from the new High As Hope, vibrant flower buds and moss bloom atop the stony surface of an old statue: What was once cold and revered, only marveled at from a distance, becomes a lush promise of renewal.

When Beezewax first formed in 1995, its early records recalled the muscular yet melodic riffage of Hüsker Dü and Buffalo Tom — fuzzy guitar chords, fuzzier emotions, hearts on sleeve. What set the band apart, especially on 1998's South of Boredom, was a sweetness possibly gleaned from its Norwegian indie-pop locale.

Summertime usually stirs up the urge to leave work behind and hop in the car, top down and windows open, to speed through the desert, mountains and along the coast.

The first official music video for Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1969 hit "Fortunate Son" is, appropriately, exactly that — taking you down the Pacific coast and across the South. It's an idyllic picture of the pool halls, river rope swings, vintage cars and beguilingly worn-out cities of the U.S. — and a representation, however stylized, of the Americans who aren't in the top one percent.

For every sticky summer fling, there's even more stabbing heart pangs. Longer nights and shorter homemade jorts sightings mark the official kickoff of uncuffing season; add to that the typical diet of rejection and letdowns in the cruel snowglobe of modern dating, and you got some pretty convincing reasons to pop a bottle.

A great power-pop song has one foot in happy-go-lucky hooks and another stomping a triumphant riff. That's a space occupied by The Toms' pop ballast, Shoes' handsome two-day scruff and Buzzcocks' sunniest kiss-offs. Spend just two minutes with Saturday Night's "Curse or Blessing," and it's immediately clear these 20-somethings live in power-pop's in-between, where the sugar is just as important as the grit.

Chaka Khan is bringing back hot fun in the summertime. Her new funky single "Like Sugar" is a sweet, simple reminder that sometimes an infectious groove and boogieing with friends can bring the greatest joy.

Watch Mitski's Colorfully Surreal 'Nobody'

Jun 26, 2018

In "Nobody," the deceptively up-tempo, new single from her upcoming album, Be The Cowboy, Mitski grapples with a lingering loneliness – an emptiness that even her own celebrity can't erase.

Even a professional gamer is no match for Kamasi Washington in the arcade classic Street Fighter II Turbo.

Your Favorite Summer Jams

Jun 22, 2018

Earlier this week, we asked you for your favorite summer jams — the feel-good music that'll carry you through unrelenting news cycles, flat LaCroix, and incessant reminders from your mom ("HAVE YOU PUT ON SUNSCREEN YET?"). We loved your choices, from the sultry Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa song "One Kiss" to Korean boy band BTS's "Fake Love." More importantly, we appreciated your enthusiasm: "It bangs" was a common comment, along with "It slaps" and "IT BUMPS IN THE WHIP." (We may have learned some new terms).

On this week's episode of New Music Friday, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton chats with NPR Music's Ann Powers and Rodney Carmichael, along with jazz critic Nate Chinen from WBGO about the most exciting new releases for June 22. Albums include the intense, industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails, the new joint project of Lecrae & Zaytoven and the wildly ambitious, shape-shifting jazz of Kamasi Washington.

Featured Albums

  1. Nine Inch Nails: Bad Witch
    Featured Song: "Ahead Of Ourselves"

Chilled-out R&B is definitely not what I would be listening to moments before I jumped out of a plane, but Tash Sultana's new music video for "Salvation" proves that the sound is a perfect fit for falling through the brightest blue sky melding into the vast monochrome ocean.

The behind-the-scenes concert reel is a music video staple, an opportunity for artists to prove, via sequences of young, fawning crowds, candid iPhone videos and electrifying stage gyrations, how lovable and human they are.

Our 2018 Songs Of The Summer

Jun 21, 2018

Summer heat is a challenge to keeping your cool: it's hard to slow down and not lose your rhythm, your temper, your style. When the temperature crawls up, and the humidity just kinda hangs there, you need music that can help you hang in there with it, not fight it. Ambient music is no match for the heat — groove is essential.

Two days after his 76th birthday, Paul McCartney released two new songs, which he calls a taste of Egypt Station, a new studio album set for release September 7.

"I Don't Know" is a doleful ballad, while "Come On To Me" is fiery, foot-stomping rock song — hear them both below.

Just a week after releasing the sultry collaboration "Bed" for Nicki Minaj's forthcoming album Queen, Ariana Grande and Minaj have reconvened their mutual appreciation society for yet another track. "The Light Is Coming" will appear on Grande's upcoming album Sweetener, due out Aug. 17.

It's in the name: returning a place to its proper condition. It's in the logo: a house tipped on an angle, in need of repair. Restorations, now 10 years running, is named for more than just architectural stability. It's emotional renewal for the members themselves and for anyone listening. The band's self-reflective, true colors are just as loud and bold as the layers of guitars galloping through each song.

A conflicted mind can cause utter chaos. For Saba Abraha, a D.C.-area R&B singer, music is her outlet to unpack her thoughts to keep from spiraling. Abraha's writing process for her latest track "Do's & Don'ts," occurred after the death of her father and a sudden immersion into circles the music industry, a sequence of events that left her reeling in confusion.

For Saintseneca, fatalistic gloom blends seamlessly with a kind of playful sprightliness: Zac Little's songs often simmer in a sad swirl of death and esoterica, but his deadpan ruminations are buoyed by the sounds of exotic instruments, candy-colored pop hooks and many points in between.

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