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All Songs Considered

Please note: The album below contains explicit language.

Just when it seemed June couldn't get any hotter for lovers of rap and R&B, the inevitable has finally happened: After a collaboration built on musical legacy and love for the past 15 years, Beyonce and Jay-Z have released a joint album as The Carters.

Please note: The above video contains explicit language.

Material Girls' glam-soaked, goth-smeared rock and roll struts and stumbles like a fish-netted pair of legs breaking in new heels. The punk ensemble from Atlanta released a promising EP last year via Henry Owings' venerable Chunklet label housing four songs dripping in danger and sweat, like a whiskey-swigging Nick Cave partying with Captain Beefheart.

On this week's New Music Friday, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Rodney Carmichael, and Stephen Thompson for a quick run through the best new releases for June 15. Highlights include Christina Aguilera's Liberation, a monument to self-empowerment with contributions from Kanye West and Anderson .Paak; the trippy, futuristic debut of pop producer SOPHIE; and a deeply emotional solo project from Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda.

Featured Albums

Happy hours with your crew that last until first light. Summer Fridays observed on Tuesdays. Staggered text threads with unsaved numbers. Fizzy, incessantly-sugared libations. Awkward tan lines in the name of an intricate beach slay. BYOB house parties (and sappy, inconsequential flirtations at said parties). Dance-offs at open-air bars. Egregious swipe-rights in the name of carpe diem. And wine. So much wine.

Death Cab For Cutie is back with some pretty great new music. The band has just announced that a new album is on the way called Thank You for Today. And in this special episode of All Songs Considered, singer Ben Gibbard shares and talks about the first single, "Gold Rush."

Sometimes your dreams are bigger than originally imagined. After a successful crowdfunding effort, Cumulus was one day from pressing its debut album in 2013 when the band got an email from Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla. Walla not only wanted to work with the Seattle band, but also sign it to his label Trans- Records (also home to Now, Now).

Eight-year-old Yoyoka Soma's favorite drummer is John Bonham, so for her entry into the 2018 Hit Like A Girl drum contest, she covered Bonham's part on Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times."

The video, which features Soma playing along to the 1969 hit, earned her a spot in the international competition's final round. She didn't take home the gold, but she did win our hearts.

Discovering new songs and albums — and the musicians who make them — is one of our favorite things. And if you're a music lover, chances are that you share this passion. So, tell us: Who are your favorite new artists of the year so far? We'll define a "new" artist as someone who released their debut full-length in 2018. (If they haven't yet released a full album, their first EP or single can count.)

We'll share the top 10 vote-getters — and our own personal favorites — on next week's All Songs Considered podcast.

"Who the f*** is Awkwafina?" That's not just the premise of the opening skit to the actress, rapper and comedian's new EP. It's a legitimate question given the healthy dose of media attention Awkwafina (born Nora Lum) is receiving for her roles in summer blockbusters Ocean's 8 (out Friday), and Crazy Rich Asians, the first major movie in 25 years with an all-Asian cast (out August 15). The hype started long ago; she became an online sensation in 2013 thanks to viral YouTube hits that combined her comedic prowess and skillful rhyming.

M. Ward surprise released the album What A Wonderful Industry today, taking on a subtler shade of music industry beef, writing about the heroes and villains he's encountered over 20 years.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lyndsey McKenna, and Sidney Madden to talk about June 8's standout albums. Highlights include the candid, introspective rock of Snail Mail, the jazzy, laid-back R&B of British singer Jorja Smith, the sultry pop of Lykke Li, and more.

Featured Albums

  1. River Whyless: Kindness, A Rebel
    Featured Song: "The Feeling Of Freedom"
  2. Serpentwithfeet: Soil
    Featured Song: "Whisper"

If you're a band in 2018, you can't just tell the world you're putting out an album. You have to hire skywriters, or etch your new cover art onto the side of a mountain, or fly journalists out to Wyoming for a live-stream or something. You have to make it an event!

Today, what would have been his 60th birthday, the people in charge of Prince's storied vault of unreleased recordings have announced a forthcoming album taken from a cassette he recorded at his home studio (Paisley Park did not yet exist), simply titled Piano & A Microphone 1983. The record includes a cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" and prototype sessions of "Purple Rain" and "Strange Relationship."

There's more to quiet music than diminutive volume. It's an intent laid bare in arrangement and emotion with space for sound and feeling to grow outward to the listener. For the last five years or so, Katie Bennett has quickly — and quietly, of course — become one of indie pop's most thoughtful songwriters as Free Cake For Every Creature.

Bon Iver may take its time between albums, but bandleader Justin Vernon remains a geyser of ideas in his off hours. On Wednesday, he and a pair of fellow idea-geysers — The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner — launched a new platform for listening, called PEOPLE, and populated it with a trove of music. That trove includes songs by the duo of Aaron Dessner and Vernon, recording under the name Big Red Machine.

Summer comes in shades of life: nightclubbing with besties, poolside with neighborhood children, backyard grilling, making out at parties, hitting the gym grind, hitting the work grind, quietly sobbing to Stevie Nicks-level heartbreak, living whatever version of your best life fills out the hot and sticky days of your hot and sticky mess of a life. It's a seasonal equalizer, the heat making our clothes a little brighter and easier to breathe in, and perhaps resetting our psyches to do the same.

The first time Tony Presley heard Sun June, it was through his apartment floor. The co-founder of up-and-coming Austin label Keeled Scales was living above Estuary Recording Facility, where the band was tracking its debut LP, Years. The album, which Keeled Scales will release June 15, retains the warmth of that initial encounter. Sun June's music is something that comes in snatches, wisps that captivate and escape the ear with all the airy weight of dust rising from an Austin floorboard on every beat of a muffled drum.

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