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Marissa Lorusso

Joining me on this edition of All Songs Considered is NPR Music's Lyndsey McKenna, Marissa Lorusso and Joshua Bote for some sips of Rosé, bites of cupcakes and sweet music. Today's sounds include the legendary dub master and reggae king Lee "Scratch" Perry. At 83-years of age, he's just made a brilliant new record with another legendary producer, Adrian Sherwood. Both artists are the reason that punk and reggae became so intertwined in the 1980s.

For the NPR Music team, the Tiny Desk Contest is an annual opportunity to learn about undiscovered artists we might not otherwise hear. We hear from artists in every imaginable genre from all across the country. We're still accepting entries for a few more weeks — until April 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET — but we've already started to see entries we love. Here are a few that caught our attention this week.


Four Play Clarinet, "Soulful"

On this week's All Songs Considered we premiere new music from Aldous Harding. The artist from New Zealand made my number two album from 2017 (Party) and her latest song, "The Barrel," indicates that she'll be another year-end favorite of mine in 2019.

On this edition of All Songs Considered I'm joined by Marissa Lorusso, our Tiny Desk Contest leader and also a critical contributor to NPR Music's Turning the Tables project.

You've donned the gay apparel and trolled the ancient Christmas Carol from Accounting, but the snow has turned to gray slush and whenever a mulled beverage is served, your uncle can't help but channel his inner Rob Thomas: "Man, it's a hot wine!" (The pun is solid, but the impression sounds more like Bill Murray's caterwauling howl in Scrooged.) You want to get in the spirit, but you're hardly dashing through the snow. What to do?

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."

There's a myth about self reflection: that it leads to self-love; that gaining an understanding of ourselves always brings peace. Perhaps that's true in the long term. But sometimes when we go looking for ourselves, we don't always like what we find.

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."

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?

Netflix has greenlit a Dolly Parton anthology series, set to premiere in 2019, the company announced today. Each of the eight episodes will be based on one of Parton's songs, with the Emmy award-winning singer-songwriter appearing in select episodes and executive producing the series.

"As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations."

San Francisco-based Pllush makes hazy dream-pop that pairs emotionally wrought lyrics with maxed-out shoegaze guitars. The band has developed a dense, harmony-rich sound over the course of several releases — all, up until now, under the name Plush. For the release of Stranger to the Pain, its forthcoming album, the band has added the second l to its name, honed its pop melodies and sharpened its guitar-heavy sound.

The 2018 Tiny Desk Contest officially closed for entries last Sunday night. Videos poured in from every state across the country, featuring thousands of talented musicians performing behind thousands of desks.

For the artists who sent in their songs, the hardest part is over. But for us at NPR Music, it's just beginning. Our panel of judges is ready to watch your videos — and, in about a month, we'll announce this year's Contest winner.

The 2018 Tiny Desk Contest is now open! You can now submit your video via the entry form on our website. We'll be accepting entries through March 25 at 11:59pm EST.

When you're ready to enter, you'll need to:

  • Film a video of you (or your band) performing an original song in front of a desk (any desk).
  • Upload that video to YouTube.
  • Submit that YouTube video via our entry form.

The Philly art-rock band Palm seems to delight in being collaboratively weird. Bandmates Kasra Kurt and Eve Alpert bury their lyrics in singsong melodies and fractured, jittery guitar parts — both of which appear in constant, if antagonistic, communication with each other. The frenetic songs are made slightly more surefooted by bassist Gerasimos Livitanos and drummer Hugo Stanley, but the rhythm section's confrontational energy often undermines its own attempts at stability.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

Like U2, Ed Sheeran has also canceled his concert in St. Louis because of safety concerns.

The cancellations follow protests in the city prompted by the acquittal of a former police officer, who had been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a black man.

In talking about her new album, Rainbow, Kesha describes making the impossible possible with boundless optimism — like ending up with collaborators from her "wildest of dreams," from the kinds of secret aspirations you're too scared to say aloud. (This includes a duet with Dolly Parton, guitar solos from Eagles Of Death Metal and a horn section courtesy of the Dap-Kings).

SOAR, a Bay Area band composed of musicians who had previously sang and performed in their own bands, was born of a desire to make something more collaborative. Featuring members of Joyride, Watercolor Paintings, Void Boys and Dreamspoiler, SOAR's sound collects the best elements of each.

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