KTEP - El Paso, Texas

All Songs Considered

Kishi Bashi (who's real name is K Ishibashi) is known for his thrilling live performances, looping and layering his violin and voice to create a symphony of sound. But when he decided to cover "A Sunday Smile," one of his favorite songs by the band Beirut, K went for "real" musicians, captured in this live-in-studio video.

This week All Songs Considered is brought to you in part by the letter "B." Robin Hilton starts it off with Louisiana natives Brass Bed and the song "Cold Chicory." Then Bob Boilen shares a new cut from the artist Bombino from Niger.

In its quest to become the world's most brutal, ugly and offensive death-metal act, a young band should ask itself three questions: "How fast can the drummer blast-beat?" "How many unspeakable acts can we cram into three minutes, lyrically speaking?" "Are the riffs-per-second an accurate measure of how brutal we truly are?" I'm only sort of kidding. These exercises in ridiculousness are par for the course, though their excess is not unrewarded. Enter Wormed.

The English rock group Depeche Mode owned a chunk of the '80s and '90s with glossy electro-rock hits like "People Are People" and "Personal Jesus." These days the band doesn't have much to prove, and its members, who appear in this new video for the song "Heaven," seem to find themselves at peace, bathed in the radiant glow of light and love.

The first thing to jump out about the dreamy music of Rhye, besides all that sleekly sweet yearning, is the way the duo incorporates a broad instrumental arsenal — strings, horns, synths, guitars — but finds a way to employ each element sparingly. Rhye's debut album Woman, out March 5, will surely launch a thousand dance remixes, but its beats are restrained to the point of unobtrusiveness. Like many of the '80s hits it vaguely recalls, from Spandau Ballet onward, Rhye's music is instead propelled by hooks that aren't infectious so much as innate.

We're thrilled to announce that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been added to the bill for our official South by Southwest showcase on March 13. The band joins Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for the concert, which will be broadcast on NPR stations across the country and streamed live as a video webcast here from Stubb's in Austin, Texas. The concert will also appear in the NPR Music apps.

The deeply disturbed character who appears in the latest Maps & Atlases video, for the song "Fever," may not live to see tomorrow. As the Chicago-based band sings about holding on in our darkest hours, "The Man" slowly wastes away, addicted to a mysterious drug.

In concerts, The Heligoats' Chris Otepka spends a good deal of time explaining his songs, often introducing them with strange, funny, byzantine stories that somehow serve as functional explanations for the words he's about to sing.

The Grammy Awards are fun to complain about. That's fair. If you watched the telecast Sunday night, you probably care about music. People who care about music tend to have strong opinions about what's good and what's not. Strong opinions often lead to disappointment, especially since the pop-music sphere is increasingly consensus-free.

It's been two years since the debut self-titled album from James Blake dropped from the sky. The vocal-driven, song-based LP was a surprise to those who followed Blake's earlier work, especially the largely sample-based CMYK EP. Eight months after releasing that full-length debut, Blake put out the Enough Thunder EP, featuring a Bon Iver collaboration that continued down the path laid out by his album, highlighting the Londoner's tender side.

Well, this was a surprise. The boundaries between indie rock and electronic music have been dissolving for a while now, but who could have foreseen Ducktails' Matt Mondanile — also a guitarist in the straightforward indie-pop band Real Estate — seeking out cult icon DJ Sprinkles for a deep house remix of his new single "Letter of Intent"?

What is endless? The Universe (theoretically). Summer. Swimming pools. Shrimp. These are all well and good, but what of riffs? Is there is a band for which the riff cannot be confined to a single hook? A band for which three-minute songs are an insult to said riff? A band with riffs so repetitively, knuckle-draggingly dumb that it has to be some kind of genius? Yes, that band is Endless Boogie.

James Hunter has spent his life learning how to tell soul's stories in fresh and personal ways. Born in 1962 in Essex, England and mentored early on by Van Morrison, he embarked on a career with many ups and downs before breaking through in America in his forties. Now the Grammy-nominated Hunter has made his first album in the States, where the music he loves was born.

Veteran producer Joe Boyd says he'd long resisted putting together some sort of tribute album for his late friend, the legendary folksinger Nick Drake. But he finally decided to make one when Boyd realized that the recordings could be captured in a live concert. "In my opinion, the only way to make a tribute record work is to get everyone together in the same place so there's a unity of sound and spirit," he tells us in an email.

Joy can blindside you in the smallest, most unexpected moments. That's what happened when I watched this new video from Delaware's Spinto Band, for the song "What I Love." As a miniature paper cut-out of a gymnast dances and tumbles across a colorful breakfast table, I found myself filled with pure bliss.

A spiky, upright piano and bouncing rhythms from The Spinto Band propel the tiny dancer through her routine. Suddenly, something as mundane as drinking coffee and eating cereal seem like cause for celebration.

We had this show all wrapped up last Friday. It was totally in the can! Then My Bloody Valentine dropped its highly anticipated new album over the weekend and threw our previously recorded show into total chaos! But hey, it was worth it. We (and all the other My Bloody Valentine fans out there) have been waiting more than 20 years for this! Hear a new cut from the album and tell us what you think in the comments section.

I love a deadline and every February I get one. Thanks to The Wire, a small New Hampshire magazine that started the tradition in 2006, I make an album every year. They call it the RPM Challenge, and the challenge is this: write and record an album in the time between the first and last days of February. To qualify as an album, it just needs to be 10 songs or 35 minutes of music.

When Jozef Van Wissem plays the lute, he doesn't sit. Instead, the New York-based Dutchman stands, looming over his low-hanging instrument like the "figure in black" character in "Black Sabbath" — that'd be the song "Black Sabbath," from the album Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath — that scares the living bejeezus out of everyone.

Pages