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All Songs Considered
All Songs Considered is home the best new music and a community of fans always ready to share their opinions on the current music scene. You can contact the hosts, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton (and the team), directly via our contact form. To submit your music, just email us a link to your favorite original song. (Please do no attach mp3s to emails.)
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:43pm
As excited as we are about NPR Music's 2014 SXSW showcase with Damon Albarn, St. Vincent, Kelis and others (which you can stream live on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. Central), those artists represent a fraction of the massive party happening in Austin, Texas this week.
To prepare for this week's show, All Songs hosts Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton and NPR Music's Stephen Thompson listened to 1,540 songs by other musicians playing at the festival. Each narrowed that enormous list down to just a few songs by previously unknown bands that they're now planning to check out in Austin. NPR Music's Frannie Kelley and Ann Powers also stop by to offer a couple of suggestions, along with Katie Presley, music writer for Bitch Media and NPR Music.
Discovery is the name of the game for many at SXSW, and this show is all about up-and-coming talent. Whether it's the upbeat, celebratory feel of Louisiana's Royal Teeth or the ghostly experimental electronic music of Alligator Indian, this edition of All Songs Considered is bursting with passion and unique voices. Hopefully we'll uncover a lot more of that feeling this week in Austin.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 12:23pm
On this week's All Songs Considered: A premiere from Beach House, the first-ever solo project from Damon Albarn, and a brand new song from singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.
It's the snow-day edition of our show. With the District buried under a late-season blanket of ice and frigid air, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton were stuck at their respective apartments, left to record the show in their home studios. But Bob warms things up at the top of the program with "Gouge," a breezy sounding cut from the appropriately named duo Eternal Summers. Robin follows with Slow Club, a group from Sheffield, England that makes equally warm, joyful sounds on a brand new cut called "Tears Of Joy."
Also on the show: Sharon Van Etten's latest album, Are We There? isn't out until the end of May, but we've got an early glimpse of it with the song "Taking Chances"; And after years of playing in Blur, Gorillaz, The Good The Band And The Queen (and many other projects), Damon Albarn returns with his first-ever solo record, called Everyday Robots. Plus, the disarmingly sweet sounds of Death Vessel; and Beach House take strange recordings made in space and turn them into music for a compilation called Space Project.
Artist: Eternal Summers
Album: The Drop Beneath
Tears Of Joy
Artist: Slow Club
Album: Tears Of Joy (Single)
Artist: Death Vessel
Album: Island Intervals
Artist: Damon Albarn
Album: Everyday Robots
Saturn Song (Beach House)
Artist: Various Artists
Album: Space Project
Artist: Sharon Van Etten
Album: Are We There
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 4:03pm
On this week's All Songs Considered, we've got two premieres: A beauty called "Alexandra" by The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser, and a shred-fest called "Interference Fits" by raucous Syracuse punk band Perfect Pussy.
But host Bob Boilen kicks off the mix with the Omaha-based rock group The Faint. "Help in the Head," from Doom Abuse, the band's first new album in six years, is a heart-pounding thrill ride.
Co-host Robin Hilton calms things down with the deep, transfixing ambient sounds of Christina Vantzou. The singer, illustrator and filmmaker recorded her latest album, No. 2, with money she saved from teaching mathematics.
Later on the show, we're joined by NPR Music editor, Jacob Ganz, who shares his song of the week: Hundred Waters' "Down From the Rafters." We also hear from Recommended Dose's Otis Hart, who shares a bass-heavy dance track by Tuscan artist Clap! Clap!
Plus, we hear about Bob's latest obsession: Goats standing on things, as featured in his weekly recommendations column "Bob's Rainbows."
'Help In The Head '
Artist: The Faint
Album: Doom Abuse
The bold, static-laced opening track sets the stage for a great comeback album. Doom Abuse will be released April 8.
Artist: Perfect Pussy
Album: Say Yes To Love
Perfect Pussy is a dynamic, gritty rock group from Syracuse, N.Y. The band's upcoming album, Say Yes To Love, will be released March 18.
'Down From the Rafters'
Artist: Hundred Waters
Album: Down From the Rafters
The avant-folk band released this song on SoundCloud on Feb. 18, without any mention of an upcoming EP or album. Check out the lovely single, filled with airy vocals, longing violin and unusual percussion.
Artist: Christina Vantzou
Album: No. 2
Christina Vantzou makes beautiful, minimalist post-classical music. Her second full length album is called simply No. 2.
Artist: Clap! Clap!
Album: Tambacounda EP
Clap! Clap!, a.k.a. Cristiano Cristi, is a Tuscan musician who got his start playing jazz saxophone. These days he makes intricate electronic music with super-heavy bass. "Elon Mentana" is from his Tambacounda EP (out March 3).
Artist: Hamilton Leithauser
Album: Black Hours
An upbeat, crooning track from The Walkmen's former vocalist, Hamilton Leithauser. His debut solo album, Black Hours, will be released May 6.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 1:59pm
The Beatles may be an odd place to begin a Cate Le Bon conversation, but I remember being struck by the way four guys from Liverpool could sing without their English accents. That's true of most pop singers, whose words often come out sounding more American than anything else. But that's not true with Cate Le Bon. Her phrasing is completely tied to her Welsh dialect — in fact, her first record was in Welsh. I find that that draws me into her songs: The enunciation is completely tied to the loneliness and the questioning. One song she sings at the Tiny Desk, from her brilliant album Mug Museum, is called "Are You With Me Now?"
There is a feeling I love
Buried in my brow
I have no reason to run
I see no reason
Are you with me now?
Listen to the inflection in the line 'Buried in my brow,' and then when she poses the question; it's so intimate, such a whisper, so inviting. I'm also a fan of her clean, sharp guitar playing and the way she weaves it together with her partner H. Hawkline. If you're a fan of Tom Verlaine and Television, you'll find yourself loving this lyrical guitar duo. It works so well stripped-down, though there wasn't much excess in the original versions to begin with. These are songs of essence, clarity and drive, executed so simply here.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:43pm
Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton open this week's show by reminiscing about a recent Son Lux and San Fermin show that delivered epic sounds with bold, cinematic rock. Bob and Robin's shared love for walls of noise leads them directly to the orchestral opening track on this week's program, "Beneath The Brine" by The Family Crest.
Also on the show: A peek at the debut full-length album from Sisyphus, a genre-bending group featuring Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux and Chicago hip-hop artist Serengeti; Animal Collective's Avey Tare returns with a new bizarro project called Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks; plus one-of-a-kind folk singer Diane Cluck, the sludgy noise rock group Nothing and the post-punk and new wave group Eagulls.
Songs Featured On This Episode
Beneath the Brine
Artist: The Family Crest
Album: Beneath The Brine
"Beneath The Brine" is a massive-sounding, super-orchestrated track by the San Francisco-based band The Family Crest. The group's Kickstarter-funded album comes out Feb. 25.
Sisyphus is comprised of Son Lux, Sufjan Stevens and Chicago-based hip-hop artist Serengeti. "Lion's Share" is a tongue-in-cheek, story-centered song where each member shines. The trio's self-titled album is out Mar. 18.
Artist: Diane Cluck
The guitarist and pianist Diane Cluck makes heartfelt, intimate folk music. Her upcoming album,Boneset, will be released on March 4.
Album: Guilty of Everything
The loud, gritty quartet Nothing, out of Philadelphia, have a new album, Guilty of Everything, out March 4.
Artist: Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks
Album: Enter The Slasher House
Animal Collective's Avey Tare has a new solo project called "Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks." Enter The Slasher House, the group's upcoming album, is out March 4 and includes this poppy, psychedelic track, "Little Fang."
Eagulls, a bold and brash band from Leeds, will release its self-titled album March 11.