WUIS Xponential

WUIS Xponential

Songs We Love: Beirut, 'No No No'

Jun 1, 2015

In the ADD-addled digital music ecosystem, four years could very well be four decades. Daily, on music blogs and websites around the world, bands become sacrificial page view counts, lost links to forgotten musical history.

There was a moment in the mid-2000s when it seemed like we might be collecting songs, one-by-one, into eternity. Internet connections were getting faster, hard drives stored more data in tinier spaces, songs were easier than ever to find and available for little or no money. Every year, the new version of Apple's iPod, first introduced in 2001 with a now-adorable 5GB of storage space, held thousands upon thousands more songs.

Sharon Van Etten's 2014 album, Are We There, was one of the more focused, devastating recordings of the year, an unflinching set of songs that trace the contours of a doomed relationship. The album doesn't spare either party — Van Etten is as critical of her own decisions as she is damning of her lover's minor cruelties and missteps. It's an uncut catharsis machine, and listening to it can wring you out.

Review: The Deslondes, 'The Deslondes'

May 31, 2015

Sam Doores and Riley Downing could've gone the troubadour route, singing solitary songs and traveling alone, unencumbered. The two singer-songwriters met at Woodyfest, after all, the annual celebration of Woody Guthrie. Doores had already taken to heart Guthrie's self-mythologizing in Bound For Glory and tried to retrace some of his hero's nomadic, train-hopping steps. But Downing and Doores, along with Cameron Snyder, Dan Cutler and John James Tourville, would rather do their rambling collectively, as The Deslondes.

Review: Arthur Russell, 'Corn'

May 31, 2015

To those who adore his work, Arthur Russell was a sort of musical saint whose flittings between styles — disco, pop, folk, rock, quasi-classical stirrings from solo electric cello — were evidence of a divine being on earth.

Next time you go see a concert with a famous singer hogging the spotlight, take a moment to consider all the other musicians playing behind that person. They may be incredibly talented with creative ideas of their own — and, for the most part, you may never know.

Nora Jane Struthers may never have become a singer-songwriter if her identity hadn't been stolen. Rebuilding her life allowed her to take a risk and do something she'd wanted to for years. It paid off: She has a new album out titled Wake.

Her story begins at a charter school in Brooklyn where Struthers worked as an English teacher.

"I started teaching sophomores and moved to teaching seniors in my last year," Struthers says. "I loved it."

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the weekly magazine that seems to show up at least four times per week is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts on the playlists at amusement parks.

A Band Of Their Own

May 30, 2015

Jeanette Baker got to know John Dolphin when she was an aspiring teenage singer in the 1950s.

"I can see him now walking around with that cigar," Baker says. "When he walked around, you knew he was somebody, OK, because he had that air ... which was kind of unusual in those days because being a black man with all that competence that he had, he was like a role model to us."

Latin Roots: Philly Edition

May 29, 2015

"Latin Roots" meets our "Sense of Place: Philly" series as Philadelphia-based reporter Aaron Levinson plays some local Latin music. First up is the "political and funky" El Malito & the 33rd Century, followed by El Caribefunk, a band that splits its time between Philadelphia and Colombia. We also salute Pupi Legarreta, an important figure in Afro-Cuban music who emigrated to the U.S.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



They came to the Tiny Desk a bit groggy, having been up late playing music in the hotel the night before. It's what Frank Fairfield and his friends Tom Marion and Zac Sokolow do when they're together. And the music they make is casual and mostly hand-me-down songs from well before Fairfield was born nearly 30 years ago.

DJ Quik X Spoon, 'Inside Out' Remix

May 29, 2015

One of the most boring things about contemporary EDM is how monorhythmic it is. I'm not talking beats per minute (although one number does seem to rule them all), but rhythms per beat. Keita Sano, an adventurous young producer from Okayama, Japan, mixes and matches a plethora of patterns on "Bouzouk," the final track on his latest EP, Sweet Bitter Love.

Each month, we listen to hundreds of new electronic music tracks, test the standouts at full volume and highlight the best of the best in a mix called Recommended Dose.

May's offerings highlight musicians from distant parts of the globe: Japan's Keita Sano, South Africa's Nozinja, England's John Heckle, Los Angeles' Seven Davis Jr, plus two producers living in the Netherlands: French-born Stellar OM Source and Korean-German DJ Hunee.

Goodnight, Texas On Mountain Stage

May 29, 2015

Goodnight, Texas makes its first Mountain Stage appearance, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. Singer-songwriters Avi Vinocur and Patrick Dyer Wolf began a musical collaboration while living in San Francisco in the mid-2000s. Wolf moved to North Carolina in 2009, but kept in close touch. Eventually, the two realized that the midpoint between their homes was the town of Goodnight, Texas, which they adopted as their musical moniker. In 2012, they added a rhythm section and released their debut, A Long Life of Living.

Madeleine Peyroux On Song Travels

May 29, 2015

Vocalist Madeleine Peyroux started out busking on the streets of Paris, but went on to gain international acclaim for her versions of beloved folk tunes and jazz standards. Her 2013 album, The Blue Room, honors the legacy of artists such as Ray Charles and Leonard Cohen with interpretations of their songs.

London DJ Maya Jane Coles records under many names, and seems to aim for accuracy in her aliases. Under her given name, she creates the house music that's made her famous (Nicki Minaj helped by sampling a 2010 Coles track in a recent single). With Lena Cullen, Coles makes dubtronica and calls their group She is Danger. And as Nocturnal Sunshine, Coles makes deep-house and dubstep beats that are simultaneously dark and bright.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Let's hear some new music now with our guides Stephen Thompson and Bob Boilen of NPR Music.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



The Milk Carton Kids want to be a part of your road journeys this summer. They're an indie-folk duo with a new album full of songs about being on the move. It's called "Monterey," and Tom Moon has our review.

Like a space opera built for two, The Receiver's "Transit" captures a universe of dreamy prog in keyboards and drums. On their third album, All Burn, brothers Casey and Jesse Cooper set complex, bright melodies and heartbeat-pulsing rhythms adrift. "Transit" sounds like a Pink Floyd ballad sung with a Peter Gabriel-like coo, as synths tug and move the track forward.

Pokey LaFarge On World Cafe

May 28, 2015

Beloved by both Garrison Keillor and Jack White, Pokey LaFarge describes his own music — a mix of old-time jazz, blues, ragtime and string-band music from the past century — as timeless rather than retro.

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.