Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Madeline Fallin and Brian Oblivion of Cults, Adele, Julianna Barwick, James Blake and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs.
Around this time each year, the All Songs Considered gang pauses to marvel at how quickly the months are passing, and to reflect on some of the memorable music that's come out so far. What have been some of 2011's biggest surprises? Who are some of the best new artists? NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson and reviewer Ann Powers join co-hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton to share some of the songs and albums they think have helped define the first half of 2011. Listen to the discussion, then check out our listener poll to vote for your favorite new releases this year.