Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Download Music From Metric, Lianne La Havas And More

Metric's "Youth Without Youth" is blowing up at 89.3 The Current in the Twin Cities. i i

hide captionMetric's "Youth Without Youth" is blowing up at 89.3 The Current in the Twin Cities.

Brantley Gutierrez
Metric's "Youth Without Youth" is blowing up at 89.3 The Current in the Twin Cities.

Metric's "Youth Without Youth" is blowing up at 89.3 The Current in the Twin Cities.

Brantley Gutierrez

There's no clear formula for why a new song catches fire at one of our partner radio stations. Sometimes it's a hook you can't get out of your head, and sometimes it's a tune's ability to distill a station's overall vibe into three sublime minutes.

We asked five stations to select a song currently blowing up on their airwaves and tell us why. For a limited time, you can download their answers — the results include new music from the smart Canadian pop band Metric, U.K. singer Lianne La Havas, folk newbie John Fullbright, funk collective Brownout and British pop group alt-J.

5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

  • alt-J

    Cambridge, England's alt-J. i i

    hide captionCambridge, England's alt-J.

    Danny Payne
    Cambridge, England's alt-J.

    Cambridge, England's alt-J.

    Danny Payne

    Currently in rotation on: KEXP 90.3 in Seattle

    I love everything about the British band Alt-J, from the nerdy name (a keyboard shortcut) to the insanely infectious sound. I'm at a loss to compare it to any other group out there right now, but there are hints of alt-J's recent tourmates in Wild Beasts. The single "Fitzpleasure" should be renamed "Fits of Pleasure" — it's caused its share of happy spasms around KEXP. Based in Cambridge, alt-J is relatively isolated from the London music scene, which might explain why it sounds so distinct. — DJ Shannon, KEXP

    This download is no longer available.

  • Metric

    Toronto's Metric. i i

    hide captionToronto's Metric.

    Brantley Gutierrez
    Toronto's Metric.

    Toronto's Metric.

    Brantley Gutierrez

    Currently in rotation on: 89.3 The Current in the Twin Cities

    Metric doesn't reinvent its punchy, catchy sound in "Youth Without Youth." But it's sharpened its production, which makes the song a perfect introduction to Synthetica, a moody new album which can be devoured in one sitting or savored one song at a time. — David Safar, 89.3 The Current

    This download is no longer available.

  • Brownout

    Austin's Brownout. i i

    hide captionAustin's Brownout.

    Nat Geo Music
    Austin's Brownout.

    Austin's Brownout.

    Nat Geo Music

    Currently in rotation on: KUT 90.5 in Austin

    While Austin is used to celebrating its local favorites, the world is quickly catching up to Adrian Quesada, the Laredo-born mastermind behind Brownout. The group started out as a side project to the Grammy-winning, Prince-backing Grupo Fantasma, but this year's Oozy shows that Brownout can stand up all by itself. KUT listeners have demanded a steady diet of the title track, and it's easy to hear why: Simmering Afro-Latin rhythms, staccato horns and a funky atmosphere put the listener in the driver's seat of a '70s car-chase scene. "Oozy" is irresistible — and on the verge of becoming a summer party anthem in Austin. — Art Levy, KUT

    Download "Oozy"

  • John Fullbright

    Oklahoma's John Fullbright. i i

    hide captionOklahoma's John Fullbright.

    Vicki Farmer
    Oklahoma's John Fullbright.

    Oklahoma's John Fullbright.

    Vicki Farmer

    Currently in rotation on: FolkAlley.com

    He may be from the same tiny Oklahoma town that spawned Woody Guthrie, but 23-year-old John Fullbright's complex approach to religion in "Gawd Above" is a far cry from the folk-troubadour trailblazer's signature simplicity. The song starts with what seems like gospel-toting blues, then flips around to depict God as manipulator. The Lord of this song is a profoundly lonesome creature, creating humans in his image so they might crave His companionship. It's a twisted sort of co-dependency, the implications of which reach far beyond modern religious theology. Not your typical god-fearing folk-blues. — Kim Ruehl, FolkAlley.com

    Download "Gawd Above (Live at Folk Alley)"

  • Lianne La Havas

    London's Lianne La Havas

    hide captionLondon's Lianne La Havas

    Courtesy of the artist

    Currently in rotation on: KCRW 89.9 in Los Angeles

    Our song for the summer, "Is Your Love Big Enough?" is laid-back, dusty soul from a 22-year-old U.K. singer-songwriter. So far, we've heard just seven songs from Lianne La Havas, but she's already demonstrated depth and range that have helped her explode across every radio show on KCRW, starting with Morning Becomes Eclectic and moving out from there. La Havas' optimism and ability to write a song that sticks in your head in all the best ways — with handclaps to boot — makes her a perfect fit for summer in Southern California. — Anne Litt, KCRW.

    This download is no longer available.

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