Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Download Music From Parker Millsap, Hozier, Elbow, Angel Olsen And More

Download The Songs

  • Parker Millsap, 'Truck Stop Gospel'

    Truck Stop Gospel

    4 min 6 sec

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    Truck Stop Gospel
    Album
    Parker Millsap
    Artist
    Parker Millsap
    Label
    Okrahoma
    Released
    2014

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Parker Millsap. i i
    Courtesy of the artist
    Parker Millsap.
    Courtesy of the artist

    Oklahoma has proven one of the most reliable breeding grounds for young singer-songwriter talent over the past few years. The latest to come out swinging is 20-year-old folk-rock artist Parker Millsap. His self-titled debut doesn't dally in navel-gazing observations, but unpacks the complex symbiosis between faith, fear, desperation and repentance. In "Truck Stop Gospel," his narration is so astute it's impossible to tell what side he's on — not that it matters. After all, the task of a great song is to hold a mirror to humanity; what it all means is in the eye of the beholder. --Kim Ruehl, Folk Alley

    • Download "Truck Stop Gospel" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

  • Ana Tijoux, 'Vengo'

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    Vengo
    Album
    Vengo
    Artist
    Ana Tijoux
    Label
    Nacional
    Released
    2014

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Ana Tijoux. i i
    Courtesy of the artist
    Ana Tijoux.
    Courtesy of the artist

    I've had the pleasure of listening to Ana Tijoux's upcoming album Vengo — and you will too when NPR Music premieres the record in March. It's all brilliant, but my favorite song by far is the opening title track. Horn heavy, punctuated with a great beat and strung together with sweet flutes, Tijoux establishes a fun, energetic vibe that rescues Andean wind instruments from the mind numbing "world music" corner they've been relegated to. It's also a lyrical mood setter for the record- a song about indigenous pride in an album that is feisty but laid back, firm without being preachy or defensive. –Jasmine Garsd, Alt.Latino

    • Download "Vengo" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

  • Angel Olsen, 'High & Wild'

    High & Wild

    3 min 53 sec

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    High & Wild
    Album
    Burn Your Fire For No Witness
    Artist
    Angel Olsen
    Label
    Jagjaguwar
    Released
    2014

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Angel Olsen. i i
    Courtesy of the artist
    Angel Olsen.
    Courtesy of the artist

    Bonnie "Prince" Billy, a.k.a. Will Oldham, is one of the few musicians whose taste I completely trust, and he had Angel Olsen sing back-up vocals on two of his albums. So I knew the pipes were good ... but wow, I wasn't expecting her new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, to burn quite this bright. Olsen's been compared to Leonard Cohen, Roy Orbison and Cat Power so far, but she's really got her own thing going in this gnarly corner of the alt-country pasture. This sounds like the beginning of a long and storied career. –Mark Wheat, The Current

    • Download "High & Wild" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

  • Takuya Kuroda, 'Rising Son'

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    Rising Son
    Album
    Rising Son
    Artist
    Takuya Kuroda
    Label
    Blue Note
    Released
    2014

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Takuya Kuroda. i i
    Courtesy of the artist
    Takuya Kuroda.
    Courtesy of the artist

    Unlike a lot of jazz records I hear these days that sound like "then," this particular session feels like "now." Featuring a cool hybrid of electronic textures, modern beat science, R&B horn stabs, and short bursts of laid-back improvisational funkiness, Takuya Kuroda and his stellar band bring a fresh energy and flavor to today's instrumental music-making. This track, in particular, has a slow funky groove that just won't quit. –Nick Francis, Jazz24

    • Download "Rising Son" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

  • Laura Cantrell, 'All The Girls Are Complicated'

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    All the Girls Are Complicated
    Album
    No Way There from Here
    Artist
    Laura Cantrell
    Label
    Thrift Shop
    Released
    2014

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Laura Cantrell's new album, No Way There From Here, comes out Jan. 28. i i
    Amy Dickerson/Courtesy of the artist
    Laura Cantrell's new album, No Way There From Here, comes out Jan. 28.
    Amy Dickerson/Courtesy of the artist

    Laura Cantrell decamped to the town of her birth, Nashville, Tennessee, from her New York City home to record her stellar new album, No Way There From Here. It is notable that working in Nashville, with the likes of Jim Lauderdale and Caitlin Rose, she has made her most "pop" record yet. Case in point: the opening song "All The Girls Are Complicated." Twelve-string guitars and horns take it out of country territory, and lyrically, it's an advice column for the guys: "Find the one that makes you laugh / Find the one that takes your breath 'way. / For you won't get everything that you want." –David Dye, World Cafe

    • Download "All the Girls Are Complicated" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

  • Elbow, 'New York Morning'

    New York Morning

    5 min 20 sec

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    New York Morning
    Album
    Take Off and Landing of Everything
    Artist
    Elbow
    Label
    Concord
    Released
    2014

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Elbow. i i
    Courtesy of the artist
    Elbow.
    Courtesy of the artist

    Hundreds of songs have been written about New York City, and yet it's impossible to tire of new songs about it, especially one with a chorus that so perfectly sums up the city's simultaneous noise, brilliance, heartbreak and promise. Elbow frontman Guy Garvey delivers the song's sad-yet-hopeful perspective, informed by his recent time living in Brooklyn and inspired by the refuge John Lennon and Yoko Ono found in Manhattan. The story of another well-known New York couple, C.B.G.B. scenesters Dennis and Lois, make the accompanying video a moving ode to all that has gone and still remains. --Carmel Holt, WFUV

    This download is no longer available.

  • Hozier, 'Take Me To Church'

    Take Me to Church

    4 min 1 sec

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    Take Me to Church
    Album
    Take Me to Church EP
    Artist
    Hozier
    Released
    2013

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Hozier. i i
    Dara Munnis/Courtesy of the artist
    Hozier.
    Dara Munnis/Courtesy of the artist

    Few songs elicit the kind of reaction that "Take Me To Church" enjoyed straight-away on the KCRW airwaves. From the first airing, we've had calls, Tweets, and a general buzz for this newcomer from Ireland. Credit (to some degree) the familiar quality of this bluesy ballad, but personally, I couldn't help but think of Elton John when I first heard it — that's hardly a bad thing. With an undeniable fire in his voice, a lyric that paints an urgent tale of spiritual love, and a video that takes on the persecution of the LGBT community in society, this is a song that resonates with power and meaning. –Jason Bentley, KCRW

    This download is no longer available.

  • NO, 'Leave The Door Wide Open'

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    Leave the Door Wide Open
    Album
    El Prado
    Artist
    NO
    Released
    1969

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    NO. i i
    Courtesy of the artist
    NO.
    Courtesy of the artist

    Every city has "the band that should have been HUGE." In the music mecca of Los Angeles, that list is nearly endless, but NO have broken through the clutter with a fully-formed debut, El Prado. NO started in 2010 when frontman (and New Zealand transplant) Bradley Hanan Carter met bassist Sean Daniel Stentz at a coffee shop. Now a sextet, the band's toured widely for the last two years and developed a sound at once familiar (The National, Interpol) and all their own. "Leave The Door Wide Open" is the opening track from their terrific new album. --Matt Casebeer, opbmusic.org

    • Download "Leave the Door Wide Open" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

  • Ken Thomson and JACK Quartet, 'Thaw IV'

    Thaw

    10 min 56 sec

    Purchase Featured Music

    Song
    Thaw
    Album
    Ken Thomson: Thaw
    Artist
    Ken Thomson / Jack Quartet
    Label
    Cantaloupe
    Released
    2013

    Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

     
    Composer Ken Thomson. i i

    Composer Ken Thomson. Naomi White/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

    itoggle caption Naomi White/Courtesy of the artist
    Composer Ken Thomson.

    Composer Ken Thomson.

    Naomi White/Courtesy of the artist

    Both Ken Thomson and the JACK Quartet specialize in extremes of endurance and intense thorniness. Thomson – saxophonist and clarinetist for the avant garde marching band Asphalt Orchestra, spazz-jazz-punk outfit Gutbucket, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars – is a musician better associated with ear-piercing shrills, multiphonic honks and free-jazz freakouts than warmth or lyricism. JACK has earned its reputation with ecstatic takes on far-from-center composers like Iannis Xenakis, Georg Friedrich Haas and Helmut Lachenmann. What's most impressive about their collaboration Thaw is how it couples that signature eclecticism with an irresistible warmth and (dare I say) earworm accessibility. Spring is on its way. –Hannis Brown, Q2 Music

    • Download "Thaw IV" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

    Purchase the album on iTunes

  • Louis Weeks, 'Fold'

    Fold

    4 min 8 sec
     
    shift/away by Louis Weeks. i i
    Courtesy of the artist
    shift/away by Louis Weeks.
    Courtesy of the artist

    D.C. artist and commercial composer Louis Weeks jams a lot of ideas into his debut album, shift/away. The product is a scrupulous electro-pop record that's dotted with references, particularly to literature, design and architecture — and sometimes it can seem a tad over-thought. But the record's warm and pulsating single, "Fold," ties all of Weeks' bristly ideas together: Based on origami, it's an extended metaphor for his creative process, which sounds about as meticulous as the delicate art of paper-folding. --Ally Schweitzer, WAMU's Bandwidth

    • Download "Fold" (Right-Click and Save Link As)

Heavy Rotation is a monthly sampler of public radio hosts' favorite songs. Check out past editions here.

Purchase Featured Music

The Take Off and Landing of Everything

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
The Take Off and Landing of Everything
Artist
Elbow
Label
Concord
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

New York Morning

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
New York Morning
Artist
Elbow
Label
Concord
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Take Off and Landing of Everything

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Take Off and Landing of Everything
Artist
Elbow
Label
Concord
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Rising Son

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Rising Son
Artist
Takuya Kuroda
Label
Blue Note
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

El Prado

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
El Prado
Artist
NO

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

No Way There from Here

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
No Way There from Here
Artist
Laura Cantrell
Label
Thrift Shop
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Ken Thomson: Thaw

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Ken Thomson: Thaw
Artist
Ken Thomson / Jack Quartet
Label
Cantaloupe
Released
2013

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Artist
Angel Olsen
Label
Jagjaguwar
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Take Me to Church EP

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Take Me to Church EP
Artist
Hozier
Released
2013

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Parker Millsap

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Parker Millsap
Artist
Parker Millsap
Label
Okrahoma
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Take Off and Landing of Everything

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Take Off and Landing of Everything
Artist
Elbow
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.