Favorite Sessions

Beck's 'Song Reader': Interpreting An Apology

Beck Hansen's 12th and newest album isn't much of an album at all. Song Reader is a collection of 20 songs rendered as sheet music, released in December by McSweeney's Publishing. With the exception of one song performed at a benefit concert, Beck hasn't performed any of these songs live. The recordings can't be downloaded; you can't buy them on CD.

The only way to hear Song Reader is to play it yourself, much in the way popular music was consumed a century ago. Before the days of radio, the easiest way to hear a song was to play it. Songs were written primarily for various performers to interpret them.

The Current producers, in what proved a massive undertaking, asked 14 artists to cover Beck's new songs. (You can see the whole list here.) In this video, The Twin Cities Funk and Soul All-Stars (feat. Sonny Knight) layer multiple takes on top of one another to flesh out a sunny soul take on Becks' brooding "Sorry."

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Miguel will perform his new album, Wildheart, during a live video webcast on June 30. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Front Row

Watch Miguel Perform 'Wildheart' Live On June 30

The R&B star will perform songs from his new album during a live webcast on June 30 at 9 p.m. ET.

The Suffers performing live on World Cafe. Kelsey Stanger/World Cafe hide caption

itoggle caption Kelsey Stanger/World Cafe

Favorite Sessions

The Suffers, 'Gwan' (Live) WXPN-FM

Watch the 10-piece "Gulf Coast soul" band explode with energy behind singer Kam Franklin.

Shamir performed songs from his upcoming album, Ratchet, at NPR Music's SXSW showcase at Stubb's on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. /Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption /Adam Kissick for NPR

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Watch Shamir Perform 3 Songs From 'Ratchet'

Sporting a Yo Gabba Gabba shirt, Shamir clearly came to have a blast — and play songs from Ratchet.

Elle Varner performs at NPR Music's CMJ show. Loren Wohl for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Loren Wohl for NPR

Front Row

Elle Varner, Live In Concert

The rising R&B star came out with guns blazing and performed fleshed out versions of her new songs.

B.J. The Chicago Kid performed live at NPR Music's CMJ show. Loren Wohl for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Loren Wohl for NPR

Front Row

BJ The Chicago Kid, Live In Concert

The R&B artist's CMJ performance included a cover of D'Angelo's "Untitled (How Does It Feel)."

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