The Extra Lens' "Only Existing Footage" perfectly encapsulates the way small missteps can bloom into ruin.
Max S. Gerber
November 24, 2010 "Only Existing Footage" perfectly encapsulates the way small missteps can bloom into ruin, as singer John Darnielle uses a troubled film production as a metaphor for looming disaster.
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November 14, 2010 As straightforward as Urban's poppy country might seem at first blush, his new album pulls off an impressive feat: He almost always finds a way to make songs for his movie-star wife sound like radio-ready odes to top-down teenage bliss. Hear Get Closer in its entirety until Nov. 23.
November 8, 2010 At the NPR Music offices, Trixie Whitley and Daniel Lanois brought a variety of instrumental backing, including an electronic bed for the single "I Believe in You," only to ditch many of the accoutrements on the fly. The result is a gripping and revealing performance.
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The most agreeably pretty song to float along in ages, Horse Feathers' "Thistled Spring" still finds a way to chill the blood.
November 2, 2010 Horse Feathers' members understand with clarity how much richer "Thistled Spring" is for its darker shading; how even a season of renewal has its thorny and disagreeable side. The most agreeably pretty song to float along in ages, it still finds a way to chill the blood.
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Lost in the Trees sticks it to the man by performing four string-swept folk songs for his amusement.
October 19, 2010 When NPR Music staffers were called upon to speak on Capitol Hill, we brought in a ringer: the Tiny Desk Concert veterans in Lost in the Trees, a.k.a. the band Bob wishes to adopt as his chamber-folk foster children. Hear the complete session.
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October 17, 2010 These three songs, performed live at the NPR Music offices, benefit from a rich assortment of instrumentation: cello, viola, accordion, trumpet, snare drum, cymbal, tambourine, another gigantic drum and a pair of acoustic guitars.
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Elton John and Leon Russell.
courtesy of the artists
October 10, 2010 Elton John has done reverence and irreverence, decadence and schmaltz. But he wears elegance especially well in The Union, his new, album-length collaboration with the man he calls his idol: 68-year-old fellow singer-pianist Leon Russell.
October 10, 2010 It's best to think of Undercard as a Mountain Goats record -- it doesn't fall outside that band's continuum anyway, in terms of sound or overall quality, and both groups share the same voice. Hear Undercard in its entirety here until Oct. 19.
Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons.
Don Felix Cervantes
October 3, 2010 Swanlights isn't exactly a beach record, but for Antony Hegarty, it does sound like a rough approximation of feeling good -- or at least a sincere attempt to pursue happiness and growth. Hear Swanlights in its entirety here until Oct. 12.
September 26, 2010 Hear the former (and future) Sleater-Kinney singer's fine new solo album, which sounds surprisingly muted compared to the raging wails of her past, but which nevertheless finds Tucker in a bold and exploratory place. The album will stream here in its entirety until its release on Oct. 5.
September 20, 2010 Barzelay may be the most underrated songwriter in the business today, with a sneakily firm grasp on poignancy and humor, and his live performances convey a kind of awkwardly fidgety fearlessness. Here, he mixes old and new in a charming four-song set at the NPR Music offices.
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Mates of State's Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel turn Tom Waits' loping "Long Way Home" into a relentlessly sunny anthem.
courtesy of the artist
September 15, 2010 It may be a Tom Waits cover, but there's no mistaking "Long Way Home" for anything but another catchy and ingratiating Mates of State song, sung in praise of a love that's strong enough to weather adversity, adventure and a few detours down side roads.
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On The Mynabirds' recent debut, Laura Burhenn sings a song called "Numbers Don't Lie." So there you go: Check the play count on your computer to answer the question, "What's your most played song?"
September 15, 2010 A few weeks ago, we sent a call-out for readers' most-played songs -- a request to go to iTunes (or Last.FM, or Pandora), organize your catalog by play count, and let us know which song had the most plays. Here are some of your answers.
Alicia J. Rose
August 29, 2010 Personal Life, as the title suggests, finds The Thermals focusing mostly on the matter of relationships. The result is another gloriously glass-half-empty half-hour of fist-pumping anthems about the weaknesses that divide us. Hear the album in its entirety until its release on Sept. 7.
A reissue of Carissa's Wierd's best work sets mournfully deadpan vocals against a vibrant bed of strings and accordions.
August 23, 2010 "The Color That Your Eyes Changed With the Color of Your Hair" is a five-and-a-half-minute gem from 2001's You Should Be at Home Here, setting Mat Brooke's mournful, deadpan vocals against a vibrant bed of strings and accordions.
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