courtesy of the artist
February 27, 2010 The Scottish band Frightened Rabbit knows what it's like to want to be left alone: Its terrific new album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, spends a lot of time examining the pursuit of solitude in a world fraught with distraction, obligation, unrequited desire and romantic dysfunction. Hear the album in its entirety until its release on March 9.
February 17, 2010 This five-song playlist is for when misery gives way to catatonia, but you don't want to gain so much weight that you're stuck moping around on a Rascal-brand motorized cart. Sure, you may not be able to summon the energy to wipe the Pringle dust off your tattered bathrobe, but there are ways to exercise -- and there's music to exercise to -- for even the most motionless of sufferers.
February 14, 2010 The Meat of Life, one of the wry, unpredictable Nashville band's most adult records, is as thought-provoking as it is engagingly catchy. Clem Snide's seventh album will stream at NPR Music in its entirety until its release on Feb. 23.
Amy V. Cooper
February 7, 2010 Shearwater's delicate, dramatic new album, The Golden Archipelago, wasn't built for earbuds or tinny car stereos: This is immersive, artful music, meant to be examined in-depth from every angle. The album will stream at NPR Music in its entirety for the two weeks leading up to its release on Feb. 23.
February 4, 2010 Sure to be staple of crush-fueled mixtapes for as long as such a thing exists, "Much More Than That" feels contradictory in its very nature: It's a brilliantly expressed look at the way big love can't always be expressed brilliantly.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/121253921/121254163" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
As the title of "Swim Until You Can't See Land" suggests, Frightened Rabbit's pursuit of escape bears a whiff of self-destruction.
February 3, 2010 As the title of "Swim Until You Can't See Land" suggests, Frightened Rabbit's pursuit of escape bears a whiff of self-destruction. For every allusion to the demons at his back ("Let's call me a Baptist / Call this the drowning of the past"), a grand chorus is there to hint at a less cleansing fate.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/123317349/123302537" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Surly and overstuffed, Los Campesinos!'s "Romance Is Boring" takes an unsurprisingly dim view of domestic bliss.
January 27, 2010 It's fitting that, when the title track to the Welsh group's new album Romance Is Boring gives way to a guitar solo, it's a fractured, discontented mess — all shards and shrapnel, frayed nerves and raw power. Surly and overstuffed, "Romance Is Boring" takes an unsurprisingly dim view of domestic bliss.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/123021309/122999650" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
In "Fish Sticks," The Heligoats' Chris Otepka can barely keep up with the speed of his own ideas.
courtesy of the artist
January 20, 2010 "Fish Sticks" requires multiple listens to pin down its meaning; the song churns so urgently — it's so overstuffed — that it can be hard to parse. At its core, though, it's about a guy who starts a biosphere in a swamp, only to discover that doing so alienates him from both the world he's escaping and the one he's made for himself.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/122737241/122737600" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
January 3, 2010 In this solo show, John Darnielle's songs fit nearly into distinct categories: new and quiet, new and loud, old and quiet, and old and loud. It's no surprise that all four approaches serve him well.
December 29, 2009 By Stephen Thompson
Last week, I appeared on Morning Edition to ruminate on one of the most significant events of the past decade in music — namely, the debut of American Idol in the summer of 2002. Included in the piece was the chorus of a "son...
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/114452226/126331396" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
December 24, 2009 Though critical consensus formed around some sonically beautiful records, Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson is far more likely to dwell on albums and songs that exude a fair bit earned insight, even ache. Thompson's Top 10 may be the equivalent of a single teardrop in a vast sea of year-end reflection, but the music is pretty glorious.
December 23, 2009 Launched in 2002, American Idol wasn't the first TV show to make a pop star, and it hasn't been the last. But the show has changed the way the public interacts with the machinery of the music industry. NPR Music's Stephen Thompson looks at the show and describes his own brush with Idol glory.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/121776666/121798338" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
The charming London indie-folk band Fanfarlo performs a holiday-themed set in the NPR Music offices.
December 16, 2009 After playing a pair of songs from Reservoir, the band closed with a cover of Low's 1999 song "Just Like Christmas." Fanfarlo's members had practiced it all the way from Baltimore to D.C., not exactly a trek across continents, but the result was, well, perfect.
November 30, 2009 Sometimes, an idea is so perverse and bizarre that it needs to be carried out and followed to its logical end. So once we hatched the idea to bring long-haired, wild-eyed, keyboard-pounding, sublimely over-the-top party-rocker Andrew W.K. to perform an intimate concert at Bob Boilen's desk, there was no abandoning it. It simply had to happen.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/120758328/128067471" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
November 27, 2009 As "Home" grows more clamorous and kind, it gets catchier, building to a freewheeling celebration rooted in unmistakable affection. It sounds terrific here, but when it's blown out in 360-degree live performance, "Home" is enough to make even the tiniest heart grow three sizes.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/106465335/106445923" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor