Wye Oak performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
March 29, 2010 The Baltimore duo didn't have to travel far to liven up a day at the NPR Music offices. Wye Oak's four-song Tiny Desk Concert draws two songs from a new EP called My Neighbor/My Creator, another from 2007's If Children and an as-yet-unreleased song called "Civilian."
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings.
March 28, 2010 As a studio artist, Sharon Jones tends to let white-knuckle showmanship give way to slick, polished proficiency. Jones and her Dap-Kings spend their new album, I Learned the Hard Way, presiding over a string of confident and universally appealing soul ballads. Hear the record in its entirety here until its release on April 6.
Sharon Van Etten.
March 20, 2010 I met up with Van Etten Friday morning and asked her to give us a quick exclusive performance. She sat on a couch at the Driskill Hotel, illuminated by a nearby lamp, and sang one of my favorite songs of 2009: "Much More Than That."
Wye Oak at Cedar Street Courtyard.
March 19, 2010 The best feeling SXSW is capable of generating — and, if I may hyperbolize, one of the best feelings life is capable of generating — is the sensation that comes with falling in love with a band at first sight.
A lovely nature song, Shearwater's "Hidden Lakes" is as graceful and vulnerable as the world it describes.
courtesy of the artist
March 19, 2010 Shearwater makes epic, artful, bracing rock out of unlikely ingredients. The resulting concoctions are known to explode into bellowing catharsis, courtesy of singer Jonathan Meiburg and his crack band. But Shearwater's most blistering moments coexist nicely with the portentously brooding, fearlessly serious likes of "Hidden Lakes," from The Golden Archipelago.
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Local Natives' "Airplanes" quickly unfolds as a jaunty wonder, as it hurtles along with something resembling school spirit.
courtesy of the artist
March 18, 2010 Local Natives' "Airplanes" takes about four seconds to announce itself as the lighthearted romp it is; that's about how long it takes for the band to start booing its own piano player. As if reminding itself to perk up, "Airplanes" quickly self-corrects into a jaunty wonder, as its pleading chorus ("I want you back") hurtles along with something resembling school spirit.
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March 17, 2010 Some sad news in the midst of South by Southwest's opening night: Big Star frontman Alex Chilton has died. Chilton, 59, died at a New Orleans hospital Wednesday after collapsing earlier in the day.
March 17, 2010 So here's my challenge to you, dear readers: When I take the stage tonight to introduce the bands, what is the worst thing that could possibly happen during my adventure in public speaking?
It took 35 years for the world to discover Death's bold, surprising rock 'n' roll. Left to right: David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney.
March 17, 2010 An African-American rock group surrounded by soul music, Death had a tough time finding an audience in 1970s Detroit as its own sound shifted from funk and soul to hard rock. It took until last year for the world to discover Death's bold, surprising rock 'n' roll.
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She and Him's Volume Two is the audio equivalent of a spring breeze that wafts in at a perfect time.
March 14, 2010 M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel's second collaboration as She and Him is more confection than confessional, but it's a kind-natured one. Hear the timelessly sunny pop of Volume Two in its entirety, a week prior to its release.
A scene from the documentary White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights.
Autumn de Wilde/Woodshed Films
March 8, 2010 Shedding nuance and between-song banter almost entirely, the live album Under Great White Northern Lights bursts with redlined intensity, as the Whites barrel through a decade-spanning assortment of newer songs and older fan favorites. Hear the record in its entirety here until its release on March 16.
Peter Gabriel takes Bon Iver's "Flume" and locates its breathtaking grandiosity.
March 4, 2010 Remarkably, Gabriel unlocks a new dimension of Bon Iver's "Flume." Where Justin Vernon spent an entire album looking inward, Gabriel takes one of its most unassuming gems and locates its grandiosity. For all its plaintive, slow-motion searching, Gabriel's take builds into something ambitious and bold and, well, breathtaking.
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March 2, 2010 In preparation for the 2010 South by Southwest music festival, NPR Music's staff has spent weeks sampling songs by more than 1,000 of the acts in attendance. The 100 handpicked songs on this six-and-a-half-hour mix include many of the best discoveries the festival has to offer in 2010.
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.
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