You don't get many opportunities to hug Bono — better do it right!
Courtesy of beth.anderson2007 via Flickr
November 21, 2013 It's always a plus when saying hello to great musicians doesn't spiral into a degrading catastrophe. NPR Music's Stephen Thompson offers tips on how to approach your favorite bands.
Shearwater's new album, Fellow Travelers, comes out Nov. 26.
James Hamilton/Courtesy of the artist
November 17, 2013 Each of the 10 songs on Fellow Travelers pays tribute to an artist with whom Shearwater has toured. It's fascinating to hear the band function as a skeleton key that opens up the works of Xiu Xiu and Coldplay and St. Vincent alike.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/245270678/245257365" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
John Legend performs at the Tiny Desk Concert on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.
Abbey Oldham/Abbey Oldham/NPR
November 16, 2013 The soul singer retains the easygoing grace of a performer fit for any stage — even a tiny one. Here, Legend performs two songs from his album Love in the Future, as well as "Move," one of his contributions to the 12 Years a Slave soundtrack.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/245218626/245213838" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
It used to be so much easier.
November 15, 2013 As with anything, an over-abundance of music can be downright oppressive. How do you handle it? NPR Music's Stephen Thompson offers advice on how to make listening to music feel less like work.
George Michael (left) and Andrew Ridgeley both went solo after Wham! broke up. One fared just a little better than the other.
November 8, 2013 There's no one unifying principle behind solo success — it's been done both right and wrong in a hundred different ways, for a thousand different reasons — but a few guidelines are worth keeping in mind.
Oscar Isaac (left) and Justin Timberlake in a scene from Inside Llewyn Davis. Both are featured on the movie's soundtrack.
Alison Rosa/Courtesy of the artist
November 3, 2013 Joel and Ethan Coen's new film looks at the early-'60s Greenwich Village folk scene, as populated by a brooding moocher played by singer-actor Oscar Isaac. Its soundtrack, like the movie itself, reflects the way many different strains of folk music collided in the early '60s.
Magnolia Electric Co. (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition), by the late Jason Molina, comes out Nov. 12.
Steve Gullick/Courtesy of the artist
November 3, 2013 Ten years after its release — and seven months after the death of singer Jason Molina — The Magnolia Electric Co is still an ambitious and unsteady beast, strangely graceful and crying out to be explored. Throughout the album, Molina sings of his own smallness and struggle, but also the stubbornness inherent in standing up as the gravitational forces of grief try to pull him down.
Ashley Monroe performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in September 2013.
Chloe Coleman/Chloe Coleman/NPR
November 3, 2013 This three-song set in the NPR Music offices captures a nice cross-section of Monroe's appeal.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/241888300/241888793" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
We're giving The Decemberists 10 minutes with this crowd.
Courtesy of FOX
November 1, 2013 Is there a unifying theory of how long headliners should perform for paying customers? And does the social contract suggest a band must play its hits?
Daughter performs a Tiny Desk Concert in August 2013.
October 21, 2013 In all three of these sad, searing songs, singer Elena Tonra showcases a remarkable gift for coolly but approachably dishing out weary words that resonate and devastate. Achingly pretty and melancholy, the London band's music conjures a pitch-perfect mix of gloom, desire and hostility.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/236264498/234736740" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism (10th Anniversary Edition) comes out Oct. 29.
Courtesy of the artist
October 20, 2013 For all its ubiquity and imitators, 2003's Transatlanticism holds up as an exquisitely produced, largely flawless record in which every song is bound to be someone's favorite. In this reissue, the album is packaged alongside an identically sequenced yet revelatory set of demo versions.
Hoobastank has sold more than 10 million albums. Does it really matter what you call your band?
Courtesy of the artist
October 17, 2013 Hoobastank has sold more than 10 million albums. Does it really matter what you call your band? Stephen Thompson addresses the ethics, pitfalls and processes by which bands get their names.
You don't need to attend Foreigner concerts in 2013 to bond with your parents over music.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
October 10, 2013 So your folks are stuck in the past, musically speaking. How do you help them modernize? Should you? Stephen Thompson offers tips on inter-generational bonding over music.
The Avett Brothers' new album, Magpie and the Dandelion, comes out Oct. 15.
Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist
October 8, 2013 The band's body of work forms the outlines of a makeshift guide to life, and to being fundamentally decent in the pursuit of something even better. On Magpie and the Dandelion, Seth and Scott Avett examine the push and pull between day-to-day pressures and a need for connection, contentedness and openness to wonder.
The Dismemberment Plan's new album, Uncanney Valley, comes out Oct. 15.
Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist
October 6, 2013 On Uncanney Valley, its first album since 2001, The Dismemberment Plan sounds loose and liberated — like a band with its legacy secured, happy just to be there. It's a fitting way for the hard-to-define, intermittently funky D.C. rock group to make a comeback.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor