Don't Know BOOTS? Here's Why You Should Listen Now
BOOTS is the most interesting new artist I've heard in 2015. I first discovered his sound by hearing his production on the FKA twigs album, a record filled with an ever-fascinating, warped and twisted sound. You may have first encountered him writing and producing songs on Beyoncé's self-titled 2013 album. I just recently heard his new album Aquaria, and his mix of sounds, ranging from Bowie to Reznor to hip-hop was so original that I felt compelled to talk with him. So: Meet Jordy Asher, a.k.a. BOOTS.
New Mix: Foals, Telekinesis, Julia Holter, Rodrigo Amarante, More
This week's episode of All Songs Considered is a journey of sound. Bob has a new favorite noise app, so he and Robin Hilton go on a sonic expedition that includes a spring walk, a gaggle of purring kittens, and a rolling rain storm (thunder optional). As if kittens weren't enough, Bob and Robin also have six new songs to share, including a British band, a Scandinavian band that sounds British, and an American band that sounds Scandinavian. All that, plus some dramatic baroque pop and the imagined soundtrack to a drug lord's childhood.
Bikini Kill, the feminist punk band at the forefront of the '90s riot grrrl movement, are about to reissue something few people have heard. The group's very first demo, Revolution Girl Style Now, is coming out not only in its original cassette format, but also on CD, vinyl, and digital formats. For this week's +1 podcast, Bob Boilen and Katie Presley talk to Bikini Kill founder Kathleen Hanna.
New Mix: Deerhunter, YACHT, Youth Lagoon, GEMS, More
Bob Boilen is back after several weeks for this week's episode of All Songs Considered, and at least part of this week's show is Robin coming to terms with Bob's new beard. After moving through the stages of denial, grief and anger, Bob and Robin finally find acceptance by sharing new music that, as Robin puts it, "hits them just right, including The Front Bottoms, Beach Slang, GEMS, YACHT, Deerhunter and Youth Lagoon.
Columbia House (actually, the company that has owned Columbia House since 2012) filed for bankruptcy this week, which will mean a great deal to those who were music lovers in the 1980s and '90s, and probably close to nothing to listeners under the age of 30. Columbia House was a mail-order music warehouse, which used cheap (or free) LPs, then 8-tracks, then cassettes and CDs to rope customers into its full-price subscription service. For this week's All Songs +1 podcast, Robin (who, like millions of other Americans, has Columbia House to thank for his Hootie & The Blowfish collection) is joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Piotr Orlov, who was a Columbia House employee in its '90s heyday. In this freewheeling discussion, the team talks about the nuts and bolts of the Columbia House model (it's been called "the Spotify of the '80s"), how young music fans tried to work the system, and how Stephen somehow missed the massive reach of Columbia House altogether.
Remembering Sean Price, Plus Girl Band, Diane Coffee, Bikini Kill, More
This week, the All Songs team picks songs that sound like revolutions. Bob Boilen is out, so co-host Robin Hilton is joined by Katie Presley in D.C. and Timmhotep Aku in New York. The trio shares big, smashy music that lets Robin engage in his once-yearly purge of emotion. The show opens with a remembrance of Sean Price, the beloved Brooklyn rapper who died last weekend at 43. The revolution in Price's music is that he described his life as it actually was, resisting the urge to inflate his own ego or polish his circumstance to make for a slicker image. From there, Robin has two songs that contain an album of material each, Katie has an activist punk time capsule and a shiny, groovy treat from Brooklyn, and Timm has some sly R&B from a singer trying to pass his heartache off as automotive nostalgia.
This ... Is The Show: Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, the singer and electronic artist behind the music of Sylvan Esso, join All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton to play some of their favorite songs by other musicians. There's jazz from The Lounge Lizards, Icelandic experimentalists Múm, Kendrick Lamar's "Hood Politics" and much more. In fact, they brought so much great stuff to hear, we never had a chance to play any of Sylvan Esso's own music. But you can you can hear plenty in our archives, including a fantastic Tiny Desk concert. Bob and Robin were in NPR's D.C. studios and the band was at WUNC, in its home base of Durham, N.C. The distance meant we couldn't see them and they couldn't see us. That's not unusual, but what was unusual is how technology seemed to fail us. So as our conversation unfolded — or attempted to unfold — things fell apart pretty quickly, which made for some awkward, albeit funny, moments.
Leon Bridges grew up listening to Usher, but his music suggests influences a generation removed. The Texas singer pairs irresistible pop charm with tightly-executed song structures. But his throwback act is no mere nostalgia trip. In fact, Bridges explains in our interview that he never intended to write soul music. He grew up a voracious and diligent listener, drawing as much from the neo-soul of Ginuwine as from the guitar work of Crosby, Still & Nash. Singers overshadowed by the likes of Sam Cooke — Arthur Alexander, Roy C. — were central to his musical education. It was only after he had written many of his best songs that friends noted echoes of the past.
Hear Jason Isbell perform at the Newport Folk Festival 2015 Jason Isbell, lead vocals & guitar Sadler Vaden, guitar Jimbo Hart, bass Derry DeBorja, keyboards Chad Gamble, drums Set List: 1. Palmetto Rose 2. Stockholm 3. Something More Than Free 4. 24 Frames 5. Codeine 6. The Life You Chose 7. Speed Trap Town 8. Cover Me Up 9. Children of Children 10. Alabama Pines 11. Different Days 12. Super 8