New Mix: Shearwater, Lily & Madeleine, Eskimeaux, More
On this week's All Songs, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share songs of power, protest and passion, including a cut from Shearwater's "angriest" record to date, the urgent rock of the Ukrainian band Phooey! and singer Kevin Morby's fervent if exasperated attempt to make sense of police violence. Plus, we've got moments of pure beauty from the sister duo Lily & Madeleine, singer-songwriter and producer Gabrielle Smith, a.k.a. Eskimeaux. And resident Viking Lars Gotrich pays us a visit with deep cuts from Bandcamp.com, including and the twee-pop group Naps, and Robin explains why he's certain he's really just a brain floating in a jar on Bob's desk.
"These are just the strongest melodies and the strongest ideas that occurred to me over a three to four year period, distilled." That's the great violinist, lyricist and singer Andrew Bird on the subject of a project he's excited though a bit apprehensive talking about, his new album Are You Serious. That album, which comes out on April 1, is the most personal album he's ever made. Andrew Bird's lyrics are often a kind of cryptic code, wordplay about the human condition, but on Are You Serious he reveals more about his own life including a blossoming relationship between two relative introverts and the birth of their son. In our conversation, we hear excerpts of four songs from Are You Serious and dive into the process of writing and playing with his extraordinary band, which includes Blake Mills on guitar, Ted Poor on drums and Alan Hampton on bass. The record also includes Fiona Apple playing a romantic in a duet with Bird the skeptic. Here's the album's opening track, "Capsized." You can hear the whole interview above, and read highlights below.
New Mix: Santigold, Macklemore, PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop, More
On this week's All Songs Considered, we've got several new favorites including Bob Boilen's No. 1 discovery of 2016 so far, Lucy Dacus. Robin Hilton shares songs by several artists he thinks are about to release their best albums yet, including Santigold and Ane Brun. Also on the show: Iggy Pop brings back his Bowie-inspired swagger with help from Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, French musicians Adan Jodorowsky & Xavi Polycarpe channeled their recent breakups into a big '70s-flavored pop song, PJ Harvey returns to her original rock sound and electronic artist Ital Tek reflects on his love of guitar drones and distorted electronics. Plus, rapper Macklemore asks a lot of difficult questions about race and responsibility in the song "White Privilege II."
On Sunday, Jan. 17, globalFEST, one of America's premiere showcases of musical talent from around the world, once again took over the three stages at Manhattan's Webster Hall. To discuss the evening's performances and insights, All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen is joined by NPR Music's Piotr Orlov, NPR contributor and Afropop.org senior editor Banning Eyre and Rob Weisberg of WQXR (who also hosts WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise). In this week's podcast, above, they revisit some of the highlights and favorite discoveries from this year's globalFEST.
New Music From Ray LaMontagne, Lucius, A Bowie Cover From Glen Hansard, More
It's our first show with new music in 2016! After nearly two months of best-of's, holiday and Sweet 16 specials, we get back to doing what we do best and love most: playing great new music. On this week's All Songs Considered, we share a new song by Tiny Desk alum Laura Gibson, AURORA(one of Bob's favorite discoveries from CMJ 2014) also new music from Lucius, Ray LaMontagne, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down (produced by tUnE-yArDs Merrill Garbus) and a cover of David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" by Glen Hansard recorded lived during the All Songs Considered Sweet 16 party
Viking's Choice 2015: The Year In The Loud And The Weird
At this point, it's basically tradition: The last show of the year is dedicated to the loud, the fast, the heavy, the cosmic and the sublime. A.K.A., when All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and I talk about metal, punk and a broad definition of experimental music. Maybe you've listened to some of these outliers in my Viking's Choice column or even on the podcast — they definitely stick out like a sore, headbanging thumb.
The All Songs Considered Holiday Spectacular, 2015
Every year around this time we like to take a break from our usual musical discoveries and get together with old friends for what we call the All Songs Considered Holiday Spectacular, a seasonal special done in the tradition of old-time radio. After deciding he's had enough of the season, Bob storms out of the studio and finds himself taking a Dickensian journey, with visits from some old friends, including Carrie Brownstein, Dan Auerbach, Aimee Mann, Ben Folds and more. So gather your friends and family around the warm, crackling podcast listening device of your choice and take a journey in sound with us. Just click the audio link at the top of the page. You can also get this episode in the All Songs Considered podcast.
It's long been a dream of David Bowie to make a jazz record with a big band. On Jan. 8, 2016, Bowie's 69th birthday, we'll hear his dream realized. The path to ★ (pronounced "blackstar"), Bowie's 25th album, is filled with chance meetings with all the right people, but the two main characters are his long time friend and producer Tony Visconti and his new found friend/saxophonist and band leader Donny McCaslin.
Poll Results: Listeners Pick Their Favorite Albums Of 2015
You never entirely know what you're going to get when you ask listeners to rank their favorite albums of the year. But the results of All Songs Considered's 2015 listener poll may be the most diverse we've seen in ten years of doing these lists. From Kendrick Lamar's hip-hop masterpiece To Pimp A Butterfly and the dense harp-poetry of Joanna Newsom, to the effervescent pop of Carly Rae Jepsen, soul singer Leon Bridges and the immense jazz album The Epic from Kamasi Washington, listeners showed a lot of love for a broad range of sounds.