Songs Of Hope And Fear : All Songs Considered Our first new mix of 2017 features songs that are both big and hopeful, and crushingly sad, from the politically charged music of Run The Jewels and Timber Timbre to the joyful bliss of Lowland Hum.
NPR logo New Mix: Run The Jewels, Brian Eno, Timber Timbre, More

New Mix: Run The Jewels, Brian Eno, Timber Timbre, More

Clockwise from upper left: Run The Jewels, Brian Eno, Taylor Kirk of Timber Timbre, The Lowland Hum Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

We've officially closed the books on 2016 (finally), and we're ready to fall in love with some new music, from the big and hopeful to the crushingly sad.

We begin with the beautiful, brilliantly meditative ambient album Reflection by Brian Eno. It's a song that Bob notes a lot of people could use right about now, and one you can listen to as long as you'd like with Eno's "generative" app of the same name. The smartphone app uses complex, artfully designed algorithms to form, morph and endlessly stream variations of the album, never repeating the same lines or patterns twice.

Bob also has some more down-to-earth tunes from the husband-wife folk duo Lowland Hum and the sometimes psychedelic Brooklyn rock group Landlady.

Run The Jewels was just at NPR for what may be my all-time favorite Tiny Desk concert (we'll be posting that Feb. 6), so with my brain still humming from all the good feels, I play "Down," the opening cut to the duo's latest album, RTJ3. I've also got the brooding, sometimes disquieting music of Timber Timbre. That band is back with Sincerely, Future Pollution, a new album heavily shaped by the political upheaval of the past year. And finally, I take us out with "CLC," a powerful, uplifting song about soul-searching from Tall Tall Trees, a project led by banjo player Mike Savino.

All that, plus an animated GIF for an album cover and the story of how and why Bob decided to lacquer a very special banana.

— Robin Hilton

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Reflection

01Reflection

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    Song
    Reflection
    Album
    Reflection
    Artist
    Brian Eno
    Label
    Warp
    Released
    2017

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"Reflection"

  • from Reflection
  • by Brian Eno

Composer, producer and musical mind Brian Eno begins the new year with a single-track ambient record, Reflection. The album arrives with an eponymous "generative" music app that allows listeners with a smartphone to hear an "endless" version. With "Reflection," our rule-based rule-breaker unleashes soothing, algorithmic gold, providing a serene backdrop to these uncertain times.

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Song
Reflection
Album
Reflection
Artist
Brian Eno
Label
Warp
Released
2017

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Cover for Run The Jewels 3

01Down (feat. Joi Gilliam)

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    Song
    Down (feat. Joi Gilliam)
    Album
    Run The Jewels 3
    Artist
    Run The Jewels
    Label
    Run The Jewels, Inc.
    Released
    2016

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"Down (feat. Joi Gilliam)"

  • from Run The Jewels 3
  • by Run The Jewels

We bring you "Down," the opening cut from Run The Jewels' third self-titled album, which the duo gave away for free late last month. According RTJ3's final track, Killer Mike and El-P "didn't have no plans, didn't see no arc," but three records deep, they persist with an inextinguishable fire.

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Song
Run The Jewels 3
Album
Run The Jewels 3
Artist
Run The Jewels
Label
Run The Jewels, Inc.
Released
2016

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Landlady cover art
Courtesy of the artist

01Electric Abdomen

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    Song
    Electric Abdomen
    Album
    The World Is A Loud Place
    Artist
    Landlady
    Label
    Landladyland
    Released
    2017

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"Electric Abdomen"

  • from The World Is A Loud Place
  • by Landlady

"Electric Abdomen," the opener of Landlady's third LP, describes the feeling when music compels you to move your hips and shake your body, even when your best judgment dictates otherwise. Here, frontman Adam Schatz delivers Beatles-tinged "glo-fi" of pure heart, soul and pelvis...with animated album art to boot.

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Song
The World Is A Loud Place
Album
The World Is A Loud Place
Artist
Landlady
Label
Landladyland
Released
2017

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Cover for Sincerely, Future Pollution

05Sewer Blues

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    Song
    Sewer Blues
    Album
    Sincerely, Future Pollution
    Artist
    Timber Timbre
    Label
    City Slang
    Released
    2017

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"Sewer Blues"

  • from Sincerely, Future Pollution
  • by Timber Timbre

For the newest single by our neighbors from Canada, the spirit within the typically apolitical Timber Timbre compelled these singer-songwriters to produce a dusky and dystopic ode to the current climate. The track serves as one of many possible answers to the essential question: How will the musical community respond to today's great political upheaval?

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Song
Sincerely, Future Pollution
Album
Sincerely, Future Pollution
Artist
Timber Timber
Label
City Slang
Released
2017

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Cover for Thin

01Palm Lines

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    Song
    Palm Lines
    Album
    Thin
    Artist
    Lowland Hum
    Label
    Lowland Hum
    Released
    2017

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"Palm Lines"

  • from Thin
  • by Lowland Hum

Vulnerability in song can be refreshing, especially when it reflects the questions we ask ourselves. On "Palm Lines," folk duo Lowland Hum exposes its insecurity in full, pondering the path ahead. Doubt may be their inspiration, but the message is one of persistence, as Daniel and Lauren Goans trudge into the future, one foot in front of the other.

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Song
Thin
Album
Thin
Artist
Lowland Hum
Label
Lowland Hum
Released
2017

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Cover for Freedays

04CLC

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    Song
    CLC
    Album
    Freedays
    Artist
    Tall Tall Trees
    Label
    Joyful Noise
    Released
    2017

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"CLC"

  • from Freedays
  • by Tall Tall Trees

With "CLC," songwriter and Kishi Bashi-collaborator Mike Savino uses his banjo in delightful and paradoxical ways, stretching tight Appalachian tones across tales of isolation on the New York subway. Written partly from within the forest, the hauntingly beautiful tune cycles through moods and colors. Savino pines for a simpler life, alternating gentle, precision plucking with washes of dissonant, twisted-up realities.

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Song
Freedays
Album
Freedays
Artist
Tall Tall Trees
Label
Joyful Noise
Released
2017

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