New Mix: Son Lux, Public Service Broadcasting, Big Thief, More : All Songs Considered Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share their favorite songs of the week, including premieres from Elf Power and Big Thief, plus new music from The Walkmen's Walter Martin, Son Lux and more.
NPR logo New Mix: Son Lux, Public Service Broadcasting, Big Thief, More

New Mix: Son Lux, Public Service Broadcasting, Big Thief, More

Clockwise from upper left: Lydia Ainsworth, Big Thief, Son Lux, Public Service Broadcasting Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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We open this week's show with Elf Power, one of my favorite bands from the Elephant 6 collective (which also counts among its members Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control and many more). Later this spring the band will release its sixteenth full-length album, a collection of sometimes exuberant, sometimes wistful lo-fi rock cuts with lots of fuzz and Andrew Rieger's idiosyncratic voice at the front of it all.

Bob Boilen follows that up with a new song from one of his own favorite bands, Big Thief. Later this year, the Brooklyn-based group will release the followup to its amazing (and appropriately titled) debut album from 2016, Masterpiece. Lead singer and guitarist Adrianne Lenker joins us as well, to share the emotional story behind this first single, "Mythological Beauty."

Also on the show: Walter Martin of The Walkmen reaches out to The National's Matt Berninger for some singing advice; Canadian singer and composer Lydia Ainsworth draws on her formal music training for some captivating, cinematic pop; Public Service Broadcasting, known for its instrumental songs that feature audio clips from propaganda films, stretches its sound on its latest album to include a singer; the duo known as Diet Cig prepares to release one of the year's most joyfully frenetic pop-punk records; and composer Ryan Lott releases a chilling, mind-bending score, performed by Son Lux, for the film Mean Dreams.

Oh, yeah — our intern, A Noah Harrison, also joins us as he enters the home stretch of his time with the All Songs team to share one of his own favorite new discoveries — singer, photographer and autoharp strummer Scout Paré-Phillips. — Robin Hilton

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Twitching in Time

Elf Power

  • Song: Watery Shreds
  • from Twitching in Time

Athens, Ga.-based Elf Power is part of the storied Elephant Six collective, which also includes among its membrs Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control. Elf Power's sixteenth full-length, due out May 12, includes the reflective "Watery Shreds," a song, in part, about aging and the power of memories.

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Song
Twitching in Time
Album
Twitching in Time
Artist
Elf Power
Label
Orange Twin
Released
2017

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Cover for Mythological Beauty

01Mythological Beauty

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Big Thief

  • Song: Mythological Beauty
  • from Single

We premiere "Mythological Beauty," a new song from Big Thief, and have a conversation with principal songwriter Adrianne Lenker about memories with her mom, the older brother she may never know, and feeling the strength of working with what feels like a true band for the first time. "Mythological Beauty" will have its physical release on Record Store Day, April 22.

Cover for My Kinda Music

03Hey Matt

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    Song
    Hey Matt
    Album
    My Kinda Music
    Artist
    Walter Martin
    Label
    Family Jukebox, LLC
    Released
    2017

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Walter Martin

  • Song: Hey Matt
  • from My Kinda Music

Believe it or not, Walter Martin of The Walkmen thinks he can't sing. On this good-natured romp, we learn that Martin first tried to rope in Randy Newman for singing advice, but Newman never got back to him. So he reached out to Matt Berninger of The National for some voice counseling instead — and then made a song about it. "Hey Matt" is on Martin's upcoming solo album My Kinda Music, out May 5 on Family Jukebox.

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Song
My Kinda Music
Album
My Kinda Music
Artist
Walter Martin
Label
Family Jukebox, LLC
Released
2017

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01Door Left Open

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    Song
    Door Left Open
    Album
    Door Left Open
    Artist
    Scout Paré-Phillips
    Label
    Dais
    Released
    2017

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Scout Paré-Phillips

  • Song: Door Left Open
  • from Door Left Open

Brooklyn-based Scout Paré-Phillips opens her heart wide in this gothic country tune, "Door Left Open," as she sings of her conflicted emotions toward a lover. The multi-instrumentalist takes a novel approach to songwriting — wailing operatically over autoharp, strings and rock drums — but keeps the mix steeped in folk traditions. Her sophomore album, Door Left Open, is out now on Dais Records.

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Song
Door Left Open
Album
Door Left Open
Artist
Scout Paré-Phillips
Label
Dais
Released
2017

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Cover for Darling of the Afterglow

10WLCM

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    Song
    WLCM
    Album
    Darling of the Afterglow
    Artist
    Lydia Ainsworth
    Label
    Arbutus Records
    Released
    2017

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Lydia Ainsworth

  • Song: WLCM
  • from Darling of the Afterglow

Canadian singer and composer Lydia Ainsworth says "WLCM" is the final song she wrote for her new album Darling Of The Afterglow. "The night before writing the song I had a dream about my late grandfather, who passed away about 15 years ago," she tells us in an email. "He loved poetry and would teach me all his favorites when I was a kid. We would recite them by heart together. The lyrics are about that dream I had. I think they must have been subconsciously inspired by his favourite Robert Burns poem — the famous 'My love is like a red, red rose.'"

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Song
Darling of the Afterglow
Album
Darling of the Afterglow
Artist
Lydia Ainsworth
Label
Arbutus Records
Released
2017

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01Progress

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    Song
    Progress
    Album
    Progress
    Artist
    Public Service Broadcasting
    Label
    Play It Again Sam
    Released
    2017

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Public Service Broadcasting

  • Song: Progress
  • from Progress

English duo Public Service Broadcasting employ found sound from old propaganda films, set against an infectious vocal hook by Camera Oscura's Tracyanne Campbell, to tell the story of industrial decline in South Wales. In it, coal becomes a larger metaphor for the greed reflected in the "resurgence of a particularly malignant, cynical and calculating brand of politics," says member J. Willgoose, Esq. The Tiny Desk alum's third album, Every Valley, comes out July 7 on Play It Again Sam.

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Song
Progress
Album
Progress
Artist
Public Service Broadcasting
Label
Play It Again Sam
Released
2017

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03The Drowning Trough

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    Song
    The Drowning Trough
    Album
    Mean Dreams (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Artist
    Ryan Lott
    Label
    This Is Meru
    Released
    2017

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Ryan Lott

  • Song: The Drowning Trough
  • from Mean Dreams (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Composer Ryan Lott, who fronts the band Son Lux, created a monstrous score for the film Mean Dreams. Within "The Drowning Trough," he and the other members of the band bend instruments like the relatively rare cristal baschet, violins and pump organ sounds beyond recognition.

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Song
Mean Dreams (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Album
Mean Dreams (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist
Ryan Lott
Label
This Is Meru
Released
2017

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01Sixteen

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    Song
    Sixteen
    Album
    Swear I'm Good At This
    Artist
    Diet Cig
    Label
    Frenchkiss Records
    Released
    2017

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Diet Cig

  • Song: Sixteen
  • from Swear I'm Good At This

In this song of young lust, Alex Luciano of the duo Diet Cig tells us the story of when she dated a boy with her own name and the subsequent weirdness of "moaning my own name" while having sex. The track appears on Diet Cig's full-length debut, Swear I'm Good At This. It's not out until Friday, April 7, but you can hear the full album in our First Listen series right now.

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Song
Swear I'm Good At This
Album
Swear I'm Good At This
Artist
Diet Cig
Label
Frenchkiss Records
Released
2017

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