August 18, 2013 Case's gift for disarming commentary carries over to the quotable, thoughtful, frequently lovely songs on The Worse Things Get: She can be bracingly acerbic, boldly inspiring, or achingly tender while conveying equal, virtually boundless charisma.
August 15, 2013 A parent is throwing a dance party for her 8-year-old and needs upbeat, kid-friendly suggestions.
August 12, 2013 The Australian sextet crafts busily impeccable pop music with a danceable sway, prominent synths and the charming shared lead vocals of Phoebe Baker and Lou James. But the band does a tremendous job translating its sound to the spare confines of the NPR Music offices.
August 11, 2013 The arty L.A. noise-rock duo's fourth album seethes stubbornly when it could have far more easily opened up at full blast and stayed there. A compact but searching 30 minutes of music, An Object hammers and wanders while upsetting and upending expectations.
August 11, 2013 Infused with winning, strident energy, I Hate Music is the sound of a veteran band with its vitality intact, for which fun and fury are essential components of a life thoughtfully lived.
August 9, 2013 As lead singer of My Morning Jacket, James specializes in letting his gigantic voice ring out past the rafters in songs that boom and blare. But on his first solo album, he turns inward and recasts himself as a lost wanderer in search of redemption and comfort. Hear James perform as part of the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.
August 8, 2013 Getting a job writing about music isn't easy, but it can be done. Stephen Thompson has some advice.
August 8, 2013 From an album due out in October, "Another Is Waiting" accomplishes everything an Avetts song should: Fueled by sweet banjo strums, it's catchy, concise and sweet, with a thoughtful and subtle message about rejecting shallow pursuits and staying open to emotional connections with others.
August 7, 2013 "Wishful" finds ample room for sweeping synths and booming guitars, but singer Amy Millan also feeds the song her signature cocktail of vulnerability and wry grace.
August 6, 2013 The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle spent the 1990s recording his songs solo on low-fidelity equipment like boom boxes. Darnielle now leads a full, versatile band, and his songwriting retains the capacity to stun. Watch excerpts from the Mountain Goats' Newport set, which includes a song unfamiliar even to diehards: "Animal Mask."
August 5, 2013 Jason Isbell was once one of Drive-By Truckers' great songwriting weapons. The Alabama singer-songwriter just released the powerful and profound Southeastern, which candidly addresses his hard fall and hopeful rise. Hear Isbell perform as part of the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.
August 4, 2013 Barwick takes small vocal phrases and bits of instrumentation, samples them and loops them impeccably to create a sound that tentatively recalls the impossible lushness of Enya when it's not fanning out into sounds that can be experimental, spare, artful and alluring.
August 3, 2013 The Lumineers may have emerged on the pop scene suddenly — scoring a worldwide hit with the band's self-titled 2012 debut album — but the Denver group tooled around in obscurity for years. The Lumineers lead several sing-alongs for a rapturous Newport crowd, including a Dylan cover.