Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing Curious what 10 of our favorite public radio hosts had playing on repeat this month? Hear new music from Other Lives, The Fireworks, Hiatus Kaiyote and more. Also: what NOT to do on Twitter.

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Hear New Music From Other Lives, Hiatus Kaiyote, The Fireworks And More

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/399584773/404352589" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Other Lives settled down in Portland, Oregon to record "Reconfiguration," a song opbmusic couldn't get enough of this month. Emily Ulmer/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Emily Ulmer/Courtesy of the artist

Other Lives settled down in Portland, Oregon to record "Reconfiguration," a song opbmusic couldn't get enough of this month.

Emily Ulmer/Courtesy of the artist

Curious what 10 of our favorite public radio hosts had playing on repeat this month? Hear new music from Other Lives, The Fireworks, Hiatus Kaiyote and more. Also: what NOT to do on Twitter.

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

  • Other Lives, 'Reconfiguration'

    No Alternative Text
    Emily Ulmer

    From 'Rituals'

    Other Lives left their hometown of Stillwater, Oklahoma two years ago and relocated to Portland, Oregon to record the follow-up to 2011's Tamer Animals. In an exhaustive search for a new musical identity, the band wrote more than 60 prospective songs for their latest album, Rituals. If the lead single, "Reconfiguration," is any indication, the change of scenery did them some good. Like many of their previous efforts, "Reconfiguration" features rolling piano arrangements and lush production, but gone are the obvious folk influences and the echoey sonic imagery of wide open spaces. Moodier and smoother than its earthy predecessors, "Reconfiguration" showcases Jesse Tabish's sultry singing, which is more emotive than on past recordings. And this time around, the echo chamber is reserved for a haunting backing chorus that would give listeners the creeps if the overall arrangement weren't so damn sexy. —Jerad Walker, opbmusic

  • The Fireworks, 'Runaround'

    No Alternative Text

    From 'Switch Me On'

    Shelflife Records is on a roll, releasing transcendent underground guitar-based indie pop from awesome bands you've probably never heard of. "Runaround" by The Fireworks is one of the label's latest releases, and it's an instant classic. From this U.K. band's debut album, Switch Me On, the song is a feedback-drenched, distortion-ridden, fuzzed-out, Jesus and Mary Chainsaw slice of hook-laden bubblegum that would have you going to the brain dentist if there were such a thing. It explodes in your mind leaving you wanting to hit repeat, repeat, repeat. —Kevin Cole, KEXP

  • Hiatus Kaiyote, 'Breathing Underwater'

    No Alternative Text

    From 'Choose Your Weapon'

    "I could call your demons inside, soak them in chamomile, for your love, for your lover to find" is just one of the captivating lines from the whimsical new single by Australian future soul renegades Hiatus Kaiyote. While the song lyrically espouses matters of the heart set against the tragic state of our human condition, the track itself is a musical tribute to Stevie Wonder as noted by front woman Nai Palm — think Innervisions, 1973. The band has a knack for deftly gliding through rich chord and rhythm changes, making for some of the most refreshing and interesting music this generation has to offer thus far. Look out for the new album Choose Your Weapon May 4th. —Garth Trinidad, KCRW

    YouTube
  • Meg Mac, 'Roll Up Your Sleeves'

    No Alternative Text

    From 'MEG MAC - EP'

    It would be easy to lump Meg Mac in with other contemporary gospel-influenced pop artists like Sam Smith and Hozier, what with her slow, dramatic piano chords and clapping and uplifting vocal swells. And while she does capture the essence of that zeitgeist on her first single, "Roll Up Your Sleeves," the Australian singer also proves she has the chops to transcend the trends of the day and stand alone as a strong and necessary voice. She has touches of Adele's buoyancy and Bonnie Raitt's soulful phrasing — and when she sings that "Everything is going to be alright," you can't help but believe her. —Andrea Swensson, The Current

  • JD McPherson, 'Let The Good Times Roll'

    No Alternative Text
    Jo Chattman

    From 'Let The Good Times Roll'

    It was a little over four years ago when I caught JD McPherson at SXSW before his debut, Signs and Signifiers, was released. The album and performance were both pure, authentic early era rock 'n' roll. Let The Good Times Roll is the new single and title track to the sophomore release that lives up to the authenticity of his debut. It has an Eddie Cochran feel to it, but builds on that with bombastic bass, elements of punk and psychedelic rock, and an old country vibe. The production, arrangements and songwriting all remain timeless and genuine. The track sounds excellent on-air next to The Byrds, Dawes or St. Vincent. —Kyle Smith, WYEP

  • The Bright Light Social Hour, 'Infinite Cities'

    No Alternative Text
    Pooneh Ghana

    From 'Space Is Still The Place'

    We were introduced to the Austin psychedelic band Bright Light Social Hour at SXSW last year. Their expansive sound, penchant for experimentation and incredible shows had already been noted in their hometown, as they had an unprecedented sweep of the Austin Music Awards when their eponymous debut was released in 2010. Five years later comes Space is Still the Place. They are on a mission to combine a psychedelic southern blues-rock aesthetic with danceable electronics. It works in a continually exhilarating manner on the pulsating "Infinite Cities." —David Dye, World Café

  • JME, 'Don't @ Me' (feat. Skepta, Frisco and Shorty)

    No Alternative Text
    Karina Lidia

    From 'Integrity>'

    Sometimes a devout Twitter user like London grime heavyweight JME has to lay down the cyberlaw. "If you're gonna chat s---, don't @ me," JME instructs on "Don't @ Me," a plainspoken standout from the MC and producer's forthcoming album Integrity>, his first in five years. Don't direct your nasty comments at his Twitter handle, he means — keep them in a subtweet, or better yet, to yourself. Otherwise, "you will get blocked quick," he warns. JME's big brother, the equally ferocious grime star Skepta, backs him up. "Why you wanna diss man online then say 'hi' later?" he asks. He's right. I mean, who does that? But "Don't @ Me" isn't just about manners — it's also about saving money on the mobile plan. "I already said don't waste my time," Skepta spits. "Now I've gotta tell him don't waste my data." —Ally Schweitzer, WAMU 88.5's Bandwidth.fm

    YouTube
  • Kathryn Calder, 'Take A Little Time'

    No Alternative Text

    From 'Kathryn Calder [LP]'

    You may know Victoria, British Columbia's Kathryn Calder her from her role in the Canadian indie rock supergroup The New Pornographers, where she plays keyboards alongside her uncle, lead singer Carl Newman. What you might not know is that Calder also has a string of beautiful solo albums. The songs are nowhere near as bombastic as the New Pornographers; instead, they rely on a stripped-down, ethereal pop sound built around Calder's operatically trained voice. Her new self-titled album, which is her third, is out, and I've got a beautiful first song from it to share with you: "Take A Little Time." —Grant Lawrence, CBC Music

  • Jayme Stone's Lomax Project, 'Lazy John'

    No Alternative Text

    From 'Jayme Stone's Lomax Project'

    To coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the birth of pioneering folklorist, ethnomusicologist and field recording archivist Alan Lomax, banjo innovator Jayme Stone gathered up musical friends including Brittany Haas, Margaret Glaspy, Moira Smiley, Julian Lage, Eli West, Bruce Molsky and Tim O'Brien, to form a collaboration known as Jayme Stone's Lomax Project. They've put a fresh contemporary sound on musical treasures found in Lomax's deep and rich archives. Though the album is primarily reworkings from Lomax field recordings, the album's lead track, "Lazy John," is a song that Lomax himself wrote after hearing Fats Domino for the first time. It's a fun tune with funky calypso groove featuring Glaspy singing lead, Brittany Haas (fiddle), Julian Lage (guitar) and Stone on banjo. —Linda Fahey, Folk Alley

  • Sundara Karma, 'Loveblood'

    No Alternative Text

    From 'EP1'

    I present a new music show on BBC Radio 1 Monday to Wednesday nights, 10 p.m. through to 1 in the morning, when we play all sorts of new music and artists from across the genres. We've had all sorts of great artists break through via BBC Introducing over the years — some of the bigger names you might know include Jake Bugg and Florence + the Machine. A hot new tip from BBC Introducing is Berkshire band Sundara Karma. Four 18-year old-mates who met at school played their first festival at the BBC Introducing stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals and went on to tour with the likes of The Wombats and Alvvays. —Huw Stephens, BBC Music