September 29, 2009
Emerson Brown, NPR



September 29, 2009; Washington, D.C. -- Starting today, NPR Music is streaming the entire new album from up-and-coming folk-rock band Noah and the Whale, one week ahead of its official release. The band's sophomore album, The First Days of Spring, is available for free, on-demand listening now through October 6 at, as part of the site's "Exclusive First Listen" series.

London-based Noah and the Whale gained critical acclaim last year with its debut album Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down and the hit single "5 Years Time." The group's follow-up, The First Days of Spring, is a concept album about surviving the end of a relationship. The delicate, deliberately paced record tells a vivid tale and offers a practical manual for recovery; NPR Music's Stephen Thompson calls it "the breakup album of the year maybe even the album of the year." Hear it now at NPR Music:

Complete track listings and album information are available at NPR Music, as well as interviews, profiles and music from other rock, pop and folk artists. NPR Music introduced its "Exclusive First Listen" series last year with Bob Dylan's two-disc set Tell Tale Signs. The series is now one of the site's most popular features, and has offered pre-release streams of albums from artists of all genres, including classical pianist Helene Grimaud, world music scion Vieux Farka Toure, jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard, alternative roots-rock band Wilco and rock icon Bruce Springsteen.

The "Exclusive First Listen" series is just one feature of NPR Music, a free, multimedia music discovery Web site at The site offers content from NPR and 12 NPR Member public radio stations, including live performances, studio sessions, first listens to new albums, interviews, reviews and blogs. The site's continuously expanding sections are dedicated to rock/pop/folk, classical, jazz/blues, world and urban music. NPR Music culls from NPR's and the stations' extensive music archives to present thousands of features; more than 250 new features are added to the site every month.