October 12, 2010
Emerson Brown, NPR




NPR Music is currently offering advance streams of new albums from Darkstar, Bob Dylan, The Extra Lens, and Elton John and Leon Russell. All of the albums are available now for free, on-demand listening at www.npr.org/music as part of the site's "First Listen" series.

Darkstar: The London dub/grime duo releases North, its first full-length LP on Hyperdub Records. The first single, "Aidy's Girl Is a Computer," was widely hailed by critics as one of the best tracks of 2009: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130358916

Bob Dylan: Releasing the ninth installment of his Bootleg Series, The Witmark Demos 1962-1964 assembles an impressive 47 studio tracks. The recordings were made for the M. Witmark & Sons publishing company and feature a young Dylan accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, harmonica and occasionally piano. A handpicked assortment of nearly two dozen tracks will stream as part of the First Listen series: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130356302

The Extra Lens: Formerly known as The Extra Glenns, this side project of John Darnielle (of The Mountain Goats) and Franklin Bruno (of Nothing Painted Blue) releases its third album since 1994. Darnielle and Bruno join forces once again for their first album on Merge Records, titled Undercard: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130379352

Elton John and Leon Russell: The Rocketman and The Master of Space and Time seamlessly integrate their piano virtuosity on an album-length collaboration. Citing Russell as one of his musical heroes, John attempts to bring his idol back into the spotlight with The Union: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130376600

Complete track listings and album information will be available at NPR Music, where there are also extensive archives of concerts, interviews and reviews with artists of all genres. NPR Music's "First Listen" series is one of the site's most popular features. In addition to the streams detailed in this release, the series also currently includes Belle and Sebastian's Write About Love and is frequently updated with new material.

The "First Listen" series is just one feature of NPR Music, which celebrates great music in every genre and is an industry leader in music discovery. The free, multimedia website at www.npr.org/music offers more than 300 new features monthly and an extensive archive in collaboration with NPR's newsmagazines, 12 public radio member stations and the passionate NPR community. NPR Music creates and distributes inventive music coverage across multiple platforms -- from web, to radio, to podcast, to mobile, to social media, to live events -- with first listens to new albums, live performances, concerts at the Tiny Desk, interviews, reviews and blogs. Many of the site's features are also available to mobile audiences with the NPR Music App for the iPhone and iPod Touch.