All Songs Considered: From Perfect Pop Anthems To Saxophone Punk : All Songs Considered On our show this week, bigger is better. We start with an anthem from Nate Ruess, the lead singer of fun., and make our way through lush synths, frenetic beats and blistering saxophone punk.
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All Songs Considered: From Perfect Pop Anthems To Saxophone Punk

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All Songs Considered: From Perfect Pop Anthems To Saxophone Punk

All Songs Considered: From Perfect Pop Anthems To Saxophone Punk

All Songs Considered: From Perfect Pop Anthems To Saxophone Punk

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Clockwise from upper left: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, The Mynabirds, Nate Ruess, Death And Vanilla Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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On our show this week, bigger is better. We start with a pop anthem and feature a set of artists all leaning into or newly discovering their boldest, most attention-grabbing music yet. Some, as in the case of a frontman gone solo and a bilingual saxophone-heavy punk band, deliver precisely the momentous sounds we'd expect. Others used the pull of memory, a desperate four-month stretch of insomnia, or a single shared microphone and two minutes of trippy ambience to level up their sonic ambitions. Maybe we were drawn to more epic sounds this week because it's Robin's last before he hunkers back down into the nest of infant-rearing, or maybe it's because summer is in the air — whatever the reason, turn your speakers to 11 and open the windows.

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Grand Romantic

01Great Big Storm

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    Song
    Great Big Storm
    Album
    Grand Romantic
    Artist
    Nate Ruess
    Label
    Fueled by Ramen Records
    Released
    2015

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Nate Ruess

  • Song: Great Big Storm
  • from Grand Romantic

In the three years since its blockbuster sophomore album Some Nights, indie pop band fun. has kept a lower profile, recently announcing an official hiatus while its members pursue solo projects. Last year, we got the debut album of guitarist Jack Antonoff's irresistible indie pop band Bleachers, and this year we'll get the debut from front man Nate Ruess, which just might include our song of the summer. The title of both the album — Grand Romantic — and his latest track — "Great Big Storm" — imply grandiosity, which is exactly what we'd hope for and expect from a singer Robin swears is channeling Freddie Mercury. Plot-driven lyrics, cinematic instrumentation, an anthemic chorus and a spoken breakdown are all the evidence we need that Ruess has access to some kind of secret fountain of pop perfection. Grand Romantic comes out June 16.

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Song
Grand Romantic
Album
Grand Romantic
Artist
Nate Ruess
Label
Fueled by Ramen Records
Released
2015

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Cover for Lovers Know

03Semantics

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    Song
    Semantics
    Album
    Lovers Know
    Artist
    The Mynabirds
    Label
    Saddle Creek Records
    Released
    2015

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The Mynabirds

  • Song: Semantics
  • from Lovers Know

If your introduction to Laura Berhenn, lead singer of indie rock outfit Mynabirds, was her sparse, atmospheric riverside performance for our SX Lullaby series, set aside every expectation you've got. Berhenn's magnetic, enveloping vocals are still the centerpiece of her latest song, "Semantics," but she's incorporated a dense, lush synth into the Mynabirds' web this time around and the result is more propulsive and pop-oriented than anything we've heard from her before. Lovers Know, recorded in Los Angeles, Joshua Tree, Nashville and Auckland, New Zealand, will be released in early August.

Cover for In the Wilderness

01Sirens

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    Song
    Sirens
    Album
    In the Wilderness
    Artist
    Stranger Cat
    Label
    Joyful Noise
    Released
    2015

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Stranger Cat

  • Song: Sirens
  • from In the Wilderness

Cat Martino and Sven Britt, who perform together as Stranger Cat, bring us a bright, grand pop song born in the dark. Martino, who sang harmony during Sharon Van Etten's 2010 Tiny Desk Concert, wrote "Sirens" during a four-month period of relentless insomnia as a reminder to herself to be free. The wailing of ambulance sirens outside her window pulled the sleep-deprived Martino into a world of eery surreality, lending a frenetic edge to the dance beat beneath her soaring vocals. The border between freedom and losing control is, in Stranger Cat's treatment, porous, but the results of Martino's delirium are impeccable. In The Wilderness came out in April.

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Song
In the Wilderness
Album
In the Wilderness
Artist
Stranger Cat
Label
Joyful Noise
Released
2015

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Cover for To Where the Wild Things Are

04California Owls

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    Song
    California Owls
    Album
    To Where the Wild Things Are
    Artist
    Death and Vanilla
    Label
    Fire Records
    Released
    2015

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Death and Vanilla

  • Song: California Owls
  • from To Where the Wild Things Are

Our dreamiest pick this week comes from the Swedish pop group Death and Vanilla, whose song, "California Owls," pairs reverb-soaked vocals with a harpsichord-like synth that sounds like sunlight filtered through water. But over its final two minutes, the retro pop song is overtaken by ambient experimentation. Death and Vanilla's latest album, To Where The Wild Things Are, is out now.

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Song
To Where the Wild Things Are
Album
To Where the Wild Things Are
Artist
Death and Vanilla
Label
Fire Records
Released
2015

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Cover for High Country

09Song Will

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    Song
    Song Will
    Album
    High Country
    Artist
    Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
    Label
    Polyvinyl
    Released
    2015

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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

  • Song: Song Will
  • from High Country

Robin injects the show with a shot of pure adrenaline, courtesy of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. After more than 15 years together, the Missouri rock group is looking back to its origins. Their brief, high-octane single, "Song Will," is a tribute to the group's humble beginnings in the late '90s in founding member Will Knauer's attic. A new album, The High Country, is out June 2.

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Song
High Country
Album
High Country
Artist
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Label
Polyvinyl
Released
2015

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Cover for Full Communism

01Monstro

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    Song
    Monstro
    Album
    Full Communism
    Artist
    Downtown Boys
    Label
    Don Giovanni
    Released
    2015

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Downtown Boys

  • Song: Monstro
  • from Full Communism

The Providence-based, bilingual band Downtown Boys specializes in frenetic saxophone punk. Its breathtaking breakout single "Monstro" opens with a blistering political tirade performed by front woman Victoria Ruiz. Ruiz shouts and sings with an unfiltered energy we also see in Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves. As we see it, punk always needs more saxophones, and we always need more raw, restless voices like Ruiz's to capture the young and bursting energy of any era. Downtown Boys' debut album, Full Communism, is out now.

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Song
Full Communism
Album
Full Communism
Artist
Downtown Boys
Label
Don Giovanni
Released
2015

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