Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Blood Orange, Factory Floor, NAO, Femme
Courtesy of the artists
This week, we've got a surprise: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton both went on vacation and left the All Songs studio unlocked. Apparently neither one of them uses two-step verification, so it took only a very minor effort for a couple of highly skilled NPR Music team members, Daoud Tyler-Ameen and Saidah Blount, to hack into the elaborate system of tubes, funnels and hamster wheels that feed podcasts from our microphones into your earbuds for a very special takeover edition of All Songs Considered.
Daoud last visited the show to play some foot-stomping power-pop, and Saidah was our copilot for this year's South By Southwest festival preview. Together they dissect new music from California punks Joyce Manor, sounding more fleshed-out and anthemic than ever; slow-burning electro-soul from London songwriter Nao; a hip-hop track by two South Asian MCs that's as funny as it is uneasy about our current political moment and more. (And because Daoud and Sai grew up in the '80s and '90s, reference is made to JNCO jeans, black lipstick, the old THX logo theme and the end credits of the 1995 Power Rangers film. Things get ... specific.)
Keen listeners will recognize Laura Bettinson as the singer of Ultraísta, the experimental trio founded by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. The supremely catchy "Fever Boy" comes from Bettinson's pop alter-ego, Femme.
Femme's album Debutante is out now, on Tape Music.
Cold, pulsing synths update this downtempo track, which could otherwise pass as a lost gem from the '90s Atlanta slow-jam factory.
Nao's For All We Know is out now on Little Tokyo/RCA Records.
Best known for whiplash running times and ragged vocals, the punk four-piece takes half a step away from both — while fitting in a hilariously left-field Kanye namecheck.
Joyce Manor's album Cody will be out Oct. 7 on Epitaph.
Though born and raised in England, Dev Hynes clearly knows the history of his adopted hometown. "E.V.P" brims with the sounds of 1980s New York, all the way down to a guest vocal from Blondie's Debbie Harry.
Blood Orange's Freetown Sound is out now on Domino Records.
Swet Shop Boys
Heems, who first made his mark with Das Racist, and Riz MC, a rapper-actor who starred opposite Jake Gyllenhall in Nightcrawler, offer a canny take on the hazards of flying while brown.
Swet Shop Boys' album Cashmere will be out Oct. 14 on Customs.
Saidah's internal teenager gets the last word, with an intensely minimal track that she says takes her straight back to her dance floor days.
Factory Floor's 25 25 will be out Aug. 19 on DFA Records.