Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: TOY, Twin Limb, Amber Coffman, Zeds Dead, Agnes Obel
Courtesy of the artists
Last week, after I played a monstrously good guitar rock cut by Major Stars, Bob Boilen rolled his eyes while foolishly claiming the guitar solo was dead. So we did an entirely scientific poll (it wasn't scientific) on Twitter to see what listeners thought. As I expected, the vast majority — nearly 70 percent — said, "No, Bob." The guitar solo is not dead.
So this week, after rubbing Bob's face in it (it's the only way they learn), I took pity and allowed him the first spin. What I heard left me breathless — the unbelievably gorgeous "Stretch Your Eyes" from the Danish singer Agnes Obel.
We've got that and a whole lot more on this week's show, including a visit from NPR Music's Saidah Blount who premieres a new cut by the English psych rock group TOY.
Bob and I also remember our longtime friend and NPR colleague Robert Goldstein, who passed away over the weekend. Robert was, among many things, the music librarian here at NPR. But was his band Urban Verbs that inspired Bob to play music back in the late '70s. You can read more about Robert in this remembrance from Bob and NPR's Tom Cole. In honor of Robert, we close our show with a song from the band's first album for Warner Brothers from 1980, called "The Only One Of You." --Robin Hilton
- Song: Stretch Your Eyes
- from Citizen Of Glass
Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel's "Stretch Your Eyes," off her upcoming album, Citizen of Glass, is artfully orchestrated. The album gets its name from her uneasiness with our odd willingness to open up and reveal the private self. Obel says, "It's like a camera being in the room at all times that makes us change so much as people." Bob, who picked the song, says it's for all of us who need a bit of magic.
- Song: Workhorse
- from Haplo
Lacy Guthrie's captivating vocals are what make this song. "Workhorse" features an accordion, an essential part of the signature sound of Twin Limb, which is currently working as the backing band for Jim James on his tour. The song comes off Haplo, the group's upcoming album, due out at the end of October.
05Clouds That Cover The Sun
- Song: Clouds That Cover The Sun
- from Clear Shot
NPR Music's Saidah Blount chose the lead single from British band TOY's upcoming third album Clear Shot. They previously worked with Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes on her EP Sexwitch. "Clouds That Cover The Sun" has a psychedelic tinge as well as a dreaminess that comes in part from producer Chris Coady, who produced the last two Beach House albums.
01Too Young (Feat. Rivers Cuomo & Pusha T)
- Song: Too Young (Feat. Rivers Cuomo & Pusha T)
- from Northern Lights
After years of EPs, Zeds Dead is releasing its debut full-length, Northern Lights, on Oct. 14. The album is packed with guest appearances, from Twin Shadow to Diplo, but Robin's choice features the unlikely pairing of Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and rapper Pusha T. Amid darker, moodier moments and dance beats, this is the poppiest song on the record. Cuomo penned the catchy hooks and Pusha T comes in for the verses, his flow meshing perfectly with the bounce of the melody.
"There's a moment growing up when it becomes clear that the road you walk is your own to cultivate," says Hippo Campus vocalist Jake Luppen. This feeling lends itself to "Boyish," a single off the group's upcoming debut album, due out in 2017. With lyrics that deal with the ghosts of past selves, the final product is forward thinking.
- Song: All To Myself
- from All To Myself
Robin's choice comes from Dirty Projectors guitarist Amber Coffman, off her recently announced solo record City Of No Reply, and calls to mind a twisted, bent doo-wop group. On last week's show, we shared "Keep Your Name," a new song from Dirty Projectors that was somewhat sinister and warped, though it was unclear who singer David Longstreth was addressing. Though it's not directly or officially a response to Longstreth's song, it's easy to imagine "Keep Your Name" and "All to Myself" in conversation with each other.
- Song: The Only One Of You
Robert Goldstein, NPR's music librarian for over 20 years, passed away last Friday. Goldstein was a member of the D.C. band Urban Verbs, and this song features his absolutely stunning guitar playing. Bob says he would never have come to NPR if it weren't for Robert, the two having known each other nearly as long as Goldstein's career at NPR.