Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Sufjan Stevens with James McCalister, Perfume Genius, Gorillaz, The Family Crest
Courtesy of the artists
It's late March, which can only mean one thing: Time for my beloved Kansas Jayhawks to take a premature nosedive in the NCAA men's basketball tournament! Accordingly, we begin this week's show with an annual tradition: me whining to Bob Boilen about my deep, dark, post-tournament depression. Bob says it's madness to keep putting myself through this, but I can't stop.
Even with the cloud of defeat hanging over us (me), I managed to heave myself off of the floor long enough to hit the play button on some phenomenal new music from Perfume Genius, who has followed 2014's Too Bright with his biggest, boldest sound yet (which is really saying something). I also found comfort in the drifting, ambient sounds of Teen Daze and a profoundly moving elegy to a lost sister from the band Hippo Campus.
World Cafe host Talia Schlanger joined us from the studios at WXPN in Philadelphia to try to cheer me up with an uplifting dance-pop anthem from Gorillaz, while Bob does his best to begin the healing with a cut from Sufjan Stevens, who is collaborating with composer Nico Muhly, The National's Bryce Dessner and drummer James McAlister for a galactic project they're calling Planetarium.
Also on the show: Kevin Morby's love letter to cities and the diverse people who live there; a big, joyful sing-along from The Family Crest; and a dark and gritty guitar rock cut from Brooklyn band Alexander F. -- Robin Hilton
- Song: Slip Away
- from No Shape
Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius says "Slip Away" is both a love song and an anthem of protest. Written for his longtime boyfriend, Hadreas celebrates their love while remaining defiant of other people's prejudices. Perfume Genius' new record, No Shape, comes out May 5 on Matador.
Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner & James McAlister
- Song: Saturn
- from Planetarium
The Planetarium project is a collaboration between four brilliant musicians, with lyrics from Sufjan Stevens revolving around mythology, astrology, science, astronomy and the intricacies of human consciousness." The album Planetarium comes out June 9 on 4AD
20We Got The Power (feat. Jehnny Beth)
- Song: We Got The Power (feat. Jehnny Beth)
- from Humanz
Talia Schlanger of World Cafe brings us a new track from one of our favorite virtual bands. The high energy dance tune "We Got the Power," featuring Noel Gallagher of Oasis and Jehnny Beth of Savages, was one in a string a string of singles Gorillaz dropped on March 23. Damon Albarn's project will drop the 26-track Humanz — the band's first in seven years — April 28 on Warner Bros.
The Family Crest
- Song: Mirror Love
- from Prelude To War
We just premiered the kaleidoscopic video for Tiny Desk alum The Family Crest's "Mirror Love," an '80s-flavored orchestral pop tune. The song deals with the notion of community engagement as a way of overcoming apathy. Near the finale, a saxophone breakdown takes hold, and soon the other instruments pile on, guiding us into the anthemic final chorus.
- Song: Monsoon
- from Landmark
On its full-length debut Landmark, St. Paul-based Hippo Campus addresses the space between childhood and adulthood. For "Monsoon," songwriter and guitarist Nathan Stocker celebrates the life of his older sister, who died in a car crash years ago, while wrestling with the guilt of not feeling guilty.
- Song: Come to Me Now
- from City Songs
Kevin Morby's "Come to Me Now" captures the ethos of New York in the 1970s in a Lou Reed-y fashion. Beneath its talk-sung vocals lie rock drums, but also a 19th century pump organ which he spotted in the studio and spontaneously added. Morby considers his forthcoming album City Songs "a mixtape, a fever dream, a love letter dedicated to those cities I can't get rid of." It comes out June 16 on Dead Oceans.
- Song: Dream City
- from Themes For Dying Earth
Teen Daze is the musical project of electronic artist Jamison Isaak. His latest album, Themes For Dying Earth, probes his anxieties over the fate of earth in an age of global warming and other environmental catastrophes.
- Song: You're Such a Kill
- from Alexander F (S/T)
While at a silent meditation retreat, Rubblebucket leader Alex Toth dreamed up a series of "Buddhist-themed experimental punk songs." To Toth, the raucous and crunchy "You're Such a Kill" feels "like pure id ... and subtly pokes fun at the despair of codependency." The self-titled album, co-produced by Steve Marion, came out earlier this year.