Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: The National, Kalbells, Harry Styles, Fleet Foxes
Courtesy of the artists
Yes, it's true: Harry Styles of the British boy band One Direction has taken a huge left turn on his debut solo album, turning in an infectious, sometimes gritty batch of rock songs inspired by The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and other classic bands he grew up listening to. Robin kick's this week's show off with one of these surprising new songs, the playful earworm "Carolina."
Bob follows with the complete opposite, a song from Kalmia Traver he's currently obsessed with. Traver, a singer and saxophonist from the band Rubblebucket, has a new solo album under the name Kalbells, filled with a kaleidoscope of colorful sounds, including coyote howls and whistling.
Also on the show: World Cafe host Talia Schlanger joins us with a gorgeous, stripped-down tear-jerker from Anthony LaMarca , singer of folk-pop duo The Building, recorded at her request; Fleet Foxes does some soul-searching with another track from its first new album in nearly six years; Dr. Danny of the psych-rock band The Lemon Twigs goes solo with a trippy new EP; and The National reflects on the age of alternative facts with a cut from its upcoming album Sleep Well Beast.
Harry Styles is best known as one of the singers in the British boy band One Direction. But on his self-titled, debut solo release, he takes a major left turn with a mix of infectious pop and rock inspired by the bands he grew up listening to — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd.
Kalbells is the project of Kalmia Traver, the singer and saxophonist from the band Rubblebucket. After successfully battling ovarian cancer, she's releasing her debut solo album Ten Flowers, a mix of quirky, colorful pop. Bob Boilen says he can't stop listening to this song, "Why?!steria." Ten Flowers is out July 14.
When Talia Schlanger, host of WXPN's World Cafe, saw singer Anthony LaMarca of the folk-pop duo The Building play this song at a recent show, she loved it so much she asked him if he would recreate the performance just for us. The original version of this deeply moving song, on the album Reconciliation, is fully orchestrated. But here LaMarca sings it with just an acoustic guitar, a version he recorded at Talia's request and available nowhere else.
Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold has always been a seeker of truth and meaning. On the band's latest song, from its first new album in nearly six years, Pecknold reflects on his lifelong search for substance in a confusing world, acknowledging that the quest may be a "Fool's Errand" — but one he'll never stop. Crack-Up is out June 16 on Nonesuch Records.
- Song: Fly Me Back In Time
Danny Ayala got his start as the keyboardist in the psych-rock band The Lemon Twigs. On his upcoming solo debut, under the name Dr. Danny, he serves up his own mix of trippy ear candy. The EP, Lay It On Me Straight, is due out June 16.
04The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness
- Song: The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness
On the surface, the first single from The National's upcoming album Sleep Well Beast is a simple relationship song. But "The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness" speaks to bigger questions, too, of truth and freedom in an age of alternate facts and realities. Sleep Well Beast is out on 4AD Records September 8.