Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Partner, Mary Gauthier, Siobhan Wilson, Pinegrove
Courtesy of the artists
This past week hasn't been easy. A relentless barrage of stories about sexual assault and harassment in the media industry, including the disclosure of unsettling harassment complaints within NPR's own newsroom, was capped by yet another horrific and senseless mass shooting at a church in rural Texas this past Sunday.
We can't begin to offer answers, explanations or solutions to everything that's happened. But we hope the time you spend with this week's show will give you a chance to pause, take a deep breath and find some solace.
We've got two songs that directly address both the seeming epidemic of harassment and the violence in Texas. The first comes from singer Mary Gauthier, who wrote her upcoming album, Rifles And Rosary Beads, as part of the SongwritingWith:Soldiers project, a non-profit group that pairs combat veterans with musicians to help tell the soldiers' stories. We play the title track to Rifles And Rosary Beads, a song about the collision of weapons, war and religion.
The second song is from Stella Donnelly, an Australian songwriter who confronts victim-blaming with the plaintive and deeply upsetting, "Boys Will Be Boys."
Also on this week's show: Cathartic rock from both the New Jersey-based band Pinegrove and the Canadian duo known as Partner; Glasgow singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson's dark and brooding "There Are No Saints"; and NPR Music's Anastasia Tsioulcas joins us to talk about some of her favorite artists from this year's WOMEX, the annual global music conference and showcase, held this year in Katowice, Poland.
From 'Intrepid - Single'
On "Intrepid," the first single from Pinegrove's still-untitled forthcoming album, frontman Evan Stephens Hall contemplates space in relation to human connection. "'Intrepid' considers distance and the outer rim of the magnet's pull," he wrote in a press release, "how the size of the world can bring our personal relationships into focus."
"Creature In The Sun"
From 'In Search Of Lost Time'
Partner is the guitar-driven duo of Josée Caron and Lucy Niles, two friends with a knack for playful rock. On "Creature In The Sun," they ponder the "secrets that lie within stillness."
From 'There Are No Saints'
By Siobhan Wilson
Scottish artist Siobhan Wilson, who floored NPR Music's Otis Hart upon first listen, offers a solution for coping with depression on her fuzzy single "Whatever Helps."
La Dame Blanche
"Yo Quiero Trabajar"
From 'Yo Quiero Trabajar'
By La Dame Blanche
NPR Music's Anastasia Tsioulcas came back inspired from this year's WOMEX (World Music Expo) in Katowice, Poland. Among her favorite acts was Yaite Ramos Rodriguez, who performs as La Dame Blanche. She's got a talent for fusing her training as a classical flutist with elements of hip-hop and cumbia, as artfully demonstrated in "Yo Quiero Trabajar."
"Stombali - Baba 'Alaia"
By Ifriqiyya Electrique
Another memorable performance from WOMEX came via Ifriqiyya Electrique, a group of Tunisian and French musicians that turns the ritual ceremonies of descendants of sub-Saharan slaves who were brought to Tunisia centuries ago into all-encompassing moments. "Stombali - Baba'Alaia" is dark, growling, and cinematic.
"Sun a shine"
From 'Sun a shine (single)'
By Elkin Robinson
Colombian artist Elkin Robinson's breezy songs have a Creole, Caribbean twist — Anastasia sees him as an obvious choice for the summer festival circuit.
"Rifles & Rosary Beads"
From 'Rifles & Rosary Beads'
By Mary Gauthier
New Orleans-based artist Mary Gauthier's message of love and acceptance feels especially pertinent on "Rifles and Rosary Beads," the title track from her forthcoming album. Gauthier co-wrote the song with an Iraq war veteran as part of the SongwritingWith:Soldiers initiative.
"Boys Will Be Boys"
From 'Thrush Metal'
By Stella Donnelly
Australian singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly does not mince words on the powerful "Boys Will Be Boys," addressing toxic masculinity and blame culture with steadfast strength.