Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Courtney Barnett, Anna Von Hauswolff, Exitmusic, Okkervil River
Courtesy of the artists
Since releasing her incredible, 2015 debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney Barnett has released a collaboration record with Kurt Vile and a one-off single called "How To Boil An Egg." But she's back now with a new full-length solo album. Tell Me How You Really Feel is due out May 18 and we've got the first single from it, "Nameless, Faceless."
Also on the show: The long wait for new music from the brooding dreamscape duo Exitmusic is over. After releasing a stunning debut called Passage in 2012, the band largely disappeared. But Exitmusic is finally back with a worthy followup born out of heartache and loss. The Recognitions is due out April 20 and the first single is a densely layered, soaring elegy, "I'll Never Know."
Plus, a thoughtful treatise on love and autonomy from Half Waif (former Pinegrove keyboardist Nandi Rose Plunkett's project); a 12-minute dark-drone epic from Swedish organist Anna von Hausswolff; and a surprisingly cheery new track from Okkervil River. And NPR Music's Lars Gotrich stops by to share two out-of-the-blue releases: one a brief segue into lo-fi rock from the fizzy, high-sheen pop group Kero Kero Bonito, the other a sonic evolution reminiscent of Jason Molina courtesy of L.A. composer Clint Heidorn.
- Song: I'll Never Know
- from The Recognitions
Opening today's episode is a bittersweet swan song from Exitmusic, the musical duo of actress Aleksa Palladino (Boardwalk Empire, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead) and Devon Church. "I'll Never Know" is Palladino and Church's final act together, marking the demise of their relationship — an endpoint that Palladino arrived at after filming a few years ago."When Aleksa returned from shooting, I could tell immediately something major had shifted," says Church. "She described an experience of standing up in a boat on a lake and seeing her reflection in the water, and having the realization that we had only been living on the surface of life—that there were fathomless depths to be explored if we were able to set each other free." The Recognitions is out Apr. 20 on Felte.
- Song: Nameless, Faceless
- from Tell Me How You Really Feel
On the first single from her upcoming solo album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett quotes Margaret Atwood while rebuking creepy people and Internet trolls with her tack-sharp wit. The album features Kim and Kelley Deal from The Breeders and is out May 18 on Mom & Pop / Milk!.
- Song: Don't Move Back To LA
- from In The Rainbow Rain
Okkervil River's latest song is much almost celebratory and uplifting compared to the somber meditations on death and rebirth on the band's last record, 2016's Away. "Don't Move Back To LA" is simple in its message — the folk-rock stalwart's creative center, Will Sheff, says he didn't want his friends to move to Los Angeles. "I think the song is also kind of about my own deep and long-held desire to get the hell out of New York City," he says, "which for years I felt was suffocating me but which I couldn't manage to leave." In The Rainbow Rain will drop Apr. 27 on ATO.
- Song: Keep It Out
- from Lavender
Half Waif's "Keep It Out," with its striking, back-and-forth percussion, deserves to be heard on a great sound system. It's the first taste from Half Waif's upcoming release, Lavender, and the first new song we've heard from Nandi Rose Plunkett's project since she departed from Pinegrove last summer. The album looks at a side of romance that is often glossed over in love songs — that of selfhood, autonomy and how to be an individual in a couple. Lavender is out Apr. 27 on Cascine.
Kero Kero Bonito
- Song: You Know How It Is
- from TOTEP
File this under another unexpected genre pivot: high-gloss British electropop group Kero Kero Bonito surprise-dropped TOTEP, a four-track EP laden with guitar-rock gems. "You Know How It Is," one of the cuts off TOTEP, is noisy and fun and gloriously lo-fi. TOTEP is available now.
- Song: North Hudson
- from Pasadena
L.A. composer Clint Heidorn's surprise release, Pasadena, is brimming with a sorrow that pulls from a rugged beauty. It seems to imagine what it would be like if Jason Molina's rambling, Western-tinged songs were instrumental compositions. Pasadena is available now.
Anna von Hausswolf
- Song: The Truth, The Glow, The Fall
- from Dead Magic
Swedish musician Anna von Hausswolff pushes the outer limits of what organ music can sound like with unnerving and cryptic compositions. On "The Truth, The Glow, The Fall," a brooding 12-minute drone epic from her upcoming album Dead Magic, her sound, like much of her music, remains dark and mysterious. Dead Magic is out Mar. 2 on City Slang.