New Mix: Guided By Voices, Fantastic Negrito, A Stella Donnelly Lullaby, More : All Songs Considered All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share a new batch of essential songs, from the poignant folk of John Prine to the warped rock of Hearts Hearts, the ethereal Grouper and more.

New Mix: Guided By Voices, Fantastic Negrito, A Stella Donnelly Lullaby, More

New Mix: Guided By Voices, Fantastic Negrito, A Stella Donnelly Lullaby, More

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Clockwise from upper left: Grouper (Liz Harris), Stella Donnelly, Guided By Voices, Fantastic Negrito Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

The March For Our Lives rallies that unfolded across the country this past weekend underscored the heightened state of fear and anger over gun violence in the U.S. We open this week's show with a powerful new song from the blues and soul artist Fantastic Negrito, that he says channels his own anxieties and outrage over the state of the world, called "Plastic Hamburgers." The surprisingly loud and gritty rock cut is from his upcoming album, Please Don't Be Dead.

Also on the program: Thirty-five years into the band's career, Guided By Voices has just released a bold, infectious and ever-vital new album called Space Gun. We've got the title cut. The legendary and much beloved folk artist John Prine is back with a poignant new song called "Summer's End." And we float in the gloriously ethereal voice of Grouper, aka Liz Harris, on her new song "Parking Lot."

All that plus warped rock from the Austrian band Hearts Hearts and a special lullaby from Stella Donnelly. But first, we take a moment for co-host Robin Hilton's annual tradition: checking in to see how his beloved Kansas Jayhawks are doing in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Please Don't Be Dead

Fantastic Negrito

  • Song: Plastic Hamburgers
  • from Please Don't Be Dead

"With everything happening in the world, I wanted to take it head on." Fantastic Negrito's new song is a fiery, impassioned statement of purpose told with bluesy rock and roll in the lineage of Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and Led Zeppelin. Fantastic Negrito says, "I wrote this album because I fear for the life of my black son. I fear for the lives of my daughters. I am uncertain about what kind of future they will face." Please Don't Be Dead comes out June 15 via Cooking Vinyl and Blackball Universe.

Cover for Space Gun

Guided By Voices

  • Song: Space Gun
  • from Space Gun

With 22 solo records and more than 40 Guided By Voices albums and EPs released in the past 35 years, Robert Pollard is one of indie rock's most notable songwriters. "When I first write them," Pollard says, "they don't mean anything. But then in hindsight they take on meaning." For the title cut to the band's latest album, Space Gun, he says "[it] now, to me, seems to reflect what's going on in the world today with a lot of loose cannons, especially in the political arena."

Cover for Thrush Metal

Stella Donnelly

  • Song: Talking
  • from Thrush Metal

Amid the controlled chaos of SXSW, the Australian musician Stella Donnelly — with her acerbic writing and sweet-and-sour voice — was a clarion call to the All Songs team in Austin. "Talking," a bonus cut from a re-release of her Thrush Metal EP, was showcased on our South X Lullabies series — a subtly caustic number that rallies against men who refuse to listen to their partners' needs. Thrush Metal is out now via Secretly Canadian.

Cover for Goods / Gods

Hearts Hearts

  • Song: Phantom / Island
  • from Goods / Gods

The Vienna, Austria-based band Hearts Hearts makes fractured, experimental rock. On its sophomore full-length, Goods / Gods the group explores the contradictions of the human condition. The lead single "Phantom / Island," examines the very real possibility that most people aren't as good as they believe themselves to be. Its itchy polyrhythms and swooning string and guitar flourishes are set against a divine falsetto. Goods / Gods is out Apr 20 via Tomlab.

Cover for The Tree Of Forgiveness

John Prine

  • Song: Summer's End
  • from The Tree Of Forgiveness

Dig up any John Prine song from his nearly half-a-century career, and there will be a verity of wisdom and wordplay to sift through. "Summer's End," a song that Prine premiered at the Tiny Desk — and the first glimpse of his first new album in 13 years — is unwavering in its vantage point. If anything, Prine's voice — graveled with age and a battle with cancer — makes the weary, commonplace beauty embedded in his words all the more powerful. The Tree of Forgiveness is out Apr. 13 on Oh Boy Records.

Cover for Grid Of Points


  • Song: Parking Lot
  • from Grid Of Points

Grouper's Liz Harris makes songs that occupy the ether. "Parking Lot," the lead single off her upcoming album Grid Of Points, floats in and out of a stark piano drenched in reverb like a choral fever dream. Harris says she wrote the songs on the new album in a week and a half. "The intimacy and abbreviation of this music allude to an essence that the song's lyrics speak more directly of. The space left after matter has departed, a stage after the characters have gone, the hollow of some central column, missing." Grid Of Points is out Apr. 27 on Kranky.