NPR Music: 10 New Songs On Repeat : World Cafe Hear new songs by Amanda Shires, The Minders, Izo FitzRoy and more in a mix curated by public-radio hosts across the country.
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Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495008563/495295209" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Amanda Shires' new song "The Way It Dimmed" is Folk Alley's pick for September's mix. Josh Wool/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Josh Wool/Courtesy of the artist

Amanda Shires' new song "The Way It Dimmed" is Folk Alley's pick for September's mix.

Josh Wool/Courtesy of the artist

Each month, NPR Music asks a panel of some of public radio's finest hosts and music curators to share one new song they're playing on repeat. In September's mix, you'll hear the latest from Amanda Shires, The Minders, Izo FitzRoy, Mick Jenkins and more.

Listen above to hear Folk Alley's Elena See, opbmusic's Jerad Walker and WDET's Chris Campbell spin their selections, and read on for the full list.

Hear The Songs

Amanda Shires Joshua Black Wilkins/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Joshua Black Wilkins/Courtesy of the artist

My Piece Of Land

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    Song
    My Piece Of Land
    Album
    My Piece Of Land
    Artist
    Amanda Shires
    Label
    BMG Rights Management
    Released
    2016

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Amanda Shires, 'The Way It Dimmed'

  • from My Piece Of Land

Two minutes and 11 seconds. That's how long it takes Amanda Shires to look back through her past and explore all the memories, both good and bad, she has of a former lover. Couldn't we all spend hours and hours talking about the mistakes we've made and the loves we've lost? Not Shires. Her songwriting is just that concise; with careful and considered language choices, she's able to create incredibly vivid images that resonate with anyone listening — like "A parade of images I never finished sorting through / Your hands laced in my belt loops," or "Your fingerprints are still burned into my skin." "The Way It Dimmed," the opening track on Shires' new release, My Piece Of Land, is undeniably catchy, thanks in part to husband Jason Isbell's surfy guitar and the incessant rhythms provided by Paul Slivka (bass) and Paul Griffith (drums). While Shires' magnificent fiddle playing is sadly not front-and-center here, this song does give us a chance to fall in love with her voice and the stories she shares with it.

Elena See, Folk Alley

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Song
My Piece Of Land
Album
My Piece Of Land
Artist
Amanda Shires
Label
BMG Rights Management
Released
2016

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Into the River

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    Song
    Into the River
    Album
    Into the River
    Artist
    The Minders
    Label
    Space Cassette
    Released
    1969

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The Minders, 'Needle Doll'

  • from Into the River

Note to self: Never piss off Martyn Leaper. The frontman for The Minders has a vicious pen that he wields like a sword on the Portland, Ore., band's new track "Needle Doll." The breakup song comes fast and hard with military metaphors, repeated calls for the use of black magic on an ex and extreme accusations of snootiness. But it's not all doom and gloom: This is a hook-filled jam that reminds us just how good this band, which has close ties to the famed Elephant Six Collective (of Montreal, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples In Stereo), can be when it actually enters the studio. "Needle Doll" comes from The Minders' first proper full-length album in a decade, Into The River. Let's all hope Leaper has enough shade to throw around for a quicker follow-up next time.

Jerad Walker, opbmusic

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Into the River
Album
Into the River
Artist
The Minders
Label
Space Cassette

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Izo Fitzroy James Hole /Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Here I Come

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    Song
    Here I Come
    Album
    Here I Come
    Artist
    Izo Fitzroy
    Label
    Jalapeno Records
    Released
    1969

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Izo FitzRoy, 'Here I Come (Moods Remix)'

  • from Here I Come

Evoking shades of Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies, one of 2016's groovier musical finds has been London soul singer Izo FitzRoy's track "Here I Come." With production and remix assistance from noted Dutch DJ and producer Moods, the track boasts delicious horn licks, syrupy bass lines and tight percussion patterns. All of this makes for a great canvas onto which FitzRoy paints her powerhouse vocals, resulting in an extremely infectious, future-disco track that's funky and danceable. The tune simultaneously has both an underground vibe and a mainstream sensibility, making it accessible to a diverse audience of music lovers and signaling that FitzRoy may be a major player in the global dance community in the years to come.

Chris Campbell, 101.9 FM WDET's The Progressive Underground

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Here I Come
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Here I Come
Artist
Izo Fitzroy
Label
Jalapeno Records

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Bear's Den Andrew Whitton/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Red Earth & Pouring Rain

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    Song
    Red Earth & Pouring Rain
    Album
    Red Earth & Pouring Rain
    Artist
    Bear's Den
    Released
    2016

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Bear's Den, 'Red Earth & Pouring Rain'

  • from Red Earth & Pouring Rain

Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones of Bear's Den didn't expect to release their second album, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, as a duo. But the departure of bandmate Joey Haynes during the album's recording gave Davie and Jones a looser rein. While the two Londoners cite Edward Hopper's solitary painting Nighthawks and Bruce Springsteen as influences, it's the open road — and miles traveled across the belly of America on a tour bus — that propels the title track. Steeped in voluptuous '80s-era synths, the restless twang of electric guitar and Davie's wistful plea, "Red Earth & Pouring Rain" is a daydreamer's highway anthem.

Kara Manning, WFUV

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Red Earth & Pouring Rain
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Red Earth & Pouring Rain
Artist
Bear's Den
Released
2016

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Atmosphere

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Fishing Blues

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    Song
    Fishing Blues
    Album
    Fishing Blues
    Artist
    Atmosphere
    Label
    Rhymesayers
    Released
    1969

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Atmosphere, 'Perfect'

  • from Fishing Blues

Atmosphere has created seismic waves on the independent hip-hop scene since 1996, when the duo launched the Rhymesayers Entertainment label. What's kept Atmosphere interesting and relevant for two decades is its core value of honesty — and there's no shortage of that on Fishing Blues, its latest emotionally charged album. In "Perfect," rapper Slug shows no hesitation in ripping into someone "who's the opposite of truth, overproduced," even as he embraces his contradictions as a "Southsider," a "pop lifer" and a "Rubik's cube." There's so much humility here, embodied in a willingness to accept, but not be content with, one's flawed nature. Acknowledging mistakes, shortcomings and the fact that we live in a world that's anything but black and white — it all makes this song pretty much perfect.

Kevin Cole, KEXP

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Fishing Blues
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Fishing Blues
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Atmosphere
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Rhymesayers

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Strange Diary

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    Strange Diary
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    Strange Diary
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    Psychic Twin
    Label
    Polyvinyl Records
    Released
    1969

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Psychic Twin, 'Lose Myself'

  • from Strange Diary

We've been waiting four years for new music from Erin Fein, the former frontwoman of the Champaign, Ill., band Headlights. Since that project came to an end, Fein has been producing experimental, dreamlike, electro-leaning songs under the moniker Psychic Twin. Her debut is Strange Diary, an album produced in the midst of the dissolution of her marriage and a move across the country to Brooklyn. Those major life changes have resulted in songs that sound like an updated version of Kate Bush or Siouxsie and the Banshees, including the great single "Lose Myself."

Liz Felix, WNKU

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Strange Diary
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Strange Diary
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Psychic Twin
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Polyvinyl Records

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Preoccupations

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Preoccupations, 'Stimulation'

  • from Preoccupations

The band formerly known as Viet Cong took on the less controversial name Preoccupations earlier this year, and its new, self-titled album also reflects change — not so much a reinvention, though, as a natural progression. The quartet transitions subtly from the traditional post-punk influences found on its previous full-length to a slightly more polished new-wave sound that evokes elements of early Devo and The Psychedelic Furs and radiates a mature, self-assured warmth. The dissonant angles of Viet Cong and the Cassette EP are smoothed, yet the music still packs the same lyrical and emotional intensity, accented by Matt Flegel's distinctive growl. For a song that features the line "all dead inside / all gonna die," there's a lot of life to be found in "Stimulation."

Scott Carney, Colorado Public Radio's OpenAir

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Preoccupations
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Preoccupations
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Preoccupations
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Jagjaguwar

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Lo Moon, 'Loveless'

  • from Loveless

Shimmering, immersive and otherworldly, "Loveless" is a stop-you-in-your-tracks kind of song from a new band based in Los Angeles. Lo Moon is Matt Lowell (lead vocals, guitar and keyboards), Crisanta Baker (guitar, bass, keyboards and backing vocals) and multi-instrumentalist and principal guitarist Samuel Stewart. After relocating from London to L.A. in 2010, Stewart — the son of Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Siobhan Fahey (Shakespears Sister and Bananarama) — connected with Lowell and Baker, and the trio is currently working on its debut album, produced by François Tétaz and Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla and set for release in 2017. The cascading textures and keyboard and rhythmic crescendos of "Loveless" bring to mind the cinematic lift of Sigur Rós. The song has a big sound that's as intimate as it is anthemic; all seven minutes are worthy of your attention.

Bruce Warren, WXPN

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Loveless
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Loveless
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Lo Moon
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Columbia

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Foy Vance Sarah Barlow and Stephen Schofie/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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The Wild Swan

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    Song
    The Wild Swan
    Album
    The Wild Swan
    Artist
    Foy Vance
    Label
    Atlantic Records
    Released
    1969

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Foy Vance, 'She Burns'

  • from The Wild Swan

With suggestions of Paul Brady and Paul Kelly, a hint of Bono and perhaps a kindred musical spirit in Ulster compatriot Van Morrison, Foy Vance has a way of going very deep very quickly. Yes, "She Burns" is another out of millions of songs about love and desire, but the evocative vocals, Celtic chordal underpinnings and minimal production pull you in like a whirlpool. And, as the lyrics suggest, you won't want to come back up: "There are no markings on her country road / No signs that show the way back home / When you get there you won't wanna go." Now that he's signed to Ed Sheeran's label, let's hope it's only a matter of time before the rest of the world gets tangled up in Vance's soulful sound.

Larry Groce, Mountain Stage

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The Wild Swan
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The Wild Swan
Artist
Foy Vance
Label
Atlantic Records

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Mick Jenkins Lawrence Agyei/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Mick Jenkins feat. BADBADNOTGOOD, 'Drowning'

  • from The Healing Component

On the heels of his successful mixtapes The Waters and Waves, the Alabama-born, Chicago based hip-hop artist Mick Jenkins gives us The Healing Component, a poignant debut album ripe with urgent social commentary. In "Drowning," Jenkins steps outside of his commanding rap voice to sing images of despair and anxiety and repeat the haunting, topical refrain "I can't breathe." BADBADNOTGOOD handles the production, composing a brooding instrumental that perfectly frames the song's vivid narrative. Jenkins has long used water as a metaphor for truth, purity and cleansing; in "Drowning," he points to its ability to overwhelm and suffocate. (Perhaps that's a commentary on humanity's capability to both nurture and destroy.) Ultimately, Jenkins tells us that only once we are unified can we combat inequality and save one another from drowning.

Jesse Menendez, Vocalo Radio

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The Healing Component
Album
The Healing Component
Artist
Mick Jenkins
Label
Cinematic

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