Heavy Rotation: 10 Hot Summer Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing : World Cafe For this month's playlist, Rebel Diaz and Ana Tijoux reverberate a powerful message to black and brown communities and jazz duo Adam & Kizzie capture the sounds of falling in love.
NPR logo Heavy Rotation: 10 Hot Summer Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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

Jazz duo Adam & Kizzie is featured on this month's edition of Heavy Rotation. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Jazz duo Adam & Kizzie is featured on this month's edition of Heavy Rotation.

Courtesy of the artist

Every month, NPR Music asks DJs from public radio stations across the country: What song can you not get out of your head? And each time, we end up with a collection of new tunes and local favorites that's as varied as you can imagine.

For this month's playlist, Rebel Diaz and Ana Tijoux reverberate a powerful message to black and brown communities and jazz duo Adam & Kizzie capture the sounds of falling in love.

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

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DeVotchka, 'Straight Shot'

  • from This Night Falls Forever

The decisively upbeat vibe of DeVotchka's new song, "Straight Shot" from its forthcoming album This Night Falls Forever wondrously captures the sound of the Denver quartet. With its last album seven years behind, hearing new music from the band is a pure musical delight. Fronted by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nick Urata, the rock band's sound is an imaginative and idiosyncratic mix of influences — from burlesque, Eastern European folk, and American pop to circus music, polka and rock. Known for his soundtrack work on Little Miss Sunshine, Urata has composed the scores for numerous films including Crazy Stupid Love, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and Paddington. Most recently, he composed the original theme song and score for the Netflix Original A Series of Unfortunate Events. In the same manner that his work on various soundtracks reflects the different moods of the films he's worked on, "Straight Shot" achieves the same in capturing a mood of a song, and this one possesses an optimistic rhythmic buoyancy pleasantly offset by its self-reflective lyrics. - Bruce Warren, WXPN

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Lucy Wainwright Roche, 'Soft Line'

  • from Soft Line

Lucy Wainwright Roche has been coming to perform on Mountain Stage since 2007 when she released her first EP 8 Songs. She'll be making her fifth appearance later this year in support of Little Beast, her new record due Sept. 28. Wainwright Roche's cannon is filled with touching, truthful ballads of introspection, regret, optimism and hesitant hope. If the new single "Soft Line" is any indication, Little Beast is poised to be her most rich and fully realized artistic statement yet. Lucy's hushed vocals waft through some lush, atmospheric, climactic production by Jordan Brooke Hamlin. Through the lyrics, we learn the heartbreaking truths and the difficult lessons that come with the perspective gained by hindsight. "See, none of this was mine / I knew that almost all the time / But I took a soft line with you."-- Adam Harris, Mountain Stage

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Little Beast
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Little Beast
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Lucy Wainwright Roche
Released
2018

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the internet
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The Internet, 'La Di Da'

  • from Hive Mind


The Internet is in full swagger mode on "La Di Da" — and with good reason. The band's fourth studio album Hive Mind is brimming with confidence behind a new school R&B sound. So new in fact, it's probably retro. Young producer Steve Lacy's undulating grooves swing true and singer Syd's playful flirtations are hard to deny. Even so, The Internet is only here to dance, and maybe not with you. "La Di Da" is all about the attitude that goes with being the next big thing, without the stench of a sell-out. Always remember to have fun and be yourself. These are the secrets of the Hive Mind. — Jason Bentley, KCRW

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Now, Now, 'MJ'

  • from Saved

On its long-awaited new album Saved, Now, Now unabashedly embrace its '80s pop influences and even call them out overtly on the single "MJ," which finds singer KC Dalager confiding in her childhood hero, Michael Jackson, about a romance gone south. "Billie Jean, baby please, he's a criminal," she sighs over a hypnotic, crystalline beat that culls from the funk-inspired dance pop rhythms of Jacksons' heyday. Heartache has rarely been rendered so crisply, as Dalager seems to neither wallow nor fume over the loss. Instead, "MJ" is the sound of her shrugging her shoulders, putting the past behind her and stepping out onto the dance floor for an overdue spin under the spotlights. — Andrea Swensson, The Current

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Adam & Kizzie, 'Breathless'

  • from The Book Of Eedo Vol. 3: Threedo

What does it feel like to fall in love? There are butterflies in your stomach, a nervous energy resonating throughout your body and an overwhelming feeling that your life won't be the same. Adam & Kizzie capture that amplified feeling of new love in "Breathless." The Oklahoma City R&B and soul duo first met in junior high, drifted apart, reconnected nearly a decade later and fell in love. They've been married and performing together for seven years now, adopting a DIY mindset to recording and performing. It's just the two of them on this song, making the most of vocal layers, a synthesizer, a little bit of piano and Adam's beatboxing on a loop for the back beat. It's invention born out of necessity and the song doesn't suffer from it at all. There's a undeniable good vibe in "Breathless," leaving behind a joyous feeling that's hard to shake. — Ryan LaCroix, KOSU

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The Book Of Eedo Vol. 3: Threedo
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The Book Of Eedo Vol. 3: Threedo
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Illiterate Light, 'Better Than I Used To'

  • from Better Than I Used To

Illiterate Light's Jeff Gorman and Jake Cochran have found a way to translate their intense live show into a joyful noise on "Better Than I Used To." The Harrisonburg duo have been touring up and down the East Coast over the last three years, including recent opening slots for Mt. Joy. That energy has been distilled in Richmond, Va. at Montrose Studios with the production touches of Adrian Olsen and Charlie Glenn, the newest member of The Head and the Heart. "Better Than I Used To" builds to a sunburst of a crescendo and will be a perfect addition to your summertime playlist. — Melissa Goode, WNRN

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Better Than I Used To
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Illiterate Light

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Tami Neilson, 'A Woman's Pain'

  • from Sassafrass!

The zesty beats and saucy attitude that distinguish Tami Neilson's newest album take a pause for the slow burn and rumination of "A Woman's Pain." The Canadian singer-songwriter begins by evoking personal history. Her First Nation grandmother loses her own mother during the birth of her sister. That daughter is abandoned after she's had a child herself. Then Neilson universalizes centuries of gender oppression through a retelling of the Garden of Eden myth. Strings reminiscent of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" contribute to a luxurious but wounded tone. Neilson's track record as a retro country and rockabilly singer with a stunning voice was already impressive. "A Woman's Pain" and the rest of SASSAFRASS! demonstrate new range and fierce self-assurance. — Craig Havighurst, WMOT 89.5

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Sassafrass!
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Sassafrass!
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Tami Neilson

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Bob Moses, 'Heaven Only Knows'

  • from Heaven Only Knows

If we imagine the duo Bob Moses to be a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, then electronic music is Jimmy Vallance is the chocolate, and indie songcraft is Tom Howie is peanut butter. You're likely to hear the duo's new single "Back Down" in the coming months, but there are other hidden gems on the album Battle Lines, due out in September. "Heaven Only Knows," is a soulful ballad set against a percussive backdrop and adorned with The Beach Boys-level harmonies.


That the track serves as a counterpoint to the more propulsive single is intentional. The band went into the project looking for a more diverse musical palette, varying tempo and creating different moods. The stylistic changes from song to song expand on the creative promise inherent in the duo's contrasting, divergent influences. The end result of this collision of musical camps is a confection of songs that surprise and delight.-- Jon Hart, The Bridge

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Rebel Diaz and Ana Tijoux, 'Y Va Caer'

  • from Y Va Caer

For the song "Y Va Caer" hip-hop duo Rebel Diaz enlist the help of Latin American music star Ana Tijoux. It's a song incredibly relevant to the time; Its title directly translates to "It's Going to Fall", a reference to oppressive entities and ideologies that cannot stand up to the resilience and passion of the people. Rebel Diaz members G1 and RodStarz and their guest, Ana Tijoux, trade verses pointing out forces that will not fall such as Mother Nature's might in the face of industrialization, the will of the oppressed who refuse to give up hope, empowered women and the undocumented families being separated because of controversial immigration policies. For the song, G1 uses a penetrating flute as the guiding sample. The result is a track that is elevating while at the same time infectious in melody." — Jesse Menendez, Vocalo

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Y Va Caer
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Rebel Diaz and Ana Tijoux

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Gabriel Garzón-Montano, 'Golden Wings'

  • from Golden Wings

Maybe it's the surroundings of his Brooklyn neighborhood or his French-Colombian heritage. Whatever the cause, Gabriel Garzón-Montano feels the funk with a capital "F." There are a lot of artists channeling the P-Funk/Prince era, but Garzon-Montano's music seems new, fresh, deep. His career launched when Drake sampled one of his songs and his 2017 debut album Jardin (especially "Crawl", whose slinky rhythm imbeds in your cortex) cemented his star status. "Golden Wings," his new single, is even better. Garzón-Montano plays everything, produces and writes lyrics like, "Orange sky and deep blue sea, in the palm of my hands." Opening with a floating-on-air vocal refrain and an anticipatory pregnant pause, the slow, stealthy groove seems to almost spill into place. With little more than a click track, some echoing drums, sparse electronics and a bass line supplied from what sounds like a tuba, Garzón-Montano makes his own kind of magic. –Jeff McCord, KUTX

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