Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing : World Cafe A panel of public-radio DJs recommends music for the end of your 2016 — including songs from Third Root, Regina Spektor and Sylvan Esso.

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

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Now we're going to check in with public radio DJs around the country to hear what songs they have this month in heavy rotation.

JONI DEUTSCH, BYLINE: My name is Joni Deutsch, and I'm a host on West Virginia Public Broadcasting and a producer for NPR's Mountain Stage. Heavy Rotation in my little cubicle at Mountain Stage is "Like Eye Did," a song by Fil Bo Riva.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIKE EYE DID")

FIL BO RIVA: (Singing) Mmm (ph).

DEUTSCH: He told me that the song was written for a girl he once loved. That love was fickle, and she soon fell in love with another friend.

RIVA: (Singing) Never loved me like I did.

DEUTSCH: See, right there, you can feel Fil's just soul tearing out of his body through that voice.

RIVA: (Singing) I never kid you like you did.

DEUTSCH: Soul and heart break - and you can almost feel it in your own chest.

RIVA: (Singing) You're the beat in my head. Shoot me down, and shoot me dead. You're the beat in my head.

DEUTSCH: What's interesting is that he's only 24, but his voice sounds like it comes from an older, more world-weary where place.

RIVA: (Singing) You didn't mind I fell down You're the beat in my head. Shoot me down, and shoot me dead. Baby, that's what I said.

DEUTSCH: It's really raw, and it's a voice that could potentially be polarizing, you know, just like with Tom Waits' voice. It's not for everyone, but at the same time, it's so catchy and relatable and just plainly human, as well.

RIVA: (Singing) I did.

JACK ANDERSON, BYLINE: Howdy. This is Jack Anderson from KUTX 98.90 Austin, NPR Music affiliate.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOUL FORCE")

THIRD ROOT: (Singing) Yeah.

ANDERSON: We can track is Soul force by Third Root. So you've got the two guys from San Antonio, and they're teaming up with five Austin rappers on this one.

ANDERSON: Da'Shade brings the energy, the move. The medula oblongata...

ANDERSON: Even within the first three lines, Da'Shade Moonbeam says lot of chefs in the kitchen. But then right here, shift gears - new person.

ROOT: (Singing) Even small coffins are heavy.

ANDERSON: And you get this base group. You kind of get this snowglobe, rounded-out production style.

ROOT: (Singing) New Orleans - new days upon us. Seeing new dawns, a new plain, a new song for new sons and daughters. Spitting...

ANDERSON: "Soul Force" - pretty interesting where they kind of got this title because it's actually coming from a 1994 essay from a famous Texas politician, Barbara Jordan. And it discusses this idea of soul force as an agent of change.

ROOT: (Singing) Cracking skin against skin - conjure uprising. Palm...

ANDERSON: You can be black. You can be brown. You can be male or female. But all - you're all in together, and you're all kind of pushing for change. There's this braggadocio and swagger to a lot of their lyrics where they're feeling the soul force not only politically, but self-empowering, in a way.

LIZ FELIX, BYLINE: I'm Liz Felix. I'm the program director and midday host at WNKU in Cincinnati. One of our favorites right now is Dyan and their song "Days Upon Days."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DAYS UPON DAYS")

DYAN: (Singing) Always - always I get - I get naked - naked for you - for you. Where you going? I can follow. Where you leading? I can see.

FELIX: This band is kind of half in Cincinnati, half in Los Angeles. This is drummer Dan Dorff, who's pretty well known here. You know, it kind of has like a synth pop thing going on. It's kind of vibey (ph). And it's one that when you hear it multiple times, it starts to get into your head in.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DAYS UPON DAYS")

FELIX: Electropop is back. It's made it to the Midwest (laughter). These guys are cool because they're kind of half in LA. And because they write film scores together, I think you can hear that influence of their background in instrumental music on this song. You know, we have a very diverse scene here in Cincinnati, and so this is just a little piece of what's out there in the city.

DYAN: (Singing) Where you going? I can follow. Where you leading? I can see.

CHANG: You can sample more tunes in heavy rotation on our website, nprmusic.org.

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