NPR: All Songs Considered Podcast

NPR: All Songs Considered Podcast

United States

Host Bob Boilen spins new music from emerging bands and musical icons.


+1: How David Bowie's Songs Became The Musical 'Lazarus'  

On this week's +1 podcast: A conversation with Henry Hey, the orchestrator, arranger and musical director for Lazarus, the off-Broadway musical set to the songs of David Bowie. Lazarus only ran in New York for six weeks last winter, and the songs weren't available for anyone to hear outside of those live performances until this week, when Columbia Records released the cast recording of Lazarus, along with three new songs Bowie wrote and recorded for the musical. The tracks, written during his Blackstar sessions, were among the final recordings Bowie made before he died of liver cancer on Jan. 10. To understand Lazarus, you first have to know about the 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth. Bowie starred in the movie as Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien who travels to earth in search of water for his dying planet. He starts a tech company, gets rich and uses the money to build a spaceship to transport water back home. But before he can take off, the government catches on and arrests him. After years in captivity, he's eventually freed, but left a lonely, broken alcoholic. Bowie always wanted to revisit his role in the film and conceived of Lazarusas a sequel that picks back up with his alien 40 years later. Though time has passed, Newton, played in the musical by Michael C. Hall, hasn't aged. But he's still addicted to alcohol, binges on Twinkies, and television. Set to a mix of Bowie's back catalog, Lazarus follows Newton as he tries find his way back home. Henry Hey worked closely with Bowie on arranging and orchestrating the songs for the stage. In this conversation, he talks about how he and Bowie reshaped the music to tell the story and what it meant to work on the iconic singer's final project.

EL VY's Song Against Trump, New Conor Oberst, Kristin Hersh, More  

For as much as the election has dominated the news this year, the political cycle hasn't invaded the world of All Songs Considered. But this week we've got a remarkable cut by the band EL VY that's all about Donald Trump. "Are These My Jets?" is from 30 Days, 30 Songs, an online compilation album that features a new song by a new artist every day for the final thirty days leading up to the election. (For the record, NPR is not endorsing any candidate. We just like the song!) A couple of other things about this week's show: NPR Music's Lars Gotrich joins us to talk about the stellar return of the band American Football, a beloved '90s group that's putting out its first new album in 17 years; and another popular artist from the '90s, Kristin Hersh (who you may know from the band Throwing Muses), is back with an incredible double album full of sonic wonders. All that plus a new single from Bob's favorite band of 2013, The Blow, and the ruminations of singer Conor Oberst.

Pusha T And Rivers Cuomo Join Zeds Dead, Amber Coffman, TOY, More  

This week's show features new music from Amber Coffman, a tribute to a friend and a collaboration between Rivers Cuomo and Pusha T. Plus: Reports of the guitar solo's death were greatly exaggerated.

Solange, Gillian Welch, Cuddle Magic, Major Stars, More  

We've got a lot of sounds on this week's show, from Solange's powerful meditation on being black in America, to the gentle folk of Gillian Welch. But some sounds are a lot louder than the others. 1. Solange: Tina Taught Me, 2. Solange: Don't Touch My Hair, 3. Cuddle Magic: Trojan Horse, 4. Major Stars: Unlearn, 5. Purling Hiss: 3000 AD, 6. Gillian Welch: Acony Bell (Demo), 7. Black Honey: Hello Today

All Songs +1: John Paul White Sings The Song That Changed His Life  

This past week I was at the 17th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, listening to and having conversations with musicians. One songwriter and singer I've admired from the world of Americana during this decade is John Paul White, whom you may know as a former member of the duo The Civil Wars. White's new solo album, Beulah, came out in August, and it's a quiet, poignant work. Over the past few years I've been talking with musicians about a song that changed them, a song that perhaps inspired them to pick up a guitar or write a song of their own. I put out a book called Your Song Changed My Life, which examines those pivotal moments for 35 musicians, and while at AmericanaFest I had a chance to talk to White about his song, his moment of discovery in music. We had that conversation in front of a few hundred people in the Country Music Hall of Fame's Ford Theater. The conversation was one of the most thoughtful ones I've had on the subject. Frankly, it ended in tears for me — and many in the audience — when White performed John Prine's seminal anti-war song "Sam Stone." On this week's All Songs Considered +1 podcast, hear a conversation and performance from John Paul White.

Brian Eno Sings, New Dirty Projectors, Leonard Cohen, Savoir Adore, More  

Bob kicks things off with a big surprise: Brian Eno is singing! The ambient pioneer and producer hasn't released a vocal record in years. But he was lured back into the studio to record a new track by the Portuguese rock band The Gift. It's called "Love Without Violins" and Eno says it's one of the only times you'll ever hear him utter the word "love" in a song. Robin follows with a cut all about those late-night hours when you're alone with your thoughts and fear the worst about yourself. Appropriately enough it's called "Savages" and it's from Savoir Adore, the Brooklyn-based musical project of Paul Hammer. Also on the show: Bob is so overwhelmed by the insanely warped sounds of a new Dirty Projectors song that he scarcely notices its profoundly bleak lyrics; Australian singer Julia Jacklin has a searing, slow-building rock anthem to an old flame; Leonard Cohen turns 82 and celebrates with some of the darkest music of his incredible, 50-year career; And the folk-pop duo Johnnyswim covers what they call one of the sexiest songs of all time: Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game."

+1: Danny Brown Shares New Song, Talks Nas And New Album  

On this week's +1 podcast, Timmhotep Aku premieres "Rolling Stone," a new song from Danny Brown, and talks with the Detroit rapper about his upcoming album, Atrocity Exhibition.

Nine Artists To Watch For At AmericanaFest 2016  

NPR Music is headed to Nashville for this week's AmericanaFest where we'll be checking out some of the newest and most promising voices in roots music, along with a few veterans. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen talks with NPR Music contributors Ann Powers and Jewly Hight about some of the artists they're most excited to see this year.

Peter Gabriel, Nick Cave, King Creosote, L.A. Salami, More  

The gang's finally back together! And by gang we mean hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, who find themselves in the studio together for the first time in a month. With the summer break finally over, the two return with this week's essential mix, from both veteran artists and new discoveries. Robin opens the show with an epic, trance-inducing piece from Scottish singer-songwriter King Creosote, who calls it a "plaintive, hymn-like lament of frustration and debasement." Bob follows with a profoundly dark new song from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds called "Jesus Alone." Also on the show: Peter Gabriel writes an ode to what he sees as the heroics of whistle blower Edward Snowden; Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker) a fantastically textured new song called "Fear Less;" London-based singer-songwriter L.A. Salami (his full name is Lookman Adekunle Salami) has a remarkable debut with lyrics that recall the densely layered poetry of Bob Dyla and a strange and wacky new cut from Cloud Becomes Your Hand, a New York-based band with a sense of humor and adventure that reminds Bob of Devo. 1. King Creosote "You Just Want," 2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds "Jesus Alone," 3. Peter Gabriel "The Veil," 4. Nick Murphy "Fear Less," 5. L.A. Salami "Going Mad As The Street Bins," 6. Cloud Becomes Your Hands "Hermit"

All Songs +1: A Film On Nick Cave And Coping With The Loss Of His Son  

There's a new film featuring Nick Cave and the first chance to hear his thoughts since his 15-year-old son fell from a cliff. We talk to director Andrew Dominik.

+1: Grandaddy Is Back! Frontman Jason Lytle Talks About New Album, Shares Two New Songs  

Ten years after Grandaddy's last album, the Modesto, Calif. band has released two new songs. Singer Jason Lytle reveals the emotional turmoil behind his return to the band's signature distorted pop.

New Sylvan Esso, Sharon Van Etten, R.E.M. Acoustic, More  

When we settled into the studio for this week's All Songs Considered, a clear theme quickly emerged: We had a whole lot of music by artists we already adore! This includes a rare acoustic demo by R.E.M., a glorious new electro-pop cut from Sylvan Esso, a heartbreaking tribute song from Sharon Van Etten and more.This year marks the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.'s 1991 classic album Out Of Time. To mark the occasion, the band is releasing a deluxe version of the album that includes early acoustic demos of every song, including the one Robin Hilton kicks this week's show off with, "Radio Song." Stephen Thompson follows in the same spirit with Sylvan Esso's brand new "Radio," a somewhat retro synth thumper that mixes the band's signature dance pop with singer Amelia Meath's searching, often melancholy vocals.Also on the show: Sharon Van Etten's stirring tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, Fla.; English poet, playwright and rapper Kate Tempest and a fabulous kiss-off from the Phoenix, Ariz. band AJJ. Plus, John K. Samson, lead singer for The Weakerthans, returns with a sentimental new song that has Stephen thinking of happier days.

All Songs Rewind: Breaking Up With Your Favorite Bands  

This week: the moment it all went wrong, relived in vivid detail. Members of the All Songs Considered crew share stories of hope and heartache as they remember some of the bands they've broken up with over the years and why. NPR Music's Daoud Tyler-Ameen joins hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton for the discussion. Context is everything here, so the three narrowed their picks into four basic categories: bands you swore off entirely and never looked back; bands you simply grew away from with age; bands you no longer follow, but you still remember the good times; and bands you'll stick by no matter what. Prepare for pride-swallowing tales of joy and pain, smooth jazz and second-wave emo, outrage and, ultimately, redemption.

+1: The Beatles Are Live And Sounding Better Than Ever  

On this +1 edition of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen talks with producer Giles Martin about his remarkable efforts to salvage the only three professional recordings ever made of The Beatles performing live. Giles explains how he was able to take the analog tapes of the band's Hollywood Bowl shows from 1964 and 1965 and make them sound so much better. Giles Martin is the son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin.

All Songs Rewind: The Worst Songs Of All Time?  

Note: With hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton away this week, we've got an encore presentation of The Worst Songs Of All Time, from Feb. 2014. Guitarist, actor, writer (and former Monitor Mix blogger) Carrie Brownstein joins us, along with NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, to do something we don't normally do: Talk about the songs we really, really don't like. Our mission at All Songs is to bring you our favorite musical discoveries of the week. But after Stephen wrote his Good Listener column examining Starship's widely reviled hit single "We Built This City," we watched the comments pour in like an out-of-control fire hose, and got to talking about all the songs that drive us bonkers. It was so much fun we decided to continue the discussion here, with a look at some of the contenders for worst songs of all time, and why they stick in our craw. These are the relentless earworms — the songs you can't escape once they're in your head — or the annoying novelty songs. "The Candy Man," anyone? We also look at songs that take themselves too seriously, songs we used to love until they were ruined by a bad personal experience and more.

All Songs +1: How Aaron Dessner Unknowingly Rescued Lisa Hannigan  

I've missed Lisa Hannigan. Five years ago the Irish songwriter and singer made an unforgettably beautiful record called Passenger. She came by to play a Tiny Desk Concert that year and then I waited sometimes impatiently for five years, it was tough, I miss her sad delicate songs. Well it turns out the five year gap wasn't something she did with intent. On this +1 edition of All Songs Considered I talk with Lisa Hannigan about how this happenstance collaboration, how it unlocked her writing block and the mechanics of making this long distance musical relationship work.

Bon Iver, The White Stripes, Ed Harcourt, Lambchop, More  

This week on All Songs Considered, we return from break with new music by some of our all-time favorite artists, including a wildly different sound from Bon Iver, a previously unreleased White Stripes song and a remarkable new direction for the Nashville art-folk group Lambchop.Also on the show: The Neutral Milk Hotel-inspired LVL UP, an arresting instrumental from Swans percussionist Thor Harris and Ed Harcourt's searing indictment against political corruption.But first, Robin digs into a little gift from Bob: a Twinkie! Playlist: 1. LVL UP, 2. Bon Iver, 3. Lambchop, 4. The White Stripes, 5. Thor & Friends, 6. Ed Harcourt

Blood Orange, NAO, Joyce Manor, Factory Floor, More  

This week, we've got a surprise: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton both went on vacation and left the All Songs studio unlocked. Apparently neither one of them uses two-step verification, so it took only a very minor effort for a couple of highly skilled NPR Music team members, Daoud Tyler-Ameen and Saidah Blount, to hack into the elaborate system of tubes, funnels and hamster wheels that feed podcasts from our microphones into your earbuds for a very special takeover edition of All Songs Considered. Daoud last visited the show to play some foot-stomping power-pop, and Saidah was our copilot for this year's South By Southwest festival preview. Together they dissect new music from California punks Joyce Manor, sounding more fleshed-out and anthemic than ever; slow-burning electro-soul from London songwriter Nao; a hip-hop track by two South Asian MCs that's as funny as it is uneasy about our current political moment and more. (And because Daoud and Sai grew up in the '80s and '90s, reference is made to JNCO jeans, black lipstick, the old THX logo theme and the end credits of the 1995 Power Rangers film. Things get ... specific.)

All Songs +1: A Conversation With Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood  

On this week's +1 Bob chats with Radiohead's visionary guitarist Jonny Greenwood about the making of the band's newest record, A Moon Shape Pool

New Mix: Regina Spektor, Lowell, Angelica Garcia, More  

On this week's episode of All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen and guest host Stephen Thompson play new music from Regina Spektor, experimental rap from Clipping, which features Daveed Diggs of Hamilton, and a great synth track from singer-songwriter Lowell.Bob starts the show off with a song from the 22-year-old guitarist and singer Angelica Garcia that he cannot get out of his head. Orange Flower" is a playful, foot-stomping rock track and Garcia's very first single. Stephen shares "Umpqua Rushing," a song about a river in Oregon by the group Blind Pilot, who he has been following for almost a decade.But first, it's Stephen's birthday, which means it's time for the NPR Music team to surprise him with a cake made of ice cream and Twinkies. Obviously.

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