Robin Hilton

Laura Marling's latest taste from what may be her best album so far is "Wild Fire," a beautiful, breezy reflection on the universal search for identity and purpose. It's an immediately arresting mix of spare, fluttering percussion and gospel harmonies with gently strummed acoustic guitars. Marling lets the song breathe and slowly open up. It feels like the dawn.

The Joshua Tree, the album that made U2 global megastars, turns 30 this year. To mark the milestone, the band will perform the seminal album in its entirety at several live performances scheduled throughout the year, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo in June.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is back with an incredibly infectious new song called "Fireproof." It's the first single from the band's upcoming full-length, The Tourist, due out Feb. 24.

"Fireproof" is a thumping, synth-heavy look at how naive people can be. "I know it's hard to win," sings frontman Alec Ounsworth. "But how could I have thought that we'd ever lose."

The Jesus And Mary Chain will release a new album next March, nearly 20 years after the band's last full-length release, 1998's Munki. The new album is called Damage And Joy, and our first taste of it is the grimly-titled but relatively poppy single, "Amputation."

This week, all the songs I play ended up being about the ways people, particularly women, empower themselves in the face of difficult times. Singer Sam Phillips offers a feast of sound in less than two and a half minutes with "World On Sticks," a song about the indomitable human spirit.

If there's a singular message in the latest work from The Avett Brothers, it's this: Love everyone.

Their video for the song "Ain't No Man," released this past summer, challenges preconceived notions about race and religion by observing the way people treat each other at a busy airport.

Ty Segall's next album, which will be self-titled, is due out Jan. 27, 2017, on Drag City. It comes just over a year after Segall released his previous full-length, Emotional Mugger.

Shortly after his 82nd birthday, Leonard Cohen sat down with KCRW's Chris Douridas for an interview. The two talked about Cohen's health, the role of religion in his life, his 14th and final album, You Want It Darker, and much more.

The conversation took place at the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles on Oct. 13 as part of a special listening session for You Want It Darker. It's the last interview Cohen gave before his death on November 7.

Last week Bob Boilen and I asked you to share your favorite memories of Pink Floyd and what the band's music has meant to you. It's one of those bands that stirs up powerful feelings.

If you love Pink Floyd like Bob Boilen and I do, chances are you've got a story or two to tell about how the band's music has figured into your life. Maybe it's the first time you heard them, or a live show you saw, or an important friendship that formed over their music. Whatever your story is, we want to hear it.

If you're looking of a break from the relentless assault of gut-churning news headlines, you've come to the right place! For this week's show I thought I'd send a little bit of good cheer into the world with some big, joyful group sing-alongs that celebrate life and all its gloriousness.

The first burst of light and love comes from the London-based band Crystal Fighters and its anthem to how momentary and magical life is. I follow with Fialta, a group from California with a simple message: We're all in this together.

Grandaddy will release its first new album in more than a decade next year. It's called Last Place and is due out March 3 on Danger Mouse's 30th Century Records.

As Bon Iver's Justin Vernon prepped the release for his latest mind-bender, 22, A Million, he knew he didn't want to talk too much about the album or grant a lot of interviews. So he held a single press conference in Eau Claire, Wisc., on Sept. 2, just a few weeks after performing the entire album live at Vernon's own Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

This intimate, completely unadorned cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" will warm your heart. Andrew Bird and The National's Matt Berninger recorded the song together in Bird's living room; Bird provided the instrumentation, his trademark whistling and violin gracefully looping together, and Berninger reads the lyrics from a sheet of paper on the floor.

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.

The cast recording of Lazarus, the musical David Bowie wrote with playwright Enda Walsh, is out this week, and with it arrives three previously unreleased Bowie songs recorded during his Blackstar sessions. "Killing A Little Time" is the third track to leak from the album, and it's an ominous, polyrhythmic rock scorcher that would have fit well on the icon's final album. It's one of the last songs he recorded before his death from liver cancer in January.

The new album from the experimental rock band Negativland comes with a plastic bag containing 2 grams of Don Joyce's cremated remains. Joyce, a member of the group, died of heart failure in 2015. According to an official announcement on Boing Boing, the band's forthcoming album, The Chopping Channel, will ship with little bags of Joyce's ashes for as long as "supplies last."

It's not easy to make sense of the latest song from Foxygen. One minute, "America" is lurching orchestral pop, complete with dramatic strings and woodwinds. The next, it's a melancholy piano piece, followed by a sudden shift to oddball jazz punctuated by bursts of noise and orchestrated chaos. It's an epic, head-spinning collision of sounds worthy of multiple listens. "If you're already there, then you're already dead," the Los Angeles duo sings. "If you're living in America."

Days after playing the Desert Trip festival in Indio, Calif., Roger Waters is announcing a new, multi-state tour. It's his first since the 2010-2013 tour of The Wall and starts in May of next year, with stops in more than 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Waters has named it the "Us And Them" tour after the song he wrote for Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon. He told NPR Music its themes about the haves and have-nots are more relevant and topical than ever.

The sweetly innocent folk-pop duo Lily & Madeleine take a disturbingly dark turn in their new video for the song "Westfield." After a brief credits sequence that apes the Netflix series Stranger Things, the sisters find themselves running from two shadowy predators on a foggy night. "Westfield, dark and blue," they sing while trying to escape.

Last week, after I played a monstrously good guitar rock cut by Major Stars, Bob Boilen rolled his eyes while foolishly claiming the guitar solo was dead. So we did an entirely scientific poll (it wasn't scientific) on Twitter to see what listeners thought. As I expected, the vast majority — nearly 70 percent — said, "No, Bob." The guitar solo is not dead.

Dirty Projectors guitarist and singer Amber Coffman's long-anticipated solo album is finally about to see the light of day. It's called City Of No Reply, and the first single from it is a gorgeous, soulful — if slightly bent — ballad called "All To Myself." A video for the song shows Coffman strolling along the seaside, looking somewhat forlorn, while singing to herself. Later she's buried up to her neck in sand. "I've got to sing it out," Coffman sings. "Sing it all to myself, there's no one to run to.

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