NPR Music

The world is still mourning Prince's death last April, and fans paying tribute often return to one monumental work: Purple Rain. The album and the film won three Grammys and an Oscar, influenced countless musicians and made Prince a superstar. A critical ingredient in that success was his band at the time: The Revolution.

The musical mastermind and human frontman of Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, started writing Humanz more than a year ago, before Donald Trump was the Republican nominee for President.

The target that New York's Endless Boogie aims to hit with its music is about an inch wide and 10,000 feet deep. That the band threads the needle every time speaks not to the message implicit in its name (yes, this is fried electric-blues boogie; yes, its songs tend to roll on for considerable lengths), but to the satisfaction that message suggests.

The strange creatures that chase after a young girl in Fall Out Boy's new video, for the song "Young And Menace," are like demented versions of the beasts from Where the Wild Things Are. And like that beloved children's story, the whole tale that unfolds is like a surreal dream, though decidedly much, much darker.

Warren Zevon On Mountain Stage

Apr 27, 2017

From the Mountain Stage archives: a little-heard performance from gifted singer-songwriter-rocker Warren Zevon, recorded live Nov. 17, 1991, at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Zevon was a beloved cult hero in the world of rock music.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Aimee Mann On World Cafe

Apr 26, 2017

Aimee Mann joins World Cafe for an interview and to perform songs from her new album, Mental Illness, her first solo record since she took time to collaborate with indie rocker Ted

So is a gnarwhal a whale that shreds the gnar? And what does the whale shred? Does the whale shred with its tusk? These are hard-hitting questions for Gnarwhal, but the Nashville guitar-and-drums duo only responds with wild yelps, frantic guitar work and crashing drums.

"Light-Up City" comes from the band's third album, Crucial, and it's a raw and switchback-crazy seven minutes of chaotic math-rock. Drive Like Jehu's most emotionally wrought moments come to mind, but stripped down to the bare essentials.

You'll need a few viewings to make any sense out of the new Father John Misty video for "Total Entertainment Forever." The song is, at least in part, an indictment against popular culture, the blind adoration of pop stars and the rampant obsession with virtual reality.

Already an industry veteran at 20, Rosie Carney writes songs that feel lived-in and worn, conveying a bruised ache well beyond her years. The Irish singer-songwriter has been letting singles trickle out for a few years now, and her latest, "Your Moon," strikes a sure-footed balance between airy tenderness and coolly jazzy melancholy.

It's not unusual for art to pull from adolescent experience, an infatuation with innocence. The danger, of course, is that hindsight is 20/20, and teenage experiences are much less awkward in retrospect. With its debut single from its upcoming LP, Plastic Cough, the Seattle indie-rock band Great Grandpa doesn't ignore the gracelessness of youth. It embraces it.

I want to introduce you to Chad Clark, a Washington D.C. artist with the band Beauty Pill, which begins a tour today with a musical hero of Clark's and of mine, Arto Lindsay.

A broken heart can be enough to drive anyone completely mad. Just ask Highly Suspect frontman Johnny Stevens, who snaps his cap and trashes a thrift store after losing the love of his life in a new video for the song "Little One."

Recorded under the name Novo Amor, Ali Lacey's music weaves together many exquisite strands, from gently picked acoustic guitars to subtle but moving strings. Still, no facet of Lacey's sound is more delicate than his soft, airy, fragile falsetto.

To be clear, Radiohead did not cover the reggaeton hit "Gasolina" at the band's April 17 show in Berkeley, Calif. But a video that's surfaced online sure makes it seem like they did.

Palm does not write music for passive listening. Out of jagged edges and complex, interlocking pieces, the Philadelphia quartet makes off-kilter art rock that demands — and rewards — your full attention. Guitarists and singers Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt write deeply intertwined melodies that seem to bounce off each other with razor-sharp precision; Gerasimos Livitanos' twitchy, punctuated bass lines mesh with Hugo Stanley's hectic, forceful drumming. The overall effect of cohesion is transfixing.

For this week's show, Bob Boilen and I throw open the studio door to welcome a parade of guests from the NPR Music team, each sharing their favorite April releases. This includes Jake Witz, one of our fabulous Spring interns, who has some relatively restrained music from U.K. grime artist Mr. Mitch.

This isn't the easiest time to enter the job market, especially not when so many opportunities are drying up in fields ranging from coal mining to retail.

Ty Segall's new head-spinning video for the song "Break A Guitar" opens with a very brief cameo by Fred Armisen, before bursting into an ever-growing swirl of Kaleidoscopic images.

Southern California's The Wild Reeds is made up of three singers, each one also a songwriter, who have been combining their voices since they met in college. Each of the women — Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva and Mackenzie Howe — has a distinctive style, but together they find a way to blend them to create amazing harmonies.

Andy Shauf's latest album, The Party, landed on last year's short list for Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize. It's filled with songs that chronicle the awkward moments and juicy encounters that can happen at a house party in a small town: the half-wit spilling his guts after a bottle of wine, the friend making late-night confessions to his crush while her boyfriend stands oblivious and stoned in the corner, what it feels like to be the first person to show up at the party.

Carrie Brownstein has made a name for herself as creator and star of Portlandia and as one-third of the beloved riot grrl band Sleater-Kinney, whose seminal album Dig Me Out recently turned 20. But before all that, Brownstein was just another music fan — and as she tells NPR, her local record store, Rubato Records, was the site of an awakening.

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