NPR Music

"Sometimes we like each other / and sometimes we just wish we were with another," sings Hannah Mohan on the title track from And The Kids' upcoming album, Friends Share Lovers. "It's okay because / friends share lovers," she later adds. As the title attests, both song and album zero in on what happens when a tight-knit group gets maybe too close.

Experimental pop band Animal Collective recently recorded a rare radio session for us at the Village while in Los Angeles for two sold-out shows. Panda Bear, Avey Tare and Geologist — the multi-instrumentalists behind the band — brought us a collection of songs from their new album, Painting With, including "Golden Gal."

SET LIST

  • "Golden Gal"

Radiohead's social media accounts disappeared over the weekend, which — because we know Radiohead — got us all excited about the possibility of a new album. That tease got extended even further earlier this week when the band released "Burn The Witch," the first song likely from the group's upcoming, ninth album.

Bob Weir had good reason for vehemently roaring, "If I had my way I would tear this old building down," when the Grateful Dead played the Omaha Civic Auditorium on July 5, 1978; the chorus of the galvanic "Samson And Delilah" might have expressed how he and the rest of the band were feeling when they began performing that night at the 11,000-capacity venue for a crowd that reportedly didn't exceed three figures.

Esmé Patterson is one of several young women — others include Frances Quinlan of Hop Along, Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield, and Julien Baker — making music that could be called synapse-rock.

Ben Harper recorded with the Innocent Criminals from 1997 through his 2007 album, Lifeline. Since then, he's worked solo and with Relentless7 — until now. The Innocent Criminals join Harper on his new album, Call It What It Is.

The Canadian band Grindmother last week released its debut album, Age of Destruction. The group gets its name in part from the style of music it plays, known for short songs with blistering tempos and heavy distortion.

Two-time Grammy winner Jason Isbell opens his sold-out show at House Of Blues Boston with a searing version of his blues-rock song "Palmetto Rose." With lyrical references to the "Iodine State," "Sullivan's Island" and "bull**** stories 'bout the Civil War," Isbell plants listeners square on the sidewalks of Charleston, South Carolina, where street vendors hawk roses to tourists.

Winterpills On World Cafe

May 3, 2016

Two distinct strains of music might come to mind when one thinks of the western Massachusetts hamlet of Northampton and the surrounding area. One is the singer-songwriter scene centered around the venue The Iron Horse and the Signature Sounds label. The other is the loud rock scene conjured by J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr.

Blood Visions was, for many, the first exposure to the jimmy-legging tunefulness and frantic musicianship of the late Jay Reatard, and it was the record that pushed him into a spotlight that at times seemed more like a moving target than like anything that might bring focus to the person behind the music. But there had been a path to that solo career, one that led from myriad earlier projects and one-offs which showcased a talent that couldn't be reined in.

As a co-founder of the band X, John Doe helped define the punk scene that emerged in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Doe tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that punk was about breaking rules and challenging the norms of the existing music scene.

World Cafe Next: Black Pistol Fire

May 2, 2016

Black Pistol Fire is the stomping, blues-inflected duo of Kevin McKeown on guitar and lead vocals and Eric Owen on drums. Originally from Toronto, the two now call Austin home. Black Pistol Fire's fourth album, Don't Wake The Riot, comes out later this month.

Parquet Courts On World Cafe

May 1, 2016

It turns out that Parquet Courts' most recent two albums were actually recorded at the same time. As guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Andrew Savage explains, the band's 2015 EP, Monastic Living, was a mostly instrumental "palate cleanser" that prepared him and songwriting partner Austin Brown to record this year's Human Performance.

"It could have spelled the end for us."

The San Francisco duo of Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud got together in 2011 after meeting via the songwriting circuit in the area. They've been touring together ever since, crisscrossing the country in their Volkswagen Golf. In 2014, Quiles & Cloud won the Duo Contest at the Freshgrass Festival at MassMoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts — a prize that included working on a record with Allison Brown at Compass Records in Nashville.

Each month, we ask music curators at public radio stations across the country to introduce us to one new song they can't stop spinning. In April, these denizens of the left side of the dial loved songs by Brooklyn electric-folk band Big Thief, Philadelphia power-pop quintet Sheer Mag, Louisiana garage-rock outfit Seratones and more. Hear all 10 selections below.

This is body music, provided your body is a wet noodle blasted by an industrial fan. Horse Lords' members pull from Saharan desert blues, krautrock, jazz and the band Television for building blocks that simultaneously tumble and rebuild, with repeating patterns that demand movement.

Andrew Bird On World Cafe

Apr 28, 2016

Andrew Bird is back with a new album called Are You Serious? — and he's once again approaching his music in a different way.

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

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

DMA's On World Cafe

Apr 27, 2016

Tommy O'Dell, Johnny Took and Matt Mason, who make up the Australian trio DMA's, were on World Cafe in 2015 when they released their self-titled EP. Now, just a year later, they've released their first full-length, a guitar-driven garage-pop record called Hills End. Hear DMA's perform four songs from the album in this special mini-concert for World Cafe.

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