Cyrena Touros

It's been a week full of heavy news from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan to the COVID surges in the U.S. to the destruction in Haiti after a massive earthquake. We hope you're managing in whatever way works best for you.

Rodrigo Amarante is full of bird facts.

When we meet him at his home, sitting out on his wooden deck that overlooks northeast LA, his doors and windows are all open, sunshine cascading through them. Amarante sits cross-legged underneath a patio umbrella that he's fashioned wheels on so that it can move easily with the sun. Despite making shade, he wears round, turtle-shell sunglasses as he fiddles with a bottle-top, pondering what inspired the genesis of his second solo album.

Songwriter Lucy Dacus grew up spending summers at Vacation Bible School and during the school year, sometimes skipping class to go to the movies with her friends in her hometown of Richmond, Va. Her third and latest album, Home Video, is an autobiographical, coming-of-age tale that borrows from those real life events she's tracked in journals since she was young.

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As the weather cools off, Mariah Carey's powers are only rising.


2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, in recognition of the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Since then, Pride has evolved: from that small commemoration to community gatherings in progressive enclaves like New York and San Francisco to corporate-sponsored parades and ticketed events across all 50 states; from a space where people on the margins created fragile alliances to a mainstream festivity.

Phoebe Bridgers is the first to admit that she's not reinventing herself on her new album. "There's nothing avant-garde about it," she says of Punisher, her second solo record and fourth major musical project in the last three years. Even so, there's a quiet, assertive power to Punisher.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Tomorrow Perfume Genius, the band led by singer, songwriter and movement artist Mike Hadreas, releases its fifth studio album, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. With an eclectic palette of Baroque pop, burbling rock and grunge, combined with a dance-focused visual treatment, the album is being greeted as a benchmark in Hadreas' career. NPR Music writers Marissa Lorusso and Cyrena Touros consider its impact, and the importance of Hadreas' career in setting a new standard for exploration of gender, sexuality and identity in rock, in the following exchange.

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Rihanna quietly made her first non-sampled vocal appearance since 2017

There's an old writing exercise that involves describing a color without naming it; it challenges the writer to evoke the emotional primacy of a concept we often take for granted.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. There's still time to enter: We're accepting videos until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30. You can watch a playlist of all the entries we've featured on the blog on YouTube.

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In the sense that Phoebe Bridgers has released music in a near-constant stream of projects since her 2017 debut,

Rambling along the sidewalk on the way to a party, body alight, something catches the eye. "Bugs in the streetlight," Ella O'Connor Williams sings. "Our time is over soon."

Conventional wisdom says that this is not the sort of maxim typically uttered by a 23-year-old; nevertheless, this acute pang of mortality anchors "Streetlight Blues" and I Was Born Swimming, Ella O'Connor Williams' debut record as Squirrel Flower.

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Today, Rosalía is back with her first release of 2020.

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Sinister and piercing, with a heavy lilt of Puberty 2 grunge — if you need a "gui

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Happy birthday to the man of many names.

If music has a transportive power, able to send us back in time with a just a few notes, then no type is as powerful as the holiday variety.

Pete Townshend: Not only is he the major creative force behind The Who, but he's also released several of his own solo records, prompted the first-known use of the term "rock opera" (for 1969's Tommy) and he's even credited with being the first person to smash a guitar on stage.

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As if someone with their foot on the gas of the collective madness meter heard "Punch it!," we've slammed full-speed ahead into political uncertainty as we enter the last stretch of th

This year's Tiny Desk Contest judges are excited to finally be getting ready to pick the 2019 winner. In the meantime, there's a lot going on in the Tiny Desk Contest community.