Robin Hilton

Nearly 40 years into their career, The Flaming Lips remain remarkably ageless and endlessly creative. They return this week with another heady, psychedelic pop record inspired by a surreal art installation by frontman Wayne Coyne. On this week's New Music Friday, we climb inside the band's kaleidoscopic new record, The King's Mouth.

Wilco has announced it'll release the band's 11th studio album later this year. Drawing its title from the poetry of Friedrich Schiller — and Beethoven's Ninth symphony — Wilco's Ode to Joy will feature what frontman Jeff Tweedy calls "really big, big folk songs," including the album's first single, "Love is Everywhere (Beware)."

It's been eight years since Ed Sheeran released his 2011, career-launching EP, No. 5 Collaborations Project. Now his No. 6 Collaborations Project has arrived and it's a features-heavy flex that shows the singer can pretty much work with anyone, from the country rock of Chris Stapleton to Eminem, 50 Cent and Skrillex. We give a listen on this week's New Music Friday along with K.R.I.T. IZ HERE, Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T.'s followup to his 2010 mixtape K.R.I.T.

For the past year, NPR has been taking a deep look at American anthems and all the forms they can take. These are the songs that unite us, inspire us or say something about what it means to be an American — songs as traditional as Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," or as defiant as Public Enemy's "Fight the Power."

After giving us a series of baffling ads in the London Tube and the back pages of the Dallas Observer, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke finally released his third solo album, ANIMA, on Thursday — meaning you won't have to listen to "Not The News" on speakerphone anymore. On this week's New Music Friday, we dive into Yorke's vivid dreamscape and its accompanying film, as well as The Black Keys' electrifying Let's Rock (their first record in five years), Freddie Gibbs and Madlib's fresh collab Bandana and more.

YouTube

Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard will release her first-ever solo album later this summer.

YouTube

Hobo Johnson and The Lovemakers, the comical rap-rock group from Sacramento and former

The 20-year old Atlanta rapper Lil Nas X has been riding a major hype wave since his self-released single "Old Town Road" blew up the Internet and multiple music charts. (It's in its eleventh week on top of Billboard's Hot 100). Now he's on Columbia Records and his debut EP has finally dropped. Is he a one-hit wonder or does he have more surprises for his fans?

YouTube

The latest video from Sharon Van Etten finds the singer-songwriter wandering the streets of a strange and empty cit

Spoon has dropped its first new song since the 2017 album Hot Thoughts. "No Bullets Spent" is classic Spoon, with crisp guitars, spare beats and frontman Britt Daniel's cryptic observations, this time on youth and coming of age in a world plagued by gun violence and economic inequality. "You got an education," sings Daniel. "Don't know what you got 'til you're 22 / Got a mortgage hung around your neck." Repeatedly he pleas, "What we need now is an accident / No one to blame and no bullets spent."

It's a packed release week, starting with Western Stars, Bruce Springsteen's lush and loving ode to mid-'60s orchestral pop. The metal band Baroness ventures into prog-rock territory with its most ambitiously artful release to date, while British spoken word artist Kate Tempest takes listeners on a head-spinning journey into the heart of modern anxiety. All of those, plus the most joyful album to date from Bill Callahan, DMV rapper Goldink and more.

Radiohead has officially released 18 hours of demos and outtakes recorded between 1995 and 1998 during the band's OK Computer sessions, after the tapes were reportedly stolen and leaked online.

The midyear point is a good time to pause and take stock of all the great new music that's come out, which usually includes releases from a whole bunch of new and emerging artists. We'd like to know who your favorite new band or musician is in 2019, so far. We'll define a "new artist" as someone who released their debut, full-length album in the first half of the year. (If they don't yet have a full-length, their first EP or single will do.)

Our shortlist for the best new albums out this week includes the roots-rock duo Ida Mae, a stirring gospel record from disco legend Gloria Gaynor, the ruminative rock of Palehound, an ode to the African diaspora from Santana, a collaboration between Stef Chura and Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Felix Contreras, Marissa Lorusso and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best releases of June 7.

Featured Albums:

Bon Iver is back with its first new recorded music in three years. The band this morning dropped two new songs with lyric videos. The first, "Hey, Ma," is a glittering remembrance of childhood and a mother's love. "Tall time to call your ma," sings Justin Vernon over faded home videos of his family. "I was tokin' on dope / I hoped it all won't go in a minute / With the past that you know."

Sufjan Stevens is celebrating Pride Month (which begins June 1) with the release of two new songs. The first, "Love Yourself" is based on a sketch Stevens originally wrote and recorded in 1996. "Love, can you love yourself," Stevens sings in a euphoric chorus. "Show me everything, every reason to believe in yourself."

In the summer of 1973, Carole King was at the peak of her popularity and influence. She had ushered in a new era of singer-songwriters that dominated popular music; Tapestry, which she'd dropped two years earlier, was still a top-selling album, well on its way to becoming one of the most-loved and best-selling albums of all time. King had also just released Fantasy, a thematic album recorded with a jazz-funk band, and embarked on her first-ever live concert performance outside of the United States.

Rhye has built its reputation on crooning, soft-focus love ballads. But on the band's latest release, Spirit, singer Mike Milosh offers something unexpected: a set of downcast, solo piano instrumentals. On this week's All Songs Considered we hear the stark and beautifully gloomy cut "Malibu Nights."

Our shortlist of the best albums out this week includes a stirring call for social justice from soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples, rapper YG's powerful remembrance of Nipsey Hussle and the first new release in six years from lo-fi rock veterans Sebadoh. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Sidney Madden and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the most essential albums dropping on May 24.

Featured Albums:

  1. Mavis Staples: We Get By
    Featured Song: "Sometime"

Our sprint through this week's best new albums includes one of the most ambitious and visionary works The National has produced in its nearly 20-year career, pop wisdom and a call for kindness from Carly Rae Jepsen, the raw and defiant sounds of Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Sidney Madden and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on May 17.

Featured Albums:

Our shortlist of the best albums out on May 3 includes Vampire Weekend's first new album in six years, life-affirming "pep talks" from Judah & The Lion, the interdimensional sounds of Big Thief's latest album U.F.O.F., the profound lyricism of Nashville singer-songwriter Caroline Spence, former Civil Wars singer Joy Williams and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the week's best new albums.

Featured Albums:

The Prince Estate has announced plans to release another album of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1981 and 1991. The album, titled Originals, will be available June 7 exclusively on Tidal's Hi-Fi subscription tier, with physical copies, downloads and wider streaming services following on June 21. It features 15 demo versions of songs Prince wrote and recorded for other artists, including Sheila E., The Time and Kenny Rogers. Fourteen of the tracks have never been released before.

The Boss is back with his first new studio album in five years. Western Stars is due out June 14 on Columbia Records and, according to a press release announcing the record, will be largely influenced by the Southern California pop sounds of the late '60s and early '70s.

"This record is a return to my solo recordings," Springsteen says in a statement, "featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's a jewel box of a record."

We've been anxiously waiting for Lizzo to drop her debut full-length album ever since she dominated our South by Southwest showcase in 2017. Cuz I Love You is finally here and it's full of the kind of fearless swagger, unapologetic pride and boundless joy that's won over so many fans. We open this week's New Music Friday with just one of the standout cuts, "Juice."

This is probably the loosest you'll ever see Weezer. Known for meticulously produced — and electric — live shows, frontman Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the band settled in behind the Tiny Desk for an entirely acoustic set without the in-ear monitors, click track or vocal separation they usually employ to stay locked-in and tight for bigger performances. The result is surprisingly intimate, with songs that feel lived-in and rumpled, like an old flannel shirt from the '90s.

Billie Eilish is already a veteran pop artist at the age of 17, with a clear vision for her sound and image, even if that sound is sinister and the image a bit demented. (Have you seen her videos?) Her brilliant debut full-length, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is finally out and way more cryptic and complicated than the lead-up singles might have suggested.

It's a packed release week with a whole bunch of notable albums to highlight, including the rock guitar heroics on Ex Hex's It's Real, the wistful wisdom of Jenny Lewis, Andrew Bird's "finest work yet," mind-blowing sonics from the genre-bending composers Emily Wells and Lafawndah, the German electronic artist Apparat and much more. Hosts Robin Hilton and Stephen Thompson share their top picks for the best albums out on March 22 on this episode of New Music Friday.

Featured Albums:

We've returned from our weeklong grind through the South by Southwest music festival happy, though a little dazed, with ringing ears, and a whole bunch of incredible discoveries. On this All Songs Considered we run through some of the most memorable music and performances, from the shredded noise rock of Rev Rev Rev and thundering soul of Yola Carter to the Afro-Cuban grooves of Cimafunk and the remarkable voice of Tamino. Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson and I each saw around 100 different shows in just a few short days, way more than we could ever share in a single episode.

This week's somewhat abbreviated edition of New Music Friday includes an ambitious collaboration between Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O and producer Danger Mouse; the British electronic duo The Cinematic Orchestra returns with its first new album in more than a decade, featuring singer Moses Sumney, rapper Roots Manuva and other guests; and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus injects his woozy rock with a strange jolt of electronica. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on March 15.

Each year, the buzz in Austin, Texas, at the South By Southwest music festival can reach a deafening pitch. Our NPR Music team is here to help you cut through the noise. Every evening, we'll gather to roundup and recap the best discoveries of the day.

Pages