NPR Music

Mental escapes can take many different forms — settling deep into a calming meditation, binging Netflix's Tiger King in one chaotic seven-hour sitting — but for me, borderless music exploration always conjures up the type of daydreams and adventures my brain really wraps itself around.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Angelica Garcia

Where: Long Beach, Calif.

Recommendation: Ranchera music

I can't recall an artist so committed to making their Tiny Desk concert memorable. I'd met with Allen Stone weeks prior to go over priorities, expectations and the usual formalities, but this was different. His questions about how to prepare for the Tiny Desk signaled to me that he held this platform in the highest regard and that this wasn't just any appearance.

The crowd at Clement's Place is primed. The acclaimed vibraphonist Stefon Harris and his band, Blackout, are onstage in this snug jazz club on the campus of Rutgers University in Newark, N.J. Harris has high ambitions. He seeks to use his instrument and his already considerable reputation to change the way people relate to each other — to create empathy. But on this night, he's also there to play.

Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the world's leading composers, died Sunday at the age of 86. The Polish Ministry of Affairs announced his passing in a tweet. No cause of death was given.

The Polish-born composer established himself while still in his 20s with jarring atonal works such as Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, and came to be widely admired by music fans and musicians far outside traditional classical music circles.

British songwriter Dua Lipa has a new album and a new nickname: the quarantine queen."Don't Start Now," the lead single from Future Nostalgia, featured what Vulture called a "social-distance-positive refrain": "Don't show up, don't come out, don't start caring about me now."

Last month, Habibi released Anywhere But Here, the band's first full-length album since its self-titled debut in 2014. Just like that first record and the EPs and singles over the past six years, the new album is full of Habibi's signature mix of psychedelic rock and Iranian music.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We've heard these important commandments a thousand times - wash your hands, stay home, cough into your elbow. But no one said these important pronouncements couldn't be uplifting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CORONA VIRUS ALERT")

This is the most engaging song by Bob Dylan I've heard in decades. As someone who grew up in the era of President Kennedy's assassination, the portrait Dylan paints in "Murder Most Foul" is extraordinary, and takes me back to those days, to my memories of a nation overwhelmed by grief. There's something eerie about this song coming out at this precise moment.

Now-disgraced former opera star David Daniels has been fired from his position as a tenured professor at the University of Michigan [UM] following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Daniels' firing was approved Thursday by the school's board of regents. He was deemed not eligible for severance pay. According to the university, Daniels is the first tenured faculty member to be dismissed since it adopted its current bylaws in 1959.

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