NPR Music

NPR Music's Top 10 Albums Of January

Jan 31, 2020

One month into 2020 and it already feels like we've got strong contenders for albums of the year. From the auspicious debut of Squirrel Flower and Little Big Town's incredible harmonies to Jeff Parker's sample-heavy jazz and Mac Miller's posthumous Circles, January offered many gifts.

At the start of the 21st century, popular culture held up a persistent warning: Capitalism is peaking, and doom is just around the corner. You can see it in turn-of-the-millennium artifacts like Fight Club, The Matrix, Rage Against the Machine's The Battle of Los Angeles, Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile, Grant Morrison's comic series The Invisibles.

Last week, the New Orleans bands Tank and the Bangas and The Soul Rebels traveled to Havana to participate in a cultural exchange; it was meant to acknowledge the past by celebrating the present.

For today's session, The Milk Carton Kids plays songs from its latest release, The Only Ones, while standing around one microphone.

Peter Case On Mountain Stage

Jan 30, 2020

For the past three decades, American songwriting legend Peter Case has been stopping by Mountain Stage to share original stories and songs packed with his wry humor and Hunter S. Thompson-levels of attention to the oddly refreshing details.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Thistle & Shamrock: Songs Of The Bard

Jan 29, 2020

Fiona Ritchie is not alone in her belief that the songs of Scotland's National Bard are as relevant and popular today as they were when they were first written.

About three years ago, Leif Vollebekk was set to release Twin Solitude, an album he thought might end up being his last. He felt like he wasn't having fun or finding an audience. But once the album came out, that all changed. Twin Solitude was critically lauded, and his shows started filling up. The record was shortlisted for his home country's prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

Jimmy Eat World showed up to the NPR Music office all smiles and no guitars, goofing off with toy instruments behind the Tiny Desk and cracking jokes. They borrowed a couple acoustics, a miniature gong and tambourine emblazoned with Bob Boilen's face, which set the tone for a slightly silly, but altogether gracious performance.

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