KNBA - KBC

Music

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"

Watch White Denim Perform 'Shanalala'

May 23, 2019

Austin, Texas-based band White Denim absolutely tore through its live session on Morning Becomes Eclectic with an energy and swagger that bent KCRW's airwaves. Technically proficient and loud as hell, the new tracks from the group's album, Side Effects, are best played with the volume up.

Some music is so ingrained in our collective minds that it's easy to forget how game-changing it was. In the late 1960s, a marriage of rock and folk took place and much of the popular music from that union was being made in a single place — Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

Eleven years ago, after a Metallica show, a gentleman named Warren told me "We have this band you have to hear." I jump into his car, he pops the CD in the player, and this blares out: "Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked / Money don't grow on trees / I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed / There ain't nothing in this world for free."

When Wilder Woods announced his debut musical project in early April of this year, two songs — "Someday Soon" and the R&B flavored "Sure Ain't" — had already piqued curiosity of fans. Shortly after the two songs emerged, the race was on to try to guess the identity of the artist. All of the press photos and glimpses of the singer in the videos were mostly hidden, making him difficult to see clearly. There were some very good, very close guesses about Wilder Woods' identity.

The four friends who make up the band Charly Bliss have grown a lot since they first met at summer camp as teenagers. The band's latest album, Young Enough, out now, was born out of growing pains.

Lead vocalist Eva Hendricks says the songs on this album were inspired by bad relationships — the kind that consume you and chip away at you until there's none of you left. The songs explore the crippling need to be liked — even if it means losing yourself in the process.

Saturday Night Live's 44th season ended over the weekend with the help of host Paul Rudd and musical guest DJ Khaled, who brought with him an all-star cast that included J Balvin, John Legend and SZA.

The Head and the Heart's latest album, Living Mirage, is warm, open and definitely leans hard on the "heart" part of the band's name. The band went to Joshua Tree in the desert to create the music. The trip was bassist Chris Zasche's idea — he thought the wide-open landscape would give the member's all a chance to start fresh and maybe see themselves differently.

YouTube

Bruce Springsteen has clearly spent the last few years with an eye toward the past; after all, he did just

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

Pages