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Music

Festival season is upon us. In the past week, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival hosted its 19th year of memorable performances, which also resulted in memorable releases.

Two years after winning the Grammy for best rock album, Cage the Elephant is back with its fifth studio album, Social Cues, out now. But since the band's last album, 2015's Tell Me I'm Pretty, there hasn't been much celebration. The band's members have experienced plenty of loss — from friends dying from overdoses to divorce. Those changes made it into the music of this latest album.

The Cranberries were one of the most successful groups to emerge from Ireland. The members, Dolores O'Riordan as lead vocalist, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler, were in the studio working on what is now their final studio album when volcalist, O'Riordan died suddenly in January 2018.

Our shortlist of must-hear albums this week includes the incredible sonic adventures of Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker), acoustic, instrumental rock from Rodrigo y Gabriela, a byzantine concept album from The Mountain Goats and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Felix Contreras and Stephen Thompson as they run through their picks for the best new releases out on April 26.

Featured Albums:

  1. Nick Murphy: Run Fast, Sleep Naked
    Featured Songs: "Sanity," "Sunlight," "Novocaine and Coca Cola"

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."

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.

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.


Blooming storms permeate The Felice Brothers' first album in three years. With Undress, the Felice Brothers' folk-rock sound and vision has matured and focused, and the band does its best at making sense of our modern times.

We welcome back an influential and iconic musician to the punk and hardcore scene, Bob Mould. After blazing trails in the '80s with Hüsker Dü, and in the '90s with Sugar, Mould has had a successful solo career for the last 25 years. His latest album, Sunshine Rock, is an intentional look away from the politics of now and instead a look back to the albums he loved as a youth.

Rock fans fell in love with The Cranberries in the early '90s, thanks, in large part, to the haunting, Celtic-inspired voice of the Irish rock band's lead singer, Dolores O'Riordan. The Cranberries, made up of O'Riordan on lead vocal, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler on drums, created an intoxicating juxtaposition of grunge and alternative pop, with O'Riordan's lilting lyrics searing through right in.

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