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Music

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


It was February 1967, and 18-year-old Marine Pfc. Bill Ehrhart was days away from leaving for Vietnam. He had just enjoyed his last weekend off base, and his friends had offered to drive him back to Camp Pendleton, Calif., before sunrise.

"It was goodbye civilian world, next stop Vietnam," says Ehrhart, now a writer and poet.

We're being treated to a special kind performance from a tight-knit group of friends.

On this week's All Songs Considered we premiere new music from Aldous Harding. The artist from New Zealand made my number two album from 2017 (Party) and her latest song, "The Barrel," indicates that she'll be another year-end favorite of mine in 2019.

A brickbat is something to wield: a rock, or a biting remark. It's also the name of the debut album by the British band Piroshka. Led by Miki Berenyi of British shoegazers Lush, the band comprises musicians from a handful of acts that made their mark in the 1990s British indie-pop scene, including Berenyi's partner K.J. McKillop of Moose, Elastica's Justin Welch and Modern English's Mick Conroy.

Our list of the best albums out this week includes the first new music from funk and R&B legend Chaka Khan in 12 years, the cinematic, transporting sounds of Yann Tiersen, bubblegum punk from Sir Babygirl and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Lauren Onkey and Stephen Thompson as they share their top picks for Feb. 15.

Featured Albums:

  1. Chaka Khan: Hello Happiness
    Featured Songs: "Like Sugar" and "Too Hot"
  2. RY X: Unfurl
    Featured Song: "Untold"

Ryan Adams, a prolific singer-songwriter and producer who first rose to prominence in the early 2000s, has been accused by seven women of using his professional influence to lure them into sexual relationships, including one when the woman was a minor. The women's stories were first reported by the New York Times in an article published Wednesday evening; each claims that Adams, as a well-known musician, would suggest artistic collaborations as a way to pursue or preserve the relationships.

LA's Cherry Glazerr celebrated the release of its latest album, Stuffed & Ready, with a live performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic. The band's seamless blend of dreamy rock and punk was performed with fun, raucous energy.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

The Women Behind The Songs: Holly Knight

Feb 12, 2019

Holly Knight helped define the sound of '80s pop music. Though you may not know her name, the three-time Grammy winner's music has appeared on more than half a billion records sold.

Born in New York City, Knight started playing piano at age 4 and studied classical music for more than a decade. But as a teenager in the 1970s, Manhattan's downtown rock scene beckoned.

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