Music

For the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead's founding, the band will perform three shows — their last — in Chicago this weekend. According to Billboard magazine, the "Fare Thee Well" concerts will bring in an estimated $50 million. That's pretty impressive, considering that band's lead guitarist died two decades ago.

Earlier this week, All Songs Considered shared our favorite music from debut albums released in the first half of 2015. The NPR Music team also got together to make epic lists of albums and songs we already think might make our year-end lists in December.

Kashikura Takashi is a hell of a drummer. Fifteen years into the existence of toe, he's often been the focus of the instrumental Japanese post-rock band, and for good reason. Takashi is aerobic and musical all at once, capable of Questlove-level precision and soul one moment, and a cyclone of controlled chaos the next. But the thing that's always set toe apart from its technically minded peers is its ability to tell short, concise stories — ecstatic, noodly, complex pop songs that unfold in less than five minutes.

Thursdays this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a personal memory about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

KCRW Presents: Bilal

Jul 2, 2015

Philly-bred soul singer Bilal recently walked into the KCRW studio with his red acoustic guitar and, joined by an upright bassist and electric guitarist, played a beautiful set of stripped-down songs. "Satellites," the first single from his new album In Another Life, was a clear highlight.

SET LIST

  • "Satellites"

Ani Difranco has a line in her 2012 song, "If Yr Not," where she sings, "If you're not getting happier as you get older / Then you're [messing] up." Chicago alt-rock band Veruca Salt certainly didn't seem unhappy in their heyday in the mid- and late-'90s, but it's apparent within in ten seconds of the band's first album in nearly a decade, Ghost Notes, how much more fun they're having now.

If they're lucky, talented and charismatic, young musical men in Nashville can find themselves playing a game of musical Let's Make A Deal. Behind Door No. 1 is a truck, a beer cooler and a lady in snug jeans; the challenge is to make anything out of these party-anthem ingredients that feels fresh and isn't insipid. Door No. 2 conceals the tools of traditionalism — a cowboy (or, currently, trucker) hat, an acoustic guitar and a solid but burdensome set of assumptions about what authentic storytelling can be. Behind Door No. 3? That's the hot spot for people who like to dance.

There's a new album coming from Beach House, the dreamy Baltimore-based duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. That album, called Depression Cherry, comes out on Sub Pop on Aug. 28. Today we get to hear a first song from the album, called "Sparks," and I interviewed Beach House about it.

The Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well Tour concerts in California have wrapped up, and this weekend, the band moves on to Chicago for its final three shows. From its beginnings in San Francisco, and certainly since the 1970s, the Dead has inspired fans to join it — following the group became a lifestyle.

DMA's On World Cafe

Jul 1, 2015

The Australian trio DMA's experienced radio success with the first three singles its members released. On the heels of sold-out tours in Australia and a journey across the U.S., DMA's just released a self-titled EP, with a full-length debut due out next year. The band performs some of its new songs in this World Cafe session, including the hit "Delete."

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