Scottish punk rocker Nye Todd writes melodies for anyone who is young at heart. His lyrics, however, tend to be a bit more specific.

Todd is the transgender lead singer of queer punk band The Spook School, and the bulk of the songs on the band's new album, Try To Be Hopeful, are personal accounts from the fringes. Societal norms and gender stereotypes are in the crosshairs during many of these 11 threadbare tunes, but Todd gives equal airtime to trans love songs that hit home no matter your orientation.

10 Reasons To Visit Your Local Record Store On Friday

Nov 26, 2015

Record Store Day has become its own holiday for longtime music collectors. Nothing brings cheer to a connoisseur quite like unwrapping a rare find from an independent record store. It's fitting, then, that the people behind the institution are kicking off the holiday season with a special Black Friday event just for the vinyl lover in your life, full of exclusive releases and limited editions from some of music's most collectible artists, new and old.

In 2009, The Dry Spells released Too Soon For Flowers, a folky rock album that became an instant best friend. Then, as far as I could tell, they vanished. But now there's new music from this Bay Area ensemble, a song called "Heliotrope," and I feel like an old buddy came to town for the holidays.

I asked about the long absence and guitarist Adria Ott wrote this back:

Boy & Bear On World Cafe

Nov 25, 2015

The Australian band Boy and Bear has a folk-rock sound often compared to Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons. The group is just starting to make inroads in North America, but at home their first album went platinum, their second debuted at Number 1 and their latest, Limit of Love, did the same.

Baio On World Cafe

Nov 24, 2015

Chris Baio was the music director at his college radio station and in a band while studying at Columbia. Seems like a typical indie college-kid story — except that his band was none other than Vampire Weekend.

Earthsongs Week of November 23, 2015

Nov 23, 2015

This week on Earthsongs: For 12 years, he was the lead vocalist of the band The Wolfpack. Jace Martin has now created a new sound of his own. You can hear some of his new tracks this week, including an exclusive unreleased single called “I Can’t Lose”. He speaks to us from Six Nations, Ontario as we chat about what led him to become a musician and start his own record label.