Music

The dog days are decidedly over in "Queen of Peace/Long & Lost," the new double-feature video from London indie pop-rock megastars Florence and the Machine. The nearly 10 minute mini-movie is a gorgeous ode to the Scots countryside (director Vincent Haycock filmed it on the isle of Easdale), but its emotional frequency is less ode and more lament.

If the Newport Folk crowd was scandalized by Bob Dylan going electric in 1965, they would've hated Courtney Barnett's grungy, hard-rocking performance 50 years later.

I'd never imagined a great song poet writing "Getting Ready to Get Down," but there we have it. It's a hard and humorous look at religion, sex and a "risky" teenager becoming herself despite Bible school intervention. I talked with Josh Ritter about this song, and you can hear that interview and the song here or subscribe to the All Songs Considered podcast.

The guitars that open "Rider of Days," the first single from folk giant Patty Griffin's forthcoming album Servant of Love, take a moment to come into focus. They swim up from silence and surface just in time for Griffin's unmistakable voice to arrive and settle over them. Everything about "Rider of Days" is a slow burn, in the same way a victory lap is taken slower than the rest of the race.

Sufjan Stevens told the Newport Folk Festival crowd that this was his dream come true. What he never would have imagined in his wildest of dreams was that his performance was to follow a surprise performance from James Taylor. He was humbled to play after "Sweet Baby James," but honestly, his songs carry a power similar to that of Taylor's for a new generation of folk music fans.

The most puzzling musician on the lineup at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival was easily Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. For me, Pink Floyd represents the antithesis of folk music, with the band's psychedelic pulsating landscapes and big rock drums and guitars. Out there and psychedelic, yeah — down home and folky, nope.

Amy Helm, daughter of The Band's Levon Helm, grew up surrounded by music.

A Playlist For Newborns

Jul 24, 2015

On last week's All Songs +1, we shared the songs we think make a great introduction to the world of music for a newborn child.

We also asked you to share the first song you think a newborn should hear. Your picks spanned hundreds of years and nearly as many genres, from stirring orchestral works by Beethoven and Mahler to classics by Louis Armstrong and John Denver and softer songs by contemporary artists like My Morning Jacket and Phosphorescent.

All Songs At 15: I'd Like To Thank My Producer ...

Jul 23, 2015

All Songs Considered has been on a Guest DJ kick over the past few weeks. In two of our most recent sessions with Kate Tempest and SOAK, I noticed how both artists spoke about their producer reverently and at length. On each of their debut albums, they said, a producer helped shape a messy collection of songs into a coherent musical work.

Tall Tales and the Silver Lining is an LA band centered on the songwriting and vision of Trevor Beld Jimenez. The band achieves a barefoot, breezy looseness with their music, and it makes sense that Jimenez has a love for the LA music scene of the 1970s. This comes through on Tightropes, the album released earlier this year, especially with Jimenez's clear, wandering voice.

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