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A great power-pop song has one foot in happy-go-lucky hooks and another stomping a triumphant riff. That's a space occupied by The Toms' pop ballast, Shoes' handsome two-day scruff and Buzzcocks' sunniest kiss-offs. Spend just two minutes with Saturday Night's "Curse or Blessing," and it's immediately clear these 20-somethings live in power-pop's in-between, where the sugar is just as important as the grit.

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Melissa Doud with the Mambo SurfersLac du Flambeau Ojibwe / HochungraWebsiteCurrent AlbumFacebook

On Monday, June 18, rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed in Florida. The fallout from his death has been complicated given the rapper's dark past. In 2016, he was charged with aggravated assault and battery and false imprisonment of a pregnant victim.

Your Favorite Summer Jams

Jun 22, 2018

Earlier this week, we asked you for your favorite summer jams — the feel-good music that'll carry you through unrelenting news cycles, flat LaCroix, and incessant reminders from your mom ("HAVE YOU PUT ON SUNSCREEN YET?"). We loved your choices, from the sultry Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa song "One Kiss" to Korean boy band BTS's "Fake Love." More importantly, we appreciated your enthusiasm: "It bangs" was a common comment, along with "It slaps" and "IT BUMPS IN THE WHIP." (We may have learned some new terms).

For an emerging artist putting out a debut album, recording a session for this show, which airs across the country, could be a nerve-racking experience. Especially if your album features a full electric band, you planned to play with them for the session and on the day, one of the members gets sick and you had to go it alone in front of a live audience. That could be extra nerve-racking.

On this week's episode of New Music Friday, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton chats with NPR Music's Ann Powers and Rodney Carmichael, along with jazz critic Nate Chinen from WBGO about the most exciting new releases for June 22. Albums include the intense, industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails, the new joint project of Lecrae & Zaytoven and the wildly ambitious, shape-shifting jazz of Kamasi Washington.

Featured Albums

  1. Nine Inch Nails: Bad Witch
    Featured Song: "Ahead Of Ourselves"

Spinal Tap made its mark as one of England's loudest bands, releasing slightly above average records like Shark Sandwich. Now, Derek Smalls, the band's legendary bassist, is making waves of his on his own with a new reflective solo record in the vain of David Bowie's Blackstar and Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker.

Liz Cooper & The Stampede's new video for "Hey Man," premiered on XPN, is a kind of mini episode of The Twilight Zone that plays as a rock and roll video. The song, from Liz's forthcoming album Window Flowers was recorded at Welcome to 1979 studio in Nashville and showcases the rockier side of Cooper's rock and roots musical equation.

Two days after his 76th birthday, Paul McCartney released two new songs, which he calls a taste of Egypt Station, a new studio album set for release September 7.

"I Don't Know" is a doleful ballad, while "Come On To Me" is fiery, foot-stomping rock song — hear them both below.

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