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In 2011, Alejando Rose-Garcia burst onto the scene armed with a guitar and suitcase kick drum and released his first album as Shakey Graves. Seven years later, he's about to release his latest studio album, Can't Wake Up, out on May 4. It's a record that explores themes of death and dying, sleep and sleeplessness, and it has the most interesting sonic landscape to match the lyrical content.

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


From the beginning of his career as a recording artist, Ry Cooder has treated the music of the past as a resource, turning to old (and very, very old) songs for guidance, mentorship, life lessons, spiritual advice.

To twist a meme normally reserved for Drake, get you a Rosali Middleman because she can do both. The Philly-based musician leads Long Hots, the chooglin' psych-rock trio featuring members of Spacin' and Hothead. Grab a tallboy; this is music that boogies your brain into heavy hypnosis.

Sometimes at a concert, an artist's encore can feel more like a premeditated given than an earned celebration. But if you've ever seen the captivating Anderson East live (high jumps, sheer vocal prowess and all), you might agree that he earns every single encore he plays. And so, it feels just fine that East has called his latest album Encore.

After the 2016 election, how did you feel? What did you want to do? Mac McCaughan asked himself these questions, and pounded out the lyrics to 11 new Superchunk songs in a matter of months. The result? The band's most focused and aggressive albums in years, entitled What a Time to Be Alive.

On this week's New Music Friday, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton runs through some of the best albums out on April 27 with NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Felix Contreras, Lars Gotrich, Marissa Lorusso, and Ann Powers. Featured albums include the potent and political rock of Speedy Ortiz, the ethereal sounds of Grouper, Janelle Monae's highly anticipated Dirty Computer, Post Malone and more.

Patience is tricky: there's power in being slow to anger until you're perceived as a pushover. Illuminati Hotties, the self-described "tenderpunk" project of L.A. producer-engineer Sarah Tudzin, recognizes the predicament. "Often I have wished that I was a little less patient and a little more aggressive about being heard," Tudzin tells NPR Music.

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