Music

Music

The first single off Rayland Baxter's latest album Wide Awake is about a dysfunctional relationship. That's a near-universal truth we can appreciate. However, when you learn the woman's name is Sallie Mae, you realize he's not singing about a human being, but instead, the giant student loan corporation. That's how you get closer to the heart of Rayland Baxter.

You have not one, but several shades of black lipstick to match the varying shades of your dark void existence. You always rock Siouxsie Sioux eyeliner, even if it's just imprinted on your soul while you're staring listlessly in class or slogging away at a 9-to-5. You've had a comic-book crush on Dream from Sandman or "Hopey" from Love and Rockets for, like, ever.

After Camp Cope's second song at the Tiny Desk, singer Georgia "Maq" McDonald let out a tiny laugh. "We've never done this before — we've never been quiet," she said. "Not once in our entire lives!" Bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich joked that it was perhaps a "good lesson" to "rock out in your mind." ("Thinking," Maq clarified.)

"Thank you so much. We never thought we'd be here," exclaimed Brittany Howard following a massive applause from an audience crammed in the Quad Tent to see the Newport Folk Festival debut of Bermuda Triangle.

Masego is one of music's most promising chameleons. The Virginia-hailing multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of all things traphousejazz (a subgenre he coined in the beginning of his career) is gearing up to release a funky debut album this fall.

UPDATE: This audio has been removed from SoundCloud.

Normally when a guest sits down for a World Cafe interview, our producers or I help them adjust their microphone to the correct distance and angle. And if a piece of technology is misbehaving, we'll sort it out and hopefully our guest will be none the wiser. Not Vanessa Parr. On the day she visited the World Cafe studio, Parr couldn't resist adjusting her own mic to absolute perfection and helping us troubleshoot some finicky recording software. Call it an occupational hazard for someone who is used to making other people sound their very best day in and day out.

For the past seven years, the Yokohama, Japan-based producer Takahide Higuchi (who goes by the name 食品まつり aka Foodman) has dug into the quick-cut textures of footwork, making the Chicago-born style of electronic music his own. But then, Foodman began picking apart his digital feasts.

Kindness should be fundamental to our being. But it's increasingly a battlefield, as respect for who you are and who you want to be is riddled with political landmines, trolls both online and in the streets and people who judge your worth based on gender and race alone. The Chicago-based artist, poet and activist Tasha wants you to be kind to yourself and others, and makes music in kind that feels like a quietly stoic challenger to a beastly world.

On Oct. 5, guitarist, singer and songwriter Marcus King releases the new Marcus King Band album Carolina Confessions.

Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers share a musical language: thoughtful, often sparse rock arrangements that bolster deeply self-aware, intimate lyrics. There's a sense of wisdom and compassion in the stories they tell, often undercut by a dark humor — like the kind of friend you'd dream of having to help nurse you through a heartbreak or help you find the fun in a stagnant situation.

On this week's show, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks with Ann Powers, Marissa Lorusso and Sidney Madden about some of the greatest songs released by women and non-binary artists in the past 18 years.

Childish Gambino's "This Is America" and The Carters' "APES***" were the most talked-about videos of the last year, at least if the metric you use involves thinkpieces and social-media chatter. But by the time Madonna announced the video of the year winner on Monday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the two had been largely relegated to afterthoughts.

Congratulations are in order for the Eagles. The American rock band's first compilation album, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, has just surpassed Michael Jackson's Thriller as the best-selling album of all time. The comp, which collects nine singles and "Desperado," is now 38-times platinum as certified by the Recording Industry Association of America — meaning it has sold a total of 38,000,000 albums worldwide and bested Thriller's 33-times platinum certification.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died last week. In her wake, Franklin has left a musical legacy few other artists will ever touch — and, as expected, hits from the legendary R&B singer's catalog have shot back up the music charts following her death.

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