NPR Music

The Thistle & Shamrock: New Summer Sounds

Jul 19, 2018

New music is always in season on Thistle! This week it's all about the albums that have been gathering in our North Carolina and Scottish mailboxes just waiting for an hour of your time. Included in this week's show are Dylan Foley, 14-year-old Iona Ritchie, The Bevvy Sisters, and Dougie MacLean.

2018 Slingshot band Mt. Joy has had a fruitful year. From festival appearances to nationally televised studio sessions, the band has seen a burgeoning growth in support and notoriety. In the midst of all this success, the band members still recall their humble yesteryears and marvel at their steady rise to indie-rock stardom.

Jeff Rosenstock has always made music for the slow days after the end-times, and "All This Useless Energy" is a kick-the-can punk ballad for crawling out of aimlessness toward a purpose.

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

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.

Earlier this week, Guns N' Roses' video for "November Rain" hit a curious milestone: Released in 1992, it's the oldest video ever to be streamed a billion times on YouTube.

It's been nearly six years since Cat Power, a.k.a. Chan Marshall, released a new album. Now, we've got news — Wanderer will come out Oct. 5 — but not a whole lot else to share.

One of Broadway's hottest tickets is coming to small screens: "Springsteen on Broadway" will be launched as a Netflix special this December.

The one-man show, which was written by Bruce Springsteen, earned him a Tony Award in June. Directed and produced by Thom Zimny, it has been a sensation in New York, where it's been seen by intimate audiences of less than 1,000 people per show at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

It's a truth universally acknowledged that if it's pink, it'll likely be marketed exclusively to girls. (And, in that case, it'll probably cost more.) You may be tempted to think that fate has befallen our favorite pink drink, fretfully wondering: Is rosé just for women?

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


The music on Prisma Tropical is the sound of a band maturing and finding its voice with such a strong creative force that it's akin to the birth of a star in astronomy.

There's a dancing bear slapped on the back of a station wagon cranking out a copy of Europe '72 — it's no deep dive from one of Dick's Picks, but it's a solid collection of live sets, with Grateful Dead at the top of its game. You exchange eyes with the driver, acknowledge the good-times jams, and counter with a '77 date. Soon enough, you're holding up traffic, but the songs keep on truckin'.

Fans of early Talking Heads albums, listen up. This group of teenagers from Brisbane could be your favorite new band. The Goon Sax frontman Louis Forster sings with a David Byrne-like delivery when he says the line that won me over, to his tenuous lover: "Let's get nervous in your room again." That's the moment I turned up the volume.

Birdtalker's music arises at the point where intimate exchange connects with community. Zack and Dani Green were a newly married couple when, one afternoon, the guitarist and singer asked his spouse for input on a song he was writing. Within hours, they realized that Dani's background as a student of literature and inherent talent as a harmonizer brought Zack's music to another level.

Are you up for having a good time today? Trick question — it's impossible not to have a good time with The Suffers, as Kam Franklin explains in the opening lines of "Do Whatever": "Full on disclosure, I'm not here for exposure / I came to have a good time, so let me shine."

Ask Rodney Crowell to point out musical mementos in his home 40 minutes south of Nashville, and he'll hurry you past the plaques commemorating his professional success. "I didn't put these up," he calls over his shoulder, striding down the hallway. "My wife did."

Like a lot of creatively restless high-schoolers in the late '70s and early '80s, Ben Stiller was in a band — in this case, a weird and funky post-punk band called Capital Punishment. Now that Stiller is a movie and TV star, Capital Punishment's one and only album, 1982's Roadkill, is getting its first-ever major reissue on Sept. 14.

As a parting gift, Paul Simon will release a new album Sept. 7, right near the end of his farewell tour. Simon calls In The Blue Light a fresh perspective on 10 favorite deep cuts from his own catalog.

Neko Case's voice sounds like it originates from the belly of Mother Earth herself. In her music, you can hear the roots of trees, the wisdom of ancient warrior bones, the shift of tectonic plates, molten lava and placid water. "Have mercy on the natural world," she sings on the title track to her latest album Hell-On. It's her connection to and reverence of the natural world that stands out both in the album's lyrics and in the circumstances around making it.

Loudon Wainwright III On Mountain Stage

Jul 12, 2018

While many singer-songwriters have appeared on Mountain Stage, the show's host and co-founder Larry Groce notes in his "umpteenth" introduction of Loudon Wainwright III, "he is at the top of the heap. He's the best."

For someone who has developed a reputation as one of this decade's most erudite and elegant acoustic guitarists, Nathan Salsburg has a curiously slim catalog of solo six-string work. In fact, Salsburg's endearing new album — functionally titled Third, as it's the third set he has issued under his own name — is somehow his first to feature only acoustic guitar.

Great songs and tunes are always available to stream on ThistleRadio's 24-hour music channel. Span the decades on ThistleRadio with classic tracks from Battlefield Band and the Bothy Band, as well as Mary Jane Lamond, Session A9, Kris Drever, and Calan.

Pages