Marissa Lorusso

Before she wrote Silver Tongue, out later this month, Torres' Mackenzie Scott stopped writing music altogether. After releasing three albums of searing, searching guitar rock, Scott says she needed to reassess. It's a "delusional pursuit," as she calls it, to try to make a living as a musician right now. Did she even still want to do it? What was even worth writing about?

Adrianne Lenker is the guitarist and singer for the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based rock band Big Thief. Cecilia Bartoli is the Italian opera singer who thrives on neglected repertoire from the 18th century. The two women might seem like strange bedfellows, but they come together in our series titled "highly specific superlatives," a kind of drilling down to some of the finest and most precise moments in the arts in 2019.

From the moment Carly Rae Jepsen arrived at NPR HQ for her Tiny Desk concert, she brought an obvious sense of joy. Take, for example, her sound check: Working with her band of longtime collaborators, she seemed downright delighted, beaming at the musicians as she gave notes after each meticulous run-through.

YouTube

Within the last year, drummer Nandi Bushell has hung out with Questlove, pe

YouTube

After hovering at the edges of the collective consciousness for a couple decades, Duster is touching back down on Earth.

Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote that "one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman," a claim I could imagine making writer and critic Andrea Long Chu roll her eyes.

At the very least, Chu has an update: "Everyone is female," she writes in the appropriately titled Females, her first book, "and everyone hates it."

For the past decade, Frances Quinlan has built a reputation as an expertly narrative songwriter and a peerless singer in the indie-rock world with her band, Hop Along.

Like any good live show, Tiny Desk concerts tend to generate a lot of feelings. With no fancy lights or extra amplification — just performers and a crowd, with hardly any distance between them — emotions can run high.

YouTube

It can be especially hard to keep up with the news these days, so let us help you out: Yes, Big Thief put out one of the

How does one of the biggest stars in American popular music go missing?

A lot of the albums out this week deal with self-discovery and deep reflection on the nature of being human. The members of MUNA look at aging and personal growth on their latest, Saves the World; Lower Dens weighs the madness of a country driven by competition; and the country super group The Highwomen releases its highly anticipated, self-titled album, one that celebrates the power of women while pushing back on the unwritten rules that have allowed men to dominate country radio for so long.

YouTube

Grimes has released a new song, "Violence," in collaboration with producer i_o.

After trickling out singles for more than a year, singer Lana Del Rey has finally dropped her sixth full-length studio album with the oddly comical title, Norman F****** Rockwell. On this week's New Music Friday, we dig into this expansive mix of slow-burning ballads and sometimes strange but profound, odyssey-length adventures.

YouTube

Editor's note: If you have photosensitive epilepsy, this music video features strobe lights.

To be clear, sad songs make up the majority of this week's All Songs Considered. So, if you have a love for the type of music you might hear from Julien Baker or Japanese Breakfast, we have five new artists to add to your playlist, including a 19-year-old singer from Belgium who goes by the name Asia; The artist known as Dolly Valentine asks, "Do you know where you want to go?" And there are more beautiful but crushing tunes brought to you by "the dream team" (NPR's Lyndsey McKenna and Marissa Lorusso).

The artists who attract me the most are those who are on the rise — artists whose popularity is mostly a small, dedicated circle of fans but growing. That's certainly true of the Shreveport band Seratones. They're putting out their second album later this summer and, from the sound of this potent new title track "Power," it's clear they'll find a bigger fanbase.

The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising and you're willing to see yet another superhero movie just for the air conditioning. Maybe to you, this time of year signifies the start of music festival season. Maybe you're looking forward to your annual extended stay down the shore. Maybe you're preparing for a plethora of summer weddings — not always a bridesmaid, but always the life of the bachelorette party. Maybe you're looking forward to living your best life at your city's Pride parade. Or maybe you've finally concocted the perfect punch recipe for backyard barbecues.

Melina Duterte writes jangly and emotionally-complex guitar-pop as Jay Som; her debut album, Everybody Works, was one of our favorites of 2017. Today, she's back with new music.

This year, like every year, an incredibly strong pool of artists entered the Tiny Desk Contest.

Punk rock might be a relatively young genre, but the legend of its history has already become more or less solidified.

Ask what makes punk punk and you'll probably get a story that starts in 1970s London, or maybe New York; you'll get The Sex Pistols, The Ramones or The Clash; counterculture, anti-establishment and leather jackets.

The Tiny Desk Contest judges are one week closer to picking this year's winner! In the meantime, we've been discovering tons of great music on the Tiny Desk Contest website, where you can watch every eligible entry to this year's Contest.

This year's Tiny Desk Contest judges are excited to finally be getting ready to pick the 2019 winner. In the meantime, there's a lot going on in the Tiny Desk Contest community.

YouTube

"The stars have a lot to say about babies born in the month of May," Lucy Dacus sighs in "My Mother and I," the latest single from

The 2019 Tiny Desk Contest is officially closed for entries. Last Sunday night, in the final hours of the entry period, we watched videos pour in from across the country, delivering thousands of songs (and desks) to us.

For the musicians who sent us their songs, the hardest part is behind them. But for us, it's just beginning. While our judges deliberate, you can watch all the entries coming in as we moderate them and maybe find some new favorites of your own. Here are a few that we discovered this week.

Joining me on this edition of All Songs Considered is NPR Music's Lyndsey McKenna, Marissa Lorusso and Joshua Bote for some sips of Rosé, bites of cupcakes and sweet music. Today's sounds include the legendary dub master and reggae king Lee "Scratch" Perry. At 83-years of age, he's just made a brilliant new record with another legendary producer, Adrian Sherwood.

Between 1997 and 2000, a band from San Jose released two albums, an EP and a couple 7"s of slow, spacey rock, then more or less vanished. Not that the disappearing act took much effort. Duster wasn't exactly a band with a public presence, playing few shows, lending few interviews and releasing little information about its members. The members of the trio went on to play in other bands and work on other projects. In 2000, the founder of Up Records, who released Duster's music, died; operations at the label ended shortly after, and Duster's records went out of print.

For the NPR Music team, the Tiny Desk Contest is an annual opportunity to learn about undiscovered artists we might not otherwise hear. We hear from artists in every imaginable genre from all across the country. We're still accepting entries for a few more weeks — until April 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET — but we've already started to see entries we love. Here are a few that caught our attention this week.


Four Play Clarinet, "Soulful"

Pages