Music

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

When you think of the sound of Houston, you might think of country and western music. Maybe you've heard of bluesmen like Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins or gospel stars like Yolanda Adams. Or, you know, Beyoncé?

Each year dozens of new artists become part of my life soundtrack. Last year Courtney Barnett, Soak, Ibeyi, Girlpool and many more all became a huge part of my listening for the year and some wound up on my final top ten list.

This year, Lucy Dacus, Big Thief, Margaret Glaspy, Mothers, Overcoats and Weaves are all part of my everyday listening, and are all artists making a debut either with their first album, EP or very first songs.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

What do Van Morrison's "Domino," the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" have in common? All of them were recorded or became hits in 1971 — the year music journalist David Hepworth insists is the best year in rock 'n' roll history.

Rock 'n' roll is ugly. If not, it's not rock 'n' roll. Hell, even when rock 'n' roll is pretty, it's ugly. For The Wilful Boys, rock 'n' roll is slammin' 40s in front of a righteous garbage fire. The New York band's debut album, Rough As Guts, lives up to its name, with one mud-crusted boot in '70s hard rock and another in punk-splattered '90s noise-rock. For all its twin-guitar riff grit, "621" sure does swing, courtesy of drummer Steven Fisher, who pulls double duty as a howler with an Australian drawl.

Before he turned twenty-five, Van Morrison had written a rock and roll standard ("Gloria"), essayed arguably the greatest-ever Bob Dylan cover ("It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" — both with Them), made a top-ten American hit ("Brown Eyed Girl") and recorded two very different, very compatible LP masterpieces, Astral Weeks and Moondance — the former concerned with "childhood, initiation, sex, and death," per Greil Marcus in Stranded, the latter with rebirth, experience, love and living for its own sake.

Bob Boilen is the man behind NPR's All Songs Considered and the Tiny Desk concert series, which takes place at his desk. Needless to say, he's always in search of new music; last year alone, he saw more than 400 bands live.

On this week's All Songs Considered we come full circle. Robin Hilton opens the show by looking back in time with a weird, psychedelic track by Cornelius from his long out-of-print, newly reissued album Fantasma. If the song doesn't justify itself, Bob Boilen provides an argument for looking back with a song by The Wild Reeds called "Everything Looks Better (In Hindsight)."

Also on the show: We also play an electro-folk track by the Israeli sisters A-WA and a new song by Tiny Desk veterans Bellows.

But first, Robin and Bob talk knee surgery.

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