KWIT

Lars Gotrich

Ahead of a long string of dates with Kilo Kish — dubbed The Life Aquatic Tour — the Long Beach rapper Vince Staples has released a new track. "BagBak" is punchy piece of Detroit club music with gritty beats that sound like DJ Assault mining Kraftwerk for dirt.

On the internet, we can be anonymous, hitting up a dating site as "smooth0perator1" in hopes of a hook-up, or subtweeting frenemies under the comfort of an inscrutable avatar.

Grails could never be accused of staying in its lane. The instrumental rock band plays with its far-reaching influences like a world-building card game, adding and taking away sounds with thoughtful strategy.

There's an electric thrill to Caddywhompus not heard in too many guitar and drum duos. Where others examine the extremes of the spare or the loud, Chris Rehm (guitar, vocals) and Sean Hart (drums) mine math-rock, frenetic punk and the bombastic end of pop to generate a signature, euphoric sonic boom.

There's an old hymn that begins: "This world is not home, I'm just passing through." A look to heaven and its treasures, laid up beyond our knowing. On "Hotel Amarillo," Caroline Spence is also just passing through, but on an endless tour with empty hotel beds. "It'll only be the night," she sings, resigned.

Well, you can't deny the title. Blondie has announced its 11th album, Pollinator, with lead single "Fun," a disco-heavy new wave track that recalls the Blondie of yesteryear, which was written by TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek.

On more than one occasion, I've passed along James Toth's songwriting tips and tricks to help musician friends out of a rut. These are just a few of his actionable suggestions for a creative in crisis: "Put a capo on a random fret," "Write a song that sounds like what you imagine the unheard band/record sounds like, based solely on the description in the review," "Borrow an instrument from someone who plays the same one that you do."

After much criticism around last year's round of '70s rockers and no women, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for the class of 2017 this morning, which include first-time nominees Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, Bad Brains, Joan Baez and Depeche Mode.

When listeners aren't writing to NPR to comment on a story, they mostly just want to know what music was played between segments. We call those buttons or breaks or deadrolls, and they give a breath after reporting a tragedy, lighten the mood after you most definitely cried during StoryCorps, or seize a moment to be ridiculously cheeky. How could you not play Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" following a story about why women shiver in the office?

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