NPR Music is currently offering advance streams of new albums from The Decemberists, Joe Lovano and Wire, as part of the site’s “First Listen” series. All of the recordings are available for free weeks before their release, for on-demand listening at www.npr.org/music
The Decemberists: With buzz still brewing from the new single “Down by the Water,” The Decemberists' new album is titled The King Is Dead. Bandleader Colin Meloy and company offer a collection of driving, country-tinged folk-rock that was recorded in a barn outside of their native Portland, OR, and also features guitar from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck on some tracks. Hear the full album two weeks before its January 18 release at NPR Music: www.npr.org/2011/01/02/132436422/first-listen-the-decemberists-the-king-is-dead
Joe Lovano: Marking his 20th anniversary on the Blue Note label, saxophonist Joe Lovano releases an exploration of the Charlie Parker songbook. By no means a retread, Lovano’s Bird Songs strives to offer an adventurous and modern take on the jazz giant's legacy: www.npr.org/2010/12/29/132445904/first-listen-joe-lovano-bird-songs
Wire: The pioneering British post-punk band Wire continues to be a creative force after playing together for 35 years. The self-described “barking sledgehammer art-punk” on its latest studio album, Red Barked Tree, demonstrates the band’s ability to blend pop sensibilities with the avant-garde. Check it out here:
Complete track listings and album information will be available at NPR Music, where there are also extensive archives of concerts, interviews and reviews of artists of all genres.
NPR Music's "First Listen" series is one of the site's most popular features, and is currently Abigail Washburn’s latest solo record City of Refuge. The site is also currently featuring its “Best Music of 2010” lists, and is frequently updated with new material.
The free, multimedia website at www.npr.org/music offers more than 300 new features monthly and an extensive archive, in collaboration with NPR's newsmagazines, 12 public radio member stations and the passionate NPR community. Many of the site’s features are also available to mobile audiences with the NPR Music App for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.