This week, NPR Music once again offers previews of must-hear albums from a diverse range of artists in its "First Listen" series. Fans can now hear the long-awaited new album from Fiona Apple at the NPR Music site, along with more upcoming releases from Glen Hansard, Ravi Coltrane and Neneh Cherry. All of the albums presented in the “First Listen” series are available weeks before their release, for free on-demand listening online at www.npr.org/music and in the NPR Music mobile apps.
Fiona Apple: Following five years of near silence, the pianist and singer-songwriter returned to the spotlight with new music at an NPR SXSW showcase this March. Apple’s time away seems not to have diminished her popularity, and the new songs she’s performed at concert appearances have heightened anticipation for The Idler Wheel. “The feelings Apple takes on in her deliberately maddening, eventually addictive new songs are those that inch us along, filling up most of our lives: icky little feelings like petty jealousy, self-doubt, bored loneliness and shamed regret,” NPR Music critic Ann Powers says of the album. “This is the stuff we'd rather tamp down. Apple wraps her fingers around it and makes it unavoidable.” Hear Apple’s first album in seven years now at NPR Music:
Glen Hansard: The Irish singer-songwriter releases his solo debut, Rhythm And Repose, this summer after more than two decades writing and performing with fellow musicians as part of Dublin-based group The Frames and the Academy Award-winning folk-rock duo The Swell Season:
Ravi Coltrane: Though born into a legendary music family, the saxophonist and composer’s forward-thinking and modern sound have earned him a career all his own. Coltrane continues to experiment with new sounds, featuring two separate band line-ups on his latest effort, Spirit Fiction:
Neneh Cherry: The innovative pop singer continues to surprise 16 years on from her last album. The Cherry Thing presents a selection of covers performed with free-jazz trio The Thing:
Complete track listings and album information are available at NPR Music, where there are also extensive archives of concerts, interviews and reviews of artists from all genres. NPR Music's "First Listen" series is one of the site’s most popular features, and is currently featuring In Our Heads from Hot Chip and The Tallest Man On Earth’s latest, There’s No Leaving Now. The free, multimedia website at http://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.