This week and next, NPR Music offers fans free live streams of albums in their entirety as part of its “First Listen” series. A full preview of the new album from The Avett Brothers is available now, and on Monday, September 3, the advance streams continue with The xx, a David Bryne and St. Vincent collaboration, and Astro. All selected albums in the “First Listen” series are available for free on-demand listening online at www.npr.org/music and in NPR Music mobile apps.
The xx: The London trio won Britain’s prestigious Mercury Prize for its self-titled debut album. Now, the minimalist pop band returns with a follow-up, Coexist. NPR Music's Stephen Thompson writes that The xx's songs "play like introductions to longer pieces that will eventually explode into bludgeoning catharsis – and yet instead merely whisper, shimmer and seethe some more."
The Avett Brothers: With a signature sound rooted in bluegrass and punk, the band attracted hundreds of thousands of new fans following the release of 2009's I and Love and You. The Avett Brothers' sixth studio album, The Carpenter, explores the delicate balance between life and death. Thompson writes that the new record "carries serious thematic weight," but adds that "there's still an appealing sense of lightness to it." Listen now: www.npr.org/2012/08/29/160188286/first-listen-the-avett-brothers-the-carpenter
David Byrne with St. Vincent: Two artists who stretch the limits of pop music come together on Love This Giant, which Thompson says "brings Byrne and [Annie] Clark together in provocative and frequently exciting ways, thanks in part to a prominent, slyly funky horn section and an overarching sense of brainy boldness."
Astro: The Chilean band is frequently compared to MGMT, probably because both bands make danceable indie-pop with the aid of electronics and a sense of mischief. Jasmine Garsd, host of NPR's Alt.Latino, calls the band's self-titled debut "one of my favorite records of the last few years – infectiously cheery, lighthearted and danceable."
Beginning Monday, September 3, find all of these full album previews at the homepage of NPR Music’s “First Listen” series: www.npr.org/series/98679384/first-listen
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 Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz, as well as the long-awaited new release from Cat Power, Sun. The Emmy Award-winning free, multimedia website at www.npr.org/music offers new features daily and an extensive archive, in collaboration with NPR's newsmagazines, public radio Member stations and the passionate NPR community.