Lars Gotrich

Lo Tom's debut is a serious rock 'n' roll record that doesn't take itself too seriously. "Nobody is in charge," the band claims. "The album is pink..." and features a chihuahua with sunglasses.

We wrapped a bottle in a tote bag and set up blankets and chairs on Bethany Beach in Delaware. The identical candy stores across the street, the foot-long hot dog shop offering exotic flavors like "Seattle-style" (with cream cheese) and "banh mi," and a bar on the boardwalk with a happy hour from early afternoon to early evening — this is not a fancy beach, but you can map glamour onto it, if you want to. (At least it's not Ocean City during spring break.) Following a round of frozen daiquiris slurped from plastic sandwich bags (we're classy), out came the rosé in red cups.

It took a few songs for them to lock in. "We'd like to dedicate this entire set to the memory of John Spalding," guitarist and primary vocalist Doug Lorig said, referencing a Seattle guitarist who died of cancer in 2008 and played in punk bands like Ninety Pound Wuss and the wildly destructive Raft Of Dead Monkeys, all of whom shared members (at one point or another) with Roadside Monument.

After releasing two new songs, playing them on Saturday Night Live, and not being totally stoked on a set of vinyl reissues, LCD Soundsystem has annou

The new album from Tigers Jaw, spin, revels in quiet pleasures, even as its rich production pulls power from the band's open wounds. It's the major-label debut from a band that, at one point, made yelping and earnest pop-punk before finding its way to intricate, and melancholy, pop.

Around the NPR Music office we all swear like a twee version of Veep — but on-air and on-website we receive a tiny electric shock every time we try to spell out our favorite dirty words. (That's not true, but it's funny to think about.)

To call Colin Stetson's new band "metal" isn't quite right. Ex Eye is heavy, maximalist music made compact — proggy, noisy, metallic particles sent through the Large Hadron Collider to make black holes of sound.

SZA's CTRL is here, a resolutely confident and skillful R&B album that explores the notions of control and honesty, with thoughtful features from Travis Scott ("Love Galore"), Kendrick Lamar ("Doves In The Wind") and Isaiah Rashad ("Pretty Little Birds"). And it almost didn't happen.

If it's not already, TLC's "Way Back" should be on your summer playlists, a playful throwback to the R&B group's bopping beginnings, a carefree nostalgia trip that doesn't wear out its welcome.

If you've ever listened to The Marked Men or Radioactivity, Jeff Burke is a songwriter who knows his way around a power-pop-punched punk hook. The same goes for Japanese musician Yusuke Okada, who makes rollicking garage-rock with Suspicious Beasts. The cross-continental duo make hazy, flowery '60s psych with a bit of '80s jangle as Lost Balloons, their second album Hey Summer arriving just in time for long bike rides, long sips of sweet tea and staring at clouds.

I can see it now: Late summer, half-tipsy in the back of a cab at the end of a humid night, awkwardly making eye contact with other passengers in similar or more alcoholically dire situations. (What's that, half-price frosé all night? Better you than me.) Then a droning beat lulls me into that half-awake space? OK, whatever, another pop song on the radio.

Sarah Kinlaw doesn't just want to play with your senses, she wants to illuminate them. The NYC-based musician and choreographer makes multimedia art that's tangibly, haptically intimate. She described one recent project as "sensorial pop," an equally apt umbrella for her solo debut as Kinlaw, a trigger for every body.

Derek Zanetti believes in the power of punk so much that he's re-created the "Ironic" video shot-for-shot. Okay, maybe the logic doesn't make much sense, but neither does Alanis Morissette's use of irony.

Mlny Parsonz's bluesy belt has been the grounding force of Royal Thunder's stirring hard-rock for almost a decade now, and on the band's third album, Wick, the songs all knot and unravel with psychedelic power. True to its name, volume and a small army of effects pedals play a large role in Royal Thunder. But what happens when we ask the Atlanta band to unplug that... thunder?

Carly Rae Jepsen, the pop star of our hearts, voices Odette in the animated film Leap!, which will see U.S. distribution in September. Her character is a caretaker who coaches a young girl (voiced by Elle Fanning) to become a ballerina in Paris. I sense whimsy and heartfelt speeches are in my future.

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