Otis Hart

The anarchist pop-punk band Martha took us by surprise last year with Courting Strong, a debut full-length of high-energy, three-chord sing-alongs that bucked the odds to land a spot on NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2014 list.

The electronic music producer known as DJ Richard has spent the last five years in the world's club capitals, Berlin and New York City, but his heart still remains in his native Rhode Island. Along with his cohort Young Male, DJ Richard is one of the more prominent dance-music artists to emerge from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, and in 2012, they founded the "outsider house" record label White Material.

Camella Lobo, the woman behind Los Angeles synth act Tropic Of Cancer, is obsessed with love's collateral damage. For the past eight years, initially with her then-husband Juan Mendez (a.k.a. Silent Servant) and more recently on her own, Lobo has examined the fragility of human emotion through solemn synthesizer work and funereal tempos. The results are always haunting, and, often, quite beautiful.

This is the song Four Tet fans have been waiting for. Almost five months after he premiered it on his BBC Essential Mix, Kieran Hebden officially released "Digital Arpeggios" on Friday via his Percussions alias.

Australian siblings Daniel, Sarah and Luke Spencer make up three-quarters of Blank Realm, a raucous, sometimes ramshackle, Brisbane rock band. Though they've been recording for nearly a decade, the past few years have seen the Spencers and their Realm partner, guitarist Luke Walsh, release two gloriously messy albums, Go Easy (2012) and Grassed Inn (2014), that conjured the Velvet Underground and krautrock without necessarily sounding like either.

Ever since his breakthrough 2009 album, Toeachizown, Damon "Dam-Funk" Riddick has used his internet celebrity to celebrate the funk and R&B stars of his childhood. Whether it's through sharing vintage songs on his Twitter account, or producing albums with Steve Arrington and Snoop Dogg, Riddick is constantly paying respect to those who came before him.

Generally, a "song of the summer" is commercially released in the springtime and develops a devoted Top 40 following as the temperature rises. Things work a little differently in the dance world, where connected DJs get their hands on — and spin — an irresistible tune, months before it becomes available to the public.

London DJs Conrad McDonnell and Dan Tyler formed Idjut Boys in the early 1990s during a particularly exciting time in dance music history. Acid house and breakbeat had infiltrated the British mainstream, and new scenes were blossoming to fill the void in the underground. One London party that McDonnell and Tyler considered especially influential was Space, a Soho weekly co-founded by house fanatic Kenny Hawkes.

More than two years after its first release, the hardware dance producers Chicago Flotation Device remain anonymous. A May 2013 interview on pulseradio.com revealed the what (a trio of U.K. DJs) and the where (London), but the who is still a mystery. Nothing truly verifiable exists anywhere on the web just yet.

UPDATE: The Newport Folk Festival has wrapped up until next year. Follow NPR Music on Facebook and Twitter and you'll be alerted when we publish select sets from the festival this week.

NPR Music went to the Newport Folk Festival this weekend to record sets from Courtney Barnett, Jason Isbell, The Lone Bellow, Lord Huron, Luluc and more. We'll publish the recordings early next week. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for live updates, photos and videos from the grounds.

No one does dark dance music like Karl O'Connor, a.k.a. Regis. His label Downwards is the standard bearer, and his personal output as Regis and as part of Sandwell District is hotly anticipated by techno freaks worldwide.

Satoshi Tomiie released his first house track, the all-timer "Tears" with Frankie Knuckles, more than 25 years ago. When a musician's first impression is basically perfection — and "Tears" is just that — it can define, even overshadow, the rest of a career.

Tigercats, an East London pop band in the vein of Camera Obscura, released its second album, Mysteries, earlier this year. "Sleeping In The Backseat," the band's latest single, is bound to tug at a few heartstrings with its chorus of, "Lay your head next to mine."

Sunday-morning music is too often overlooked. For the most part, we check out music news while we're sitting at our desks at work, usually during a glance at our social-media feeds. That sort of interaction is inherently brief — we scroll, maybe click, and then it's back to the grind.

One of the most boring things about contemporary EDM is how monorhythmic it is. I'm not talking beats per minute (although one number does seem to rule them all), but rhythms per beat. Keita Sano, an adventurous young producer from Okayama, Japan, mixes and matches a plethora of patterns on "Bouzouk," the final track on his latest EP, Sweet Bitter Love.

Benjamin John Power's new album as Blanck Mass, Dumb Flesh, is quite literally electronic body music. Its artwork zooms in uncomfortably on synthetically disfigured flab; its track titles make reference to various states of corporeal corrosion.

Toronto songwriter Hayden Desser, who performs and records under his first name, has a lengthy history of hard-hitting sad songs. He rose to (college radio) fame in the late 1990s along with Elliott Smith, Low and Red House Painters as part of a brooding style dubbed "sadcore."

Each month, we listen to hundreds of new electronic music tracks, test the standouts on loud speakers and highlight the best of the best in a mix called Recommended Dose.

Queens-via-Uruguay songwriter Juan Wauters rose to internet acclaim as a member of the obstreperous rock band The Beets, one of New York City's most beloved DIY acts of the 21st century. In the time since The Beets' initial breakup in 2012, Wauters has pursued a more introspective, subdued sound, writing songs that explore who he is and how "he" came to be.

Crafting dance tracks around snippets of catchy R&B vocals is a longstanding tradition in the electronic music game. Some might even call it cliché at this point. But when it's done well, it can imbue otherwise anonymous music with real emotional heft that speaks to a much wider audience.

"Take it from somebody who knows." The opening words to Protomartyr's new single, "Blues Festival," are sung by frontman Joe Casey, but they could easily refer to the song's star guest vocalist, Kelley Deal of the Breeders. Deal has lived through a lot in the past 20-plus years, from opening for Nirvana in the early '90s to doing the whole "reunion" thing with her identical twin sister Kim, to releasing small-batch 7" singles by her most recent project, R. Ring.

One of the great underground bands from New Zealand's pop heyday is getting its due. The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, which broke up in 1994 after a nearly 10-year career on Flying Nun Records, will have its entire discography remastered and re-released this year by Fire Archives.

Classy dance-music anthems don't come around too often. EDM trades in stadium songs, but its brash electro riffs and trap basslines are intentionally debaucherous. Meanwhile, the most creative underground producers can (understandably) be wary of emotional motifs that make you want to stare into midair.

On the final morning of SXSW, we woke up early for Austin's signature dish — breakfast tacos — with house and techno producer Avalon Emerson at Mi Madres Restaurant. "It nails Tex-Mex perfectly," she says, making everyone think about breakfast tacos right now.