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  • Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2017

    Enlarge this image Sylvan Esso's What Now is Stephen Thompson's favorite album of 2017. Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist It's hard not to view 2017 as a year of great reckoning; as a time in which the world is forced to contemplate consequences ranging from ugly political divides to environmental disasters to a wave of high-profile resignations and humiliations over decades of sexual misconduct. Though escapism will always have its place in pop culture, 2017 has been a year of complacency deferred and sleeping giants roused. So it's only natural that much of the year's best music would reflect that tumult, albeit in radically different ways.As always, this list compiles the 10 favorite albums — not the 10 "best," mind you — of one subjective listener. If your favorite album of 2017 missed the cut, rest assured that it's nesting comfortably in a many-way ...

  • The North Mississippi Allstars On 'Mountain Stage'

    The North Mississippi Allstars have been the modern-day torchbearers for the distinct, funky, Hill Country blues associated with their native state for 22 years. Led by the brother team of guitarist Luther Dickinson and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Cody Dickinson, the band makes its third appearance on Mountain Stage since 2001, with songs from their latest record Prayer For Peace.Luther Dickinson's dynamic guitar work, evidenced throughout, is framed by the bass work of Danielle Nicole, with a solid dual-drum foundation of Cody Dickinson and second drummer Rob Walbourne. Cody Dickinson takes to the keyboards and lead vocals for "Deep Elum," which is followed by "Miss Maybelle," a work of "barnyard psychedelia" learned from one of their Mississippi mentors, R.L. Burnside."You Got To Move" is a highlight, featuring Nicole's vocals, some gritty slide guitar work by Luther Dickinson and both drummers trading riffs. They close with the title track of their latest release, "Prayer For Peace," released in June 2017.SET LIST"Need To Be Free""Deep Elum""Miss Maybelle""You Got To ...

  • The 100 Best Songs Of 2017

    Enlarge this image NPR Music's best 100 songs of 2017. (Clockwise from upper left) Goldlink, Margo Price, IBEYI, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Tyler The Creator, Big Thief, SZA and Sharon Jones. Courtesy of the artists hide captiontoggle caption Courtesy of the artists The best songs we heard this year reflected a deep sense of collective need. For safety, for respect, for self-definition. For money or sex or revolution. Maybe we just hear what we crave, but on huge hits and semi-obscure album cuts alike, it seemed that musicians in 2017 were facing down eternity or the possibility of annihilation. Both Sylvan Esso and Jason Isbell linked love with death. Kendrick Lamar gave us his most tender song yet, as well as his harshest condemnation. Ibeyi and Kesha gave us righteous anger and forgiveness. Sharon Jones faced the end. Harry Styles pivoted from cheery pop to epic rock while glancing over his shoulder at the ...

  • How To Survive Playing To An Empty Room And Other Advice For A Band's First Tour

    Enlarge this image Kam Franklin (left) is lead singer of The Suffers, a band from Houston that started touring three years ago. Amber Daniel is lead singer and bassist of Blame the Youth from North Carolina. They're preparing for their first tour. Courtesy of Jay Bee Zay and Allison Slade hide captiontoggle caption Courtesy of Jay Bee Zay and Allison Slade When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Consideredis connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.North Carolina band Blame the Youth has been playing together in and around Charlotte for three years. Now, they're at a point where they're trying to decide just how serious they are.Are you about to undergo a major life change, like start your own business or deploy overseas in the military? Or have you gone ...

  • JD McPherson On World Cafe

    Enlarge this image JD McPherson Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy of the aritst hide captiontoggle caption Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy of the aritst "Desperate Love""Hunting For Sugar""Lucky Penny"In this session we welcome JD McPherson, the Oklahoman who made retro rock sound modern with "North Side Gal." There's a reason his new album Undivided Heart & Soul sounds different. McPherson uprooted his family from Oklahoma to Nashville, Tenn., and ended up making the new album at the historic RCA Studio B — whose walls have soaked up music from major country acts for decades. Elvis, Charley Pride, Floyd Cramer: They all recorded there. In fact, the studio is a museum in the daytime. "After the tours end each day we would have to load in all of the gear and record deep, deep into the night and then tour down and reset the room for the tours the next day," McPherson says. "So it was like, it felt like we were sorta getting away with ...

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