NPR Music

NPR icon First Listen: Temples, 'Sun Structures'

by Tom Moon
Temples, photo by Ed Miles

It makes cosmic sense that Temples' debut album arrives at the height of the current nostalgia wave associated with the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania and the British Invasion. The young English band weaves its classic inspirations into crazy-beautiful, richly idiosyncratic music.

NPR icon First Listen: Thumpers, 'Galore'

by Daniel Levin Becker
Oliver Smith
The London duo's secret weapons include a rumbling, off-kilter rhythmic pulse that often calls to mind The National, as well as a pleasingly sinister undercurrent that carries even the perkiest songs on Galore to surprisingly moody, sometimes revelatory conclusions.

NPR icon First Listen: Eric Church, 'The Outsiders'

by Ann Powers
John Peets
As fun as his bold declarations can be, the country star's depth comes from his ruminative side; his decade-long slow rise has made him as flexible as he is determined. The greatest thing about The Outsiders is its range, both in sound and in the stories Church tells.

NPR icon First Listen: CEO, 'Wonderland'

by Peter Macia
Wonderland is, at times, superficially soothing and fun, an almost hedonistic paean. But not far beneath the surface lies something more unsettling and challenging: a statement about isolation and loneliness and a delicate search for meaning.

NPR icon First Listen: Marissa Nadler, 'July'

by Logan Young
Courtney B. Hall
On her sixth album, the Bostonian singer-songwriter gets darker and more sinister than ever before. Its title must refer to a cold, polarizing kind of July, with the frigid climes that accompany an early-February release.

NPR icon First Listen: 'Sweetheart 2014'

by Stephen Thompson
The Sweetheart compilations adhere to a simple concept in which well-liked contemporary artists cover well-liked classic love songs just in time for Valentine's Day. This year's participants include Fiona Apple, Vampire Weekend, Sharon Jones, Ben Harper, Jim James, Beck, Valerie June and more.