Lars Gotrich

At this point, you're either with Converge or against it. Nearly 25 years after its debut album, the band's cyclonic buzzsaw is unmistakable — this is hardcore-fueled extreme music that simultaneously elevates and destroys; pity to those who don't experience an epiphany in the pit.

Richard D. James loves to clear the vaults. A couple years ago, he sent Aphex Twin fans on a scavenger hunt through a series of anonymous SoundCloud accounts, where he had uploaded 200 old tracks and demos leading up to the release of Syro. Then he deleted them.

Pardoner can't stop saving us from 'blah' punk. That's what Uncontrollable Salvation means, right? Or maybe Pardoner's some kind of Judge Dredd, a combination of judge, jury and savior whenever a perp is making lame punk crossed with '90s alt-rock.

True to its name, Wolves In The Throne Room has always painted between the lines of barbaric and regal. For over a decade it has been this between-space that has driven WITTR's power; burning black-metal riffs communing with mystical folk and ambient music.

It's Bastille Day in France, so what better way to celebrate 1789's violent overthrow of the monarchy than with some French house music — désolé, musique de maison -- arranged for a marching band?

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

She called herself "Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers." In the late summer of 2013, a woman shot and killed a bus driver who inflicted sexual violence on the women of Juárez, Mexico. Then she did it again, a day later.

Zachary Cale is a helluva guitar player, his understated picking patterns interweave like latticework, thrust through dusky production, whispering and lush strings and a Dylan-esque voice (which you won't find here).

Haunted house rides are pretty corny — rubber monsters pop out of the dark while you spill soda between the seats. In this haunted house, the monsters are politicians, gentrification, racial profiling and corporal punishment.

Lee Bozeman's always been something of a romantic and a provocateur — taunting ("Fame is lust to be loved / And fortune: to live off the fat of the land"), teasing ("Make you gasp / Make your heart skip a beat") and often both at once, with some wisdom woven in ("But some still call it making love / And some believe that'

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Review: Boris, 'Dear'

Jul 6, 2017

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Have you ever done anything for 24 hours straight other than binge-watch Game Of Thrones before a new season starts? This guy spun a fidget spinner for a full day, so you know, the sky's the limit. Endurance tests now just seem like excuses to sit on your butt and get praise for it.

Update: This limited-run stream is over, but you can still clink glasses to the roséwave playlist.

We didn't create roséwave: We merely drank from its stream, the one that already spills pink drink on dance floors and beach blankets to the tune of favorite pop songs being shouted en masse. We didn't invent a genre; we just gave it a name.

Flesh World's story reads like something out of a cult comic book: two San Francisco musicians from seemingly different worlds bond over The Velvet Underground and The Jesus And Mary Chain, and start a cool band in the process.

The World's Ugliest Dog competition is a lie, or at least misleadingly named. Foldover skin, permanently protruding tongues, untameable wiry hair — those dogs are adorable and anyone who says otherwise has no heart. Noise-rock, on the other hand, thrives on ugly. It is the parasitic, shape-shifting monster of music, and Couch Slut is here to explosively mutate into a creature from The Thing.

Big Hush's first two cassettes are full of quiet songs played loud. With members from Pygmy Lush and Flasher, the D.C.-based band features (appropriately) hushed vocals from all four members, cooing over a messy, punk-sick shoegaze. It can, from songs that read as intimately as notes passed between friends, make for quite the harmony-riddled racket.

There are sections of Highway 1 where the heart can leap out of your throat and into the Pacific Ocean, the California coastline so steep, the water so far and so blue, the beauty savage and mysterious. Walk long enough from the winding asphalt, into the woods, and this mystery endures, but thick and sky high, surrounded and enclosed. Seven years ago Fletcher Tucker moved here, to Big Sur, to make music as Bird By Snow and run his label Gnome Life Records. As Tucker fell more deeply into this environment — an "inhabitation," he calls it — he found songs instead of writing them.

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.

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