Lars Gotrich

New phases are the unseen forces of life. In persons, in movements, they are the quietly unfolding moments and soul detritus that build momentum over time, only revealed as a crescent of new being. That's the poetry of a new moon, a solar body that exists, but is invisible to the unaided eye, and only rarely illuminated by an eclipse.

Do yourself a favor: don't Google "Wand" and "Pure Romance" while at work, unless your place of business happens to be an adult toy store. Your browser history will thank you either way.

Lucky for you, you don't need to search for the Los Angeles psych-rock band's video for "Pure Romance." We're premiering it right here.

Erin Rae makes quiet music for the mind swept into a torrent. It'd be easy to call her sound escapist, as her gentle voice offers a balm over softly strummed guitar and brushed percussion. But Rae also unearths uneasy revelations with hard wisdom, in particular in Putting On Airs, her new album.

To twist a meme normally reserved for Drake, get you a Rosali Middleman because she can do both. The Philly-based musician leads Long Hots, the chooglin' psych-rock trio featuring members of Spacin' and Hothead. Grab a tallboy; this is music that boogies your brain into heavy hypnosis.

If you haven't heard Bad Breeding's Divide, it is 26 minutes of grueling, noise-punctured punk that channels and couples the rage of Crass to the weirdness of Killing Joke and No Trend. Released in 2017, it was the second album in two years from the U.K. punk band.

Look, let's just puff-puff right past the 4/20 jokes, OK? There's no reason to toke up all of your time with silliness when you could be nodding your head (slowly) to Sleep's first album since Dopesmoker, considered by many to be the high-water mark of stoner-metal epics. (Its release date is something of a rabbit hole — if you're interested, here.)

Crank "Up The Street" to a volume that shakes the dust from your creaky bones. Made stiff from years of rock and roll neglect, you are now redeemed by the nasty howl and stomp of Rat the Magnificent. Hallelujah and hot damn.

There are two sides to Thomas Feriero: the sleek, summery techno of his Atavism and CW/A projects, best heard at the edge of day. And now something harder and heavier emerges.

When Joey Ramone sang, "I wanna be your boyfriend," The Ramones tapped into bubblegum pop's naïveté with a rosy-cheeked hiccup. When GRLwood's Rej Forester sings the line, at first with a little nod to Joey's Buddy Holly impression, she eventually screams it with all of the pent-up rage of someone who just wants a woman to dump her dude, but also is pretty damn tired of being ignored by society.

If you're going to name your spindly sugarbomb "Hula Hoop," there better damn well be some kick-ass hula hooping, right? Media Jeweler has seen you, understands you and has got you.

After many iterations, hiatuses and returns, The Breeders will always be Kim Deal's band, with her sister Kelley at her side. They return this year to an old lineup, with all the promise (and old wounds) it brings. But you can see a renewed love and goofiness throughout this set — using a roadie as a crash cymbal, or Kim Deal's faux-exasperation at Josephine Wiggs for starting a wind-up toy just before a song.

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

Stephanie Richards' trumpet sounds like deep space wrapped around your head, a flood in the endless void.

Tyler Childers writes songs about hard lives and hard love with direct heart. You meet these characters — some from his own life, some not — and feel like you know them, but there's always another layer to uncover with each listen, carved by his coarse and soulful Kentucky drawl.

Turnstile's music swirled just as much as it pounded, turning some of the stranger, studio-driven moments of its recent album Time & Space into a live-action stage match. As the band explored every inch of the worn hardwood at All Souls Unitarian Church in Northwest Washington, D.C., stirring up heart rates and exalting the moment, one body would jump from the stage and be immediately replaced by another, all in constant motion.

Cecil Taylor encompasses a never-ending range of sound and emotion. On his way to the Piano Jazz studio in 1994, the avant-garde jazz pianist and his cab driver discovered that they went to the same high school, opening up a whirlwind of small worlds, and inspiring the improvised piece that opens this episode.

There is no one universe for Ben LaMar Gay, he just sonic booms from one sound to another. His solo debut, Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun, is really a patch-work of seven albums, recorded over seven years but never released. It moves from fuzz-caked weirdo-psych to mutant synth-funk to giddy electronics to progressive jazz at a seamless, whiplash-free warp speed.

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