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New Mix: alt-J, Elliott Smith, The New Pornographers, Girlpool, More

Clockwise from upper left: Joan Shelley, alt-J, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, Girlpool, Elliott Smithclosemore
Clockwise from upper left: Joan Shelley, alt-J, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, Girlpool, Elliott Smith

When Bob Boilen and I sat down to record this week's podcast, we were a little bleary-eyed after staying up late the night before to see the The Flaming Lips' show at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C. But — between the band's confetti cannons, laser light show and the electric, rainbow-colored unicorn that frontman Wayne Coyne rode into the audience (I'm not making that up) — it was well worth the loss of sleep.

Regardless of our bleary eyes, we each came to the table charged and ready to share the new music we're excited about this week, especially a moody new alt-J song, "3WW," and a remastered version of my all-time favorite Elliott Smith song "No Name No. 5," included in a twentieth anniversary reissue of Smith's Either/Or.

Guitar-and-bass duo Girlpool have also returned, with a bigger sound thanks to the addition of a drummer (hey, it works). We've also have pure pop nirvana from The New Pornographers, the gorgeous voice of singer-songwriter Joan Shelley and a heated protest song from English folk artist Frank Turner.

Also on the show: NPR Music contributor Mike Katzif stops by to share a blistering punk track from the band Hiccup and NPR Music Senior Editor Jacob Ganz joins us to talk about the sprawling, brilliant new Magnetic Fields album 50 Song Memoir. -- Robin Hilton

Copyright NPR 2017.

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