Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing



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Courtney Barnett's "Pedestrian At Best" was a favorite at WNYC in February. (Courtesy of the artist)
Courtney Barnett's "Pedestrian At Best" was a favorite at WNYC in February. (Courtesy of the artist)

February's sampler includes new music from Courtney Barnett, MDNGHT, Matthew E. White and more.

Heavy Rotation is a monthly sampler of public radio hosts' favorite songs. Check out past editions here.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.



A few years ago a musician named Justin Vernon went to live in a cabin in rural Wisconsin. His band had broken up and so too had his relationship. A few months later, Justin Vernon emerged with new songs that would make up one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2008. His new band was called Bon Iver.


BON IVER: (Singing) Sold my cold knot - a heavy stone.

MONTAGNE: Now Justin Vernon is a producer with his own label and a big champion of other artists from the Wisconsin town where he started out.

ANDREA SWENSSON, BYLINE: Eau Claire, Wis., is a college town right on the western edge of Wisconsin. It has produced a remarkable amount of notable indie musicians.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, BYLINE: That's music reporter Andrea Swensson. She is with a radio station at Minnesota Public Radio called The Current. And she's going to tell us about a singer who once rivaled Vernon as one of Eau Claire's musicians to watch.

SWENSSON: These two songwriters were kind of going head-to-head. Both were in two of the most well-respected bands in the scene.

WERTHEIMER: But while Justin Vernon went on to become a star with the band Bon Iver, the other guy, whose name is Josh Scott, kind of fell off the map. He stopped making music for a few years.

MONTAGNE: Now working with Justin Vernon, Josh Scott has put together a band and produced a record. The band's called Aero Flynn. And their song "Dk/Pi" is Andrea Swensson's pick for this month's Heavy Rotation. It's the music project where we ask public radio folks to name a new favorite song.


AERO FLYNN: (Singing) What are you if you (unintelligible). What are you doing tonight?

SWENSSON: I really like the cosmic nature of the song. You know, it starts with this little twinkle. And then it grows into this very spacey rock sound - really reminiscent of Radiohead and all of those great kind of moody rock bands.


FLYNN: (Singing) Bring your body up with (unintelligible) for you.

SWENSSON: It builds and builds, and then it kind of dissolves again. And all the while, you're trying to make out these lyrics, and it's a little opaque. And it makes it so mysterious.


FLYNN: (Singing) With your bother and you, didn't I?

SWENSSON: I like that you're just focusing more on the emotion of his voice. The song is so dark, but his voice is very light and airy and kind of sweet. I enjoy that we can't tell what he's saying.


FLYNN: (Singing) Everybody haunts you.

MONTAGNE: That's Andrea Swensson talking about "Dk/Pi," the new song from Aero Flynn for our music project Heavy Rotation. You can find more recommendations at our website nprmusic.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.