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

Apr 29, 2017
Originally published on April 29, 2017 9:34 am

Every month, we at NPR Music convene a panel of hosts and music directors from the public-radio family across the country. Their objective: to share the new songs they simply can't get enough of. Some of our panelists delight in the surprise of a well-established band's latest offering; others shine a spotlight on a younger, local artist on the verge of breaking out nationally. Either way, it's a singular opportunity to discover something new.

This month's mix includes a standout song from country veteran Marty Stuart's most recent album, former Gossip singer Beth Ditto's rock 'n' roll solo single, a disco-inspired track by Chicago rapper Ric Wilson and more.

Hear The Current's Bill DeVille, KXT's Amy Miller and WFPK's Sean Cannon share their selections at the audio link, and read on for the full list.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We check in each month with music maestros in public radio. Here is a sample of what they're currently playing in heavy rotation.

BILL DEVILLE: I'm Bill DeVille, one of the deejays at The Current in St. Paul, Minn. And my pick is a song called "Time Don't Wait." It's from Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIME DON'T WAIT")

MARTY STUART AND HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES: (Singing) Big bright moon is shining...

DEVILLE: Marty has this great new album called "Way Out West," and he likes to call it his love letter to the West where he pays tribute to a lot of the stuff he grew up with and heard as a kid. He was a big fan of surf guitars and Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. He calls it his psychedelic twang-filled journey through the Mojave Desert.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIME DON'T WAIT")

MARTY STUART AND HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES: (Singing) Time don't wait on nobody, it just keeps moving on and on and on and on.

DEVILLE: One of the bands he loved when he was growing up as a kid was The Birds, and on this one it's kind of a nod to The Birds. This track is just awesome. It just really takes you back to a different time and place. And Marty's so good at doing that.

AMY MILLER: My name is Amy Miller. I'm the program director at KXT in Dallas, Texas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIRE")

BETH DITTO: (Singing) Fire.

MILLER: And the song I picked today is "Fire" by Beth Ditto.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIRE")

DITTO: (Singing) Bless my soul, that's the way it is.

MILLER: The song "Fire" opens with a really catchy guitar line.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIRE")

DITTO: (Singing) Bless my soul, I can't resist.

MILLER: And then all of a sudden...

(SOUNDBITE OF BETH DITTO SONG, "FIRE")

MILLER: Right there, that's where it kicks in. And that's when that moment hit when I heard that song. It just really had an effect on me. And those types of dynamics, I mean, they're just so powerful in songs when you get to that buildup, you wait for it and then it pays off, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIRE")

DITTO: (Singing) Get up, up, up, up, up, up, up if you want my, want my, want my love. Get up, up, up, up, up, up, up if you want my, want my love.

MILLER: And her band, Gossip, they were together for 17 years. They formed in 1999. They just broke up last year. So I think when that happens for musicians and they go solo, a lot of their fans are really anxious to see where they go with their songwriting. I think this is one of the best things we've heard from Beth.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIRE")

DITTO: (Singing) Bless my soul, I can't resist.

SEAN CANNON: I'm Sean Cannon, host of "The Guest List" on Louisville Public Media. And my pick for heavy rotation is "Shine A Light" from Shabazz Palaces. I guess you could call it a fuzzy, psychedelic space soul ballad.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHINE A LIGHT")

SHABAZZ PALACES: (Singing) Shine a light on the fake. This way my peeps can have it all. Shine a light on the fake. This way...

CANNON: It's hard to talk about Shabazz Palaces without talking about Digable Planets first, the jazz hip-hop band from the '90s, because it's led by the same guy, Ishmael Butler. He's been sort of expanding the sound of rap and hip-hop for a long time. In Digable Planets he went, you know, into the past. With Shabazz Palaces it's into space, into the future.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHINE A LIGHT")

SHABAZZ PALACES: (Rapping) Street profit, sweets geeked off it, seek profit, cook styles eat off it.

CANNON: Yeah, I love how it feels like they're always just a little bit behind the beat. It makes - it's that feeling. That's what makes you feel like you're floating in space a little bit, like time is way more expansive somehow.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHINE A LIGHT")

SHABAZZ PALACES: (Rapping) Gorgeous dashing, waves crashing, mind elastics, smooth action.

CANNON: I've seen them live a couple of times, and they put on an amazing show because they're doing a lot of these things live, a lot of the musical cues, the drum machines, the samples. And they don't build songs. They build pieces, a bunch of little scraps. You know, they're putting together a giant puzzle is basically what it amounts to, sometimes like putting together a puzzle face down.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHINE A LIGHT")

SHABAZZ PALACES: (Singing) Shine a light on the fake. This way my peeps can have it all. Shine a light on the fake. This way my peeps can have it all.

SIMON: There's more music in heavy rotation on just the coolest website, nprmusic.org. This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.