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New Mix: Laura Marling, Weyes Blood, Sam Phillips, More

Clockwise from upper left: Laura Marling, Sam Phillips, Bed., Peals
Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Laura Marling, Sam Phillips, Bed., Peals

This week, all the songs I play ended up being about the ways people, particularly women, empower themselves in the face of difficult times. Singer Sam Phillips offers a feast of sound in less than two and a half minutes with "World On Sticks," a song about the indomitable human spirit. "It's amazing what a girl can do," she sings, "with half a heart." Laura Marling is also back with new music from an upcoming album she's calling Semper Femina. The first single, "Soothing," is about the empathy she has for other women and, by proxy, herself. And, finally, there's a new song from the husband-wife duo bed. called "Girl." Sierra Haager, one half of the group, says she wrote the song about how much she wishes she could protect the women in her life from the impossible expectations society has of them.

Bob, of course, brings his own favorites of the week, including an intriguing instrumental cut he discovered on a thumb drive submerged in a jar of honey. (I'm not making that up.) The Baltimore band Peals sent the jar to Bob in hopes of getting his attention — which reminded Bob of the commentary Martin Atkins did a while back about being swayed with blackberry jam. Bob also shares music from an album he loves so much he had a hard time picking just one track from it. It's called Front Row Seat To Earth, and it's by Weyes Blood. The track Bob finally settled on is "Used To Be," a moody song that's reminiscent of The Beatles and Pink Floyd.

Robin Hilton

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Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.
In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.