New Mix: David Byrne, Sylvan Esso, Nils Frahm, More


David Byrne is back with his first album of all-new solo music in 14 years. American Utopia, due out March 9 on Byrne’s Todo Mundo imprint, includes contributions from Brian Eno, the Onyx Collective, Daniel Lopatin, Sampha and more. We kick this week’s show off with the first single from the album, the polyrhythmic, party-pop song “Everybody’s Coming To My House.”

Also on the program: NPR Music’s Tom Huizenga stops by to share the mind-bending, genre-defying sounds of pianist Nils Frahm; Sylvan Esso takes an upbeat, carefree look at the end of the world; and the Boston-based band Darlingside reflects on childhood and lost youth with a beautiful and affecting new song called “Old Friend.”

All that plus the bent sounds of former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, idiosyncratic pop from Trace Mountains (a side-project from Dave Benton of the band LVL UP) and the pulsing ambient sounds of German composer Niklas Paschburg.

From the sound of David Byrne’s first solo outing in 14 years, he’s feeling festive. He says “Everybody’s Coming To My House,” the propulsive first single from American Utopia, is inspired in part by a lecture series Byrne does called “Reasons to be Cheerful,” where he talks about “encouraging things that are happening anywhere in the world.” The song includes contributions from Sampha, Brian Eno and Isaiah Barr from the New York jazz group The Onyx Collective. American Utopia is out March 9 on Nonesuch.

Sylvan Esso embraces the end of the world with the buoyant “PARAD(w/m)E,” a standalone cut that follows last year’s stellar full-length, What Now. At one point singer Amelia Meath gives a wink and a nod to global warming, with lines like “Sweaty sweaty, wonder why.”
Former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes follows up 2015’s Mercury Prize-nominated album Matador with World’s Strongest Man, set for release on May 4 on his Hot Fruit label. Its title track, Coombes tells us via email, is about “the vulnerabilities and funny quirks that make us human beings in the modern world.”
“Turn Twice” had been floating around Dave Benton’s head since high school, when he imagined the song as a pop-punk track. With the death of his grandfather last year, the LVL UP guitarist dusted off “Turn Twice” and turned it into a quirky, synth-heavy and auto-tuned cut. Trace Mountains’ debut album A Partner To Lean On, will be out March 30 on his own Figure 2 RC label.


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