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Station Breaks: The Best New Songs From NPR Music Stations

Written by on June 5, 2019

With summer underway, NPR’s latest monthly Station Breaks playlist is a great way to breathe new life into any music library. Kaina’s “Green,” for example, has a light and fun melody, with layers of percussion to keep your feet tapping along. In “C’est La” by David Hopkins, French and English lyrics are fused together with a funky beat.

The songs on this month’s Station Breaks list are also available to stream on the NPR Slingshot Spotify playlist and the NPR Slingshot Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page. —Maya Eaglin


Aan, “Cause and Effect”

With melodic falsetto vocals, Ethiopian jazz-inspired keys and a lively rhythm section, frontman Bud Wilson leads his Portland-based rock band down a fantastical psych-pop rabbit hole in this gem of a song. —Jerad Walker, OPB Music, Portland, Oregon

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David Hopkins, “C’est La”

You might pick up a little French from an Irishman now living in Las Vegas. David Hopkins’ glimmering track “C’est La” shows off the breadth of his talent, complete with ethereal orchestral overtones. —Malayna Joy & Jake Wagner, NV89, Reno/Las Vegas, Nevada


Drangus, “Outside”

“Outside,” by the St. Louis jazz collective Drangus, is the little black dress of songs. Its low-key groove is perfect for weekday mornings, but the soulful verse from Dub I.Z. works just as well in the club. —KE Luther, KDHX, St. Louis, Missouri


Fast Romantics, “Do No Wrong”

Fast Romantics is a Toronto band bursting with hooks. Expect “Do No Wrong” to stick in your head for days. —Ken Sumka, Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Joel Ross, “Yana”

“Yana” provides a wonderful welcome to the world of vibraphonist Joel Ross. His Blue Note debut, Kingmaker, includes several originals that portend big things for the rising star from The Chi. —J. Michael Harrison, WRTI, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Kaina, “Green”

“Green” hits like a spring day. A joyful expression of being alive, the song brings together timbales, horns and the singer’s lustrous voice to herald Kaina’s arrival. This is the second single from her upcoming album Next to the Sun, out July 12. — Silvia Rivera, Vocalo, Chicago, Illinois


Kelsey Lu, “Poor Fake”

After collaborations with Solange, Blood Orange, Florence + The Machine, Sampha and others, singer and cellist Kelsey Lu has finally released her solo debut, Blood. It’s an arty, atmospheric blend of brooding R&B, acoustic folk and orchestral pop. —Kevin Cole, KEXP, Seattle, Washington


Latrell James, “Tracphone”

Latrell James’ self-produced “Tracphone” explores gentrification from the perspective of a man who’s proud of where he grew up, but no longer feels like he belongs there. —Stacy Buchanan, WGBH, Boston, Massachusetts


Otis Wilkins, “Joni Mitchell Was Punk”

Rock and soul crash together in this new solo single from singer Taylor Wilkins, who also leads the longstanding Austin hard-rock band Otis the Destroyer.” —Jack Anderson, KUTX, Austin, Texas


Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, “Hymn For A Droid”

The Perth band Psychedelic Porn Crumpets channels the Beatles, Nirvana and Mars Volta in its inventive guitar-rock songs, each of which is good for floating through long, dreamy nights and days spent frying under the sun. —Bruce Warren, WXPN, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Rebecca Loebe, “Popular”

Since it’s graduation season, many of us could use this pep-talk of a ballad from Rebecca Loebe. You’ll see some familiar folk-music faces in the lyric video — and chances are you’ll find something to connect with in the uplifting sentiment. —Adam Harris, Mountain Stage, Charleston, West Virginia


Shawn James, “Orpheus”

Shawn James’ “Orpheus” bubbles along in a mix of Pentecostal preaching and Greek mythology, as the titular figure struggles to rescue his beloved Eurydice from death. —Jessie Scott, Roots Radio (WMOT), Nashville, Tennessee


Stasney Mav, “Bullet”

Nashville pop artist Stasney Mav, part of the country mecca’s ever-evolving sound, strips her electro banger “Bullet” down to its heartfelt acoustic roots. —Troy Schulze, Houston Public Media, Houston, Texas


Sunny War, “Shell”

‘Shell’ is a perfect song for the early days of summer. Beautiful finger-picked guitar and a samba beat provide the backdrop for an ode to transformation. —Brian Burns, WUNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina


The Seratones, “Gotta Get To Know Ya”

Coming in loaded with fuzztone guitars, thumping bass and the vocal might of A.J. Haynes, “Gotta Get to Know Ya” is your clarion call to kick out the summer jams. —Gini Mascorro, KXT, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

Stream this month’s Station Breaks picks on NPR Slingshot’s Spotify and NPR Slingshot’s Apple Music playlist.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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