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WUNC Music is a place for music discovery

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The nominations are in for the 16th annual Americana Awards, to be held Sept. 13 in Nashville as the signature event of AmericanaFest — and in at least one category, they tell a tale of how this progressive yet traditionalist community is rising to the political challenges of a complicated historical moment. Four of the five releases in the Album of the Year category have protest at their core, demonstrating how the genre is stretching itself even as it builds on long-established artistic family ties.

A rock star makes it big, gets hooked on substances and lands in rehab. The rest of the artist's career is viewed as a comeback. Recognize this pattern? Well, Mike Hadreas, the heart of the band Perfume Genius, is a rock star in reverse — because his career started in rehab.

Country music icon Loretta Lynn suffered a stroke Thursday night and is recovering in a Nashville hospital.

A post on Lynn's Facebook page said that she fell ill at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., but that she expects to make a full recovery.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

This time, Eric Hodge sits down with Chapel Hill's Mipso to discuss their song "Water Runs Red" from the album Coming Down The Mountain.

When the reunited LCD Soundsystem played five nights at Brooklyn Steel in early April, the band brought along two new songs, delighting a legion of dedicated followers who have been clamoring for new material. Well, now James Murphy and company will release those songs at midnight — "and I mean, literally, midnight," he writes in a lengthy post on Facebook (embedded below). "Wherever you are.

What did we do to deserve new songs from both Paramore and HAIM? We are truly blessed this day.

Perhaps you're a person who buys festival wear but finds Coachella too plebian. Perhaps you find other music festivals off-putting because you can't bring your own yacht. Or maybe you just think it sounds awesome to hang out on an island in the Bahamas and you have a few thousand dollars to blow.

Last week brought a flurry of news about a new batch of unreleased Prince songs — six, to be exact, culled from sessions the late star had recorded between 2006 and 2008 — most of which remain unreleased after Prince's estate obtained an injunction blocking their distribution.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

For more than four decades, Jonathan Demme threaded a diverse path through the film industry — beginning as a publicist, filming everything from documentaries to comedic sendups, and finally earning the status of Oscar-winning elder statesman. He was 73.

The director died Wednesday in Manhattan from complications of esophageal cancer. His publicist, 42 West, confirmed Demme's death to NPR.

Demme made films such as The Silence of the Lambs and Stop Making Sense that have helped define their respective genres.

You'll need a few viewings to make any sense out of the new Father John Misty video for "Total Entertainment Forever." The song is, at least in part, an indictment against popular culture, the blind adoration of pop stars and the rampant obsession with virtual reality.

This isn't the easiest time to enter the job market, especially not when so many opportunities are drying up in fields ranging from coal mining to retail.

Ty Segall's new head-spinning video for the song "Break A Guitar" opens with a very brief cameo by Fred Armisen, before bursting into an ever-growing swirl of Kaleidoscopic images.

Friday night at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, the Cat's Cradle presents the North Carolina premiere of the concert film "Thank You, Friends." The movie's name comes from a Big Star song from Third (the band's third album). The movie documents an on-going, star-studded tribute to the band.

Dom (left) and Jerron backstage at a Tribute to LeadBelly at Carnegie Hall in February 2016
Vania Kindard

The young folk musician Jerron Paxton defies easy categorization.  He grew up in a west coast metropolis, but his family and community adhered to customs from the rural south. And, like a number of people in Los Angeles with Louisiana roots, he inherited a combination of African-American, American Indian, and Jewish heritage. Paxton plays acoustic music that reflects these origins, with a focus on solo fiddle, guitar, and banjo. He also has a passion for telling his family’s story: 

Michael O'Brien

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

This time, Eric Hodge sits down with Jody Stephens of Big Star to discuss the band's classic song 'September Gurls.'

Editor's note: This story contains some explicit language.

Katie Crutchfield has been nothing but honest as Waxahatchee. Her careful words carry keen insight — and she writes sharp songs to match. Waxahatchee's fourth album, Out In The Storm, takes a hard look not just at broken relationship, but also at the spiraling aftermath.

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