First Listen: Conor Oberst, 'Upside Down Mountain'

Artful and beautifully realized, the Bright Eyes singer's new solo album knows when to shoot for sentimentality — when to sneak right inside the most cynical heart and melt the layers. Listen to Conor Oberst's Upside Down Mountain streaming this week via WFUV and NPR Music before its release on May 20.

First Listen: Sylvan Esso, 'Sylvan Esso'

Taut and tantalizing, these 10 songs have countless different ways of grabbing and inviting attention; they wobble, seethe and coo with charismatic ambivalence. Listen to the self-titled debut album from Sylvan Esso streaming now via FUV and NPR Music before its release on May 13 on Partisan Records.

Temples: WFUV At SXSW 2014

Riding high on their critical acclaim of their debut album, Sun Structures, Temples dazzled many at SXSW last week with a smart, glam-resonant, psychedelic set that never felt nostaligic, but always forward-looking. Temples also wrapped the Public Radio Rocks showcase with a lean, assured set that included singles like "Shelter Song" and "Mesmerise." Watch videos of Temples live at Public Radio rocks and listen to their entire set in the FUV Vault now.

Thumpers: SXSW 2014 Performance

Childhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. regrouped in 2012 after their previous band fell apart, and the two began writing music that would become the first Thumpers songs via email. The London alt-pop duo just released their debut album, Galore, filled with bouncy melodies and fun, catchy songs. Watch Thumpers, defying rain like rugged Brits, perform their single "Unkinder (A Tougher Love)" for FUV and The Alternate Side 

Damon Albarn: SXSW 2014

Damon Albarn's creative restlessness has long been a boon to his fans as he has artfully shifted between Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad and The Queen, the ongoing Africa Express projects and even opera. So it's slightly surprising that it's taken over two decades for Albarn to release his first "official" solo album, Everyday Robots. The album won't be out until April 29, but at SXSW's Public Radio Rocks Day Stage showcase earlier today, March 14, Albarn dipped generously into songs from Everyday Robots, like the title track,  "Lonely Press Play" and "Mr. Tembo." Listen to Damon Albarn's full set at Public Radio Rocks in the FUV archives now.

The Strypes: SXSW 2014

These Irish teenagers are, apparently, musically wise beyond their years. Dave Grohl, Roger Daltrey and Elton John are counted as early fans of The Strypes—in fact, John signed them to his management company, and was quoted as saying, "they have a knowledge of R&B and blues at 16 years of age that I’ve only amassed in my 65 years." Watch The Strypes cover Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge A Book by The Cover" for WFUV and The Alternate Side.

First Listen: Kevin Drew, 'Darlings'

A member of Toronto's baroque-pop collective Broken Social Scene, Kevin Drew can't help but write music that sprawls in satisfying, sometimes bone-rattling ways. Listen to Kevin Drew's Darlings streaming now via WFUV and NPR Music prior to its release on March 18 via Arts & Crafts.

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