NPR Music

Ani DiFranco's new album, her 20th, is called Binary. And, as is always the case with this artist, the music and the message are intertwined. The music on Binary is textured and ambitious — you can hear DiFranco's adopted home of New Orleans seeping through the floorboards. There are surprising guests, including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.

The World's Ugliest Dog competition is a lie, or at least misleadingly named. Foldover skin, permanently protruding tongues, untameable wiry hair — those dogs are adorable and anyone who says otherwise has no heart. Noise-rock, on the other hand, thrives on ugly. It is the parasitic, shape-shifting monster of music, and Couch Slut is here to explosively mutate into a creature from The Thing.

Tim Westergren, the co-founder of Pandora who returned to the company's chief executive seat last year after the exit of Brian McAndrews, is leaving the company he started over 17 years ago, it was announced this morning. He will resign his position as chief executive and exit the company's board of directors.

Big Hush's first two cassettes are full of quiet songs played loud. With members from Pygmy Lush and Flasher, the D.C.-based band features (appropriately) hushed vocals from all four members, cooing over a messy, punk-sick shoegaze. It can, from songs that read as intimately as notes passed between friends, make for quite the harmony-riddled racket.

Lunice, the boundary-pushing hip-hop producer known for collaborations with Hudson Mohawke (with whom he produces as the duo TNGHT) and Azealia Banks, is finally gearing up to release his debut album, CCCLX, or 360 in Roman numerals. Out this September on LuckyMe, the project is some five years in the making and, as the title suggests, aims to be more than a one- or two-dimensional experience. Rather, it's an avant-garde mix of jolting, electronic hip-hop inspired by, and designed for, the stage.

Three days after releasing Big Fish Theory, his anticipated and very well-received second studio album, Vince Staples brought a dark and serrated album cut to his third appearance on The Tonight Show.

The BET Awards, like black America, is never a monolithic affair.

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