Lars Gotrich

Listening to BIG BRAVE is like standing between a Richard Serra installation: massive and imposing, but curved to let the light shine on the edges. The Montreal trio's third album, Ardor, draws out their experimental and heavy music over three long tracks, including the heaving opener "Sound."

At this point, you're either with Converge or against it. Nearly 25 years after its debut album, the band's cyclonic buzzsaw is unmistakable — this is hardcore-fueled extreme music that simultaneously elevates and destroys; pity to those who don't experience an epiphany in the pit.

Richard D. James loves to clear the vaults. A couple years ago, he sent Aphex Twin fans on a scavenger hunt through a series of anonymous SoundCloud accounts, where he had uploaded 200 old tracks and demos leading up to the release of Syro. Then he deleted them.

Pardoner can't stop saving us from 'blah' punk. That's what Uncontrollable Salvation means, right? Or maybe Pardoner's some kind of Judge Dredd, a combination of judge, jury and savior whenever a perp is making lame punk crossed with '90s alt-rock.

True to its name, Wolves In The Throne Room has always painted between the lines of barbaric and regal. For over a decade it has been this between-space that has driven WITTR's power; burning black-metal riffs communing with mystical folk and ambient music.

It's Bastille Day in France, so what better way to celebrate 1789's violent overthrow of the monarchy than with some French house music — désolé, musique de maison -- arranged for a marching band?

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.

She called herself "Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers." In the late summer of 2013, a woman shot and killed a bus driver who inflicted sexual violence on the women of Juárez, Mexico. Then she did it again, a day later.

Zachary Cale is a helluva guitar player, his understated picking patterns interweave like latticework, thrust through dusky production, whispering and lush strings and a Dylan-esque voice (which you won't find here).

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