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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF SNAIL MAIL SONG, "FULL CONTROL")

As the saying goes, "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar." So it is for Natalie Prass on her new album, The Future and the Past.

It was a sweltering hot summer in Tokyo. I was sitting in my study, which doubles as a disorganized storage closet for unsold CDs, zines and tapes. An office worker, taking a cigarette break on the fire escape of the building opposite, was watching me through the window with an expression of disdain, wondering what I was still doing in my dressing gown at 4:00 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon.

From The Japanese Underground: A Playlist

Jun 14, 2018

There are two stories hidden beneath the mix of music I've compiled here, each of which has been important in developing my thoughts on Japan's music scene over the fifteen years or so that I've been involved with it.

The image of a family tree is embedded in the country songwriting lexicon, serving as a sort of shorthand for core country values of lineage, rootedness and stabilizing familial bonds. Priscilla Renea is no doubt aware of this. Though only 29, she's already a savvy veteran of the music industry. After a fairly rural Florida upbringing, she's spent over a decade learning how to play by, and bend, the rules in the cosmopolitan capitals of pop, R&B, hip-hop and country music-making.

Over the course of Lera Lynn's career, the Nashville-based songwriter has explored the darker corners of American roots music. With her brooding, sinewy vocals and penchant for chronicling the underbelly of interpersonal connection, Lynn's star has continually risen since her 2011 debut, Have You Met Lera Lynn, particularly finding new heights following the release of 2016's daring Resistor and her breakthrough gig with HBO's True Detective.

On Saturday, a fire destroyed the Aberdeen Museum of History in Kurt Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Wash., which included items from his early life.

The Cobain-dedicated exhibit included a couch he slept on at a friend's home for the fall of 1985, a bench from outside his home in Seattle and posters, artwork and band T-shirts.

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