So I took last Friday off to clean out my garage and ended up using the time to listen to the new Kendrick record, DAMN. over and over again. It was a glorious, uninterrupted stretch of several hours, but even that wasn't enough to really understand everything he covers on it. DAMN. is dense, packed with religious imagery, deep thoughts on race, fame and identity, and a whole lot of personal stories and memories. Those are some initial observations. You can read a lot more thoughts on DAMN. from the NPR Music team and writer Oliver Wang's review. Like a lot of other fans, I'll be digging into this one all year. But we kick off this week's show with one particular story Kendrick Lamar shares at the end of the record called "DUCKWORTH." It's a story of several remarkable coincidences that ultimately led to him becoming one of the most important rappers alive.

This week's show also has some fantastically fuzzy garage rock from the Vancouver band Weed, some dreamy sounds from both the incredible singer Adam Torres and the Brooklyn-based ambient pop group Cigarettes After Sex, and existential meditations on out of body experiences from the duo GEMS.

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