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Tuesday, March 31 2015

What’s Not to Love About the Trombone?

There was a time when jazz trombonists like Glenn Miller were mega-stars. Not so today, but talents like those of Ryan Keberle and Joe Fiedler make the case that they should be.


Thursday, March 26 2015

The Artist Is Not Present: The Significance of Sia’s Anti-Pop Persona

For once, a pop artist has rejected the idea of stardom, and as a result, has become one of the world’s most discussed pop stars.


Friday, March 20 2015

Jethro Tull: Back to Basics (Sort Of)

After the back-to-back-to-back brilliance of their previous three albums, a letdown seemed inevitable; amazingly, Ian Anderson & Co. raised the bar, instead.


Friday, March 13 2015

Genius. Doesn’t. Fade: A Conversation With Steven Wilson

Revered English musical visionary Steven Wilson discusses the inspirations, methods, and reflections that helped create his newest solo opus, Hand. Cannot. Erase.


Thursday, March 12 2015

The ‘80s Jazz Fads Return!

Two unique jazz phenoms of the Reagan '80s -- tapping guitarist Stanley Jordan and falsetto scatting legend Bobby "Don't Worry, Be Happy" McFerrin -- are back.


Wednesday, February 25 2015

Songs of Imploration and Love: The Music of Tajikistan

For centuries, Tajikistan has seen just about every monarchy, kingdom, religious faith and culture sweep through its land, leaving an indelible impression on its people and music.


Tuesday, February 17 2015

A Call for the Academy to Reconceptualize the Best Original Score Category

So long as the Academy clings to a myopic definition of what an "original" score is, too many deserving composers will be left out come Oscar night.


Monday, February 9 2015

Do iPhones Dream of Boxcars? Joe Ely and Sci-Fi Country

In 1983, road-weary Texan Joe Ely hovers over gadgets and wires, entering a brave new world of technology. Is he creating science-fiction country music?


Wednesday, February 4 2015

Bligg Up!: The Bizarre Swiss Hip-Hop of Rapper Bligg

Swiss rapper Bligg, hip-hop's resident weirdo, reinvents the genre through subversion and humour -- and an alphorn's load of smart, catchy tunes.


Monday, February 2 2015

The Visual Enchantment of Music Photography

Sometimes photographs tell stories that music cannot fully articulate, carrying in their grain long-gone atmospheres.


Friday, January 23 2015

Miraculous Metropolis: A Reflection on Dream Theater’s ‘Scenes from a Memory’

Fifteen years after its release, Dream Theater's fifth LP remains not only the quintet's truest masterpiece, but arguably the greatest progressive metal album ever made.


Monday, January 19 2015

The 2015 Grammys Get Jazz Mostly Wrong, a Little Right

Grammy nominations in jazz are rarely adventurous and usually confusing. Yet this year's slate is intriguing.


Tuesday, January 13 2015

The Act You’ve Known for All These Years: Covering ‘Sgt. Pepper’

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band may be the most overanalysed, overexposed album in history. In light of the Flaming Lips' affectionate reimagining, can the inescapable masterpiece ever be surpassed?


Tuesday, January 6 2015

A Blockbuster Turns 30: Alan Light Talks About Prince and ‘Purple Rain’

Music journalist and author of Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain Alan Light talks with PopMatters about Prince's one-of-a-kind perfect album.


Friday, December 19 2014

‘American Interior’: A Multimedia Tale of a Welsh Vision Quest

Gruff Rhys' innovative, multi-platform narrative unfolds the beguiling and intriguing narrative of an enigmatic Welshman seeking out his kind... in America.


Wednesday, December 17 2014

When Kendrick Lamar Hits NPR, We All Win

When everyone feels they can be an expert, how do you reassert your ownership over a topic? By waiting for its crossover moment.


Tuesday, December 16 2014

A Healthy Dose of Darkness: The Best Film Scores of 2014

The year 2014 saw classic composer/director teams hit new highs, as well as a considerable dark streak take over the world of film scoring.


Wednesday, December 10 2014

Six Shots in Ferguson, One Night in New York

Trumpeter Igmar Thomas and his haunting tune, "The Hunted", sums up the most difficult lesson of 2014.


Wednesday, November 26 2014

The Noir Traveler Returns: The Evolving Sound of Alvarius B.

The Invisible Hands have given us a glimpse of Alvarius B.'s (Alan Bishop) view of the world from the center of Cairo. It's not a happy perspective, but there's a hint of hope.


Monday, November 24 2014

In Defense of Not Wanting to Hear Your Band Perform a Favorite Album Live

When a band performs its best album at shows, over and over, it's like they're admitting that they'll never achieve that particular level of greatness again.


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