Like an alchemist, Taylor Swift turns stray thoughts and abject emotions into global cultural touchstones—and into piles and piles of cold, hard cash. What do her fans get out of it?
What makes the Alabama Shakes sound new is that they’re evidently devoted to their musical forebears -- everyone from Etta James and Aretha to Bowie and Zeppelin -- yet also coquettishly unfaithful to each one of them.
On its second album After It All, the Durham-based sextet successfully raids the storehouse of American musical traditions, incorporating influences ranging from blues to folk, rock to pop, and hip-hop to musical theater.
The eclectic guitar becomes a tool that complements Laura Marling's lyrics on this pivotal album, at times articulating visceral anger and, at others, obliterating psychic barriers and clearing space for something new.
From artists that have already made a splash (Bleachers) to those hoping to land a record deal (Demi Louise), Friday of SXSW 2015 captured the struggle to make it in the modern music industry.