Ann Powers appears in the following:
Saturday, February 28, 2015
From Lana Del Rey to Father John Misty, musicians in the current pop moment who expose themselves, warts and all, do so in isolation, without support or challenge from a like-minded community.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
A 28-year-old Nashville singer-songwriter with a reticent demeanor and a fondness for offhand revelations, Combs sings subtly, without a lot of fuss.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Call "Traveller" whatever feels right: Southern rock, Americana, country, long-haired soul. Chris Stapleton's contemplative open-road anthem is both poetic and matter-of-fact.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Hear the foursome dig into music history, touching on psychedelia, punk, gospel, soul and more.
Sunday, February 08, 2015
After more than 25 years, the band's weapons are still consummate skill, the clarion charisma of singer Raul Malo, and the wisdom to know that fun is what wins in the end.
Monday, February 02, 2015
The song by the 25-year-old Fort Worth singers sounds so much like Sam Cooke, yet the groove feels fresh. How is that possible?
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Though his music honors mid-century sounds with laser precision, the Tulsa rocker takes so many little chances in his songs that they never sound like mere replicas.
Sunday, February 01, 2015
The Carolina Chocolate Drops singer's richly realized solo debut spans American music's history of communal uplift, individual outcry, happy collaboration and profitable theft.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Frank Ocean's cover of The Isley Brothers' "At Your Best (You Are Love)" shows how the singer is re-imagining R&B for the future by exploding stereotypes about gender.
Monday, January 26, 2015
For any young artist, an important leap happens when influences are absorbed and the act of mining the past transforms into something personal.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
The singer takes a loving look back at the '70s and '80s pop that helped shape her. Along the way, without grandstanding, Krall strips away the baggage of the original performers' iconic personas.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
If its songs demand that the listener get uncomfortably close to the viscera of romantic experience, they do so the better to expose how humans move through pain and finally justify leaving it behind.
Friday, January 16, 2015
"Fought the Blues and Won" offers a great example of the Deslondes' easy feel. It's rooted in the blues and in the prodigal twang of great honky-tonkers like Lefty Frizzell.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
A hymn favored by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helps the Oscar-nominated film make a well-known historical story powerfully intimate. But the song has a tragic story of its own.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
The retro-rocking siblings worked with The Clash's Mick Jones on this brassy kiss-off.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The new year offers a new set of musical surprises. Here is a section of 10 acts — under-the-radar or about to explode — who are ready for their moment in the spotlight.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Dig below the strata of pop songs so ubiquitous you can't stand to hear them any more, and you'll find plenty of riches in the Top 40, from country crossover to innovative R&B and classic pop.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Brandi Carlile will put out her fifth album, The Firewatcher's Daughter, in March. She talks with Ann Powers about family, her new album and the necessary recklessness of first-take rock and roll.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Beyonce's 2013 self-titled album explicitly connected feminism to sexual confidence; it cast a long shadow over the female-led pop singles that dominated Top 40 this year.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
A brand new video for Hurray for the Riff Raff's "The Body Electric," which questions the long history of the murder ballad and gender-based violence, brings the song's activism to searing life.