Ann Powers

Ann Powers appears in the following:

God, Drugs And Lizard Aliens: Yep, It's Country Music

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Listen closely to Sturgill Simpson's classic-sounding country music and you'll hear plenty of surprises, including twists on every element of modern country's church-trucks-and-beer trinity.


Why We Fight About Pop Music

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Two writers dig to the bottom of why other people's bad taste in music bothers us so much, and along the way, lay out the new rules for thinking and writing about pop.


First Listen: The Afghan Whigs, 'Do To The Beast'

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The band's first album in 16 years still showcases the voice and vision of a solitary, brilliant man in a constant tug-of-war with evil, as he imagines it.


First Listen: Ben Watt, 'Hendra'

Sunday, April 06, 2014

With his first solo album in 31 years, the former member of Everything But The Girl has returned to highly cultured, intimate songcraft.


Make Peace With Pop: 6 Songs That Prove Pop Gets Along With Everyone

Friday, April 04, 2014

Recently, some writers have argued that music criticism is unhealthily obsessed with pop. The problem with that argument: So are musicians in every other genre.


First Listen: EMA, 'The Future's Void'

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The singer's new album navigates an imagined future world of sad clones and shattered identities. It creates a sonic alternate universe through which many elements float.


First Listen: Nickel Creek, 'A Dotted Line'

Sunday, March 23, 2014

One-time bluegrass prodigies reunite with an album that plays to each musician's strengths. As always, Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins and Chris Thile balance their virtuosity with joyfulness and spunk.


Lady Gaga At SXSW: 'Don't Sell Out. Sell In.'

Saturday, March 15, 2014

In a keynote event at SXSW, the queen of pop transgression offered support for anyone struggling with self-definition and illustrated how hard it is to steer clear of the constraints of corporate pop.


The Guide To Making SXSW Fun (For Everybody)

Monday, March 10, 2014

SXSW can be so overwhelming, so here are six recommendations for keeping keep cool at the Austin music festival — for first-timers, veterans and those following along at home.


Listening In Reel Life: The Pop Music Inside The Oscar Nominees

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Original songs and scores aren't the only music worth paying attention to on Oscar night. Pop music is woven deeply into the performances and plots of many of the year's best movies.


Computer Love: Beats Music Wants To Be Your Everything

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ann Powers says that for the music lover searching for an immersive streaming service, newcomer Beats Music comes close to offering the complete package.


Collaborations And Congratulations: Navigating The Grammy Crossover

Monday, January 27, 2014

On the Grammy stage, winners and performers had to deal with the sometimes-uncomfortable will of the show's mainstream tastes. Questions of appropriation and access dogged the show, but a few times, meaningful alliance shone through.


First Listen: Robert Ellis, 'The Lights From The Chemical Plant'

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ellis eludes categorization within either mainstream country or Americana music by going the route of both formats' greatest maverick craftsmen; you'll hear Merle Haggard here along with Willie Nelson, and a bit of Rodney Crowell's sparkle.


Hurray For The Riff Raff's New Political Folk

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The New Orleans-based bandleader Alynda Lee Segarra talks about the wide range of political and musical inspirations — from her Puerto Rican background to the Occupy movement and women's rights in India — behind her band's new album, Small Town Heroes.


First Listen: Laura Cantrell, 'No Way There From Here'

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cantrell, who was born in Tennessee, is one of the stylists who defined Americana music as we now know it when she first emerged in 2000. But she's an urbanite, too, interested in expressing how the simple life gets thornier when your country dreams must adapt to the possibilities and problems of life in a metropolis.


A Long Road To 'High Hopes': An Interview With Bruce Springsteen

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In a one-hour-plus interview with NPR Music's Ann Powers, The Boss talks about his latest album, says the current version of the E Street Band is "the best it's ever been" and shares lessons he learned from his musical heroes as well as playlists full of new music.


An Under-The-Radar Albums Preview For 2014

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Here's a remedy to the new year's rush of overhyped albums by already famous musicians: a week-by-week selection of albums from worthy underdogs, up-and-comers and veterans


First Listen: Rosanne Cash, 'The River & The Thread'

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Each song on Cash's new album is rooted in the Southern soil connecting her family's old homestead in Arkansas to its ancestral Virginia homeland, expanding to survey its artistic roots in Alabama and Tennessee. Some narratives are fictional, while others mine family lore.


The Knife On 'Shaking' Expectations

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

In a rare audio interview, the Swedish electronic duo reveals how its latest album, Shaking The Habitual, is an extension of the philosophy that "everything is politicized."


Top 10 Top 40 Of 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

At the end of a year in which pop songs were a constant, provocative part of the national conversation, NPR Music critic Ann Powers sifts through the 100 most popular songs of the year to highlight 10 pure pop pleasures worth remembering.