Ann Powers appears in the following:
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.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
NPR Music's pop critic, Ann Powers, says each of her favorite albums of 2014 gave her new tools to cope with and learn from the world around her, even as that world crashed in from outside.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
They might seem dusty, almost mystical or supernatural, but the vibrant songs on this three-disc set come from a a golden age of gospel that set the path for rock and roll.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The Smithsonian opens its archives and shares a comprehensive collection of previously unheard recordings by blues legend Lead Belly.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
"The Same Road" is the first offering from Nora Jane Struthers' next album, and shows off her band's propulsive new direction. Rooted in bluegrass, Struthers is a serious woman with a light heart.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Past the hype of the newcomer, not yet granted the deference of veterans, the allure of a band making a go of it in the murky middle may be subtle, but it can still be potent.
Monday, November 10, 2014
The Indiana band will release its second album in 2015. This early sample is a striking, vibrating, epic folk ballad with almost surreal imagery and a story line that twists in odd directions.
Thursday, November 06, 2014
The new video for "Eye Makeup" honors the wigged-out, sequin-flashing drag goddesses who helped the punk and New Wave scenes tear apart fundamental ideas of identity and power.
Sunday, November 02, 2014
There's fire in the rock 'n' roll survivor's delivery, and it's redemptive. Twenty albums in, Faithfull can still spin the kind of tale that silences a room, then fills it with something unexpected.