NPR Music's Ann Powers (right) interviews musicians (from left) Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, Sharon Jones and Meshell Ndegeocello at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle.
April 30, 2014 Sharon Jones, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, Meshell Ndegeocello and Hurray For The Riff Raff's Alynda Lee Segarra shared struggles and successes in a joint interview at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle.
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Wye Oak's new album, Shriek, comes out April 29.
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April 20, 2014 The band, known for its glorious guitar noise, opts for a synthesizer-driven sound.
Sturgill Simpson's second album, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, takes inspiration from both Ray Charles and research into near-death experiences.
Crackerfarm/Courtesy of the artist
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.
Kanye West performing in New York City, 2012
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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.
The Afghan Whigs' new album, Do to the Beast, comes out April 15.
April 6, 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.
Ben Watt's new album, Hendra, comes out April 29.
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April 6, 2014 With his first solo album in 31 years, the former member of Everything But The Girl has returned to highly cultured, intimate songcraft.
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These guys can get along. Why can't we? Kanye West (left) and Justin Vernon in 2010.
Walik Goshorn ./Corbis
April 4, 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.
EMA's new album, The Future's Void, comes out April 8.
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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.
Nickel Creek's new album, A Dotted Line, comes out April 1.
Brantley Gutierrez/Courtesy of the artist
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 donned luxurious plastic bags for her SXSW Keynote on Friday.
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.
Anything can happen in Austin. Be prepared.
Adam Kissick for NPR
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.
Beautiful Music Together: Joaquin Phoenix takes a walk on the beach with his girlfriend the Operating System in the Oscar-nominated film Her.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
March 1, 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.
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.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones' new album, Half the City, comes out Feb. 18.
David McClister/Courtesy of the artist
February 9, 2014 The band's music doesn't just mimic the soul sounds its members love; it regenerates the tradition. Half the City is the first major recorded statement from a band already growing into greatness.
Eric Church's new album, The Outsiders, comes out Feb. 11.
John Peets/Courtesy of the artist
February 2, 2014 As fun as his bold declarations can be, the country star's depth comes from his ruminative side; his decade-long slow rise has made him as flexible as he is determined. The greatest thing about The Outsiders is its range, both in sound and in the stories Church tells.
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