Jonah Tolchin performs at Grimey's in Nashville during the Americana Music Festival on Sept. 20.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images
September 24, 2014 The standout acts at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville last week wove electricity, individualism and rule-breaking together with tradition to create a joyful noise.
Leonard Cohen's new album, Popular Problems, comes out Sept. 23.
Courtesy of the artist
September 15, 2014 Cohen's 13th album creates a space for slow-moving reflection that expands with each listen. The tarpit-voiced raconteur's songs unfold like dirty canticles, with room for both jokes and profundities.
September 11, 2014 Parker Millsap, a 21-year-old with a thick rubber-band tenor, has potential to burn and a new video for one of our favorite songs of the year, "Truck Stop Gospel."
Steelism's new album, 615 To FAME, comes out Sept. 16.
Don Van Cleave/Courtesy of the artist
September 7, 2014 The debut album by the guitar duo Steelism doesn't simply tap into all the flavors of country music; it also demonstrates how those flavors blend and complement each other.
Robert Plant's new album, lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, comes out Sept. 9.
Courtesy of the artist
September 1, 2014 Plant's 10th solo album lovingly layers elements in ways that mirror memory, creating new constructs from floating shards of the musical past.
A still from the video for "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift.
August 20, 2014 Erstwhile country singer Taylor Swift has a new sound and a new goal: to be the world's biggest pop star, with all the attention and provocation that comes with the job.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/341702579/341826217" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
A still from the video for "Am I Wrong" by Nico & Vinz.
August 19, 2014 It's striking how little current pop hits reflect the angst and anger that have dominated this summer's news. But critic Ann Powers finds that one of 2014's biggest songs offers unexpected guidance.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/341341699/345044397" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Shovels & Rope's new album, Swimmin' Time, comes out Aug. 26.
Leslie Ryan McKellar/Courtesy of the artist
August 17, 2014 It's easy to feel the romance in the musical relationship between Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, who've become musical embodiments of how loving couples make it work.
Imogen Heap's new album, Sparks, comes out Aug. 19.
Jeremy Cowart/Courtesy of the artist
August 10, 2014 Sparks documents a fruitful time for one of popular music's most curious explorers. But it also captures how, in the 21st century, art, technology and life meld to make whole new narratives.
Sinead O'Connor's new album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss, comes out Aug. 12.
Donal Moloney/Courtesy of the artist
August 3, 2014 On her 10th album, O'Connor returns to familiar ground, yet still widens the scope of rock with frank, urgent, compelling songwriting that proves how complicated the idea of the personal can be.
Andrija Tokic in his East Nashville studio, The Bomb Shelter.
Joshua Shoemaker/Courtesy of the artist
July 29, 2014 Four stories of rock and roll musicians making a home — and a scene — in a buzzing neighborhood just across the Cumberland River from the palaces of country music.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/336133410/336136389" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye.
July 24, 2014 The video for the teenage duo Maddie & Tae's first single, "Girl In A Country Song," cheerfully turns the tables on the cartoonish macho tendencies of so much recent country music.
Jenny Lewis' new album, The Voyager, comes out July 29.
Autumn de Wilde/Courtesy of the artist
July 20, 2014 The Voyager's clever (but never too-clever) sound builds an open structure within which Lewis can explore her current fascination: the weight of full adulthood, and its paradoxical precariousness.
Morrissey's new album, World Peace Is None Of Your Business, comes out July 15.
Greg Gorman/Courtesy of the artist
July 6, 2014 "The rhythm of life goes round," the singer repeats, summing up a set ranging from politics to gang violence to gender identity. He's in fine voice, belting and going gentle without strain.
Paramore's "Ain't It Fun" was originally released on Paramore in April 2013, but the single hit radio in February and hasn't left since.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
July 3, 2014 Many of today's biggest radio hits came out months — even years — ago. That extended lifespan can change your relationship with a song, but it's not always a matter of overexposure.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor