June 30, 2013 James Chapman's charming songs sound fizzy and bright throughout Vicissitude, Maps' third album, but they also convey his thoughtful reflections on transition and doubt.
June 27, 2013 With festival season underway, NPR Music's weekly advice column examines a vexing etiquette issue. At outdoor festivals, is it okay to hold your place near the stage by merely plunking down a towel?
June 24, 2013 Griffin has always had a gift for locating a song's nerve endings; for surveying her subject matter and identifying the most efficient possible pathways to listeners' emotions. At the NPR Music offices, Griffin and her band perform three songs from her new album, American Kid.
June 24, 2013 On her new album, Mize's wearily melancholic sound makes room for sounds that can be playful, potent, lush and sweet. Among the Grey finds the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist sounding fully formed: Rich and assertive, its songs alternately storm and sparkle.
June 16, 2013 The Chicago band's third album unleashes a sparkly charm offensive that practically rolls down your car windows for you. Sweet and dreamy, slick and sunny, Soft Will is the sound of weaponized agreeability.
June 16, 2013 Produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, One True Vine radiates reverence while summoning a slow burn well-suited to Staples' rich, dusky voice. Then, as the album blooms into something more celebratory, joy peeks through like slivers of sunshine.
June 13, 2013 Festival preparation can be broken into three categories: music, logistics and simple survival.
June 9, 2013 Overstuffed at 69 minutes, the Scottish band's 10th album plays out like a larger-than-life celebration of survival. Like the group itself, More Light is erratic and given to excess, but still reaching for transcendence — and vital enough to find what it's looking for.
June 9, 2013 The Canadian band's second album showcases Katie Stelmanis' massive voice and increasingly personal lyrics in style, keeping one foot in the conservatory even as both are occupied on the dance floor.
June 6, 2013 As descriptors go, words like "alternative" and "indie" have become meaningless. But if your musical tastes fit into those categories, what do you say? Tips for shorthand you can use when trying to get your friends into new music.
June 2, 2013 A multi-instrumentalist and DJ, James Blake collaborator Rob McAndrews has an innate understanding of how to use snippets of sad music as shortcuts to emotion. But he also knows when to exude lightness and joy.
June 2, 2013 On its second album, the beachy pop-rock band balances its fussy, studio-bound side with rich full-band chemistry and songs whose hooks pop into your thoughts days later. Pythons is more streamlined and straight-ahead than 2010's Astro Coast, but it's still catchy as anything.
May 30, 2013 In NPR Music's advice column, thoughts on a debate that's raged in the music world for centuries.