March 8, 2010 In a way, she's similar to iconic figures such as Janis Joplin or Billie Holiday — singers whose recordings define not just a style, but a way of being. Today, young performers talk about being intimidated when they attempt songs Regina made famous. Her work mulls the big questions of life and romance, one magnificent half-step at a time.
January 26, 2010 The British singer-songwriter made a splash in 2006 with her chart-topping single "Put Your Records On." Now, two years after the death of her husband, Rae returns with The Sea, and it's light-years ahead of what she'd done before. The album marks the arrival of a newly observant songwriter and an absolutely fearless singer.
December 15, 2009 A guitarist and composer, Rosenwinkel has been hailed as one of a handful of rebels helping to revitalize jazz. The 39-year-old, who grew up in the U.S. but now lives in Berlin, has earned respect for his inventive original tunes. But on Reflections, he concentrates on standards.
November 23, 2009 On She Wolf, Shakira teams up again with songwriter-producer Wyclef Jean, but it sounds as if they're trying to recapture the magic of her global smash "Hips Don't Lie." The duo replaces the Latin and Middle Eastern beats with generic dance-pop diva moves.
October 5, 2009 The four members of the South African rock band BLK JKS (pronounced "Black Jacks") grew up in different parts of the country, speaking different tribal languages. And they listened to a great range of music — everything from local rhythms to Sonic Youth to Duke Ellington. Those influences converge in a totally original sound on the group's full-length debut, After Robots.
October 2, 2009 When a successful band returns after a long break, it's bound to worry about expectations. That's what's striking about new albums by Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains: Pearl Jam is the only one that sounds desperate to give fans exactly what they've come to expect. Alice in Chains sounds considerably more liberated.
September 9, 2009 Every Wednesday this summer, we're offering a quick course in early rock 'n' roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews, mostly from the 1950s, are not int...
September 2, 2009 Looking over the entire history of popular music since the 1950s, who's the most interesting teen idol? The most musically interesting teen idol? The least talented teen idol?
August 12, 2009 The guitar wasn't always the supreme rock 'n' roll instrument. During the 1950s, guitarists had competition from a bunch of unruly, irreverent piano players.
August 6, 2009 by Tom Moon Every Wednesday this summer, we're offering a quick course in early rock 'n' roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews, mostly covering music...
July 22, 2009 At a time when soul music is heavily tricked-out, singer Maxwell likes to pare things down, inviting listeners in with his smooth, fluttery singing and raw emotion. In 2001, Maxwell scored a top-selling album, then disappeared. He's back with a new album, BLACKsummers' Night.
July 15, 2009 Every Wednesday this summer, we're offering a quick course in early rock 'n' roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews of music, mostly from the 195
July 8, 2009 Every Wednesday through the summer, we're posting quick introductory-level surveys of elements of rock 'n' roll from the 1950s. These overviews are not intended to be comprehensive; instead, they're designed to help curious listeners dive in and e...