1. T-Pain's Frustrations Show on His New Mixtape 'The Iron Way'

    March 30, 2015 1:21 PM EDT 0 0 0 Pop music and technology have always had an uneasy relationship, with arbitrary lines defining how much technology an artist is allowed to use before his or her music stops being "real." Nobody knows more about this problem right now than ...

  2. Eliane Elias on Returning to Her Home Country for 'Made in Brazil,' Being Blond & Female in Jazz

    March 30, 2015 11:30 AM EDT 0 0 0 The New York-based pianist-singer releases first album recorded in her native country in three decades. Eliane Elias arrived in New York as a jazz prodigy ready to take on the world she knew from listening to records in her native Sao Paulo. And she ...

  3. Album Review: Ian Parton Reinvents Songwriting Style on The Go! Team's 'The Scene Between'

    March 23, 2015 5:56 PM EDT 0 0 0 When it comes to second acts,  The Go! Team (aka songwriter/musician/producer Ian Parton) seems like a fairly unpromising candidate. The English artist almost single-handedly created one of the best debuts of 2004 with  Thunder Lighting Strike! -- a ...

  4. Album Review: Action Bronson Doesn't Mess With His Recipe on Major Label Debut 'Mr. Wonderful'

    March 23, 2015 1:15 PM EDT 0 0 0 Five years ago, Action Bronson  was a sous chef with big dreams -- until a workplace tumble left him sitting at home with a broken leg. He poured the new downtime into his sideline fantasy -- becoming a rapper -- and never looked back. Today, the Qu ...

  5. Lila Downs Talks New Album 'Balas y Chocolate' & Her Husband's Terminal Diagnosis

    March 23, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Watch video for single “La Patria Madrina” with Juanes. “I’ve seen hell; I’ve seen the news” sings Lila Downs at the start of the song “La Patria Madrina.” A video for the track flashes shots of deforestation, oil excavation, headlines of viole ...

  6. Buena Vista Social Club Readies 'Lost and Found' Album, Final Tour

    March 19, 2015 12:20 PM EDT The original Buena Vista Social Club album (1997) and subsequent albums featuring its stars were made in an analogue 1940s studio with a leaky roof. That studio had seen few changes since its customized acoustic panels witnessed Nat King Cole sin ...

  7. Depeche Mode's 'Violator' at 25: Classic Track-by-Track Review

    March 19, 2015 11:55 AM EDT 1.501 k 128 4 In the first half of the '80s, when Depeche Mode was just a baby-faced synth-pop band singing bubblegum love songs, America couldn't be bothered to care. The boys from Basildon, England, were neither as pretty as Duran Duran nor as ...

  8. Album Review: Awolnation’s ‘Run’ Is More of a Technical Achievement Than an Artistic One

    March 17, 2015 4:15 PM EDT Sandwiched between hits on the rock radio stations it dominated from 2011 to 2013, Awol­nation 's blockbuster "Sail" sounds like Nine Inch Nails covering Nickelback. It's dark, with crashing synths, scary violins and lyrics a ...

  9. Album Review: Twin Shadow Clears the Electronic Fog on Major-Label Debut ‘Eclipse’

    March 17, 2015 4:08 PM EDT On his third album, Twin Shadow pivots away from the past -- both pop music's and his own. But what has been sacrificed in the name of progress? Pop Shop Picks: Twin Shadow In recent interviews, George Lewis Jr., the 31-year-old singer/produce ...

  10. Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A Butterfly' Challenges and Rewards: Album Review

    March 16, 2015 6:56 PM EDT 2.136 k 305 24 Kendrick Lamar 's second major label album,  To Pimp a Butterfly , was released on Sunday night to the kind of fanfare that, while not quite breaking the Internet, does prompt multiple trending topics on Twitter -- and some confusion o ...

  11. Radiohead’s 'The Bends' at 20: Classic Track-By-Track Review

    March 13, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Had Radiohead vanished after its first album, 1993's Pablo Honey , the quintet from Oxford, England, would be remembered as a decent grunge band with one novelty hit. That song, of course, is "Creep," a crushing outsider's an ...

  12. Album Review: Madonna's 'Rebel Heart' Blends Inventive Beats and Maximalist Pop

    March 05, 2015 2:04 PM EST In December -- as Madonna rushed out six songs from Rebel Heart after some truly ugly cyber-bullying -- she told Billboard she had recorded so much material that she had considered doing a double album. And indeed, there are at least two albums s ...

  13. Album Review: Electronic Duo Purity Ring's 'Another Eternity' Refracts Pop Through a Funhouse Mirror

    March 03, 2015 5:27 PM EST One of music's longtime laws is that the underground bubbles up. From jazz to blues, punk to EDM, the fringe always moves toward the center. Well, not anymore. Thanks to the frenetic pace and democratic nature of the Internet, conversations b ...

  14. 'A Guide to the Birdsong of South America': This Album is for the Birds -- Seriously

    March 03, 2015 5:17 PM EST Electronic artists make beautiful music with field recordings of endangered birds. The new album A Guide to the Birdsong of South America is not as scientific as the title might suggest, but the recording does capture the voices of actual birds -- ...

  15. Album Review: Brodinski's Debut, 'Brava,' Adds French Finesse to Trap Music

    March 03, 2015 2:09 PM EST France has long been a hotbed for cutting-edge electronic music, with  Daft Punk ,  Busy P  and  David Guetta  as notable alumni. But the new school of French electro is led by Brodinski, a 27-year-old sneakerhead from the city of Reims who favor ...

  16. Album Review: Ghostface Killah & BadBadNotGood's 'Sour Soul' Sounds Sweet

    February 23, 2015 4:23 PM EST Ghostface Killah 's full-length collaborative album with jazz troupe BadBadNotGood isn't your standard wine-and-cheese affair. On the impressive Sour Soul , the Canadian trio that built its profile through Odd Future and Gucci Mane cover ...

  17. Big Sean, 'Dark Sky Paradise': Track-by-Track Review

    February 23, 2015 3:00 PM EST Close to a year ago, things weren't looking so good for Big Sean . The G.O.O.D. Music rapper was in the midst of a breakup with former fiance and Glee star Naya Rivera ; it seemed to be on the verge of getting very public and very ugly. Ke ...

  18. Album Review: Kid Rock Grows Up and Gives Thanks on 'First Kiss'

    February 23, 2015 11:59 AM EST On his 10th studio effort Kid Rock is, to borrow the title of his annual sea cruise, chillin' the most. His first album since departing longtime label Atlantic for Warner Bros., First Kiss is hardly his most ­adventurous project, but it is ...

  19. Album Review: Swedish Troubadour Jose Gonzalez's 'Vestiges & Claws' Is a Study in Restraint

    February 17, 2015 4:29 PM EST Ever since his transfixing 2005 cover of The Knife 's "Heartbeats" earned him an international following, Swedish troubadour Jose Gonzalez has developed one of the most recognizable sounds in indie rock. His voice is a singular instr ...

  20. Album Review: Imagine Dragons' 'Smoke + Mirrors' Cherry-Picks Musical Styles

    February 17, 2015 1:34 PM EST Could anyone design a band more impervious to criticism than Imagine Dragons ? Formed at Utah's Brigham Young University and graduating to become Las Vegas, and then global, sweethearts, the group combines heartland earnestness with showbiz ...

  21. Album Review: The Mavericks Show Off Their Splashy, Seasoned Spirit on 'Mono'

    February 17, 2015 12:49 PM EST No matter how The Mavericks have been positioned in the business -- platinum-selling 1990s country stars or recently reunited Americana-Latin mash-up -- they've presented an alternative to whatever popular sounds surround them at the moment. ...

  22. 'Whitney Houston' at 30: Classic Track-by-Track Review

    February 14, 2015 9:00 AM EST 0 0 0 Few debut albums launch artists from complete obscurity into the heights of cultural and commercial appreciation like Whitney Houston 's 1985 eponymous set. Crafted under the careful eye of Arista Records' Clive Davis, the 10-song collecti ...

  23. Album Review: The 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Soundtrack Hits Hard Enough to Leave a Lasting Mark

    February 10, 2015 3:18 PM EST 0 0 0 If a billionaire control freak with a fetish for whips and chains were to make a mixtape for a prospective love slave, he'd do well to begin with Annie Lennox 's version of "I Put a Spell On You." Outwardly elegant, Lennox's ...

  24. Album Review: Father John Misty's 'I Love You, Honeybear' Is a Touchingly Bizarre Affair

    February 09, 2015 4:32 PM EST 0 0 0 Three years ago, singer-songwriter J. Tillman traded morose ballads for mordant wit, headed down the coast from Seattle to Los Angeles and rechristened himself Father John Misty . Surrounding himself with pedal steel, strings and vocal chorales, the ...

  25. Album Review: The Juliana Hatfield Three Make Their Alt-Rock Return With 'Whatever, My Love'

    February 09, 2015 2:03 PM EST 0 0 0 It has been more than two decades since The Juliana Hatfield Three 's last, and only, full-length, Become What You Are , helped make its frontwoman an alt-rock darling. She remained remarkably prolific (releasing five LPs, solo and with collabo ...

  26. Album Review: Kid Ink Calls on His Famous Friends for Club-Geared ‘Full Speed’

    February 03, 2015 2:00 PM EST 0 0 0 On his third album, Full Speed , Los Angeles rapper Kid Ink continues an unlikely transformation from also-ran to chart star. Ink is a workmanlike and often indistinct rhymer: His wordplay is always dependably mannered, the melodies are conventional ...

  27. Album Review: Bob Dylan Takes on Frank Sinatra With ‘Shadows in the Night’ Covers Album

    February 03, 2015 12:32 PM EST 0 0 0 It's about time Bob Dylan sings the standards. As an aging rock legend, he's entitled to one holiday record and a crack or two at the Great American Songbook; with 2009's Christmas From the Heart , a surprising continuation of his lat ...

  28. Fifth Harmony Shows Who's Bo$$ on 'Reflection': Track-by-Track Review

    February 02, 2015 5:53 PM EST 0 0 0 When "Bo$$" was released as the first single from Fifth Harmony 's debut album, Reflection , the ode to Michelle Obama and purses so heavy resulting from Oprah dollars, hinted at a full-length defined by unflappable self-possession an ...

  29. Album Review: Singer-Songwriter Jessica Pratt Carves out Her Own Space With 'On Your Own Love Again'

    January 28, 2015 6:30 PM EST It's easy to fix San Francisco singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt with trendy, obscure labels. Lo-fi/garage-rock vet Tim Presley launched Birth Records just to release the then-5-year-old songs on Pratt's acclaimed eponymous 2012 debut. Her ...

  30. Album Review: 'Brooklyn Country' Group Lone Bellow Distances Itself From the Pack on 'Then Came The Morning'

    January 28, 2015 6:00 PM EST Self-professed "Brooklyn country" evangelists The Lone Bellow arrived on the scene in 2013 with a rootsy self-titled debut. With harmonies borrowed from Fleetwood Mac and gravitas borrowed from The Band , it was instantly lumped in with ...

  31. Exclusive: Watch Papa Roach Discuss New Song 'Broken as Me,' Plus 'F.E.A.R.' Album Review

    January 27, 2015 11:20 AM EST By the time Papa Roach dropped 2009's Metamorphosis , it had long moved away from the rap-rock of its landmark hit "Last Resort." On that album, the band flirted with pop-inflected sounds, but other tracks testified that the group w ...

  32. LCD Soundsystem's Self-Titled Debut at 10: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    January 24, 2015 9:00 AM EST LCD Soundsystem split in 2011, and if bandleader James Murphy keeps his word, that won't be chaining any time soon. If they never play another show, they've left a legacy few bands can touch. They never had any true hits, but they produc ...

  33. D'Angelo's 'Voodoo' at 15: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    January 23, 2015 4:53 PM EST Some music comes armored in myth -- Brian Wilson 's Smile sessions, My Bloody Valentine 's Loveless , Nas ' Illmatic . In these cases, the stories of all-star personnel, torturous recording sessions, or delayed release dates are alm ...

  34. Album Review: The Decemberists Loosen Up on 'What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World'

    January 20, 2015 3:00 PM EST On "The Singer Addresses His Audience," the opening track to The Decemberists ' seventh LP What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World , when singer-guitarist Colin Meloy sings, "We had to change some," it makes sense. T ...

  35. Album Review: Belle & Sebastian's 'Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance' Gets Sonically Adventurous

    January 20, 2015 12:10 PM EST On "Nobody's Empire," which opens Belle & Sebastian 's ninth album, an energized Stuart Murdoch chronicles his recent bout with chronic fatigue syndrome and poses a question his fans will relate to: "If we live by book ...

  36. Bob Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks' at 40: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    January 16, 2015 11:15 AM EST If Bob Dylan 's 15th studio album must fit in a box, it's his confessional '70s-singer-songwriter record. Released on January 17, 1975 -- 40 years ago today -- Blood on the Tracks landed amid the dissolution of Dylan's marri ...

  37. Album Review: Singer-Rapper Kat Dahlia's Debut 'My Garden' Transcends Sum of Her Disparate Influences

    January 15, 2015 6:07 PM EST If Lana Del Rey once introduced herself as the "gangsta Nancy Sinatra ," Kat Dahlia might be the gangsta, Cuban-American Nelly Furtado . She sings, writes and raps; she has a bit of Rihanna 's swagger and the gravelly vocals of 199 ...

  38. Album Review: Panda Bear's 'Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper' Makes an Emotional Statement

    January 13, 2015 12:09 PM EST The music Noah Lennox makes as Panda Bear exists in a trippy universe unto itself, one that's parallel to his work as part of pioneering alternative band Animal Collective but without its fraternal, organic mysticism. Using samplers and exten ...

  39. Album Review: Meghan Trainor's 'Title' Mixes Things Up to Mixed Results

    January 12, 2015 2:28 PM EST 5.171 k 218 61 0 In most of the eight weeks that fresh pop face Meghan Trainor 's "All About That Bass" ruled the Billboard Hot 100 last summer and autumn, it was easy to figure it would be recalled as a one-off novelty. It got by on balanc ...

  40. Nicki Minaj, 'The Pinkprint': Track-by-Track Review

    December 15, 2014 2:20 PM EST Most artists spend their lives crafting their most personal album. For Nicki Minaj , it's not until her third studio album, The Pinkprint , where she extends her autobiography beyond slivers of detail and zooms in on her post-fame dealings wi ...

  41. The Clash's 'London Calling' at 35: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    December 13, 2014 2:30 PM EST Any punk band worth its leather and studs can do dystopian, apocalyptic angst. The world is always ending, and after garbage men and plumbers, angry young guitar players have some of the best job security around. The trick is to rage in your own u ...

  42. Album Review: Ghostface Killah Follows Up Wu-Tang Clan's Reunion Album With Solo Concept LP '36 Seasons'

    December 09, 2014 1:00 PM EST After 20 years of rapping, there are few things the Wu-Tang Clan hasn't been able to do -- except get along. In 2007, ahead of the release of its fifth LP, 8 Diagrams , group members Ghostface Killah and Raekwon trashed the album publicly, bl ...

  43. Album Review: Billy Corgan Pushes The Smashing Pumpkins' Parameters With 'Monuments To An Elegy'

    December 09, 2014 12:45 PM EST Billy Corgan is nothing if not ambitious. For the past five years, the '90s foremost alt-progger has devoted his output with The Smashing Pumpkins to the cause of an ongoing album series titled, in typical Pumpkin-ese, Teargarden by Kaleidysc ...

  44. Album Review: Charli XCX’s ‘Sucker’ Crowns Her One of Pop’s Biggest New Stars (and Biggest Personalities)

    December 09, 2014 12:22 PM EST She might have had one of the summer's biggest hits with "Boom Clap," but Charli XCX is still best-known for her assists on other artists' songs, most notably Iggy Azalea 's "Fancy" and Icona Pop 's "I ...

  45. Album Review: Rick Ross Puts Quantity Over Quality With 'Hood Billionaire,' His Second LP of 2014

    November 25, 2014 11:46 AM EST Rick Ross is at an impasse. The Miami rapper, 38, is still one of hip-hop's most commercially successful acts, with five No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 . But on Hood Billionaire , Ross' second LP this year, he's clinging to an in ...

  46. Album Review: David Guetta's All-Star 'Listen' Makes a Beeline for the Pop Charts

    November 24, 2014 3:09 PM EST When David Guetta hit the studio to record Listen , his first album in three years, the trailblazing French EDM producer worked backwards. Instead of starting with the beats -- his standard approach over his three-decade DJ career -- he began with ...

  47. Pearl Jam’s ‘Vitalogy’ at 20: Classic Track-By-Track Album Review

    November 22, 2014 11:52 AM EST 29.625 k 124 10 0 It was an undeniably tumultuous year for Pearl Jam in 1994. A time of great flux during which the spotlight of fame glared ever more strongly on the Seattle band as it faced the suicide of Nirvana ’s Kurt Cobain , opted to battle Ticketm ...

  48. Album Review: TV On The Radio's 'Seeds' Makes a Giant Leap Toward the Mainstream

    November 18, 2014 2:43 PM EST More than a decade after emerging from Brooklyn as a leader of the local indie renaissance, TV on the Radio could invite the kinds of criticisms often hurled at its hometown -- that it was better when it was dirtier, edgier and a little dangerous. ...

  49. Album Review: Nickelback’s ‘No Fixed Address’ Partially Shelves the Group’s Platinum Formula to Spread Their Stylistic Wings

    November 18, 2014 1:51 PM EST Few modern-era rock bands have endured more of a public flogging than Nickelback . (The latest? A crowdfunding campaign to keep the band from performing in London.) Yet, despite a cool factor that makes Limp Bizkit look like Led Zeppelin in compar ...

  50. Album Review: Lorde-Curated ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ Soundtrack Is a Stellar Sonic Balancing Act

    November 18, 2014 12:22 PM EST The brain trust behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (in theaters Nov. 21 through Lionsgate) knew exactly what they were doing when they recruited New Zealand pop whiz Lorde to oversee the film's soundtrack: She's the closest music ...

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