By Hiram Lee, 7 August 2018
Vanished Gardens, a new collaboration between jazz musician Charles Lloyd and country singer Lucinda Williams, is a seamless and enjoyable blend of multiple genres of music.
By Matthew MacEgan, 27 July 2018
The album is intended to be the musical component of a larger multimedia project entitled Reasons to Be Cheerful, which is an attempt at spreading “positivity” in the wake of the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency.
By Matthew Brennan, 25 July 2018
The film is a dark comedy written and directed by Boots Riley, artist, political activist and rapper from Oakland, California. He is best-known as a longtime member of the music group The Coup.
By Josh Varlin, 10 July 2018
Soto was best known for his work with the seminal hardcore punk band Adolescents.
By Zac Corrigan, 1 June 2018
Within 24 hours, “This is America” had been viewed 12.9 million times and the song debuted at #1 on the Billboard chart. It has now been viewed more than 200 million times.
By Hiram Lee, 28 May 2018
Pulitzer’s choice to recognize the rapper cannot be viewed as anything but a nod to identity politics and the Democratic Party.
By Zac Corrigan, 19 May 2018
Spotify inaugurated its “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy by censoring the two singers based on allegations of “sexual violence.” Competitors Apple Music and Pandora Radio followed suit.
By Fred Mazelis, 14 May 2018
US foreign policy officials concluded that “jazz could give America an edge in the Cold War,” with mostly African-American musicians, “serv[ing] as Cold War cultural ambassadors.”
Interview with conductor William Barkhymer: “I think the world is just thankful we had Gershwin to compose Porgy and Bess”
By Barry Grey, 25 April 2018
“For me, Porgy and Bess is about a community, the people, how they interact with each other, how they hold together in good times and bad times.”
By Nick Barrickman, 13 April 2018
Brendon Whitney (“Alias”) was a founding member of the experimental hip hop/electronic music label Anticon.
By Matthew Brennan, 23 March 2018
The new album from 27-year-old country singer Courtney Marie Andrews is a sensitive look at the lives of ordinary people struggling to stay afloat.
By Ed Hightower, 23 March 2018
The latest album by Imagine Dragons is part of a self-pitying and overwrought trend in pop music.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 2 March 2018
The German jazz guitarist Coco Schumann remained active musically until near the end of his life. He ranks as a jazz musician with one of the longest musical biographies ever.
“This is a great loss for both the community of San Diego and Tijuana”
By Norisa Diaz, 1 March 2018
The popular station was eventually forced off the air yesterday after struggling financially for over a decade.
By Richard Phillips, 23 February 2018
Emma Franz’s film is a fascinating overview of Frisell’s creative work and his constant search for new musical challenges.
By Richard Phillips, 23 February 2018
Filmmaker and musician Emma Franz speaks about her latest documentary and the political and artistic conceptions that informed her approach.
By Jay James, 5 February 2018
The 11 albums Beck released prior to Colors blended a dizzying array of genres, resulting in a series of psychedelic funk, soul, folk, hip-hop and and rock-infused anthems that have consistently topped the charts.
By Fred Mazelis, 10 January 2018
Mann championed the collaborative musical form of the string quartet, and helped train generations of famed musicians.
By Hiram Lee, Matthew Brennan and Nick Barrickman, 30 December 2017
With a few exceptions, the top of the Billboard charts in 2017 was home to one conformist and forgettable album after another, or worse.
By Clara Weiss, 20 December 2017
Lipatti left a legacy of outstanding recordings of the major works of classical music, and is justly considered one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.
Dover Quartet recital offers unusual program, including works by “forgotten composers” Viktor Ullmann and Szymon Laks
By Fred Mazelis, 18 December 2017
The youthful quartet played chamber music in New York November 18, composed in the darkest days of the Holocaust, bearing witness against fascist barbarism.
By Fred Mazelis, 11 December 2017
The Siberian-born singer, who was known especially for his Verdi and Tchaikovsky roles, had performed in nearly every major opera house in the world.
By Ben Trent, 18 November 2017
With the new album, the band is attempting to navigate their way through an increasingly fraught political and social atmosphere and to encourage an alternative.
By Nick Barrickman, 18 November 2017
Lil Peep, who died November 15 of a drug overdose while on tour, had come to be seen as the foremost representative of the genre-bending musical style known as “emo rap.”
By Hiram Lee, 4 November 2017
Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Fats Domino died October 24 at the age of 89. The gifted pianist was second only to Elvis Presley in popularity during the early days of the genre.
By Ed Hightower, 30 October 2017
The full-length debut of Electronic Dance Music duo The Chainsmokers, which features an appearance by Coldplay, is a mostly shallow party record.
By Hiram Lee, 9 October 2017
In truth, “Bodak Yellow” is a vulgar work that glorifies backward and genuinely anti-social impulses.
By Hiram Lee, 5 October 2017
Tom Petty died suddenly October 2 at the age of 66. He was a genuine and unpretentious songwriter and performer.
By James Brewer, 21 September 2017
Scott D. Rosenbaum’s film documents the lives of three blues musicians whose talents graced the bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
By Hiram Lee, 24 August 2017
The latest album by songwriter Randy Newman satirizes Vladimir Putin, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the conflict between science and religion.
“The night our eyes changed”
By Paul Bond, 16 August 2017
Music mogul Simon Cowell brought together high-profile figures for a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, but a far more powerful and politically interesting response has come from local artists.
By Paul Bond, 2 August 2017
The revival of the fortunes of traditional Cajun music owes much to Menard’s love of country music, and his warmly nasal voice.
By Nick Barrickman, 24 July 2017
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s 4:44, released June 30 on his Roc Nation label and available through Carter’s streaming service Tidal, is the rapper and entrepreneur’s thirteenth studio album.
Roger Waters’ Is This the Life We Really Want?: An angry, depressed protest against war and nationalism
By Kevin Reed, 9 June 2017
In 12 tracks and 55 minutes, Waters paints a picture of a desperate world and he issues an angry protest—if also a disheartened outburst—against the things that make it so.
By Norisa Diaz, 5 June 2017
The New York-based band has been banished from the music industry following social media allegations of sexual assault, undermining the long-standing legal principle that the accused is presumed “innocent until proven guilty.”
By Adam Soroka, 22 May 2017
Cornell (born July 20, 1964 in Seattle, Washington) will be best remembered as the lead vocalist of the Seattle metal band Soundgarden. His vocals combined an R&B sensibility with a dynamic, multi-octave range.
By Matthew Brennan, 18 May 2017
The album is June’s first proper release since the 2013 album Pushing Against a Stone, which made her a nationally known artist in the US.
By Hiram Lee, 15 April 2017
Folk singer Rhiannon Giddens’ latest album will almost certainly be counted among the best of this year.
By Hiram Lee, 23 March 2017
It would be difficult to overstate Berry’s influence on American popular music in the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps more than any other artist in the genre, he defined the sound of rock ’n’ roll.
By Hiram Lee, 27 February 2017
Indie rock veterans The Flaming Lips have returned with a new album of mostly detached psychedelia.
By Fred Mazelis, 20 February 2017
A late 19th century composer who has some detractors gets his big moment at Carnegie Hall.
Columnist Myles E. Johnson on Beyoncé at the Grammys
By David Walsh, 16 February 2017
The February 14 op-ed piece in the Times by Myles E. Johnson (“What Beyoncé Won Was Bigger Than a Grammy”) is an especially repugnant example of racialism.
By Nick Barrickman, 15 February 2017
Numerous Grammy Award-winning music artists took to the stage on Sunday’s awards ceremony to criticize the new US administration.
By Nick Barrickman, 15 February 2017
Axelrod crafted and inspired some of the more haunting, cinematic and versatile popular American music during the second half of the 20th century.
By Nick Barrickman, 7 January 2017
Bey’s humane and charismatic personality was on display at his Washington, D.C. performances; with the artist rapping, crooning, drumming and at times breaking into dance on stage.
By Hiram Lee and Matthew Brennan, 31 December 2016
Much of the pop music released in North America this past year was uninspired and superficial. Some was merely empty-headed and crude.
By Kevin Reed, 17 December 2016
Greg Lake was a founder, along with schoolmate Robert Fripp, of the British band King Crimson in 1968 and later the 1970s’ supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
By Fred Mazelis, 29 November 2016
The opera has received almost a dozen productions since its premiere five years ago.
By Hiram Lee, 23 November 2016
Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, famed for songs such as “Suzanne,” “The Stranger Song,” “So Long, Marianne,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” “Famous Blue Raincoat” and “Bird on the Wire,” died November 7 at the age of 82.
By Evan Winters, 26 October 2016
Members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, together with other musicians and PSO students, played to hundreds of people in person and thousands more online.
By Verena Nees, 19 September 2016
The summer music festival was held in Berlin for the seventeenth time and attracted an audience of 26,000 to the Berlin concert hall at the Gendarmenmarkt.
Toots Thielemans: 1922-2016
By James Brewer, 25 August 2016
The Belgian-born multi-instrumental jazz musician became widely known for his virtuosic harmonica playing.
By David Walsh and Zac Corrigan, 18 July 2016
M.I.A. has every right to criticize Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, who travel in privileged circles around the Obamas and other leading Democratic Party figures.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 16 July 2016
In addition to a remarkable command of his instrument, guitarist Häns’che Weiss was distinguished by his thrilling musicality.
By Hiram Lee, 6 July 2016
Ralph Stanley led one of the most remarkable groups in Bluegrass music and was among the genre’s greatest banjo players and singers.
By George Marlowe, 6 June 2016
The World Socialist Web Site spoke to Anohni about her new album.
“If I killed your mother with a drone bomb, how would you feel?”—Crisis
By Zac Corrigan, 6 June 2016
Anohni is the British-born, American transgender singer formerly known as Antony Hegarty who released five albums under the name Antony and the Johnsons.
By Hiram Lee, 27 April 2016
While music icon Prince, who died April 21 at the age of 57, was among the more electrifying performers of his generation, his work could be terribly uneven.
By Fred Mazelis, 23 April 2016
Copland’s jazz-influenced Piano Concerto deserves a higher profile in the orchestral repertoire.
By Matthew MacEgan, 22 April 2016
Harvey’s new album is the product of the artist’s investigation into the poverty and devastation being inflicted on different parts of the globe.
By John Andrews, 7 April 2016
Films based on the lives and personas of post-World War II jazz musicians Chet Baker and Miles Davis have been released recently.
By Hiram Lee, 29 March 2016
The members of A Tribe Called Quest were more relatable than the superstar rappers who came before them and more sensitive and intelligent than the lyricists of then-emerging gangster rap.
By Nick Barrickman, 21 March 2016
A talented musician, Yancey is considered by many to have been among the greatest of all hip hop producers.
By Hiram Lee, 15 March 2016
Legendary music producer George Martin, who supervised almost all of the Beatles’ recordings, died on March 8.
By Jeff Lusanne, 22 January 2016
An album fusing Western jazz traditions and traditional Arab music preserves an endangered Iraqi art form and creates a new sound.
30 December 2015
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite recordings of 2015.
An interview with performer, educator and archivist of the Great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein
By Barry Grey, 23 December 2015
“I feel that this body of work is timeless, because it has a level of craft, inspiration and quality that transcends the era in which it was created.”
By Nick Barrickman, 20 November 2015
Look What This World Did To Us (April 2015, Mello Music Group) is the third full-length studio album from Detroit-area rapper/producer Red Pill (born Chris Orrick, 1987).
By James Brewer, 18 November 2015
Recorded at a series of shows in Northern California in 2006, this live CD epitomizes Allison at his best.
By Hiram Lee, 12 November 2015
On tour at the time of his death, Toussaint suffered a heart attack following a performance at the Teatro Lara in Madrid, Spain.
By Jeff Lusanne, 17 September 2015
The Epic is a striking new work in jazz that successfully incorporates many influences into a unique new big band sound, and provides an engaging concert experience.
By Hiram Lee, 9 September 2015
The latest album from the neo-soul singer is an interesting but uneven effort.
By Verena Nees, 31 August 2015
The annual Young Euro Classic youth orchestra festival recently concluded with a memorable performance in the Berlin Concert Hall.
By Nick Barrickman, 25 August 2015
Straight Outta Compton is a hip hop biopic focusing on the rise to prominence of the influential hip hop group N.W.A. in the late 1980s.
By Nick Barrickman, 21 August 2015
While avoiding many of the more overt expressions of self-absorption, many of the Oddisee’s attempts to reflect reality remain purely on an individual and superficial plane.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 August 2015
Asif Kapadia’s documentary is a straightforward and compelling account of the performer’s life starting at the age of fourteen.
By Kevin Reed, 30 July 2015
The British-born bass player, song writer and vocalist for the progressive rock band Yes, died on June 27 at his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 67.
What Happened, Miss Simone?: The life of African-American singer, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone
By Helen Hayes and Fred Mazelis, 22 July 2015
Simone did not so much move between different genres—jazz, gospel, blues and folk—as combine them into her own unique and powerful style.
By Nancy Hanover, 29 June 2015
The WSWS is reposting a 2010 review of Strange Fruit, a book by British journalist and scientist Kenan Malik, who penned a thoughtful look on the complex biological, social and historical issues involved in the notion of race and racism.
By Nick Barrickman, 1 June 2015
Despite the album’s billing as socially conscious “political rap” by certain critics, the focus of To Pimp ... is largely on the rapper himself and his personal experiences in the music world.
By James Brewer, 18 May 2015
The iconic American blues artist died May 15 at 89, after dozens of albums and decades of intensive touring.
By Nick Barrickman and David Walsh, 20 February 2015
In recent months, the hip hop music industry has witnessed a controversy surrounding the commercial success of Australian-born rapper Iggy Azalea.
By James Brewer, 3 January 2015
The iconic British rock performer died on December 22 of lung cancer at the age of 70.
By our reporters, 31 December 2014
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite pop and jazz recordings of 2014.
By Hiram Lee, 27 December 2014
The music of saxophonists Stephens and Smith reveals some of the strengths and weaknesses in contemporary jazz.
By Nick Barrickman, 10 December 2014
Run the Jewels 2 is the second full-length studio effort from the hip hop duo Run the Jewels, consisting of rapper Killer Mike and rapper-producer El-P.
By Eric London, 25 November 2014
The musician has broken through with his third album, which combines late-1960s rock influences with the plaintive drawl of the Southwestern country desperado.
By Fred Mazelis, 13 November 2014
The latest contract follows a pattern across the US, but there is also growing anger at the corporate stranglehold on culture.
By Dylan Lubao, 16 October 2014
Kelsey Waldon sets out to tell small-town stories in her debut album.
By Fred Mazelis, 20 August 2014
An all-night bargaining session produced a four-year deal based on “equality of sacrifice.”
By Nick Barrickman, 6 August 2014
Francis is best known for his passionate vocal performances and thought-provoking lyrics that express understandable anger at the conditions of modern society.
By Fred Mazelis, 25 July 2014
This “lost opera,” written in the late 1960s, deserves a permanent place in the repertoire.
By our reporters, 12 July 2014
World Socialist Web Site music reviewers pick some of the more interesting albums or songs released in the first half of 2014.
By Hiram Lee, 7 July 2014
Lyricist Gerry Goffin passed away in June at the age of 75. Together with composer Carole King, he wrote many of the better known pop hits of the 1960s.
By Nick Barrickman, 30 June 2014
Formed in 1987 in Philadelphia, The Roots have produced some of the more interesting and oppositional music in hip hop.
By Nick Barrickman and David Walsh, 26 June 2014
The notion that the official hip hop world represents anything “subversive” or “oppositional” is laughable and should be put to rest, once and for all.
By Hiram Lee, 16 June 2014
The Detroit-based Royal Garden Trio perform classic jazz and popular songs from the 1920s and 1930s. Their work deserves a larger audience.
By Matthew Brennan, 14 June 2014
Though not a huge deviation, Beyoncé is musically a bit more experimental than her previous albums.
By Fred Mazelis, 12 June 2014
A one-man show in New York reveals something of the man behind the myth about an iconic figure in jazz history
By Zac Corrigan, 27 May 2014
The latest album from Mark Kozelek, who records as Sun Kil Moon, concerns the often tragic lives of the singer’s friends and family members.