Back in the late 1970s punk rock and prog rock seemed as opposite as the architecture of the Bauhaus and the Baroque. For punks, progressive was code for pretentious bombast; for progheads, punks were no-talent poseurs.
Nas has long been the most stoic and dead serious of all the major emcees. Especially since he returned to critical favor after his brief but image-killing flirtation with floss in the late '90s, he's been careful to avoid any hint of vice or banality. Of his four most recent albums, two explore his ever-consuming Jesus complex, one eulogizes the genre he loves, and the latest somberly charts the remnants of slavery. He carries the weight of the world-and the cross-on his self-beleaguered shoulders. While his one-time rival Jay-Z indulges . . .
Historically, jam bands’ attempts at rap have been, well, awful. Just bloody awful—like, rapping old lady from The Wedding Singer awful. Even if these bands genuinely love hip-hop—and, to be sure, there are plenty that would rather send the genre up as a goofy novelty rather than pay tribute to it—they usually lack . . .
Coinciding with alternative-rock’s increased interest in grand, studio-crafted albums, Spiritualized released its magnum opus in 1997, the space-rock symphony Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, an album that replaced the dramatic drones of Jason Pierce’s past work with Spacemen 3 with elaborate, orchestral . . .
The Seattle folk-rock duo The Dutchess and The Duke scored some impressive reviews for their debut album, She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke, a sugary but ominously psychedelic collection of songs that’s part ’60s Rolling Stones, part Peter, Paul and Mary (without, perhaps, the Paul). Rising stars in the blogosphere . . .
Though he’s never been a contestant, Graham Colton is inextricably linked with “American Idol.” The heartland rocker—who has often been compared to a young Tom Petty—has toured with (and also dated) inaugural Idol Kelly Clarkson, and this year his 2007 single “Better Days” became the exit music for the latest . . .
Whirlwind mandolinist Chris Thile spent more than 15 years playing with his roots-pop trio Nickel Creek, but in recent years he spent more and more time working on his many outside projects, and by the time the band called it quits last year, it was clear his star had outgrown Nickel Creek. He’s since dedicated . . .
There are blues punk bands that only salt their music with the blues, and then there are the bands that bathe their albums in the blues. The Black Keys are the latter. For a band that's often compared to The White Stripes, the difference is, well, black and white. The Black Keys, like ZZ Top, are a blues band playing . . .
Though he introduced himself as a geeky, skateboarding rapper with an affinity for Japanese pop culture—to be sure, a meme completely new to rap music—Lupe Fiasco has smartly fought against being pigeonholed in the years since, revealing himself to be more ambitious than anyone could have expected . . .
You aren't anybody if you aren't recording with the Black Keys.
Producer Rick Rubin, himself a somebody, recently tapped the band to back Billy Gibbons for a few songs on ZZ Top's next album. Gibbons and Rubin join R&B legend Ike Turner and super-producer Danger Mouse on a growing list of The Black Keys' recent collaborators.