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.
By Hiram Lee, 24 May 2014
Following last year’s successful collaboration with Daft Punk, producer and performer Pharrell Williams has returned with Girl, a hit album of his own.
By Nick Barrickman, 22 May 2014
The group consists of rapper Slug (Sean Daley, born 1972) and producer Ant (Anthony Davis)
By Hiram Lee, 17 May 2014
Indie-pop band Tune-Yards has returned with a strong follow-up to its 2011 release Whokill.
By Hiram Lee, 13 May 2014
American singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has returned with a new best-of collection.
By Hiram Lee, 7 May 2014
Out Among the Stars collects material recorded by country music legend Johnny Cash in the early 1980s and never before released to the public.
By Fred Mazelis, 14 April 2014
The used instruments were accumulated in a ten-day drive conducted by classical station WQXR that ended on April 7.
By Fred Mazelis, 11 April 2014
The program performed April 2 by the New York Philharmonic was a powerful demonstration of the heights reached by classical music in the first half of the last century.
By Eric London, 10 March 2014
The Southern alternative-country group has set high standards after 18 years of making music—but they have not outdone themselves on their newest release.
By David Walsh, 30 January 2014
In a career that lasted almost three quarters of a century, Seeger wrote, co-wrote or was identified with a number of the most popular folk or protest songs of the second half of the twentieth century.
By D. Lencho, 8 January 2014
These great, although lesser-known figures in jazz, who died in the last few months of 2013, left a legacy of beautiful music.
By Hiram Lee, 7 January 2014
Singer Phil Everly, one half of the early Rock ‘n’ Roll duo The Everly Brothers, has died at the age of 74.
By our reporters, 27 December 2013
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite pop and jazz recordings of 2013.
By Zac Corrigan, 24 December 2013
A refugee of the Sri-Lankan civil war, MIA makes pop music that shows an awareness of and sensitivity to the lives of impoverished victims of imperialism around the world.
By Juan Verala Luz and Toby Reese, 19 November 2013
Jake Bellows’ debut solo project New Ocean is an artist’s attempt to understand who he is and why he writes music.
By Nick Barrickman, 15 November 2013
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is the eighth full-length studio solo album from American rap artist Eminem.
By Dylan Lubao, 14 November 2013
In his latest album, folk musician Barton Carroll paints a picture of small-town Appalachia and its musical influence on him.
By Hiram Lee, 29 October 2013
Lou Reed, founder of the influential rock band The Velvet Underground, has died at the age of 71.
By Ed Hightower, 25 October 2013
Sixteen-year-old New Zealand pop singer Lorde places themes of social inequality front and center on her debut album Pure Heroine.
By Fred Mazelis, 10 October 2013
It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this iconic figure. Opera—certainly Italian opera—cannot be spoken of without mentioning Verdi’s name.
By Fred Mazelis, 25 September 2013
An important new book explores the period of musical history brought to an end by fascist barbarism.
By Hiram Lee, 6 September 2013
Glasgow-based rock band Franz Ferdinand have returned with their first album in four years.
By Hiram Lee, 27 August 2013
Rhythm and blues great Bobby “Blue” Bland, whose hits included “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Turn on Your Lovelight,” died this summer at the age of 83.
By Ben Trent, 12 August 2013
The metalcore band Heaven Shall Burn, from Saalfeld in eastern Germany, released their seventh studio album in April of this year, simply entitled Veto.
By Khara Sikhan, 10 August 2013
”Shaker Aamer” is the latest song by British singer/songwriter PJ Harvey, titled for the name of a prisoner held in Guantánamo Bay since 2002.
By Nick Barrickman and Zac Corrigan, 19 July 2013
Yeezus is Kanye West’s sixth major label album and the artist’s fifth album to debut at number one on Billboard charts in the US.
By Dylan Lubao, 8 July 2013
In The Ash & Clay, the Milk Carton Kids—Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan—examine an America at the crossroads.
By Zac Corrigan, 8 June 2013
French duo Daft Punk—Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (born 1974) and Thomas Bangalter (born 1975)—have returned with their first full-length album since Human After All (2005).
By Hiram Lee, 25 May 2013
Ray Manzarek, keyboardist of the 1960s rock band The Doors, died May 20 at the age of 74.
By Nick Barrickman, 2 May 2013
Wolf is Tyler, The Creator’s third studio album, released on Sony Music Entertainment in April this year.
By Hiram Lee, 29 April 2013
Legendary country singer George Jones died in Nashville on April 26. A remarkable performer, Jones was a significant figure in American popular music during the second half of the 20th century.
By Zac Corrigan, 16 April 2013
South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas has grown from a local independent music showcase into one of the largest music festivals in the world. This is the second article on the 2013 festival.
By Hiram Lee, 10 April 2013
Singer Cleotha Staples of the popular gospel, folk and R&B group the Staple Singers, died recently at the age of 78.
By Zac Corrigan, 9 April 2013
South by Southwest in Austin, Texas has grown from a local independent music showcase attracting some 700 registered attendees in 1987 into one of the largest music festivals in the world.
By Nick Barrickman, 25 March 2013
Rapture Kontrolle is the eighth studio instrumental album by hip hop/electronic producer/song writer Fat Jon the Ample Soul Physician (born John Marshall in 1969), released in 2012 on Ample Soul Recordings, under the alias Maurice Galactica.
By Zac Corrigan, 9 March 2013
The latest album from Robert Hood is a collection of a dozen instrumental renderings of the decline of the artist’s hometown.
By Fred Mazelis, 2 March 2013
A musician who became world-famous more than half a century ago, Van Cliburn had a career that was noteworthy, even if he never achieved the potential that seemed possible in his youth.
By Fred Mazelis, 28 February 2013
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is an ensemble that brings together Palestinian and Israeli musicians in concert halls around the globe.
By Matthew Brennan, 23 February 2013
Channel Orange, the debut from Frank Ocean, was one of the more intriguing albums released in 2012.
By John Andrews, 11 February 2013
Donald Byrd, a trumpet master associated with the post-bebop jazz that emerged in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s, died last week at the age of 80.
By Hiram Lee, 6 February 2013
The latest album by the popular R&B singer.
By Matthew Brennan and Hiram Lee, 29 December 2012
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite pop and jazz releases of 2012.
By Kapila Fernando, K. Ratnayake and Peter Symonds, 20 December 2012
What was unique about Ravi Shankar was the breadth of his interests, willingness to experiment and passion for making classical Indian music available to the world.
By Zac Corrigan, 13 December 2012
Death Grips are a trio from Sacramento, California, composed of vocalist MC Ride (Stefan Burnett), percussionist Zach Hill and producer Andy “Flatlander” Morin.
By Hiram Lee, 10 December 2012
A significant figure in postwar American culture, Brubeck’s classic 1959 album Time Out sold a million copies, the first jazz album to hold that distinction.
By Fred Mazelis, 6 December 2012
American composer Elliott Carter reflected the trajectory of Western classical music in the past century.
Nirvana’s Nevermind re-issued by Sony/Universal
By Nick Barrickman, 5 December 2012
In late 2011, a re-mastered edition of the seminal album Nevermind by pop-punk band Nirvana was released, marking the work’s 20th anniversary.
By Nick Barrickman, 7 November 2012
Traveling Man is a collage of 24 instrumental compositions created by the artist while he stayed in the given locales—mainly large metropolitan areas around the world.
By Jeff Lusanne, 16 October 2012
A new, self-titled album by Brooklyn-based afrobeat band Antibalas offers a welcome blend of exciting, skilled musicianship and socially critical lyricism.
By Hiram Lee, 1 October 2012
British singer-songwriter Nick Lowe performed in Louisville, Kentucky, last week, the fifth stop on a fall tour of the United States.
By Verena Nees, 12 September 2012
A memorable concert took place 70 years ago when Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony was performed in the city of Leningrad, which had been besieged by German troops for more than a year.
By Zac Corrigan, 4 September 2012
Oneohtrix Point Never’s Replica and Far Side Virtual from James Ferraro have much in common: both albums were released in the autumn of 2011 by prolific experimental musicians from New York.
By Clement Daly, 28 August 2012
This year marks 100 years since the birth of American folk singer Woody Guthrie. The anniversary has become the occasion for commemorations and conferences held throughout the US, as well as the opening of a new museum and archive.
By James Brewer, 27 August 2012
An amazing story documents the popularity of the music of Sixto Rodriguez in South Africa, music virtually unknown in the US.
By Hiram Lee, 23 July 2012
Country music icon Kitty Wells died July 16 at her home in Nashville, Tennessee.
By Fred Mazelis, 15 June 2012
The Delaware Symphony Orchestra is the latest musical institution to announce that financial problems have forced drastic cutbacks.
By Hiram Lee, 8 June 2012
Legendary guitarist and folk singer Doc Watson died May 29 in North Carolina.
By James Brewer, 26 May 2012
Booker T. and the M.G.’s bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn, died suddenly while on tour in Tokyo on May 13.
By Dorian Griscom, 25 May 2012
The German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was renowned for his interpretations of Schubert, Schumann and Brahms songs, but his repertoire included opera and oratorio as well.
By James Brewer, 23 April 2012
After 14-year bout with cancer, Levon Helm, the drummer and singer of The Band, dies in New York.
By Hiram Lee, 31 March 2012
Earl Scruggs, a pioneering figure in Bluegrass music and an innovator on the 5-string Banjo, has died at the age of 88.
Ani DiFranco's “¿Which Side Are You On?”: a “radical” artist openly embraces Obama and the Democrats
By Jeff Lusanne, 15 March 2012
“¿Which Side Are You On?” by independent American folk artist Ani DiFranco, is an album that raises significant issues facing artists today—above all, how to view society critically.
By Aidan Claire, 1 March 2012
Chewing on Tinfoil is a five-piece punk and ska band from Dublin.
By Hiram Lee, 13 February 2012
American popular singer Whitney Houston has died in Los Angeles at the age of 48.
By Dorian Griscom, 31 January 2012
Gustav Mahler is among the most widely listened to of classical composers. Last year, which marked the 100th anniversary of his death, witnessed concerts, new recordings, lectures and exhibitions celebrating his life and music.
By Paul Bond, 26 January 2012
Etta James had an instantly recognisable voice, sinuous, tender and harsh in equal measure. She died a few days short of her 74th birthday.
By Hiram Lee, 24 January 2012
Influential R&B musician Johnny Otis, best-known for the hit dance record “Willie and the Hand Jive” died January 17 at the age of 90.
By Hiram Lee, 20 January 2012
Jazz group 3 Cohens have returned with Family, the third album to feature this ensemble of sibling musicians since their debut in 2004.
By Paul Bond, 5 January 2012
The longtime sideman for Chicago blues great Howlin’ Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, died last month at the age of 80.
By Matthew Brennan and Hiram Lee, 31 December 2011
The past year produced few meaningful efforts in the field of pop and rock music. Only a handful of works stand out.
By Hiram Lee, 31 December 2011
Some of the more interesting jazz albums of 2011.
By Hiram Lee, 28 December 2011
Jazz drummer Paul Motian, a member of the classic Bill Evans Trio of the early 1960s, died recently at the age of 80.
By Hiram Lee, 7 December 2011
American singer-songwriter Tom Waits has returned with his first album of new material since 2004’s Real Gone.
By Nikolai Barrickman, 20 September 2011
Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album, widely considered a hip hop classic, is a landmark in both the development and the decline of the genre.
By Hiram Lee, 30 August 2011
Soul singer and songwriter Gene McDaniels, composer of “Compared to What” and other protest songs, died July 29 at the age of 76.
By Richard Phillips, 25 August 2011
Randy Newman, who began his career in the late 1950s, still continues to write and perform his ironic vignettes, political satires and poignant love songs.
By Hiram Lee, 27 July 2011
Pop singer and media sensation Lady Gaga has returned with her third album, Born This Way.