Patrick Wall

Killer Mike and El-P began trading recording favors, and the razor sharp, badass hip-hop duo Run the Jewels was born. Publicity photo.

Tag team: Run the Jewels takes chemistry to the next level

The collaboration between Killer Mike and El-P, the two indispensable and bomb-throwing emcees who form the uncompromisingly raw and forward-thinking rap duo Run the Jewels, has been as perfect as it was unexpected. They seem, at first, like odd bedfellows: El-P’s a noise-loving Brooklyn firebrand with an independent streak as long as Bedford Avenue; Atlanta […]

Sharon Van Etten stops at The Jefferson on tour to support her restless, intimate album
Are We There. Photo courtesy of Dusdin Condren.

Getting there: Sharon Van Etten shares her personal journey

In the photograph on the cover of Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There, a woman sticks her head out of the driver’s side window of her speeding car. Farmland blurs in the background, and the woman’s hair whips in the wind. We can’t see her face, but the implication is that she’s smiling, possibly even […]

A sober-yet-still-cynical Justin Townes Earle plays cuts from his new album Single Mothers at the Jefferson on Sunday. Photo credit: Joshua Black Wilkins

Justin Townes Earle avoids the artistic slump of maturity

The highlight of the back half of Justin Townes Earle’s Single Mothers, the 32-year-old singer-songwriter’s superlative fifth record, is “White Gardenias,” a tribute to one of Earle’s favorite musicians, jazz singer Billie Holiday. Holiday seems an unlikely inspiration on Earle, who’s nominally an alt-country troubadour. But a close listen to the way he sings on […]

After more than 10 years on hiatus The Clientele is experiencing a renaissance, thanks in part to the reissue of its seminal debut Suburban Light. “There are so many great records in the Merge back catalog, and the fact that they chose one of ours was incredibly flattering,” said Alasdair MacLean (middle). Photo credit: Nik Strangelove

Merge’s reissue reinforces the strength of Suburban Light

For about six years, Alasdair MacLean has been writing a novel. “Occasionally I’ll send a draft of that to my agent and have it thoroughly rejected,” MacLean laughed when reached at his home in London. “And then I’ll start again. And that’s kind of been it for six years. MacLean’s novel is about growing up […]

Soul singer Sharon Jones is back in action after battling a rare cancer. Jones is on a campaign to bring soul music to the mainstream on her Give The People What They Want album tour. Photo credit: Kyle Dean Reinford

Sharon Jones beats cancer and fights to save soul

The opening track to Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ Give the People What They Want is the burning and brassy “Retreat!” Nominally, it’s a song about the fury of a woman scorned, and Jones sings it masterfully, filling her vocal barbs with impassioned invective. But for Sharon Jones, the song has a deeper, unintended meaning. […]

Pop sensation in the making, We Are Star Children, will celebrate the release of With Arrows along with special guests The Extraordinaires and Kate Bollinger. Publicity photo

We Are Star Children define a new era of adventure pop

The name of Gene Osborn’s band, We Are Star Children, does not come from a Bruce Dickinson song called “Starchildren.” Osborn says he’s never heard the song, and that he’s shocked to find the chorus of the song spells out his band’s name. “I’m equally shocked no one else has brought it up to me […]

The Infamous Stringdusters kick off the Let It Go tour in the place the band once called home.

While scattered, The Infamous Stringdusters let it fly

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Infamous Stringdusters had a pretty good year last year. Indeed, it seems almost clichéd to lead with such a statement, despite its truth. After all, the Stringdusters have been on a steady rise for nearly seven years, and the band didn’t hit the lofty critical heights […]