Flipper Still Lives By its Own Rules

Punk rock specialized in confrontation, but Flipper took it to a new level. By the early ’80s, giving the middle finger to mainstream culture had become ritualized. Be faster, be snarky, and be political. Hardcore was in its infancy, and it added “be wordy and incomprehensible” to the playbook. San Francisco’s Flipper challenged the monoculture that punks found stifling, but it fought punk orthodoxy as well.

JD McPherson Finds His Place in Rock, R&B, and Rockabilly

JD McPherson learned much of what he needed to know from punk rock. That’s not obvious on his four albums including 2017’s Undivided Heart and Soul, where his debt to Buddy Holly and the pioneers of rock ’n’ roll, rockabilly, and R&B are far more evident. But punk rock was his gateway drug when he grew up in rural Oklahoma in the 1980s. It got him started playing in bands, and it introduced him to the artists who influenced the bands he liked. 

Adia Victoria Is Surviving Through the Blues

Adia Victoria is reclaiming her Southerness by reclaiming the blues. The blues she’s accessing aren't the “he done me wrong” blues; they're sinister and wicked, something deeply Southern and born out of trauma. She is currently touring for her second album, Silences, which is a haunting, lyrical exploration of survival, with a stop in New Orleans on Monday, May 6 at Gasa Gasa.

Leyla McCalla Brings Her New Community to Jazz Fest

Leyla McCalla has largely conducted her career as a lone wolf, performing with just her cello or her banjo, or on occasion a second voice or instrument. Many people first encountered her as a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, but that was a fairly intimate acoustic ensemble, and her first two solo albums—Vari-Colored Songs and A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey—are defined by her instrument and singing as she explored her Haitian Creole heritage.

Pink Martini's Life After Mancini

Pink Martini didn’t become a lounge band for the reasons you might expect. No one watched Robin and the Seven Hoods and said That! I want to be cool like that! No one worked in a secondhand store, saw a few sharkskin suits and thought, Bands have started with less. No one lucked into a stash of exotica hi-fi albums and stereo test records in a Salvation Army and wondered, How can I make that sound? No, Pink Martini started when Thomas Lauderdale got political.

Mdou Moctar Takes Desert Blues Electric at Jazz Fest

In the land of the underdog story, Mdou Moctar is king. Born in the Tuareg commune village of Tchintabaraden, Niger, Moctar was raised in a strict Muslim household in which music was forbidden. He built his first guitar, a lefty five-string, from wood and bicycle brake cables and practiced it in secret, with no formal instruction. Now, he’s touring the U.S. behind his third studio album, Ilana (The Creator).

My Brightest Diamond Does Math on the Dance Floor on "A Million and One"

Shara Nova has made beautiful and haunting music under many names; My Brightest Diamond is the one that stuck. She started making “chamber pop” or “art pop” in the early 2000s under the name AwRY and went on to write music for orchestral productions and collaborated with indie star Sufjan Stevens. In 2006, she started to release music under the name My Brightest Diamond.

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