The 1980s, aka the more-is-more era, and its metal music keep moving to new heights
Jody Piper's old band was touring in Phoenix when his drummer's cigarette accidently met with a pointed gust of hair spray. In a flash, the dressing room lit up.

Throwback Talent

Parker Millsap is a fast-rising roots-music star
Parker Millsap is probably tired of people calling him "precocious," but when you're just 23 and delivering the kind of lyrically and musically inspired songs like those filling his new album The Very Last Day, the term just makes sense. The sound is a stirring blend of gospel, folk and roots-rock, delivered primarily via acoustic guitar, standup bass and fiddle.

Still Life

The Avett Brothers have worked for years to get to the top, and they'll never stop evolving
Their songs are already known. People sing and scream every word at their often-sold-out shows all around the country.

They Love It Loud

Gene Simmons talks bombast, Beatles and, oh yeah, songs
Even if he didn't breathe fire, spit blood and flap his stupendous serpentine tongue constantly on stage, Gene Simmons would still have one of the most famous mouths in rock. The KISS co-founder and brains behind their over-the-top marketing ploys — getting buried in a KISS Koffin?

From the Hip

Seattle's the Dip continues to help bring soul and funk music to a new generation
University of Washington house shows often pound with DJ prowess or rock 'n' roll grit. But what the Dip brought to parties was a funky beat with a blasting horn section.

Maximum Chemistry

We Are Scientists have found the correct formula for mixing pop and rock music
For three years, Max Hart played keyboard in pop goddess Katy Perry's band, choosing to leave the gig after — oh, no big deal — sharing the stage with the notorious Left Shark in 2015 at Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona. From there, Hart headed to New York City to produce Helter Seltzer, the fifth album from Brooklyn pop-rock veterans We Are Scientists, with whom he had toured in 2008 and 2009.

Behind the Music

From Elk to New York City, Jordan Miller now writes songs for the Goo Goo Dolls and more
For 12 to 14 hours a day during the workweek, Jordan Miller is holed up at a Manhattan studio, writing lyrics and playing melodies. At night while he sleeps, these songs run together in his mind, musical lines are lost and nothing makes sense.

Cleveland Raps

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony are a reminder that LeBron James is far from the only talent to come out of northeastern Ohio
Two weeks ago, victory finally came to Cleveland. Fans there screamed and jumped and cried when LeBron James (a native of nearby Akron) and his Cavaliers beat the record-setting Golden State Warriors in a thrilling Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Timeless Melodies

After decades of touring, albums and lineup changes, Built to Spill still has a sound utterly their own
Aging gracefully in rock 'n' roll is no easy task. Not only do you have to navigate the ever-shifting loyalties of the music business and fickle fans, but also the universal inevitabilities that come with growing up — kids, mortgages, maybe a bum knee or bad back.

Carefully Crafted

When it comes to his outrageous career, rapper Riff Raff knows exactly what he's doing
If ever there was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, Riff Raff is it. The world first came to know the Houston-born rapper (given name: Horst Simco) as a 2009 contestant on MTV's From G's to Gents, a reality show in which young men attempt to smooth out their rough edges.

Fathers and Children

One man's lifelong love of music is heightened with his kids around
When my wife Emily and I were preparing for the birth of our first child in 2010, I had two jobs: install the shiny new car seat in the beat-up old car, and make a playlist of mellow music to listen to in the delivery room. I blew it on the car seat.

Ferocious Duo

The Pack A.D. fell into playing music; now they want to share their loud and out-of-this-world sound
As the Pack A.D.'s guitarist/singer Becky Black writhes on an examination table, long blueish hands poke and prod her flesh. With garage punk wailing over the camera shots, she realizes that aliens have abducted her.

Block Party Weekend

Elkfest returns, taking over Browne's Addition; here's everything you need to know
Every Elkfest, the people who live by the Elk Public House have to make a decision: join in the festivities or get out of the neighborhood for the weekend. Elkfest is coming, and it's going to get loud.

The Helms Alee Way

Digging into the Seattle band's mishmash approach to metal
Helms Alee's music sounds like a big bag of broken glass and candy bars, bursting at the seams. On the Seattle band's 2014 album Sleepwalking Sailors, for example, songs zig and zag from sludge-metal howls to soaring pop harmonies to stoner-rock rumblings to spacey psychedelic drifts.


Chona Kasinger is a rock photographer always looking to give you a glimpse into the music
During last year's Sasquatch!, Father John Misty arrived in a haze of whispery fog and candied light. The neon heart sign behind him ironically read "no photography."

Carrying On

Folk singer Laura Gibson's latest record is a testament to her strength
"This is not an escape." So begins the title track on folk singer Laura Gibson's fourth album, Empire Builder, with "this" alluding to her move from Portland to New York by train (the source of the album title) to complete an MFA in creative writing at Hunter College.


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