The Best of Wondering Sound

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 02.26.15 in Features

When we launched Wondering Sound in March of last year, I wrote that the site’s purpose was to be “a place where smart, opinionated writers can craft rich, detailed pieces for curious readers.” As mission statements go, I’ll concede that it’s broad. But a year later, looking back on what we published, I feel like we absolutely accomplished the very thing we set out to do.

I am so proud of the work we did on Wondering Sound. I’ve been working in the music industry, to varying degrees, for 20 years now, and this site was, by far, the greatest endeavor I’ve ever been involved with. All of that is owed to our spectacular team — a team so good I still can’t believe I had the privilege of working with them. Jayson Greene, Laura Leebove, Puja Patel, Claire Lobenfeld, Tess Duncan, Lindsay Hood, Katy Caldwell, Louis Pattison, Amber Cowan, Regan Hofmann, Marc Hogan and Andrew Parks — superstars, every single one of them — were the best group of editors and coworkers anyone could have hoped for. They are almost entirely responsible for making Wondering Sound what it became.

The rest of the credit goes to the incredible writers I am humbled to have worked with over the site’s too-brief lifespan. These are people I spent years admiring from afar, and having the opportunity to work with them was a genuine thrill. Each new piece that showed up in my inbox was like Christmas morning.

I love every story we ran, but I wanted to do a roundup of some of the special highlights across the history of Wondering Sound that I felt were guideposts along the way, helping us to become what we were. I’ve organized the list chronologically, and I feel like, more than anything, this list of pieces represents the Complete History of Wondering Sound.

If you ever read the site, tweeted or shared anything we wrote: Thank you. Every time that happened, one of us grew wings.

So without further ado: Here is the Best of Wondering Sound.

— J. Edward Keyes, Editor in Chief

Perfect Pussy

February/March 2014
Tobi Vail Interviews Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves by Tobi Vail
Brilliant, gripping conversation between two paradigm-shifting artists about art, Barthes and fashion.

Linda Perhacs: God is Saying This to You by Douglas Wolk
Douglas Wolk spent an afternoon with Linda Perhacs and discussed how God explicitly guides the writing of her songs.

Andre Cymone: 30th Century Man by Stephen M. Deusner
A conversation with the onetime Prince collaborator about future shock and changing times, and how rock ‘n’ roll can save us all.

Sharon Jones is Going to Be Just Fine by Amanda Petrusich
The R&B powerhouse talks about overcoming cancer and bucking against the “retro” tag.

Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Long, Wild Ramble to the Top by J. Edward Keyes
The slow, quiet triumph of the New Orleans country/soul band that could.

Welcome to Zamrock: Musi-O-Tunya’s Zambian Psych Revolution by Richard Gehr
The fascinating history of the groundbreaking Zambian psych group.

Eagulls: Bad Lads Army by Louis Pattison
Louis Pattison drinks beer and shoots pool with the ill-tempered U.K. dark-rock outfit.

The Numero Group: Numbers Game by Peter Margasak
How the Chicago label is preserving local history and reviving careers, one release at a time.

The War on Drugs: Dream World by Michael Tedder
Before they were the object of Mark Kozelek’s affection, they were in a batting cage in Philadelphia talking inspiration with Wondering Sound’s Michael Tedder.

Neneh Cherry: Blank Slate by Robert Ham
Robert talks with Cherry about her past as a post-punk spitfire and her present as a genre-defying artist.

Anthony Braxton: Jazz Outcast by Kevin Whitehead
The jazz iconoclast talks writing music for the solar system and writing music for the information age.


April 2014
Nightclubbing Again: Revisiting Grace Jones’s Masterpiece by Barry Walters
An in-depth look at what made Grace Jones’s breakthrough so singular and so remarkable.

Chickfactor: 21 Years and Counting by John Everhart
An oral history about the storied zine, and how it continues to shape the sound of indiepop.

Running Out of History: The Issue with Reissues by Grayson Haver Currin
A look at how the music industry’s obsession with the past may be damaging its future.

A Conversation About Detroit with Protomartyr by Evan Minsker
The pessimistic post-punks talk about how their breakthrough record is rich with hometown history.

How YG’s My Krazy Life Rescued Compton Rap by Jordan Sargent
How the West Coast rapper’s full-length debut restored LA to its rightful place on the hip-hop map.

The “5″Royales Hard-Rocking R&B by John Morthland
Long before their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, John Morthland makes a case for the “5″ Royales as the greatest vocal group in rock ‘n’ roll

EMA Fights the Future by Robert Ham
Robert Ham gets a pedicure with Erika M. Anderson and they talk about how technology is killing us.

Cyndi Lauper’s Battle for She’s So Unusual by Barry Walters
The full story behind the turbulent making of an ’80s pop classic.

Not Not Fun’s 10 Years of Weird by Marissa G. Muller
The fascinating history of the eccentric L.A. label as told through their benchmark releases.

Cloud Nothings’ Long Road to Here and Everywhere by Andrew Parks
Andrew Parks follows Dylan Baldi around Austin during SXSW and talks about the group’s head-spinning, road-tested ride to the top.

White Hinterland Raises Her Voice by Katy Henriksen
A fascinating conversation about the power of the human voice and how moving to a small town brought Casey Dienel back to life.

Ted Leo and Aimee Mann Talk Twitter, Songwriting and Twitter by Maggie Serota
The singer/songwriters talk about how their obsession with social media informs their songs — and their lives.

The Amazing Spiderland: Slint’s Gradual Masterpiece by Joe Gross
Joe Gross on how the cult of Spiderland grew slowly, from its initial rejection to its eventual canonization.

Oral History: Life Without Buildings’ Any Other City by Douglas Wolk
Douglas Wolk talks with every member of the gone-too-soon Scottish band about the creation of their cult masterpiece.

Louis Andriessen: Modernist Maverick at 75 by Jayson Greene
Jayson Greene talks with the revered Dutch composer about the Beatles, Bang on a Can and Peter Greenaway.

Mac DeMarco

May 2014
Singing Karaoke With Mac DeMarco by Jayson Greene
Senior Editor Jayson Greene sings Elton John with the Brooklyn musician and talks with him about the wearying work of being a cut-up.

The Many Voices Inside tUnE-yArDs’ Nikki Nack by Laura Leebove
Managing Editor Laura Leebove on the globe-spanning influences behind Merrill Garbus’s masterpiece.

Unearthing the Lost Hank Williams by John Morthland
How a recently discovered batch of radio tapes reveals a new side of the classic country singer.

Swans’ Michael Gira is Searching for God by Louis Pattison
Michael Gira opens up about his newfound spirituality, and how it influences his work with Swans.

Tori Amos in the Age of the Selfie by Katherine St. Asaph
How Tori Amos reclaimed her past by embracing the future on Unrepentant Geraldines.

The Strange Loves of Amen Dunes by Andrew Parks
Andrew Parks gets the enigmatic songwriter to open up about his family life and his love of literature, philosophy and fantasy.

Fennesz: A Trickster in Barcelona by Philip Sherburne
Philip Sherburne accompanies the mischievous electronic musician through the streets of Barcelona.

David Lang Wants to Be More Superficial by Justin Davidson
The modern composer demystifies the process behind creation and classical music.

Bombast Meets Glasnost: Billy Joel in Russia by Maura Johnston
A look back at a time when Billy Joel was an unlikely Cold War ambassador.


June 2014
Warped Tour’s Woman Problem by Megan Seling
Megan Seling confronts the founder of the storied punk tour about its dude-heavy lineup.

C86: The Stories Behind the Iconic Compilation by Douglas Wolk, John Everhart and J. Edward Keyes
Interviews with 18 of the compilation’s original 22 bands about the history and legacy of the cassette that spawned a genre.

Priests on Capitalism’s ‘Lame Prizes’ by Zach Phillips
Katie Alice Greer talks about destroying the system from within and how to operate inside a system that’s inherently flawed.

Tisziji Muñoz: The Guitarist Who Quit Music and Became a Yogi by Richard Gehr
The story of a promising jazz musician who gave it all up to help other artists find their inner light.

Miranda Lambert Sets Her Own Agenda on Platinum by Charles Aaron
How Lambert’s latest moves her beyond her hometown and into country music superstardom.

Amy LaVere’s Life on the Run by Stephen M. Deusner
The country singer opens up about her life as a runaway and how her troubled teenage years inform her music.

White Lung’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kat Bee
Kat Bee gets tacos with Mish Way and talks about ballet, body image and White Lung’s roaring new record.

Dan Wilson on Writing Hits for Adele, Taylor Swift and Birdy by Sam Adams
The author of some of the decade’s biggest hits opens up about the stories behind the songs.

Remembering Bobby Womack by Douglas Wolk
Douglas Wolk looks back on the legacy of an R&B great.


July 2014
Nicki and Iggy: Female Rappers and the Shame of Ghostwriting by Madeleine Holden
How Nicki Minaj’s comments at the BET Awards highlighted a longstanding issue among female rappers.

Should Musicians Play Tel Aviv? by Rahawa Haile
An investigative look at the complicated politics behind playing the city in Israel.

Is Country Radio Ready for a Song About Date Rape? by Charles Aaron
Why Kira Isabella’s breakout hit is a timely, well-placed gut-punch.

Adia Victoria’s Angry, Thrilling Southern Blues by Jewly Hight
How the singer’s past informs her stark Southern Gothic blues.

“Weird” Al Beats Everyone to the Joke Again by Maura Johnston
The internet age hasn’t slowed down or dulled the wits of pop’s sharpest satirist.

Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity Turns 50 by Kevin Whitehead
Kevin Whitehead talks with the major players behind this genre-busting jazz record.

Review: Trey Songz, Trigga by David Drake
David Drake on how Trey Songz’s strongest record to date still doesn’t solve his fundamental problem.

Five Feminist Lessons from Missy Elliott by Madeleine Holden
How Missy’s classic songs provided a counterpoint to the media’s steady onslaught of women-hating messages.

Strand of Oaks Stares Down Death and Begins to Heal by J. Edward Keyes
How a near-fatal car wreck caused Tim Showalter to re-evaluate his life and art.

Sia: Hiding in Plain Sight by Katherine St. Asaph
Katherine St. Asaph on how Sia’s ability to disappear completely isn’t limited to her public persona.

Chicago Rap’s Future is in Vic Spencer’s Hands by Winston Cook-Wilson
Why Vic Spencer is one of the brightest lights in the burgeoning Chicago rap scene.

The Creation and Legacy of Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique by Dan LeRoy
A close look at the inspirations, influences and secret samples in the Beastie Boys’ classic album.


August 2014
Why the Summer Music Festival is About to Burst by Grayson Haver Currin
An in-depth look at why the explosion of the summer music festival season will ultimately capsize and explode.

Beat Street: The Making of a Hip-Hop Classic by Ron Hart
Ron Hart talks with all of the principal players behind the movie that defined ’80s hip-hop culture for the mainstream.

How Megadeth’s Guitarist Became a J-Pop Superstar by Patrick St. Michel
He used to front one of metal’s heaviest bands; now he lends his talents to the technicolor world of J-Pop.

Wondering Sound Editors and Critics on Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” by Wondering Sound Staff
The Wondering Sound editorial team weighs in on Taylor Swift’s new direction.

The Secret History of the Hidden Track by Madeleine Cummings
The story behind one of the time-honored traditions of the CD age.

FKA twigs’ LP1: All Longing, No Climax by Jessica Hopper
On her debut album, FKA twigs maintains mystery and sustains her allure.

Killer Mike’s Michael Brown Response Shows How Rap Is Still Misunderstood by Marc Hogan
Marc Hogan on how the media’s persistent, ignorant assumptions about rap reveal a deep-rooted bias.

Christopher Denny’s Demons by Jewly Hight
How the country singer overcame drugs, alcohol and a hard early life to stage a quiet, stunning comeback.

Masters of the Now: Shabazz Palaces and Black Constellation by Anupa Mistry
A look at the pioneering art collective the Toronto rapper belongs to.

Sarah Jaffe and the Risk of Being a Middle-Class Musician by Laura Leebove
Wondering Sound’s Managing Editor talks with the pop songwriter about the struggles and challenges of being a working musician.

Vinyl Subscription Clubs Find a Narrow Groove by Marc Hogan
How LP subscription clubs are thriving by focusing on a niche.


September 2014
Revisiting Ready to Die: Biggie’s Brooklyn, Then and Now by Judnick Mayard
Judnick Mayard on how Biggie’s hometown — and her own — has changed in the 20 years since Ready to Die.

Perfume Genius: “I Don’t Really Know What ‘Normal’ Feels Like by Jayson Greene
A beautiful, revealing look at the man behind Perfume Genius’s stirring songs by Wondering Sound Senior Editor Jayson Greene.

The Lonely Rise and Untimely Death of Speaker Knockerz by David Drake
The shattering story of a promising 19-year-old rapper cut down in his prime.

The Neighborhood Wakes: A Graphic Novella Inspired by Arcade Fire’s Funeral by Jess Sauer and Immer Handbreit
To celebrate a decade of Arcade Fire’s classic debut LP, Jess Sauer and Immer Handbreit create a graphic novel inspired by its lyrics.

How a Kentucky Folk Legend Almost Lost His Son to Religion by Carena Liptak
Lee Sexton is a banjo legend who took his greatest joy in playing music with his two songs — until one of them got “saved.”

Rihanna Doesn’t Need Your Outrage, Chris Brown’s Struggle is His Own by Claire Lobenfeld
Wondering Sound’s Features Editor on how the damaging spectacle of “Rihanna as Public Victim” shadows every Chris Brown record, and why it’s time for that to stop.

Why the Metal Community Is Fighting for Animal Rights by Kim Kelly
On the unlikely alliance between extreme metal and animal rights.

The Drums Talk Christian New Wave, Rejecting Religion and the Freedom of Failure by J. Edward Keyes
The New York new wave duo open up about their Christian rock past, and how they freed themselves from the restrictions of religion.

Beyond Bobby Shmurda: A New York Drill Playlist by Winston Cook-Wilson
A roundup of some of the most exciting voices in the still-young New York Drill scene.

Music Can Only Be Love: The Secret Influence of Scott Miller by Matt LeMay
How the voice behind pioneering college rockers Game Theory is still heard in the indie rock of today.

The Kiddies Will Like It: A Selective History of the ‘Mr. Show’ Cast in Music Videos by Eric Ducker
A look back at the times cast members of the iconic comedy series Mr. Show turned up in music videos.

U2 and Apple, Partners in Smarm by Eric Harvey
U2′s Songs of Innocence gambit wasn’t inventive; it was a clumsy attempt to merge art and commerce.

‘Hesitant Alien’: Gerard Way’s Refreshing Reintroduction by Maura Johnston
The former My Chemical Romance frontman’s reinvention as a glam rocker ably redefines him for a new audience.

Q&A: Working Through Lecrae’s Past to His Probable Billboard No. 1 by Christina Lee
The rapper talks faith and success with Christina Lee.

The Dawn of the Musical Selfie: A Mission to Make Music Interactive by Courtney Balestier
A look at the intersection between music and technology, and how it’s changing the way we experience music.

Mayhem’s Journey from Hell to Outer Space by J. Edward Keyes
How one of the most feared metal bands of all time found life on other plants.

Wire and the Live Album as Career Suicide by Garry Mulholland
The reissue of Wire’s Document and Eyewitness prompts a look at other artists who used the live album to alienate fans.


October 2014
Record Club: Revisiting Blink-182′s Enema of the State by Wondering Sound Staff
The Wondering Sound editorial staff breaks down blink-182′s pop-punk breakthrough.

Playing Catch-Up: Learning to Love Pavement in 2014 by Lindsay Hood
Wondering Sound’s News Editor locates the emotion at the heart of a band whose essence was the very elusive definition of the word “cool.”

Why Do So Many New Music Videos Look Like Commercials? by Puja Patel
Wondering Sound’s Senior Editor on how brands are slowly, subtly working their way into music videos, and why artists agree to it.

Record Club: How Enema of the State Changed Tom Delonge’s Life by Laura Leebove
Wondering Sound’s Managing Editor talks with Tom DeLonge about the making of Enema.

Run the Jewels Still Feel Like a Revolution by Charles Aaron
How Run the Jewels 2 is just the latest in a long history of revolutionary rap records.

Angaleena Presley and Nadine Hubbs’s Case Against Country-Music Classism by Jewly Hight
Author Hubbs and musician Presley talk about the ways classism infects the dialogue surrounding country music, and the role it plays in the songs themselves.

1989: Taylor Swift’s Light, Two-Dimensional Fantasy by Maud Deitch
The singer’s pop makeover results in an album that’s superficial and problematic.

The Best Real-Life Music Subplots of Law & Order by Maura Johnston
A look at every time Law & Order ripped a real-life music story from the headlines.

Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Gaga, Bennett: The American Songbook Endures by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Why the Great American Songbook continues to provide such ripe material for pop-music reinventions.

Record Club: 1999′s Pop-Punk Highlights by Laura Leebove
Wondering Sound’s Managing Editor assesses how a trio of pop-punk breakthroughs have aged.

Sunshine City: Kid Sister’s Bright New Life as Jane Jupiter by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
How the Philadelphia rapper reinvented herself by making music that “scared her.”

Why Are We Still Talking About Selling Out in 2014? by Marc Hogan
A New York Times op-ed provokes an exploration of an outdated notions of “integrity.”

Godflesh and the Horror of Everyday Life by Andrew Parks
Justin Broadrick’s grim, grinding music as Godflesh finds its inspiration in the darkness of the everyday.

Collector’s Edition: Nude Beach’s Ryan Naideau on His Most Prized Records by Tess Duncan
Wondering Sound’s Production Editor dives into the Nude Beach frontman’s record collection and learns which album he once traded 10 Jandek records for.

Why Giallo’s Sound Continues to Haunt by Louis Pattison
Wondering Sound’s U.K. Editor on the ghoulish influence of Italian Giallo’s spooky soundtracks

Decoding Caribou’s Divine Math by Andy Battaglia
The knotty numerical theories that guide Dan Snaith’s sweet, soothing work as Caribou.

The Swoon Generation: Gregg Araki on Music as the Soul of His Films by Claire Lobenfeld
Wondering Sound’s Features Editor talks with the visionary director about how music guides his filmmaking.

On the Road With Joanna Gruesome by Maria Sherman
Maria Sherman accompanies the band on their tour of the Northeast and documents everything — the good and the bad — that goes down.

Women Don’t Collect Music to Impress You, Dan Brooks by Madeleine Holden
A rebuttal to a New York Times op-ed calls out a claim about women and record collecting.


November 2014
Record Club: Lil’ Kim’s Body Politics are More Than Just Explicit Content by Claire Lobenfeld
Wondering Sound’s Features Editor discusses the personal significance behind Lil Kim’s Hard Core.

Lenny Kaye on Life, Death and Buddy Holly’s Motorcycle by Lenny Kaye
A trip to the auction of Holly’s prized possession causes Lenny Kaye to reflect on his own life.

Record Club: Lil Kim’s Taboo-Smashing Hard Core by Wondering Sound Staff
The Wondering Sound Editorial Staff discusses Lil Kim’s upheaval of taboos, the sounds of the ’90s and her influence on rap.

Record Club: Sex, Trust, Betrayal and Hard Core by Jayson Greene
Wondering Sound’s Senior Editor on the volatile family dynamics that surrounded the making of Lil Kim’s classic.

The Best Music Moments of Transparent by Laura Leebove and Claire Lobenfeld
Wondering Sound’s Managing Editor and Features Editor on the music that accompanied the Amazon drama’s most powerful scenes.

T-Pain’s Lifelong Struggle For Respect by Jayson Greene
Wondering Sound’s senior editor on why one of the most popular R&B vocalists of the last 10 years is also the most underrated.

Collector’s Edition: Nots’ Charlotte Watson’s Wild, Weird ’70s Records by Tess Duncan
Wondering Sound’s Production Editor talks with the Nots frontwoman about her most treasured records.

What Happens to the Aging Boy-Bander? by Jia Tolentino
A look at the difficult second act most boy band members eventually confront.

Doms, Subs and “Subpar D”: A Rihanna Conversation by Claire Lobenfeld and Judnick Mayard
Wondering Sound’s Features Editor and Judnick Mayard discuss Rihanna and sexuality.

Up Next: Shamir Molds R&B From Old-School House and Lovelorn Lyricism by Puja Patel
How a teenager from Las Vegas became the new face of house music.

Elisa Ambrogio: “Steely Dan is the Platypus of Musical Evolution” by Jeremy D. Larson
The Magik Markers frontwoman is no fan of Aja.

Pharmakon’s Violent Healing by Andrew Parks
When a life-threatening ailment sidelined Margaret Chardiet, she channeled the experience into the making of her new record.

How Barbara Lynn Changed the Blues Forever by John Morthland
John Morthland speaks with the pioneering guitarist about her revolutionary presence.

The Rough and Rowdy Life of Billy Joe Shaver by John Morthland
Shaver’s latest record, the acclaimed Long in the Tooth is another swing for a man whose life has been one long brawl.

Immature Themes: The Fantasy World of Ariel Pink’s pom pom by Claire Lobenfeld
Wondering Sound’s Features Editor immerses herself in Ariel Pink’s strange alternate universe.

Why We Need The Basement Tapes Complete by Winston Cook-Wilson
Winston Cook-Wilson de-mythologizes one of Dylan’s most celebrated releases.

Why Pop Music’s Comfort Means Death for Lawrence English by Philip Sherburne
Why the experimental musician staunchly refuses to play it safe.

Digital Witness: The Music Videos of Ariel Pink by Sam Adams
A look at how the indiepop trickster manipulates images in a manner similar to Harmony Korine.

Clang Quartet’s Holy Noise by Raymond Cummings
Behind the clamor and chaos in the music of Clang Quartet is a sincere devotion to Christianity.

Tanya Tagaq: “People Are Batshit Crazy Everywhere” by Kim Kelly
Kim Kelly interviews the Polaris Prize winner about eating seal and changing the world.


December 2014
2014 in Country: Miranda Lambert Transcends the Bros by Rob Harvilla
How Miranda Lambert fought the tide of bro-country in 2014.

2014 in Latin Music: Romeo Santos, Regional Dance and Globalization by Suzy Exposito, Isabela Raygoza, Carlos Reyes, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd and Alexis Stephens
Five writers discuss the face of Latin music in 2014.

Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez on Police Brutality in America by Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez
The Das Racist member responds to the verdicts in two high-profile police brutality trials.

David Lowery: “Someone Has to Be the Bad Cop” by Grayson Haver Currin
One of music’s most polarizing figures talks with Grayson Haver Currin about his life and philosophy.

“That’s Just a Good Sound”: Paul Thomas Anderson on the Music in His Movies by Glenn Kenny
The celebrated director discusses his use of music in his films.

In 2014, Pop’s Social Gate-Crashers Were Already Inside by Marc Hogan
Why the new Billboard charts aren’t as rogue or populist as they seem.

Ought Talk Punk, Politics and Privilege in Zuccotti Park by Jeremy Larson
The punk group consider their place in the world against the backdrop of civil unrest.

Why Collecting Matters: Citizen Archivists and the Battle for Future Pasts by Jesse Jarnow
What happens to music history when everything goes digital?

Something is Rotten in the State of Cash Money by David Drake
David Drake explores the growing fissures in the Cash Money empire.

Nicki Minaj’s “All Things Go” Is Her Best Drake Song Ever by Jayson Greene
On the parallels between Minaj’s most revealing song and the music of one of her peers.

Lenny Kaye’s 50 Years of Music by Lenny Kaye
The Patti Smith guitarist and Nuggets compiler looks back on his life as a musician.

The Most Original New Voice in Minimalist Composing is 13 Years Old by Noel Gardner
Meet Henry Plotnick, the teenage minimalist composer who’s turning heads.

J. Cole Embraces Love on 2014 Forest Hills Drive by Jayson Greene
Wondering Sound’s Senior Editor on J. Cole’s emotional breakthrough.

Top of the Morning by Lindsay Hood
The complete archive of Wondering Sound’s News Editor’s daily roundup.


January/Feburary 2015
The Athletic Past of Guided by Voices by Leo DeLuca
The indie icons teenage years as an all-star athlete.

‘WKRP In Cincinnati’ and the Invention of Classic Rock Radio by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
How the groundbreaking television show helped create an entire radio genre.

Sideshow Act Velvet Crayon on Performance Art and ‘American Horror Story’ by Kim Kelly
Kim Kelly talks with the sideshow performer, born with osteogenesis imperfecta, about his life and art.

Why Listening to Music is Kind of Like a Prayer by Sarah Grant
A look at how the human brain responds to both music and religion in strikingly similar ways.

The ’90s Alliance Between Blue Note and Hip-Hop by Ron Hart
An oral history of the unique bond between the historic jazz label and hip-hop’s rising stars.

Shoegaze: An Oral History by Ian Gittins
With the shoegaze revival in full swing, we look back at its earliest days.

The Best Albums That Never Existed by Jed Smith
Ten songs, histories and album art for bands that never were.

Beyonce’s Grammys Snub Matters for What It Represents by Marc Hogan
Exploring the deeper meaning behind the outcome of the 2015 Grammys.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Soundtrack Cassette Sells Thousands by Marc Hogan
The surprisingly strong sales of this soundtrack suggest tapes can thrive in a specialized market.

Millie Jackson on “Stealing” and Reclaiming Country Music by Jewly Hight
Jewly Hight talks with the legendary R&B singer about her reinventing country music.

Music Copyright Extreme-Makeover Plan Still Just a Plan by Marc Hogan
How the revisions to copyright law will ultimately help artists.

And one for the road — the song that gave us our name: