Dozens

Alt/Punk Essentials

By Douglas Wolk on 11.10.09

Alternative music takes the risk of running against the flow of pop, and more often than not ends up leading it in a new direction. Punk rock shoves back even more forcefully against the restrictions...

Southern Indie

By Jon Dolan on 11.09.09

The West produces punk rockers screwed up by perfect weather and soul-crushing sprawl. The Midwest has winter afternoons that give introspective boys long hours to stay inside working on their craft....

Sarah Lee Guthrie's Kids Music

By Sarah Lee Guthrie on 10.28.09

Sarah Lee Guthrie didn't grow up playing, writing or performing music, but being a part of the Guthrie family meant that it surrounded her. "I think it was in me," she says, "but I...

Philly Soul, Pt. 2

By Elizabeth Isadora Gold on 10.14.09

The Sound of Philadelphia is the sound of home to me. I grew up in Philly in the 70s and 80s, when it was almost impossible not to hear "The Love I Lost," wafting over my family's back f...

Spiritual Roots of the Mountain Goats

By John Darnielle on 09.30.09

For the last 18 years, John Darnielle has built a career on writing stories about the lost and the hopeful, the desperate and the disenfranchised. For his latest opus, The Life of the World To Come, h...

Kids Music

By Karen Schoemer on 09.28.09

I'd like to think that my nine-year-old daughter's impeccable taste in music is entirely the doing of her crafty connoisseur parents &mdash that our ruthless indoctrination produced a tiny...

Sonic Youth Side Projects

By Kyle Anderson on 05.29.09

After 28 years of fuzzy drug ballads and noisy guitar freakouts, it's easy to take Sonic Youth for granted. Never as unapologetically beloved as Pavement, never as massively crossover-friendly as...

Operatic Sopranos

By Adam Sweeting on 05.19.09

When Paramount Pictures recruited the Met's new Wagnerian sensation Kirsten Flagstad for an appearance in The Big Broadcast Of 1938, kitting her out in full Brunnhilde garb including spear and hor...

Singing Songwriters

By Will Friedwald on 04.23.09

As Sammy Fain says on one of these albums, the old adage about children can be applied in reverse for songwriters: they were supposed to be heard but not seen. On another CD, Dorothy Fields tells the...

Philly Soul

By Elizabeth Isadora Gold on 04.20.09

I was born into the Sound of Philadelphia family in 1974. My father, Larry Gold, was a cellist in TSOP's house band, MFSB (the letters stand for Mother Father Sister Brother, or Motherfucker Son o...

Smith vs. Jones

By John Morthland on 04.17.09

What's in a name? When I did the Big vs. Little and Slim vs. Fats dozens a few years back, a winner emerged from the rival camps, even if only by a narrow margin. For example, artists with "S...

Criss Cross

By Britt Robson on 04.09.09

The biggest hurdle when compiling a Dozen devoted to the Criss Cross label is agonizing over what to leave out. Gerry Teekens 'Dutch-based imprint has been appropriately compared to Blue Note'...

IDM Dozen

By Michelangelo Matos on 03.26.09

Even for those of us who generally dismiss the flower-childish notion that art is too divine to be categorized recognize what a tough break the often dissimilar artists lumped together as IDM have got...

Brass Bands

By James Sullivan on 02.24.09

"New Orleans is the hippest city on the planet," wrote a DJ for the city's hippest radio station, WWOZ, a decade ago in the liner notes to a compilation of new-wave brass bands called...

…Trail of Dead Dozen

By Fred Goodman on 02.20.09

For the last ten years, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead have based a career on proving the notion that, in music, brawn and brains need not be mutually exclusive. Their 2002 masterpiece S...

A Dozen of Funk

By Michelangelo Matos on 02.19.09

Funk used to be a bad word. Today, though, it denotes a rhythmic continuum that has, more or less, come to dominate pop music, thanks to the genre's infiltration into everything from hip-hop to el...

Women of World Music

By Chris Nickson on 02.05.09

Good -- even great -- singers are everywhere. But true icons are very few and far between. Icons can sing gloriously, but they do something more; they speak for their people, transmitting their hopes...

Underrated Female Jazz Vocalists

By Will Friedwald on 01.22.09

Lately it seems that female jazz singers come in two flavors. There's the pantheon of immortal beloveds -- legendary icons on the level of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Then,...

Saddle Creek Dozen

By Adrienne Day on 01.15.09

In an era where big labels are bleeding money while playing internet bad cop, the story of Saddle Creek -- the little music collective that could -- is a heartwarming case of David trumping Goliath. M...

New Orleans Piano Professors

By John Morthland on 01.12.09

They played for (often lavish) tips in the bordello parlors of turn-of- the-century Storyville at the same time jazz was being born. They had huge repertoires and kept the music "hot" and rh...

The New Sound of Scotland

By Jon Lusk on 12.11.08

Not since the revival of the 1960s has Scottish folk music been as strong as it is right now, in the 21st century. In 1997, after three centuries of British rule, Scotland was granted its first Parlia...

Righteous Babe Dozen

By Barry Walters on 12.11.08

Like many indie record labels, Righteous Babe offers an undiluted distillation of its founder's psyche and aesthetic. But because this particular label's founder is the forthright singer-songw...

My Dozen

By Bob Boilen on 11.04.08

In music, it's a sense of adventure I love the most. I like to put on a record and not quite know what's happening next. The first thing that happens when I get a new record and I put on the f...

Go-Go Music!

By Jeff Chang on 10.21.08

Once upon a time Washington D.C.'s go-go and New York hip-hop were both local party music sounds known to a select few. They were very much alike—stripped-down music relying heavily on percu...