Sober and Shredding

Veteran stoner-metal band High on Fire released its sixth album this past spring, the blistering “De Vermis Mysteriis,” an ambitious collection about Jesus’ time-traveling twin brother. As the Oakland, Calif., band enjoyed glowing reviews and sold-out shows, however, it faced one of the hardest disappointments of its 15-year career. Right before the band embarked on […]

On the Spot: Kaki King

Kaki King doesn’t just strum her guitar. On her sixth studio album, “Glow,” the Atlanta-born musician pounds the instrument like it’s a drum, tapping manically along the neck and thumping its body rhythmically. King’s energetic performances have made her one of the most inventive and unpredictable guitarists in indie rock. How many guitars did you […]

In Eavesdropping, Art

Stephin Merritt hates touring. The frontman for indie legends the Magnetic Fields is bored by the constant travel, the grueling routines and the anonymous accommodations. “If you’ve seen a few hotel rooms, you’ve seen them all,” he says. “Touring is just death to creativity.” It doesn’t help that Merritt and his bandmates perform the same […]

Experimentation on the Side

Every toiling indie musician dreams of getting into a breakout band, selling hundreds of thousands of albums and filling venues all over the country. But for members of the Portland, Ore.-based tweed-pop group the Decemberists, whose most recent album, 2011’s “The King Is Dead,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the band’s growing success […]

Art, Minus the Gimmicks

Self-described “dissident feminist” writer and professor Camille Paglia has made a career of questioning (usually with pointed, arch humor) pretty much everything in culture both pop and high: Yeats’ turns of phrase, Alfred Hitchcock’s subtexts, Madonna’s bustiers. On Thursday, the Salon columnist will be at Politics and Prose to read from her eighth book, “Glittering […]

Major Lazer, Now With More Lasers

In one version of the backstory, Major Lazer is a Jamaican warrior who survived a zombie attack to gain lasers for hands. In reality, Major Lazer is a collaboration between super-producer Diplo (Wes Pentz) and a revolving cast of characters — including Switch (Dave Taylor, who left the group last year), Trinidadian DJ/producer Jillionaire, English […]

American Troubadour

By 1940, Woody Guthrie was sick of hearing Kate Smith sing Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which he thought ignored the incredible divide between the nation’s rich and the poor. While hitchhiking from Washington state to New York City, Guthrie wrote a song in response, “God Blessed America for Me,” to reclaim the redwood forests, […]

Getting Back To the World

On Election Day in 2008, Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman found himself all alone in Washington. The night before, he had played a set at the House of Sweden for Swedish TV, but once the cameras were off, “I realized that I didn’t know anyone in D.C.,” he recalls. Lekman searched for “D.C.” in his email […]

Don’t Look in the VCR!

Horror films make for especially animated audiences. Moviegoers laugh nervously, cower in their seats, cover their eyes and even talk back to the screen. This is the biggest difference between horror and drama, says Joe Swanberg, who contributed to the new found-footage horror anthology “V/H/S.” It’s the first time Swanberg, who normally makes eloquently understated […]

On the Spot: Jon Spencer

It’s been eight years since the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — former D.C. resident Jon Spencer, guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins — released its last album of skuzzy, R&B-drenched rock ’n’ roll. New disc “Meat + Bone” proves the long-running New York trio are as combustible as ever. The three of you recorded […]