Not Dancing on Her Own

Swedish dance-pop maven Robyn is on the road with British rockers Coldplay, but her nights won’t end when she finishes her opening-act sets. Instead, she’ll just be getting started. In every city the tour visits, Robyn will also host club nights with the UK-based DJ Rokk. For the tour’s D.C. dates — Coldplay hits the […]

On the Spot: Matisyahu

You might not recognize Matisyahu in the photo at left. Last year, the Hasidic reggae-rapper not only doffed his traditional yarmulke and bekishe, but he shaved his beard, too. His forthcoming album, “Spark Seeker,” elaborates on that idea of transformation — physical, spiritual and musical. What led to change as the theme for the new […]

Rainstorm, Brainstorm

Storms both figurative and literal inspired “Raise Hell,” a barreling rocker off Brandi Carlile’s fourth album, “Bear Creek.” Two years ago, the Washington State singer-songwriter found herself all alone in her dressing room in Boston, just minutes before an outdoor show that was on the verge of being canceled. She was nursing a hangover and […]

Photographic Inspiration

In 2008, Laura Burhenn — then a D.C.-based musician playing in the indie-pop duo Georgie James — visited the Corcoran Gallery of Art to see an exhibition of Richard Avedon’s photographs. One in particular stood out to her, “a black-and-white picture of old women in satin gowns,” she recalls. “It had a very powerful title: […]

On the Spot: Eric Rutkow

A tree’s rings don’t merely reveal the age of the plant — they can also recount a country’s history. In "American Canopy: Trees, Forests and the Making of a Nation," author Eric Rutkow parallels the development of America with shifting attitudes toward majestic oaks, maples and sequoias.

Of Silver Swans and Steampunk

Peter Carey isn’t sure, but he thinks his new novel, “The Chemistry of Tears,” might fall under the subgenre of “steampunk.” “The notion, as I understand it, is old technology in the modern world,” Carey says. His book has plenty of “old technology” — namely, 19th-century automata, incredibly intricate robots whose clockwork innards allowed them […]

Living the Island Life

Paris, San Francisco, New York, London, Berlin — French composer Yann Tiersen traveled the world to record with various producers and musicians for his latest album, “Skyline.” But none of those places could compete with Ushant, an island off the coast of West Brittany in the Celtic Sea. “It’s one hour, 30 minutes from the […]

Young and Ambitious

The three members of the New York City-based buzz band Fun. are only in their mid-20s, but they’re already rock ’n’ roll veterans. “My first tour was when I was 15, in my parents’ minivan,” recalls guitarist Jack Antonoff, formerly of the short-lived, New Jersey-based group Steel Train. Drummer Andrew Dost was in the Chicago band […]

Inorganic Produce

The guys in Miike Snow have created a monster. And they bring it on tour. The tight-knit trio — two Swedes and an American — makes music that slyly skirts the edges of dance, electronica and pop. On the road, though, they need an assist. Like a robot sidekick from an old sci-fi series, the […]

Punch Brothers Run for Cover

New York City–based roots-rockers Punch Brothers are well-known for doing adventurous covers that cross genres in surprising ways. The title track from Radiohead’s 2000 album, “Kid A,” may be their most interesting choice so far: The Brothers’ version, which forms the centerpiece of the band’s third album, “Who’s Feeling Young Now?,” features none of the […]