Rebel Heart

For many years, Madonna avoided the Internet like gluten. But in December, the Internet decided to stop waiting for Madonna, and everything went wrong: Her music was stolen and leaked; her hasty, emotional responses on Instagram used terms like “rape” and “terrorism,” provoking (you guessed it) Internet outrage. Her swift…

Physical Graffiti: Deluxe Edition

“Changes fill my time,” Robert Plant sings on the extended country-soul drama “Ten Years Gone.” It was a fitting sentiment. Led Zeppelin’s relentless, searching bravado across their first five albums — out of Delta and Memphis fundamentals through psychedelia, Welsh-country romanticism and North African fantasia — climaxed at the twin peaks of…

Fan of a Fan: The Album

Chris Brown and Tyga present themselves as friends, but on their first full album together, they seem more like enablers. A true pal would have responded to lines like “She’ll cook and clean, I got it made/Handcuffed like she a slave” (from Tyga, on the narcissistic sex fantasy “Remember Me”)…

Future Brown

Missy Elliott’s Super Bowl moment said plenty about hip-hop’s current creative drought. This timely set from four style-hungry producers recalls Elliott’s turn-of-the-century heyday, with post-national street beats and an army of fresh MCs and singers. It feels like a genuine next-generation moment. Dominican-American MC Maluca spits hot Spanish over a…

Dark Sky Paradise

Over four years and two albums, Detroit rapper Big Sean has made his biggest mark as a semi-novelty hitmaker (the awesomely stupid “Dance (A$$),” the giddily spiteful “IDFWU”) and the worst part of at least five Kanye West songs. Big Sean is G.O.O.D. Music “trying to make ‘fetch’ happen” — keep supporting this guy, and…

First Kiss

“I got them red-blooded white-boy blues,” Kid Rock sings. Now 44, he finds himself looking back wistfully, tracking the passage of time. He laments that “we can’t fight this getting older” — but the LP’s muscular rock & roll tells another story. The Kid has no intention of aging gracefully — happily,…

What Happens Next

At their peak, Gang of Four stylized 1970s dissent into cutting post-punk. Sadly, the qualities that once made the English act so influential are gone on its ninth LP, and first since co-founding singer Jon King’s departure. The question posed by the record’s title is not one the band seems…

Gliss Riffer

Bearded roly-poly Baltimore EDM dude Dan Deacon looks a little like a highly intelligent teddy bear — a perfect fit for his playful, complex music. Deacon’s previous works have included the high-octane 2007 album Spiderman of the Rings and a mischievous remix of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.” His latest features…

Brian Parsons aka Zuppa Inglese, 1951-2015

  Photography by Marian Hall Boundless enthusiasm doesn’t even begin to describe the energy and vitality that Brian Parsons brought to every project he touched, writes Iain Scott. Brian was born and raised in Birmingham, his father a draughtsman involved in the early designs for the Mini and his mother a housewife, school dinner and lollipop lady. After a short stint […]