Author: Ilana Kaplan

  • Death Cab for Cutie’s Prodigal Songwriter Comes Home

    Ben Gibbard wrote Death Cab for Cutie’s 2011 Codes and Keys in L.A., surrounded by too much sunshine and too many entertainment-industry insiders using one another to get ahead. His friends and support system were back in Seattle, which felt farther than just the thousand or so miles away. Over a decade into his career as an indie-rock […]

  • How Albert Hammond Jr. Became Someone Else and Found Himself

    During his twenty years on the music scene, Albert Hammond Jr. has been known by a number of identities: as the son of celebrated songwriter Albert Hammond; as the shaggy-haired, tight-trousered guitarist from the Strokes; and as the solo singer-songwriter-performer “Albert Hammond Jr.” But he craved being something different. “It always seemed really interesting to […]

  • Kevin Devine Hits the Reset Button

    For Kevin Devine, as for so many Americans in 2017, the lines between the political and the personal have become a little blurred. “Life is really sweet right now on the ground and really fucking insane in the air,” Devine says. At 37, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter has learned to balance talking about the present and his […]

  • For Downtown Boys, the Political Is Personal

    In late January, when Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13769 (a/k/a the Muslim Ban), the Rhode Island-based queer punks in Downtown Boys were holed up in the studio, working on Cost of Living, their third album together, and first on seminal indie label Sub Pop. “It was written over the course of the end of […]

  • Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner and Co. Take “Planetarium” On Tour

    For composer Nico Muhly, composer and guitarist Bryce Dessner, and singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, the idea for their new project, Planetarium, first surfaced back in 2011, when Muhly was commissioned by Muziekgebouw Eindhoven to craft a musical collaboration. The three musicians had been friends for a long time but had never had the opportunity to work together. […]

  • Ryan Adams Made His Beacon Theatre Show A Spiritual Homecoming

    There was Ryan Adams, onstage Wednesday evening at the Beacon Theatre with TVs stacked behind him emitting a white-noise glow. It was a curious sight, evoking the nonstop stream of political mayhem that surrounds us now, making it nearly impossible to tune out anything at all. But this was something else, an intimate night that […]

  • The Antlers’ Peter Silberman On The Hearing Loss That Inspired His Solo Debut

    “There’s definitely a theme [to the record] and the theme is the title,” explains Peter Silberman over tea at Physical Graffitea in the East Village. “It revolves around this idea of everything being temporary and applying that to almost everything and seeing if that’s a workable worldview.” While Silberman gained recognition over the past 11 […]

  • ‘They Were Like Psychiatric Sessions’: Bob Boilen on Interviewing Dave Grohl, St. Vincent, and More for His New Book

    It’s quite an undertaking to find out what made famous or otherwise beloved musicians pursue their dreams. In his new book, Your Song Changed My Life, Bob Boilen, the host of NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concert series, takes that challenge on wholeheartedly. For his literary debut, he talked to 35 musicians, including Jimmy Page, […]

  • How Kanye West, Bowie, and the Streets of New York Influenced St. Lucia’s ‘Matter’

    While St. Lucia may have started out like any other indie act from Brooklyn, the band’s debut album, When the Night, took them down a path of mainstream success that set them apart from many of the artists who have cut their teeth in the city. The band — fronted by Jean Philip Grobler — went from […]

  • What Do Long Beard and the Incredible Oscar Wao Have in Common?

    For those who don’t hail from the Tri-State area, it’s a little-known fact that New Brunswick, New Jersey is not only home to Rutgers University, but a fair amount of burgeoning musicians. Known as an underground mecca for musicians to band together, play basement shows and sometimes even make it big, New Brunswick has bred […]