What was the last concert you saw? When was the last time you were one of the 12 people in a club, watching a thrilling new band that felt like a secret, or joined a chorus of thousands of new best friends for a festival singalong? When was the last time you felt that rapture? And when will it be OK to feel it again?
The answer, of course, is that no one really knows. But if there’s any silver lining to the shutdown of live music, it’s that artists, stuck at home like the rest of us, are recording and releasing music at a remarkably prolific clip. Fueled by quarantine-induced restlessness, by the protests roiling our country, by technologies that provide opportunity for lightning-strike fame or just by the need to make a buck, stars from YG to Bruce Springsteen to Blackpink to Ty Dolla Sign to the Deftones have mastered masked music-making and made exciting new albums. And the very ways that music finds you, and you find it, have been transformed under COVID by the rise of two platforms in particular: TikTok and Bandcamp.
So while this fall may not bring starlit shows at the Hollywood Bowl or stanky rap moshpits in stadium parking lots, it does offer enough great new music to fill your playlists through the end of this miserable year and beyond.
America’s at a breaking point. So is YG
Shaken by the death of his friend Nipsey Hussle, run-ins with the police and the Black Lives Matter protests, the Compton-raised rapper returns with his darkest album yet. READ MORE >>>
TikTok has been saved. But for music, is that a good thing?
From Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” to 24KGoldn’s “Mood,” TikTok has become the single most important platform for generating new pop-music hits. But does it help mint stars or just one-hit wonders? READ MORE>>>
Reimagining ‘Wildflowers,’ Tom Petty’s haunted triumph about a troubled marriage
Family and collaborators discuss the making of Petty’s 1994 solo album “Wildflowers,” which is being reissued as a box set with dozens of unreleased tracks. READ MORE>>>
The anti-Spotify: How online music company Bandcamp became the toast of the COVID age
With artist-friendly Bandcamp Fridays and initiatives that benefit progressive causes, the music platform has become beloved beyond its indie roots. READ MORE>>>
If a metal album is released in a pandemic, does it make a sound? Deftones are about to find out
The acclaimed California band’s new album, “Ohms,” was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be released without a supporting tour. READ MORE>>>
Mariah Carey’s memoir is her best performance yet
“The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” the pop star’s tell-some memoir, sparkles and entertains and explains its subject, despite a few too many I-don’t-know-hers. READ MORE>>>
Amid COVID-19, Ty Dolla Sign is making club bangers minus the clubs
While making his new album, the in-demand R&B and hip-hop singer-songwriter listened to a lot of Prince and J Dilla and enjoyed a lot of Mary Jane. READ MORE>>>
Beabadoobee is a ’90s fuzz-rock anomaly in a TikTok world
The 20-year-old singer-songwriter came to fame via a sample on Powfu’s TikTok smash “Death Bed (Chocolate for Your Head),” but her heart is in grungy guitar rock. READ MORE>>>
Shamir’s new album was inspired by Gwen Stefani, Miranda Lambert and ... Jeffrey Dahmer
The prolific and dynamic 25-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist’s new album, his seventh overall, will be released on Oct. 2. READ MORE>>>
‘Roses’ singer-rapper Saint Jhn has some thoughts on ‘off-world vehicles’ and silk pants
On UFOs, edibles and why he’s sexier than he thought he was. READ MORE>>>
The 20 albums we can’t wait to hear this fall
From the long-awaited debut by K-pop’s Blackpink to the return of the Boss, here are the fall albums our experts can’t wait to stream on repeat. READ MORE>>>