Music

Music

How long has it been since a snarling singer and a supercharged electric guitar grabbed you by the throat and wouldn't let go?

By 2012, Emily Wells had been practicing her songwriting and multi-instrumental talents for over a decade, mostly in DIY mode. But the album she released that year, Mama, was a step up, deftly taking advantage of her intimacy with country and roots song forms, while also showcasing her prodigious experimental streak. It was a jewel — songs by turns knowing and playful, down-home and street-wise, razor sharp and intimate.

Musician Brooke Waggoner was on a 6 a.m. coffee run when she got a worrisome text from a friend, whose husband was apparently dealing with a life-threatening heart problem. The news gave her a shiver — and an idea.

You know the X-Files theme. For nine years, that music had an almost Pavlovian effect on TV junkies addicted to the paranormal adventures of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. But in the beginning, it was just a job for composer Mark Snow.

The mother-son duo Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear isn't all sweet-natured charm; it's got impressive songs and powerful voices to match. The pair's debut album, Skeleton Crew, tells a powerful story with fully realized characters and places.

What is the role of a white person in the struggle of black people fighting injustice? That's the question posed by Ben Haggerty, better known as Macklemore, as he puzzles out his own role as a white artist in love with hip-hop on a new song called "White Privilege II." Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released the song as a free download overnight via a website that also offers links to "supporting black led organizations," and already, conversation and controversy have begun.

Grindcore is about the economy of extreme music; about cramming as much metallic insanity into one minute as possible. It's been six years since the last album by Magrudergrind, a Brooklyn-via-D.C. trio that knows how to make the guitar-drums-vocals format sound something like fireworks exploding in an aluminum trash can.

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