Marissa Lorusso

"My partner tells me that apparently I only sing when I'm happy," says Anjimile Chithambo, who performs and records music mononymously as Anjimile. It's a slightly surprising admission. For one thing, the singer-songwriter's new album, Giver Taker, is full of piercing self-knowledge; it seems like they don't need anyone to explain their musical process to them. For another, the album is the product of some extremely trying situations: Anjimile wrote many of the songs while in treatment for alcoholism and while coming to terms with their identity as a trans and nonbinary person.

Warning: This article contains descriptions of alleged sexual assault and misconduct.

Updated Aug. 17, 9:15 a.m. to include a response from Mark Kozelek.


Three women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against musician Mark Kozelek, who frequently performs as Sun Kil Moon. The accusations were published by Pitchfork on Thursday in a report by Amy Zimmerman.

British singer Vera Lynn, whose touching ballads helped sustain the spirits of Britons during WWII, died today, according to a statement from the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity. She was 103 years old.

Before she wrote Silver Tongue, out later this month, Torres' Mackenzie Scott stopped writing music altogether. After releasing three albums of searing, searching guitar rock, Scott says she needed to reassess. It's a "delusional pursuit," as she calls it, to try to make a living as a musician right now. Did she even still want to do it? What was even worth writing about?

Adrianne Lenker is the guitarist and singer for the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based rock band Big Thief. Cecilia Bartoli is the Italian opera singer who thrives on neglected repertoire from the 18th century. The two women might seem like strange bedfellows, but they come together in our series titled "highly specific superlatives," a kind of drilling down to some of the finest and most precise moments in the arts in 2019.

Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote that "one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman," a claim I could imagine making writer and critic Andrea Long Chu roll her eyes.

At the very least, Chu has an update: "Everyone is female," she writes in the appropriately titled Females, her first book, "and everyone hates it."

How does one of the biggest stars in American popular music go missing?

Punk rock might be a relatively young genre, but the legend of its history has already become more or less solidified.

Ask what makes punk punk and you'll probably get a story that starts in 1970s London, or maybe New York; you'll get The Sex Pistols, The Ramones or The Clash; counterculture, anti-establishment and leather jackets.

It's not every day you see a drag queen playing an autoharp. But for Trixie Mattel — comedian, musician and, as of last week, winner of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars — country music and drag go together like high heels and false lashes.

In music and the culture it reflects, 2017 was predictably unpredictable: idols fell, empires shook, consensus was scarce. This conversation is one of five on The Record with artists, makers and thinkers whose work captured something unique about a chaotic year, and hinted at bigger revelations around the bend.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

Like U2, Ed Sheeran has also canceled his concert in St. Louis because of safety concerns.

The cancellations follow protests in the city prompted by the acquittal of a former police officer, who had been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a black man.

In talking about her new album, Rainbow, Kesha describes making the impossible possible with boundless optimism — like ending up with collaborators from her "wildest of dreams," from the kinds of secret aspirations you're too scared to say aloud. (This includes a duet with Dolly Parton, guitar solos from Eagles Of Death Metal and a horn section courtesy of the Dap-Kings).