A manic-depressive punk who still believes in the redemptive powers of rock’n’roll and refuses to compromise his vision. A young R&B star climbing the ranks of an industry that’d be foolish to underestimate her. A drug-condoning bonanza that welcomes outsiders of all stripes. These are the sometimes outrageous, sometimes touching, always entertaining features that were our pleasure to write, edit, and publish in 2015. Once again, we share them with you.
Punk Begins at 30: A Titus Andronicus Story in Five Acts
Two years after his personal and professional low point, Patrick Stickles, mastermind of Titus Andronicus, has crafted his most ambitious album yet. nihilistic frontman is actually looking forward to looking forward.
Miguel’s F**king Music
With his new album, WILDHEART, L.A.’s PBR&B lover man rides his sexy, genre-smearing songs to a point just shy of self-actualization. He’s got more guitars than ever, and über-lothario Lenny Kravitz on speed dial, but Miguel still can’t get no satisfaction.
Slow Change May Pull Us Apart: The Oral History of Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’
The fascinating and turbulent story behind the Breakfast Club anthem, which just turned 30, told by those who lived it.
Kacey Musgraves, Woman Without a Country
Country radio is slow to play Kacey Musgraves’ new Pageant Material. But judging from her rich, winking songwriting and the praise being lavished upon her, the Texan troubadour is more popular and confident than ever. So once again, the good ol’ boys club is late to the party.
Beach Slang: This Band Could Be Your Life
Boasting a glorious debut record and riding a wave of hype not typically granted to new rock bands in 2015, Beach Slang — led by irrepressible frontman James Alex — are aiming to keep the spirit of punk alive. But really, this Philly foursome is simply achin’ to be.
We Won a Tube of Preparation H at the Gathering of the Juggalos
Celebrating America’s riskiest festival with four days of LSD piñatas, beer-throwing, and competitive fishing.
Q&A: Liz Phair Returns to ‘Exile in Guyville’
In honor of SPIN‘s 30th anniversary, we’re revisiting past picks for Album of the Year. Here, we catch up with Liz Phair and toast her iconic debut album, an acid-tongued document of ’90s femininity.
Vince Staples: Calm In the Hour of Chaos
The Long Beach lyrical firebrand gets philosophical over dinner on the eve of his stellar debut album, Summertime ’06.
Ecstasy, Fake LSD, and Sort-of Magic Mushrooms: The Future of Dance Music’s Drugs
How will the drugs most commonly taken — or the policies permitting them — change at dance festivals and parties in the years to come?
Alex G Is Learning How to Be Famous (Without Really Trying)
Just before the release of Alex G’s disarming Domino debut, Beach Music, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter spends two days reflecting on his craft, his steadily rising profile, and this potential turning point in his career.
Tinashe Knows How Dope She Is
With her sophomore album, Joyride, nearing completion, Tinashe’s fighting to keep control of her career in the face of an industry that too often undermines and overlooks young women. But the 22-year-old multi-threat isn’t losing sight of her lofty goals.
The Sound and the Furry: Making a Psychedelic Muppet With Dan Deacon
Set loose upon Manhattan’s FAO Schwarz toy store, the electronic whiz talks about his new Gliss Riffer album, defining his euphoric body of work, and what we all could learn from the wise Bill Murray.
‘It’s Not Easy’: How Guy Gerber Charms His Way Through Laptop Woes and Ibiza Party Shutdowns
Following the Israeli tech-house producer and DJ around New York City for one epic evening.
$ign of the Times
Ty Dolla $ign, R&B’s R-rated lothario, hits the major leagues with his immaculately produced and star-studded debut album, Free TC.
Trend of the Year: Arca and Rabit’s Mutant Noise Takes the Power Back
How a Kanye collaborator and other similarly minded producers made the year’s most radical music out of static.
Jason Derulo Sets His Sights on Pop’s Throne
The Miami-born star says he brought back butts and wordless hooks. Now, with Everything Is 4, he’s made the year’s best pop album.
The SPIN Interview: Destroyer’s Dan Bejar
Coming off of the critical and commercial peak of 2011’s Kaputt, Destroyer returns with its tenth album, Poison Season — a “lost soul” of a record, as put by main brain Dan Bejar. Ahead of the new LP’s release, the 42-year-old wordsmith sits down for a beer and a conversation about his career thus far, the culture changes he’s witnessed, and the meaning of success.
Vanessa Carlton Has Never Been Farther From ‘A Thousand Miles’
More than a decade removed from her career-defining single (and after sinking into substance abuse), the piano-pop singer is finally ready to be herself.