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TOPS share 'Way To Be Loved' video, and a playlist to chill out to


TOPS, a four-piece band from Montreal made up of equal parts guys and gals, has released the video for “Way To Be Loved,” off their sophomore LP, Picture You Staring (out today). 

Picture You Staring is an intimate affair — in the way it was made as much as the way it feels. Written, recorded, and produced over the course of 12 isolated months in Arbutus Records’ Montreal studio, it has a sound that’s simple, nuanced, and deeply personal. It’s as easy to get lost in your own thoughts as in theirs — or are they one and the same?

When asked about the video, the band says, “The video was inspired by the party scene in Midnight Cowboy and the movie Nowhere by Gregg Araki. We dolled up our place, provided refreshments and tunes. Our friends came with bells on and did their thing, it felt like a low-budget swingers wedding. Message: Be who you are and love one another.”

After cruising through the video and album, we asked the band to make us a playlist and singer Jane Penny came up with what has to be the chillest of collections to chill to. Choices and commentary below.

Jennifer Lara – “I’m In Love”

“David says this song ‘makes being in love cool.’ We found this gem on Studio One Women, a compilation of tracks by women made at Studio One, Jamaica’s most renowned recording studio, it’s like the Motown of Jamaica, where the first great reggae tracks were recorded. “

The Clash – “Charlie Don’t Surf”

“I’ve always been a fan of The Clash, since I was a little kid, I recently discovered this on their record Sandanista! which has like 36 tracks, which is way too many, believe me :-/ this song is tight though.”

The dB’s – “Black and White”

“Sometimes power pop tracks rule, if they do David usually finds them.”

Art of Noise – “Moments in Love”

This is a beautiful song, Art of Noise are the best avant-garde synth pop group ever.”

Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark – “Souvenir”

Television Personalities – “Silly Girl” 

“A guy that says he plays in this band messaged me on Facebook last night, I haven’t responded yet but I was blown away. I’ll try not to say something stupid when I reply.”

Sampha – “Too Much” 

“‘Don’t think about it too much’ – great advice that I almost always need to hear.”

FKA twigs – “Two Weeks”

“We love FKA Twigs and so does the rest of the world. Our drummer Riley’s favorite part is the snare roll in the chorus, haha, my favorite part is the vocals.”

The War on Drugs – “Red Eyes”

“We listened to their new record on the road, really good driving music.”

The Stone Roses – “I Wanna Be Adored”

“You should watch the video for this song, Ian Brown is my ideal man in that one, looking really sketchy and goofing off haha.”

Hole – “Doll Parts”

“Riley our drummer picked this one, he says: ‘My friend karaoke’d this song using a mic that was running through a harmonizer pedal at a bizarre after-party night-cap hangout at her best friend/ex girlfriend’s apartment in Toronto a month ago and it’s been stuck in my head ever since.”

TV on the Radio release guitar-driven single 'Happy Idiot'

After a decade-plus of being called an indie rock band without ever really sounding like one, avant-rockers TV on the Radio have released “Happy Idiot,” a track that emphasizes clean-toned guitar and accessible pop hooks over the atmosphere and electronic textures the rest of their discography’s been built on. The latest single from their upcoming album Seeds is as lyrically direct as it is musically, with frontman Tunde Adebimpe musing on non-thinking as a strategy for coping with emotional pain, sort of a less substance-centric relative of Sia’s “Chandelier” and Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High).” Seeds drops Nov. 18, and the band will be touring beforehand starting in mid-October.


Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo is an emotional rollercoaster

Even in an age where music has become immediately accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and no need to wait for import CDs to make their way across the ocean and into Tower Records, it’s not uncommon for songs to find their American audience months or even years after breaking in Europe. In fact, some fairly sizeable hits have happened that way—Disclosure’s “Latch,” Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights,” for example.

There are a handful of such singles on the Hot 100 right now. Among them: Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High),” which this week reached No. 23, its highest point in the 13 weeks it’s spent on the chart. Lo initially self-released “Habits” in March of last year, after which it was picked up by a label and reissued in December. But it wasn’t until this past March, with the official release of a remix that the California duo Hippie Sabotage had originally posted online, that the song really took off. The remix hit the top 10 in a half-dozen countries in Europe and Oceania, and was picked up by a number of influential American pop blogs.


Hear new songs from Prince's 2 upcoming albums


Eccentric pop auteur Prince is set to release two new albums on Sept. 30, and he’s made a track from each available to hear now. One of the albums, Art Official Age, is a Prince solo album, the first in four years. It’ll feature “U Know,” a song that suggests the Purple One’s been keeping an eye on contemporary pop—with its libidinously throbbing beat, looping piano riff, and electronic flourishes, it serves as an excellent example of how to do a slow jam right in 2014, and Prince’s rhythmically focused vocal part suggests that he’s not quite as anti-rap as he used to be.

The other sneak peek comes from Plectrumelectrum, which is being billed as a collaboration with his latest band 3rdEyeGirl. “Whitecaps” proves how serious Prince is about sharing more than just the album credit, as he cedes lead vocal duties to drummer Hannah Ford on a tender ballad that harkens back to his Revolution days.

You can hear both tracks at The Hollywood Reporter.

Adele sings about (surprise!) love and loss on 2 unreleased tracks (Updated)

Update: Unfortunately, the songs have been taken down.

It’s been nearly four years since Adele released her last album, the Grammy-steamrolling, record-breaking 21. Though it’s still unclear when she’ll release a follow-up, two previously unreleased songs have leaked online to tide eager fans over. Digital Spy UK reported that the songs were recorded during sessions for 21 in 2010 with Fraser T. Smith, who co-wrote and produced “Set Fire to the Rain” from 21. READ FULL STORY

Julian Casablancas and The Voidz debut new track 'Human Sadness'

Julian Casablancas released his first solo album Phrazes for the Young in 2009, an album he said he wanted to go “weirder” with but ultimately didn’t. “I didn’t want people to say, ‘Okay, this is his weird abstract thing,’ and dismiss the album,” Casablancas told SpinBut “Human Sadness,” his just-released song with backing band The Voidz, proves that he’s not so scared of going into abstract territory anymore.

At 11 minutes long, “Human Sadness” at first sounds reminiscent of The Strokes until it becomes apparent that Casablancas isn’t going for the short ditties his band is known for, but rather an experimental, sprawling track featuring his signature falsetto. Casablancas’ vocals don’t rise above the instrumentals until mid-song, when the sound transitions from lo-fi atmospheric to chaotic rock complete with a guitar solo and Casablancas’ howls.


Watch Buck 65 play pop star in his 'Super Pretty Naughty' video

Rapper Buck 65 has made his name on dense wordplay and music that pushes against expectations of how hip-hop should sound. Choosing to concentrate on abstract metaphors and dropping odd country-rap fusions years before “hick-hop” became a thing has kept him closer to cult status than mainstream success, but for his latest song and video, from his upcoming album Neverlove (out Sept. 30), Buck offers a glimpse at what might have been if he’d pursued a more pop-friendly route.

“After my wife left,” he writes in an email, “I met a girl who I was hoping would give me hugs and kisses. I was a bit desperate for affection. I figured I might get lucky if I made a song she liked, so I asked her about her taste in music. She listed off all the things she likes about the music she dances to in clubs and I wrote it all down. I still have the piece of paper. She mentioned lyrics with ‘la la la’ parts, four-on-the-floor beats, classic house music, mentions of birthdays and getting dressed up, ‘build ups,’ as she put it, shiny synth sounds, breakdowns, ‘rainbows’ (I wasn’t sure what she meant by that), and lots of hooks. It all went into the blender.”


The boy-band Black Album: Hear teen pop group members' best solo work

Boy band members go through multiple rites of passage: Finding bras at their feet onstage, rejecting overeager fans, and, for the more confident ones, trying out a solo career.

Justin Timberlake stands out as the most successful boy band member-turned-solo artist, but there are many more where he comes from—his ‘NSync bandmate JC Chasez released Schizophrenic in 2004, and Jesse McCartney went on to have a mildly successful solo career following his Dream Street days. Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter and New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight are still trying and teamed up for an album that drops Tuesday. READ FULL STORY

Hear HAERTS' transcendent new single 'Giving Up' (and watch the lyric video)


New York City electropop quartet HAERTS went from utter obscurity to an extraordinary amount of attention in a very short time after releasing their first single back in 2012. Their forthcoming self-titled debut album, which drops Oct. 28, has turned out to be one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year, and the lead single, “Giving Up,” proves it’s worth believing the hype: a propulsive stroboscopic synthesizer provides a launch pad for delicately arranged layers of chiming guitars, airy synths, and a vocal melody delivered by vocalist Nini Fabi that builds to a sublime climax, delivering the gravity-defying sensation of a perfectly crafted pop tune.


Hear High Ends' eccentric 'Cappuccino,' a song about coffee

Jeffrey Innes is best known as frontman for the quirky Canadian indie rock outfit Yukon Blonde, which, typical of a band of its stature (an underground act in America but capable of charting in Canada), spends a lot of time on the road. During an atypical period with nothing YB-related to do, Innes launched a solo project that he calls High Ends.

On Oct. 7, he’ll release High Ends’ 10-song self-titled debut album on Dine Alone Records. One of the tracks is “Cappuccino,” a synth-heavy tribute to caffeinated beverages that recalls idiosyncratic pop acts like Pulp and Sparks.


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