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HBO lands Brett Morgen's Kurt Cobain documentary

Two years after airing Brett Morgen’s Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, HBO has signed up to air his long-simmering documentary on Kurt Cobain.

The Nirvana frontman died in 1994 at the age of 27 and has been the subject of many books and films since, including other documentaries like 1998’s Kurt & Courtney and 2006’s Kurt Cobain: About a Son.  READ FULL STORY

On Chicago's West Side, this is how the kids bop

Chicago bop music is a solvent antidote to the blues. As a rule, bop—the smiley, youthful subgenre of hip-hop conceived on city’s West Side in late 2012—is non-confrontational and easily digestible, a fiesta bowl of sunkissed synths, Caribbean steel drums, yodeled ad-libs and ginger, and Auto Tuned melodies. Bop MCs are creatures of the nightlife. Their implied objective is not to educate, but to keep the “fefe,” or party (short for “fiesta”), medicated with Patrón, Rémy Martin, and Xanax.

But strip away bop’s sparkly trimmings and you’re left with a DIY take on protest folk born out of abject circumstances. Earlier this decade, Chicago’s national image was compromised by a volcanic rash of gun deaths, the bulk of which were concentrated in resourceless, hypersegregated neighborhoods. Even as the rest of the city beautified, many West and South Side communities stayed stuck in a quagmire of entrenched poverty, social unhappiness and civic dishevelment.


Internet rap sensation Kitty made a playlist for your Thanksgiving travel

The rapper Kitty (formerly known as Kitty Pryde), gets called an “Internet rapper” a lot because she got her first break when the video for her song “Okay Cupid”–a cotton-candy-light slice of stoner rap showcasing a real if nontraditional flow–went viral amongst hipsters, hip-hop heads, and music critics, and because she has the standard online presence of a 21-year-old in this day and age.

But she has an offline life too, and it’s involved a good amount of travel between gigs. So before the biggest day of the year for traveling, she’s sharing a playlist designed for it.

“This playlist is 4 flying in airplanes or driving in cars when you feel weird,” she emails, “and basically every time I spend on a long flight or long car ride I’m either feeling weird or trying to forget that I’m sad.”


We raved for four days on the high seas with the Mad Decent Boat Party

Over the course of a decade-long career, the DJ/producer Diplo’s moved from pop music’s fringes to its very center, where he’s been working with A-listers like Madonna and Snoop Dogg—who look to tap into his talent for transforming eccentric sounds into hit songs. Along the way, he’s managed to keep one foot in the underground, with an indie label called Mad Decent and a cult following on the goofier, less bottle-service-centric end of the EDM scene.

Those fans have helped turn his annual Mad Decent Block Party, which he first started holding outside his house in Philly, into a touring festival that this year hit 22 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Last week, he launched the first ever Mad Decent Boat Party, a four-day non-stop floating rave on a cruise ship touring the Caribbean. Over 2,700 people made the voyage—including an EW correspondent who was there to document the debauchery. Here’s what we saw.

Fifth Harmony becomes dancing silhouettes in 'Sledgehammer' video


Fifth Harmony goes full-on girl group in their “Sledgehammer” music video: The ladies wear white (not quite matching, but coordinated—like what your family wears on portrait day) as they sing into the camera and dance together.

When they’re not dancing, they’re wearing colorful gowns and swinging on swings as fans whirl behind them. Other highlights include some mysterious silhouette shots of the five dancing—and a random unicorn sculpture.


Stream AC/DC's new album 'Rock or Bust' on iTunes

Members of AC/DC have been making the news a lot recently, but this time it’s for something positive: Their latest album, Rock or Bust, is available to stream on iTunes.

Earlier this month, AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was charged with drug possession and attempt to procure the murder of two people. “We’ve only become aware of Phil’s arrest as the news was breaking,” the rest of the band announced in a statement. “Phil’s absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year.” READ FULL STORY

Hyperpop geniuses Kero Kero Bonito made us a playlist

Although so far they’ve only released one mixtape–the recent Intro Bonito, which is a hit around the EW office–the members of London hyperpop trio Kero Kero Bonito are already shaping up to be great artists. And you know what people say about those.

One big difference between KKB and other acts–apart from sounding like a PlayStation loaded to the gills with Adderall and bootleg J-pop remixes–is that they’ll gladly admit to stealing ideas from other musicians. In fact they made us a whole playlist called “Music That KKB Stole Ideas From For Intro Bonito.” Not only does it give some insight into one of the year’s more interesting releases (in retrospect you can clearly hear the Japanese twee pop, Jamaican dancehall, and Chicago house in their hyperkinetic audio collages), it’s also just a really good mix.


Idina Menzel announces world tour

On Monday, Idina Menzel announced that she will be embarking on a world tour starting next summer. The United States tour will begin July 7 in Richmond, Va. and continue until Oct. 3.

Menzel will announce international dates later, which will launch after the American leg of her tour. Menzel recently released her holiday classics album, Holiday Wishes, and has topped the charts with the Frozen anthem “Let It Go.” Take a look at the following dates from Menzel’s website, which will begin pre-sale tickets starting Dec. 3.


Hear Rachael Yamagata and John Medeski cover Robert Altman's 'Let's Begin Again'


Over the course of a long and illustrious career, Robert Altman managed to do pretty much every job that goes into making a movie, including writing songs for soundtracks. “Let’s Begin Again” is a song that he penned early on and used in several of his films. For Ron Mann’s upcoming documentary Altman, Rachael Yamagata and John Medeski contribute a smoky, languorous version that sounds like it was recorded at the kind of delightfully dingy basement jazz dive that these days only exist in the movies.

“It was an honor to be asked to record this classic song by Robert Altman for a documentary about his life,” Medeski emails. “Rachael really blew my mind with her performance. She’s a natural jazz singer. I hope we get to do more of this in the future.”

“Let’s Begin Again” will be released as a digital single on Dec. 2. Altman is playing on the festival circuit now, with a full theatrical release planned for 2015.


Killer Mike speaks about Ferguson decision at Run the Jewels concert

During a Run the Jewels show in St. Louis last night, rapper Killer Mike took time to reflect on a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown. READ FULL STORY

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