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How indie game 'Hohokum' lets players explore art and music

Both strange and welcoming, Hohokum is one of the most singular games to come out on a video game console this year. Released today across all Playstation devices, Hohokum doesn’t really defy classification as much as it ignores it. In Hohokum, players control a snake-like creature called the Long Mover through a strange and vibrant 2D world. The game doesn’t tell you what you’re supposed to do, because you’re already doing it by playing–exploring and watching a strange and wonderful new world react to you.

A big part of the Hohokum’s appeal, and the first thing you’ll notice after the colors fill your screen, is the game’s soundtrack. It’s marvelous, a soothing and wistful mix of ambient electronic music that ebbs and flows with the player’s movement through the game. Layers of music sweep in or fall away as you explore, giving players the unique feeling of exploring songs in the same way they explore the world.

Hohokum was developed by Ricky Haggett of indie studio Honeyslug in collaboration with artist and designer Richard Hogg. The music comes courtesy of indie music label Ghostly International, home of artists like Com Truise, Tycho, and Matthew Dear. A mix of tracks from Ghostly’s catalog and completely original work, the soundtrack complements Hogg’s art style in creating Hohokum’s colorfully ambient atmosphere—but it wasn’t until later in the game’s development that the team knew what the soundtrack would even look like.

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Use Ella Henderson's new song 'Glow' to discover her better song 'Ghost'

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Back in the spring, British artist Ella Henderson released her debut single “Ghost,” a catchy pop thumper co-written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, otherwise known as He Who Owns the Pop Hook. My great regret is that I didn’t write anything about it back then, since it quickly rose to the top of my summer playlist and became one of the mainstays in an otherwise meh season for pop. (No offense, “Bang Bang” and “I Will Never Let You Down.”)

On Tuesday, Henderson soft-released the video for her second single “Glow,” and it’s a solid follow-up track that shines some more light on her pop identity: There’s a little Ellie Goulding in the tone, some Leona Lewis in the upper range, and maybe just a little Cheryl Cole without all that boy band-busting choreography. Check it out below:

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Is this a leak from Kanye West's 'Yeezus' sequel?

Kanye West is famously as fastidious about security at his recording sessions as he is about bathroom arrangements at his wedding, so when a previously unheard song purporting to come from his follow-up to last year’s Yeezus hit the Internet last night it was a big deal. While West has remained uncharacteristically silent about it, the lo-fi two-minute clip seems legit. The voice on the recording sounds like him, and the lyrics match up with the excerpt from what he called his “new single” titled “All Day” that he teased in a recent GQ interview. It’s also hard to imagine any fakers coming up with anything as clever and Kanye West-ish as “middle finger longer than Dikembe” or the offhand reference to “Rico Suave.”

If this version of “All Day” really is intended for inclusion on the next Kanye West record it’ll probably sound radically different by the time it’s released. His past few albums have been heavy on psychedelically complex, prog-rock-influenced arrangements, and something about the straightforward loops of vaguely Timbaland-sounding drums and digitally harmonized vocals seems a little to basic to pass his strict standards.


Kings of Leon cancel August tour dates following bus accident

Kings of Leon are canceling all their shows up until August 28 following a bus accident that sent drummer Nathan Followill to the hospital with broken ribs, according to their Facebook page.

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Hear Ruby Fray's 'psychedelic witch wave' single 'Photograph'

Singer-songwriter Emily Beanblossom played in about a million bands and released one LP under the name Ruby Fray while she was living in indie-rock mecca Olympia, Washington. Then, she packed up and moved to the more southerly hipster hotspot of Austin, Texas. Her move, her new hometown’s suffocating weather, and its local fauna all had a direct influence on the second Ruby Fray album, Grackle, which comes out on the illustrious Olympia label K Records on Sept. 30.

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Ariana Grande debuts new single 'Best Mistake' featuring Big Sean

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Big Sean is moving on up: The rapper only got to whisper in the background on Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” but he gets a full verse in the singer’s latest single, “Best Mistake.”

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Ryan Adams teams up with Elvira for 'Gimme Something Good' video

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Ryan Adams has basically three distinct phases of his creative process, and he’s been bouncing back and forth between them for his entire solo career. When he’s not dropping entirely out of the public eye to the point where people start to wonder if he’s finally completely lost the thread, he’s releasing wacko projects that make people start to feel pretty confident about their suspicions. And when he’s not busy doing either of those he simply puts out music that reaffirms his position as one of the few truly great roots-rock troubadours left.

Judging by his latest single, “Gimme Something Good,” he’s currently in the latter mood. With its clipped blues guitar figure, haunting organ, and anxious vocal line, the song feels like his homage to Fleetwood Mac, and it’s one of the best things he’s released in recent memory.

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Hear Brooklyn Shanti's 'Something Beautiful,' featuring Bollywood star Evelyn Sharma

Producer Nathan Nabin Laskar, aka Brooklyn Shanti, is on an ambitious quest to unite hip-hop, dance music, and a patchwork of styles from across the globe. So far he’s doing a bang-up job, forging connections with a diverse group of important acts like Afrika Bambaataa, Major Lazer, Karsh Kale, Camp Lo, and Jahdan Blakkamoore.

Laskar’s latest album, Bedstuyle (out Sept. 9 on Someplace Called Brooklyn), is a tribute to Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, where the North Carolina native currently lives—and where Biggie, Jay-Z, and Mos Def all grew up. For the single “Something Beautiful” he offers a spacey, string-laden trip-hop beat topped by ethereal vocals from Bollywood star Evelyn Sharma. We’ve got an exclusive first listen of the track: READ FULL STORY

Pentatonix drops the sax to cover Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea's 'Problem'

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Is there anything Pentatonix can’t sing? Probably not—even though it’s fun to imagine some obscure East German hymnal that’s impossible to cover with just five human voices.

Either way, in the here and now, there’s nothing Pentatonix can’t tackle—including the pop-rap hybrid “Problem,” one of two tracks featuring Iggy Azalea that lay legitimate claim to the title of Song of the Summer. Pentatonix’s cover is noticeably more low-key than the original, perhaps because it’s missing the blaring saxophones that pop throughout Ariana Grande’s vocals. Watch below:

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Watch a clip of 'Garfunkel and Oates' guest-starring the actual Oates

Comedy folk duo Garfunkel and Oates recently followed in the footsteps of past comedy folk music duos like Flight of the Conchords and the Smothers Brothers by bringing their act to the small screen. Last week, IFC aired the first episode of Garfunkel and Oates, which follows the ups and downs of a lightly fictionalized version of the pair as they play uncomfortable corporate gigs, try to land TV appearances, deal with comedian boyfriends who use their sex lives as joke fodder, and face other challenges comedy folk music acts apparently encounter.

The pair have assembled an impressive lineup of guest stars for their first season, including Chris Parnell, Natasha Leggero, Anthony Jeselnik, Tig Notaro, Steve Agee, Chris Hardwick, and, most improbably, Sir Ben Kingsley. But in terms of metatextual humor, it’s hard to beat a cameo from the group’s partial namesake John Oates. He appears in an episode entitled “Rule 34″ (airing this Thursday, Aug. 14), in which Garfunkel and Oates encounter a porn version of themselves played by Abby Elliott and Sugar Lyn Beard.

We have an exclusive sneak peek at Oates’s scene, plus a Q&A with the soul-pop star about his acting debut.

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