Nat and Alex Wolff both have movie careers that are only set to grow. Nat, who was in this summer’s YA phenomenon The Fault in Our Stars, has the lead in fellow John Green adaptation Paper Towns and a role in Nancy Meyers’s The Intern, and when EW talked to the brothers over the phone last week, Alex had just scored what Nat deemed a “huge” movie part. But music is “home base” for the brothers, whose musical talents have long been in the public eye considering their starring roles in Nickelodeon’s TheNaked Brothers Band.
Last week they released two new singles: the folk rock-inflected “Where I’m Goin'” and “Rock Star,” the latter of which was featured in one of Nat’s movies, the Gia Coppola-directed Palo Alto. The brothers chatted with EW about their songwriting process, productive procrastination, and the symbiotic relationship between their movies and music.
Wiz Khalifa and Future have a lot in common. Both are young rappers who’ve made the transition from mixtapes to the pop charts and are still rising, and both have recently had romantic relationships flame out in a very public fashion not long after having babies with their partners. (Wiz and Amber Rose filed for divorce back in September, just over a month after Future and Ciara broke off their engagement.)
Wiz has kept mostly quiet about his split with Rose, seemingly to keep attention on his recently released Blacc Hollywood. While on his new street single “Monster” (from his upcoming mixtape of the same name), Future talks a lot about his predilection for groupies and not at all about his recent relationship problems. But now, both have turned up on a track by Mike Will Made It called “Pussy Overrated,” and despite the fact that neither Rose nor Ciara’s names come up in the lyrics (both seem to deal with groupies), with that title and that timing it’s hard to see the song as anything but a shared breakup track and an epic subtweet aimed at their exes.
As the title suggests, the song paints a dismal picture of women, who are blamed alternately for being both too clingy and insufficiently attentive, too prudish and too blatantly sexual. Unlike the many, many rap songs with retrograde attitudes toward sexual equality, the song doesn’t even try to charm its way into the hearts of skeptical listeners–the refrain “Your pussy overrated” bluntly, explicitly reduces the women in question to the status of sex toys, and disposable ones at that.
Seeing Future taking the low road this way is especially disheartening. Throughout his relationship with Ciara, he’s been openly, almost cornily swoony over her on a level that few rappers have ever let themselves show in public before. Back in early 2013, they essentially inaugurated their relationship with the collaborative single “Body Party” with a video where Future follows Ciara around like a crushed-out teenager, an unguarded portrayal of naive romanticism that helped to establish Future’s reputation for being not like other rappers, at least when it came to dealing with women. Now he’s turned 180 degrees and become the living embodiment of #petty, and on social media the judgement from his fans, especially female ones, has been harsh.
Twitter’s been rallying for a response to “Pussy Overrated,” with Nicki Minaj being the obvious popular choice for recording it, although any hypothetical “Dick Overrated” would be incomplete without a Ciara hook. Meanwhile, Rose has shot back in very Rose-ish fashion by posting a butt selfie to Instagram.
You know that incessant Apple commercial starring U2 that you haven’t been able to get off your TV? The song’s called “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” and U2 just released a music video for it. That’s right: The video clip that you’ve probably seen more times than any music video since MTV still played the things wasn’t the actual music video.
The “Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” video is just the latest U2 stunt in which the band blurs the line between promotion and performance, like that notorious U2 iPod that came loaded with their discography 10 years ago. That’s because the video is essentially the same Apple ad, but branded as a new music video. The color palette is different, but this expanded version shows Bono and co. dancing against the same plain background, with images of Joey Ramone superimposed on them. Sort of like how you can’t listen to Songs of Innocence without at some point recalling how it emerged from a corporate deal with Apple, you can’t watch this video without recalling that a nearly identical version of it was an actual commercial for the company.
Leeds, England-based singer-songwriter Eaves sounds remarkably mature for an artist who’s only in his early 20s. The three songs on his upcoming Old As the Grave EP forgo the ’90s-style fuzz and postmodern electronic sounds of most buzzy young acts, presenting his songs with bare-minimum arrangements that give his deft melodies and crystal-clear voice plenty of room to breathe. The songs recall low-key folkies from Nick Drake and Fairport Convention to Bon Iver, but Eaves’s emotive vocals and the hint of darkness that he adds to them—even on the lilting piano ballad “Timber”—make them feel bracingly original.
On Monday, EW reported that British electronic musician Mark Bell, a former member of the acclaimed British dance-music duo LFO and producer of seven Björk albums, died last week of complications from surgery. Bell wasn’t widely known outside dance music aficionados, but his work has echoed through pop music since he started working with Björk, beginning with her 1997 LP Homogenic, which borrowed ideas from drum ‘n’ bass, trip-hop, house, IDM, and other cutting-edge electronic styles of the time and wove them into an entirely new sound unto itself, a vigorous mutant hybrid that was both thoroughly pop-friendly and unabashedly avant-garde.
The influence of his work has only grown over the years, and has become especially noticeable in recent recordings by FKA Twigs, Banks, and a legion of young artists looking to replicate Bell and Björk’s peculiar sonic alchemy.
In an apparent tribute to Bell, Björk’s posted to her SoundCloud his “Lucy remix” of “Possibly Maybe” from her album Post. Originally released in 1996 as one of several B-side remixes of the single, its boasts a syrupy beat, pitch-warped vocals, and a coating of amelodic tones that, nearly 20 years later, still sound ahead of their time.
When U2’s latest album, Songs of Innocence, automatically showed up on thousands of peoples’ iTunes accounts, many were mad. Mad enough that Apple eventually had to make an entire website to help users easily remove the album from their Apple devices.
A month later, U2 is still getting backlash for the move and got a chance to respond in a Facebook interview where someone asked, “Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to peoples’ playlists ever again? It’s really rude.” READ FULL STORY
You know Pentatonix. The music industry’s vanguard a cappella group, the YouTube-conquering heroes of the Glee and Pitch Perfect generation, the bleeding-cool clique of musical manipulators who ooze as much talent as they do panache.
The five-person group—who make music only with their mouths (what a time to be alive!)—have kept their pulsating momentum going since entering a whirlwind of fandom following their 2011 victory on NBC’s The Sing-Off, an accolade which even today seems like a distant, negligible memory considering the remarkable path the band has taken since. On the heels of their third album—PTX, Vol. III, which dropped on Sept. 23—the a cappella quintet is also plotting a second holiday album (That’s Christmas to Me, due October 21), a buzzy appearance in next year’s Pitch Perfect 2, and other as-yet-undisclosed plans for a packed 2015.
Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan, Kirstie Maldonado, and Kevin Olusola stopped by EW’s New York office and sat down for a roundtable interview wherein we got down to the details of the group’s exceptional year. The gang is fast, funny, and ferociously honest—which is exactly what you’d think. READ FULL STORY
Tony Lucca’s no stranger to TV: He started out on The Micky Mouse Club alongside Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, placed third in The Voice, and had a guest role on NBC’s Parenthood. So it makes sense that his latest song would sound like the perfect soundtrack for a dramatic TV montage.
“Delilah” begins with simple, hypnotic finger-picking and builds throughout, morphing from understated blues to a rollicking, dark piece of Southern rock. “‘Delilah’ is definitely the most enchanted recording on the new album,” Lucca tells EW. “The song became this haunted house, where each track we laid was like another ghost crashing the party.” READ FULL STORY
Ralph Allan, Leo Crossing, and Johnny Goddard have been making music together since they were teenagers in sleepy Farnham, England. Now in their mid-20s, they’ve fallen in with a wave of young British artists who are blurring the lines between pop, dance music, and R&B to the point where a listener can have a hard time telling where one influence ends and the next begins. In the year or so since they started working on Emprss in earnest, they’ve released a handful of singles and EPs that have inspired a cult following on SoundCloud, and quite a few people wagering they could become the next The xx. Their debut album comes out sometime in the coming months, but in the meantime to mark the start of their UK tour with Hundred Waters they’re releasing a sleek and stylish teaser single called “Down” that should help tip the aura of anticipation surrounding them from “substantial” to “fully ridiculous.”
Foo Fighters are having a busy week. After spending a week performing every night for David Letterman on The Late Show, the band’s documentary series Sonic Highways will debut on Friday, Oct. 17. But the band is looking to do more than just celebrate with Letterman—they’ll be letting fans revel in the excitement.