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Beyonce celebrates 1-year anniversary of surprise album with short film

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A year after Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album without warning and blew up the internet, she’s unexpectedly released another project: a short film celebrating that album.

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Nicki Minaj releases Nazi-free, live-action 'Only' video

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The thing about Nicki Minaj’s “Only” is that it’s a weird single. There’s the beat, which takes the trend for minimalist rap beats to such an extreme that parts of the song are practically a cappella. And there’s the complicated interplay between Nicki and her guest stars and Young Money labelmates Drake and Lil Wayne, which twists the usual pop-song sexual dynamics into kinky new shapes with a passing resemblance to the dominatrix-slave relationship. And then there’s all the strangeness that the song has acquired since it was released at the end of October, including its seemingly Nazi-themed animated lyric video and the guest star Chris Brown’s very messy, very public breakup with girlfriend Karrueche Tran for apparently Drake-related reasons.

“Weird,” then, is a fitting theme of the official live-action “Only” video, which is piled high with music video shorthand for bizarreness. Here’s a bunch of injured dudes in wheelchairs! There’s Chris Brown in the kind of creepy colored contacts that juggalos love! Dominatrixes! Eyes Wide Shut masks! Superfluous metal shelving!

The other thing about “Only” is that it’s straight fire, and even if the video tries a little too hard to seem “edgy,” it also has Nicki propped up majestically on a pair of crazy heels doing Nicki things. So it still gets an A.

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Here are the Cam'ron emoticons you never knew you needed

Who amongst us hasn’t found ourselves mid-text with a friend, swiping through a limited library of woefully inadequate emoticons and thought, “Damn, I could really use a Cam’ron emoticon right now!” No? Not you? READ FULL STORY

Microsoft is giving away a whole lot of good music for free

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Streaming music may be more popular than ever, but it does have its drawbacks—your favorite artist might one day decide to pull their catalog from your service of choice, and then there’s those rare, terrifying times you don’t have Internet access. Owning music still has plenty of perks, and now you can get some for free. READ FULL STORY

Happy Fangs wish you a punk-rock Christmas with an exclusive playlist

Behind the grunged-up, Bikini-Kill-via-classic-rock racket of their debut LP Capricorn (due out Jan. 27), the three members of San Francisco’s Happy Fangs have a surprising amount of holiday spirit. Recently they released two songs about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Halloween, which they’ve handily included in a playlist that highlights the strange relationship between punks and the pretty much least punk holiday of the year.

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Catch a sneak peek at Wiz Khalifa's performance for 'Guitar Center Sessions'

With all the headlines Wiz Khalifa’s breakup with Amber Rose generated, it can be easy to forget that he also released one of the biggest rap albums of the year, not to mention one of the songs most likely to make you want to cause property damage in the club. Next Friday’s episode of Guitar Center Sessions at 9 p.m. on DirecTV’s Audience channel puts the focus firmly on Wiz’s music with a full-band performance of some of his greatest hits so far.

We have an early look at the syrupy, synth-heavy rendition of “The Sleaze.” Break out your official Taylor Gang G-Pen and enjoy.

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Exclusive: Watch T-Pain's triumphant new video for 'Keep On'

T-Pain has had a crazy year. After cutting off his trademark dreadlocks in 2013, he spent 2014 giving his career a similarly extreme makeover, releasing a string of songs that were daring not only for the edgy electronic sounds they used but for the emotional vulnerability of his lyrics. Then, at the end of October, he performed one of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert sans Auto-Tune that blew the Internet’s mind and an even bigger wave of attention his way.

His new single “Keep On” is an inspirational jam packed with solid advice on believing in yourself and dedicating yourself to your passions (and a bunch of EDM flourishes to boot). The video, stitched together from candid footage shot on tour and in T-Pain’s basement, offers a behind the scenes perspective on an exceptional artist’s comeback campaign.

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Singer-songwriter David Bronson teams up with Bowie collaborators for 'Songbird'

David Bronson’s music is rooted in the works of gently folky singer-songwriters like Cat Stevens and James Taylor, but for the first single from his upcoming third album, Questions (out Jan. 13 on Big Arc Records), he recruited a couple of people who worked with a much different kind of artist from the ’70s. The sunny, strummy “Songbird” features contributions from singer Robin Clark, who sang backups on David Bowie’s “Young Americans” (alongside a young Luther Vandross), and her husband Carlos Alomar, who’s been playing guitar for Bowie off and on for decades.

“There’s something about starting the record with a voice other than mine that I really liked,” Bronson writes in an email, “but you would only do that if it’s something special, and you’re not going to get more special than Robin Clark.”

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Neutral Milk Hotel announces new tour, says it may be the band's last

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In 2013, Neutral Milk Hotel ended a 15-year hiatus, and the band has toured steadily ever since. But that could soon come to an end.

Neutral Milk Hotel posted a brief message to their website Wednesday, announcing their “last tour for the forseeable future.” With more than 30 dates scheduled, the band certainly isn’t short-changing fans—but this could still be the end for the seminal group. Although Neutral Milk Hotel spent the last two summers on the festival circuit, these shows are all independent.

Read the band’s message and tour dates below.

dear friends we love you but it’s time to say goodbye for the never ending now to announce that spring 2015 will be our last tour for the foreseeable future and so we extend our deepest gratitude to all the beautiful people who came to see us over the last year…..

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Sam Smith named MTV's Best Artist of 2014

Sam Smith’s big year just got bigger: MTV named the singer 2014’s best artist.

Smith became a household name in March, when the Englishman was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and impressed America with his soulful singing. Since then, his hit “Stay With Me” has topped the Billboard Hot 100 and he’s nabbed six Grammy nominations. READ FULL STORY

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