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Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj to open VMAs with 'Bang Bang'

Bang Bang” is moving from your earbuds to the TV screen: Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj will open Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards with a performance of the song.
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Zammuto embraces catharsis and destruction in 'IO' video

Maintaining forward momentum in your life means finding ways to resolve problems that don’t always have easy solutions. Sometimes you have to force the issue closed, and sometimes that can require drastic measures. Recently, “collage-pop” artist Nick Zammuto struck upon a particularly novel method of working out your issues: by loading physical objects that represent them into an enormous catapult and flinging them to their doom.

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Action Bronson is an acidhead outlaw biker in the 'Easy Rider' video

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 Action Bronson is apparently a B-movie fan as well as a rapper and professional food lover. The video for “The Symbol” from his 2012 mixtape Rare Chandeliers was a loving tribute to the lowest of low-budget ’70s grindhouse action cinema that featured Bronson rocking a truly memorable wig.

A couple weeks ago he dropped “Easy Rider,” the first single from his upcoming official debut album Mr. Wonderful, which boasts several references to dropping acid and some face-melting psych-rock guitar licks, and the accompanying video fittingly enough casts the rapper as an LSD-loving outlaw biker.  READ FULL STORY

Hear BLKKATHY's slanted experimental pop on 'Rob You'

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Brooklyn duo BLKKATHY sit at a unique confluence of R&B, experimental electronic music, and K Records-brand eccentric indie pop. Added together, it’s a bit like a more accessible, less aggressively quirky tUnE-yArDs—combined with lyrics that are by turn emotionally raw and mordantly funny. There’s a lot on their SoundCloud that can “make your booty bounce and ruin your makeup,” per their mission statement. READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Nicki Minaj's butt star in 'Anaconda' video

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“Oh, my, gosh, look at her butt,” Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” instructs—and in the music video for the song, viewers have no choice but to do just that.

When Minaj isn’t jiggling, she’s dancing on a wildly impressed Drake, letting her dancers fawn over her, and playing around in the kitchen with whipped cream and bananas. Clearly, there is no suggestive imagery in this video. None at all. READ FULL STORY

Listen to the B*Witched comeback album you didn't know existed

This is not a drill: B*Witched released an album in April 2014.

I’ll let that sink in. April 2014. It’s now August. That means that for the past three to four months, there have been six new B*Witched songs just floating around in existence that fill a bubblegum pop void few people were aware needed filling.

The details: Back in December 2013, the four-member Irish dance-pop group began offering their new EP—Champagne or Guinness—to fans on PledgeMusic, the music-only answer to Kickstarter. In addition to the EP, they sold studio visits, dance classes, and other fun Irish things. In April, the entire thing dropped, and it’s… glorious. Entirely. The first single, “Love & Money,” was released way back in 2013 as something of a tease to the new material. It’s certainly rocking more of a modern vibe than the group’s old stuff, as if all four members turned into little Kelly Clarksons in the interim:

The new single, “The Stars Are Ours,” appears to be the first proper single in anticipation of a wide album drop this September. If you’ve ever thought, “Wow, I wonder what B*Witched would sound like if they recorded a song with Avicii at a pub,” then proceed:

The title track “Champagne or Guinness” is more like the get-up-and-jig anthem you’ve been waiting 15 years for, with a little “Call Me Maybe” string section to it.

“Waiting All This Time” is a little less intense in its EDM breakdown, but still a sheer delight. It’s like waiting for the bass to drop at the loveliest garden party you’ve ever attended.

I have less to say about “Fighting For the Drop,” which is definitely the song you would skip but which is still perfectly acceptable because IT’S A NEW B*WITCHED ALBUM.

And of course, the ballad “We’ve Forgotten How,” which would make for a really great soundtrack during the part of any ’90s teen movie when there’s a really sad misunderstanding between Mandy Moore and her onscreen love interest.

Who is B*Witched, you ask? You’ll remember the group every time someone says the phrase “C’est La Vie,” the name of the band’s silly 1998 pop song that was aimed at kids but was apparently really about sex the whole time. They followed up with “Rollercoaster,” “To You I Belong,” and the most important cover of “Mickey” ever recorded for Bring It On. The group sold over 3 million albums at the height of their success in 2002, then split up soon afterwards. In 2006, two of the members—sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch—began a duo sister act, but in October 2012, the group reunited for a British reality show. And now they’ve officially returned.

Welcome back, girls. C’est la freaking vie.

Watch BLKHRTS party hard in their 'Porties' video

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Denver’s BLKHRTS are part of an insurgent movement that’s given hip-hop its own version of punk rock, overflowing with anarchic energy and intensely distorted sounds. They’re a little more gothed out than the other acts that fall under the umbrella of “noise rap,” like CLPPNG and the recently disbanded Death Grips. In an interview with their hometown alt-weekly, the Denver Westword, the group’s producer Yonnas Abraham–who makes the band’s beats on an outdated, not entirely functional, 20-year-old sampler–calls himself, “obsessed with romance, obsessed with death, and obsessed with the color black.”

BLKHRTS goth tendencies come through loud and clear on “Porties,” where they rap about romantic complications over a beat that samples Bauhaus’ “She’s In Parties.” The video, with its moody, high-contrast visuals and party-hardy action, sums up the group’s mission nicely.

NFL asks Rihanna, others to pay to play the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, audiences an artist will ever get. That’s probably why performers agree to do the show for free year after year. But what happens if artists are asked to pay for the privilege of performing at the big game?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL is considering three candidates to provide entertainment at the 2015 Super Bowl: Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Rihanna. And when reaching out to these artists, the NFL reportedly asked if any of the acts “would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.” Apparently, the stars’ representative did not take kindly to the idea.

As of now, no lineup has been set for the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, which will air on Feb. 1, 2015.

Kelela and Le1f team up for the spacey slow jam 'OICU'

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Kelela and Le1f are two independent artists teetering on the verge of serious pop stardom. Kelela is part of a new wave of R&B artists forging connections with the leading edge of electronic dance music who’s made a fan of, among others, Solange Knowles, who put her on the avant-R&B compilation, Saint Heron, that she released on her Saint Records label last year. Le1f, meanwhile, is doing something similar with rap and the underground club scene, and the raw energy he brought to his Letterman performance earlier this year gave him an unexpected foothold in the mainstream.

Neither of the two are content to just wait around for their seemingly inevitable breaks to come through. Both are busy at work on their next big moves. But in the meantime, while those projects are coming together, they’ve paired up to record “OICU.” Produced by beat-maker P. Morris, the track showcases their mutual talents for creating a vibe that’s spacey, sexy, and effortlessly chill. It’s a match made in stoner-avant-pop heaven.

Love it or loathe it? EW debates Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off'

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Taylor Swift dropped some big news yesterday—her forthcoming album 1989, inspired by the sounds of “late ’80s pop,” will debut on October 27. The singer also released the album’s first single and music video. EW writers Kyle Anderson (who knows a lot about music) and Marc Snetiker (who really, really likes music) debate the merits of Swift’s latest song—and whether it’s a hit or a miss.

MARC: Do you know what it feels like when Kermit the Frog dances? When he waves his hands in the air and lets his head wobble freely, as if little more than fabric and stitching is holding it together? That, perhaps, is how to best describe the dance I haven’t been able to stop doing—alone, in my office, with or without the lights on—since Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” dropped.

KYLE: I should begin by saying I don’t have any fundamental problem with Taylor Swift. She’s made a lot of songs that I like, and she’s made a lot of songs I don’t particularly care for. I’ve enjoyed work that she has done both in a pure country form (“The Best Day” is a tremendous acoustic story-song) and when she’s gone totally pop (“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” remains my jam). But I find “Shake It Off” pretty repulsive for a number of reasons. I’ll start with the one that has always driven me nuts about Taylor Swift: Her inexplicable persecution complex. Sure, her personal life gets written about in tabloids, and she’s had to put up with her share of paparazzi, but she isn’t affected any more than any other famous person, and she’s spun the prurient interest in her paramours into radio gold time and time again. The whole “Haters gonna hate” refrain rings so unbelievably false to me. READ FULL STORY

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