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In the studio with Weezer: Bandmates debate Bob Seger vs. BTO

About a month ago, I spent a few days in the studio with Weezer as they put the finishing touches on their new album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Despite the fact that this is their ninth proper studio album, the process of making records hasn’t gotten any easier. “Making records is weird,” drummer Pat Wilson said after a particularly intense session. “It’s different every time.”

But there’s also time for fun, and one of the things the band really drove home during the course of our conversations was how much they have really been enjoying each other lately. There hasn’t always been harmony, but at the moment they are a pretty cohesive unit.

That being said, they are not without argument. Case in point: After recording wrapped one day, Wilson and bassist Scott Shriner stuck around to play me some rough tracks and talk about the recording process. But we soon drifted away from Everything Will Be Alright In The End to a standing argument between the two.  READ FULL STORY

BBC Radio names Ed Sheeran most important singer of 'black' music, faces backlash

BBC Radio station 1Xtra has voted British crooner Ed Sheeran the most important British artist in urban music—and in the process, has sparked an online debate about a “power list” that predominantly features white artists in a genre of music created by black artists.

1Xtra—which describes itself as “the UK’s leading black music station”—released its list of the most “important UK artists in the scene” on Friday. Sheeran topped the list of approximately 20 artists, submitted by radio listeners and chosen by 1Xtra DJs on variables such as “sales statistics, plus more subjective areas like the quality of music and impact across the wider industry.”

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Preteen thrash-metal trio Unlocking the Truth sign major-label deal

New York City is famous for the number and variety of its street musicians. But even in a place where in the course of your commute you can see a freestyle rapper, an old-timey banjo player, and a guy performing French medieval religious chants, the Brooklyn trio Unlocking the Truth stand out as unique. For the past couple of years, these three Brooklyn natives—one of whom is 12, while the other two are 13—have been setting up their amps and drums around the city and filling its public spaces with remarkably tuneful, technically impressive thrash metal that’s almost surreally incongruous to see coming from three adorable middle schoolers. Ever since camera-phone footage of them blew up on the Internet, they’ve been pulling down bigger and better gigs: This spring they played Coachella, and they’re about to wrap up a stint on the Warped Tour.

Now, according to the Daily News, Unlocking the Truth has signed a deal with Sony that could pay out as much as $1.7 million for six albums. That’s a lot of money to be potentially investing in a band whose members are in the middle of dealing with the effects of their voices dropping, but their viral popularity is still spreading and it’s not showing any signs of dissipating.

Despite the meme-like quality of cute kids playing heavy metal, the group is more than just a novelty act. Their Internet popularity at the moment would probably be good for a couple thousand sales on an album rushed out before some other prepubescent musical act breaks on BuzzFeed, but the fact that Sony offered them a six-album deal suggests that someone there realizes they’re actually a really, really good thrash metal band, and could very realistically get even better as they age. They may be middle-school kids playing unexpectedly brutal music, but in this day and age, maybe the oddest thing about them is that they’re a musical act that just signed the rare kind of long-term deal designed to incubate emerging talent that barely exists anymore.

Video: EULA goes retro for dance-punky 'Orderly'

The art-punk band EULA got its start in New Haven, Connecticut, a few years ago as a home recording project for frontwoman Alyse Lamb. A handful of records, several tours, and one move to Brooklyn later, the group has solidified a sharp-edged, frenetic sound that ties together postpunk, No Wave, and Riot Grrrl revivalism, producing something that could work equally well as the soundtrack for a riot or a dance party.

Last month, they released a new single recorded with Martin Bisi, who manned the boards for seminal albums by alt-rock icons like Sonic Youth and the Swans. Now the track, “Orderly,” is getting its own video that mashes up images of Lamb and some old-timey dancing ladies to kaleidoscopically psychedelic effect.

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The Muffs return with the spiky, sugary 'Weird Boy Next Door'

The fact that the Muffs weren’t a bigger deal back in the ’90s had less to do with their abilities than the fact that they were just a little too far ahead of their time. During the peak years of the grunge era, a band that combined power pop, garage rock, and punk was apparently a hard sell, even if they were making some of the most infectious tunes in alt-rock at the time.

Since then, though, it’s become a fairly common formula in the rock underground, especially in the scene that’s coalesced around California indie label Burger Records. The Muffs recently teamed up with Burger to release their first new album in 10 years, Whoop Dee Doo, which comes out July 29. Judging by “Weird Boy Next Door,” they haven’t lost any of their edge in the meantime, and frontwoman Kim Shattuck’s throat-shredding howl hasn’t lost any of its power.

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Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone dies at age 65

Ramones co-founder Tommy Ramone has died at the age of 65, according to The Washington Post. Ramone was the drummer with the hugely influential New York punk band and the last surviving original member.

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Blood Orange releases wonderfully sad remix of Sia's 'Chandelier'

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Dev Hynes, better known as avant-R&B genius Blood Orange, has been lying low since suffering a catastrophic apartment fire back in the winter. But he’s been starting to regain some of the momentum that last November’s Cupid Deluxe album had begun to generate. He’s been getting back to releasing his series of consistently entertaining videos for Cupid Deluxe tracks.

Now, he’s released a radically deconstructed remix of Sia’s summer jam “Chandelier” that strips the song of its triumphal arena rock swagger and, well, pretty much everything else, which he’s replaced with his own vocals, a twitchy drum part, and a tasteful thumb piano part. In the process he’s remade one of the most inspirational get-pumped anthems of the year into an anxiety-ridden slow jam, stripping Sia’s chorus from its surroundings to let it hang almost unadorned in a way that transmutes its YOLO-ness into something starkly desperate. It does the exact opposite of the original, but it’s just as compelling.

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Shawn Mendes talks about turning Internet fame into an IRL hit

A year ago, Pickering, Ontario native Shawn Mendes was just an average teenager with an interest in music. Then, last August, he posted a six-second clip of himself singing Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” on the video-snippet-sharing service Vine. By the next day, he was an Internet star, thanks to the 10,000-plus followers he amassed overnight.

Now, he has nearly 3 million followers and has embarked on a more traditional musical career path, signing with Universal Music Group subsidiary Island Records. In late June he released his first single, “Life of the Party,” a piano-driven power ballad with an unexpectedly mature vibe that immediately went to the top of the iTunes singles chart.

Just after “Life of the Party” was released EW got on the phone with him to talk about Vine, YouTube, stage fright, and his sudden rise to fame.

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Weezer's Rivers Cuomo on new album's 'Back To The Shack'

Thanks to the ongoing “Weezer Wednesday” series, Weezer has been teasing out portions of its new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End, which will be landing on store shelves on September 30. But so far, only one song has been heard in its entirety, and that’s “Back to the Shack.” The band premiered the song on its own cruise a few months back, and thanks to some well-circulated fan-shot videos, the song has become the first full taste of the new album.  READ FULL STORY

Yung Flight releases debut video 'To the Top'

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Yung Flight is a 21-year-old rapper currently living in Northern Virginia. He has a new single called “To the Top” that gives a Southern twist to the current cloud rap wave and provides an excellent platform to show off his raspy, breathy flow and his willingness to take risks with rhyme schemes. It also has a sweet R&B-flavored hook. Flight’s still so new that that’s about all the information I have on him right now, aside from the fact that he’s working on his first mixtape.

In the video, he and his crew wander around New York City and do a lot of looking like they have plans to conquer it soonish. Judging by his first release, that doesn’t seem like an impossible goal.

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