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This Week in Diplo: Welcome to the Jack U-niverse

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One of the biggest stories to come out of this year’s Burning Man centers around one Mister Diplo and his Jack U partner, Skrillex. Were they or weren’t they booed off the stage? Did they fill in for a high-maintenance Seth Troxler? Did Robot Heart really kick out Troxler’s crew?

Initial reports from the desert claimed that Troxler refused to perform his set at the Robot Heart stage when his crew was denied stage access, leaving the the team to scramble, booking Jack U last-minute (the duo was already in town for other sets throughout the weekend). Several firsthand accounts began emerging that the their set was cut short as Diplo and Skrillex were booed off the stage upon playing DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What.”

As the story gained traction, Diplo responded with his account.

First, with a little humor,

and then with an expanded version saying that he and Skrillex were not booed off the stage but rather ended the set with an “inside joke” ["Turn Down for What"], that it was all in good fun, that the Seth Troxler rumors were also false, that Jack U happily went on to play a variety of well-received sets at different stages throughout the festival and that, basically, everyone had the time of their lives.

His entire post can be read here.

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'Billboard' Hot 100 recap: Beyonce's 'Flawless' finally hits the chart

In the nine months since Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album on an unsuspecting world, the track “Flawless” has grown from one of the more enjoyable surprises in a thoroughly surprising album–a quasi-manifesto that synthesizes diva-level self-appreciation and blunt real talk about female existence in a patriarchal world, delivered with an instantly memorable hook–into a cultural behemoth. The word “flawless” (or, better yet, “#flawless”) condenses everything that Beyoncé and her featured guest, award-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, talks about in the song down into two syllables that somehow contain an entire philosophy of self-love and self-actualization. No wonder it’s been inescapable all year.

Despite the song’s popularity, Bey and her label haven’t released it as an official single. Or maybe it’s because of that popularity–when something grows so big in such an organic way, giving it a traditional professional marketing push could end up ruining a good thing. Either way, the song whose title is emblazoned on most Beyoncé merch is officially just an album cut.

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Record shopping with Interpol frontman Paul Banks

You might expect the leader of aughties postpunk overlords Interpol — who will release their first album in four years, El Pintor, on Sept. 9 — to be dour and aloof, or at least shrink away from bright sunlight. But the guy who strolls into Brooklyn’s Rough Trade Records on a sweltering August afternoon is friendly and voluble (and has a pretty brutal backspin, it turns out, on the store’s Ping-Pong table).

Over piles of vinyl and iced Americanos, Paul Banks, 36, talked with EW about the song that still gives him chills, his early obsessions with Nirvana and N.W.A, and the homemade mixtape that really freaked out his mom.

Sonic Youth,
Daydream Nation (1988)

“The first band that made me want to make music was Nirvana. So I was very aware of anything Nirvana-
affiliated, and I was watching an episode of 120 Minutes with them that Thurston Moore was hosting, and I remember thinking, ‘Who the f— is this dude that Nirvana keeps hanging out with? What’s the deal here?’ I
was very mindful of ‘Nirvana took this band out on tour, they must be someone I should know about.’

So I got [1990’s] Goo, which at that age didn’t really speak to me. But when I got to college, I got EVOL and Daydream Nation, which just… The textures and the guitar tones and the drive—I mean, some of the most beautiful guitar work of any rock songs ever is on this record. Insofar as one wants to emulate things as a musician, those were the things I wanted to emulate.” READ FULL STORY

Calvin Harris, Iggy Azalea top Spotify's lists of songs of the summer

The question of what the song of the summer for 2014 has been a matter of much debate amongst critics, with a broad assortment of nominations made on varying combinations of chart placement, radio rotation, intuition, and straight-up voodoo. On Thursday, Spotify contributed some much-needed hard data into the argument with lists tabulating the most played songs on the streaming platform from June 1 to Aug. 31.

Globally, the most popular song on Spotify this summer was Calvin Harris’ “Summer,” which racked up 160 million streams over the three months across a 40 million-person user base. Overall, dance music performed strongly around the world, with Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne’s “Rather Be” and David Guetta’s “Bad” mixed in with more pop-oriented singles like Iggy Azalea’s two chart-dominating hits, “Fancy” and “Problem,” and Magic!’s “Rude.”

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Hear Sam Smith cover Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car'

Stay With Me” singer Sam Smith already impressed with his cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” released earlier this summer, and now he’s at it again covering Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit “Fast Car.”

Smith performed “Fast Car” in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, where the British singer turned the gentle, acoustic song into almost-lounge music. READ FULL STORY

Watch Una Lux's 'Simon' video, where Caravaggio meets Portishead

NYC-based four-piece Una Lux are a more aesthetically ambitious group than the average indie band, as likely to throw around references to Baroque painters and avant-garde film directors as they are to Pink Floyd and Portishead. The group’s guitarist Matteo Liberatore, who directed the video for their new single “Simon,” says that the clip “is filled with homage. We tried to reference Vittorio Storaro’s use of lighting in ‘The Last Emperor,’ some of the poses in Caravaggio portraits, and the parapsychology of David Lynch’s films, and then we cut it like French New Wave.” The finished product’s studied arrangements of bodies and light are both formal and faintly surreal, making it a fitting match for a song that balances sequenced electronic sounds with singer Kelso Norris’ sensuous vocals.

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Christian Gregory's 'Won't Get Nowhere' video: a soul-drenched slugfest

Christian-Gregory

The number of new artists working in the style of classic soul musicians like Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers has reached the point where we can safely call it a deluge, but British singer Christian Gregory sets himself apart with a knack for graceful, clean-lined melodies that’s considerably tougher to learn than how to dial in a convincingly vintage-sounding electric piano part. His new single “Won’t Get Nowhere” is chicly minimalist, but some bold application of delay effects gives it an intriguingly spacey quality and a slightly chilly feel that contrasts with its comforting soul hooks. For such a mellow song, the pugilistic theme of its video might seem jarring, but Gregory—an avid muay thai fighter—is adept at finding compelling contrasts.

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Hear Sirma's classical-influenced electronic pop on her EP 'Instincts'

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Turkish singer Sirma is only 24 years old, but she has already lived several different lives in music. She began her career early on as a classically trained pianist, transitioned into jazz singing in high school, recorded with Akon and Keri Hilson as the Turkish representative on the official 2010 World Cup theme, and joined an experimental rock band in Boston before finally striking out on her own. You can hear echoes of her former musical ventures here and there on her new EP Instincts, but its main focus is juxtaposing elegant pop hooks with aggressive electronics and an intriguing hint of Turkish classical music.

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Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus team up on 'Never Catch Me'

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Speaking of Cali hip-hop, two of the most important figures in the contemporary L.A. rap scene, Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, just revealed a surprising new collaborative single. The pair embody two of the dominant themes that have been bouncing around it recently: on one hand, a nostalgia-tinged re-engagement with the city’s gangsta rap history, and on the other, a psychedelic deconstructionist movement, influenced by cosmic free jazz, that’s doing to the boom bap what Ornette Coleman did to bebop. They may seem like artists with very disparate goals, but “Never Catch Me” shows that they’re more compatible than they may seem on the surface.

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Garth Brooks returns to releasing new music with 'People Loving People'

Garth Brooks’ retirement from the stage didn’t last too long after he announced it in 2001, and he’s been playing more or less regularly for the better part of the past decade. But he hadn’t put out any new, original music aside from some odds-and-sods studio remnants since 2001’s Scarecrow until Wednesday morning, when he released a new track “People Loving People,” to country radio stations. READ FULL STORY

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