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Modest Mouse makes Instagram debut, maybe hints at new music

It’s been seven and a half years since Modest Mouse released the excellent We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank—back then, Twitter was less than a year old and Instagram didn’t exist. But now they’ve hinted at fresh tunes via their brand-new Instagram account. Welcome to the Digital Age, Modest Mouse.

The post shows a plain 45, with “Side A: Lampshades on Fire” written on it. Sounds like the name of a Modest Mouse single if there ever was one.

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Timbaland shares new Andre 3000 collaboration 'UFO' via video selfie

Some musicians treat their yet-to-be-released material like state secrets, keeping them on encrypted hard drives guarded by a security detail and threatening to sue into oblivion anyone who leaks them. Then you have Timbaland, who just premiered a song with one of the most sought-after artists in all of pop music through a video selfie.

On Saturday, the superstar producer posted a YouTube video of him singing along to a new track called “UFO” featuring Andre 3000 and Chicago singer Tink, who’s become Timbaland’s latest muse (and whose Winter’s Diary 2 mixtape was one of 2014’s best R&B releases). Three Stacks’ verse sounds pretty great, and will probably sound even better when there’s a version without Tim rapping over it.

“UFO” follows Timbaland’s debut of his Tink-assisted Rick Ross and Jay Z collab “Movin’ Bass” that he premiered on a Chicago hip-hop station’s morning show last month.

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Jimmy Kimmel and Brandon Flowers reveal the secrets behind the Killers' 'Joel the Lump of Coal'

Since 2006, the Killers have celebrated the Yuletide season with original Christmas songs, some of which are among the finest tunes in the band’s catalog. (“A Great Big Sled” is a particular standout.) Not only do they help rock fans get into the spirit of the season, but all of the proceeds from single sales go to benefit (RED).

This year is no different, though they called in some reinforcements with their 2014 holiday tune “Joel the Lump of Coal.” The song was co-written by Jimmy Kimmel, who premiered the video last week on his late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! The song is a sweet, funny, and surprisingly melancholy new take on a Christmas song, and both Kimmel and Killers frontman Brandon Flowers called EW to talk about their collaboration, which you can download on iTunes right now.

EW: Brandon, how did the Killers first get involved in making Christmas songs? 
BRANDON FLOWERS: This is the ninth year we’ve done a Christmas song. Bono and Bobby Shriver have this (RED) campaign, and they started about that time, nine or 10 years ago. They asked me if I wanted to do a Gap ad, and at the time I was feeling a little too cool to do a Gap ad. So I declined sort of reluctantly, because when Bono asks you to do something, you don’t want to say no. But I had this other idea: AIDS Day is Dec. 1, and it’s Christmas time, so what if we gave you a Christmas song? And then it just became a tradition. READ FULL STORY

Sam Smith: 2014 was the year I became a household name

The music of 22-year-old Sam Smith has been celebrated in the singer’s native England for two years already—but it wasn’t until a rafter-shaking performance on Saturday Night Live this spring that the soulful crooner broke big on this side of the pond. Soon enough, his single “Stay With Me” was cracking the top 10 on the Billboard hot 100, his debut album was selling like hotcakes… and EW was publishing an article called “This is the Last Time We’ll Ever Have to Introduce You to Sam Smith.” Here, Smith himself gives a rundown of his biggest year yet. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2014: Jack Antonoff on Bleachers, working with Taylor Swift

Jack Antonoff of fun. and Steel Train fame had a big year: He debuted an album with his new project Bleachers and helped out Taylor Swift with a few songs on her new album including the chart-topping “Out of the Woods.”

Antonoff released Bleachers’ first single, “I Wanna Get Better,” and announced the existence of Bleachers itself all on one February day—before that, he didn’t tell anyone he was working on a new project except for close friends and family. The entire album, Strange Desire, came out in July and the band’s been touring since.

EW talked with Antonoff about why he initially kept Bleachers a secret, how Yoko Ono got involved with Strange Desire, and what it was like working with Swift on 1989.
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Alternative spirit ran strong at Vice's 20th birthday blowout

On Friday night, New York’s hottest club was a giant warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It had everything—pupusas, porta-potties with flower arrangements, Jonah Hill covering Drake’s “Marvins Room.”

Wait, what?

For its colossal 20th birthday bash, Vice Media packed a few hundred fans into the Duggal Greenhouse to watch a truly once-in-a-lifetime lineup of musicians take the stage. Early on, “semi-official MC and host” Andrew W.K. promised the crowd “covers, originals, and spontaneous orgasms.” He wasn’t far off. READ FULL STORY

TV Jukebox: 'Sons of Anarchy,' 'Reign,' 'Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce,' and more memorable music-on-TV moments

Have you found yourself wondering, “What’s that song?” while watching your favorite TV shows? We’re here to tell you. Check out our Spotify playlist and see why these music picks clicked. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: Spoilers ahead.) READ FULL STORY

Does Ariana Grande sing 'All I Want for Christmas Is You' better than Mariah Carey?

While “All I Want for Christmas Is You” will be played almost nonstop for the next few weeks—which is not necessarily a bad thing—is it time for Mariah Carey to let a new generation take on the Christmas hit?

It might be, if Ariana Grande’s recent performance of the song is any indication.

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Beyonce becomes most Grammy-nominated woman ever

Along with her many regal names, Queen B can now add queen of the Grammys to her long list of titles.

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RZA talks about the new Wu-Tang record and why 'Sabrina' inspires him

Earlier this week, the Wu-Tang Clan released A Better Tomorrow—its first group effort since 2007 and its sixth LP overall since 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). While the album is, in many ways, a return to form, it swaps out the grimy claustrophobia of 36 Chambers for spacious sonics that help to underline how far the group’s grown over the years.

No member has come farther than the group’s producer and de facto leader RZA, who’s turned his love of movies into a successful multifaceted film career—along with developing a side hustle as a semi-professional philosopher. During a break at a video shoot, Bobby Digital sat down for a haircut and a quick chat with EW about the new Wu record—and why the original 1954 version of Sabrina was his favorite movie of the year.

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