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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

Watch hip-hop vets DJ Nu-Mark and Slimkid3's 'I Know, Didn't I' video

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From Kendrick Lamar to YG, the West Coast has been working steadily to reassert its status as one of the epicenters of hip-hop culture, and two veterans of the scene have stepped up to contribute to the effort. DJ Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5 and the Pharcyde’s Slimkid3 have teamed up for an album-length collaboration, Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark, that comes out next Tuesday on old-school standard-bearer Delicious Vinyl.

The second single from the LP puts their classical aesthetic front and center by flipping Darondo’s cult soul classic “Didn’t I” into a laid-back jam perfectly tuned for aimlessly cruising around L.A. in a sweet vintage ride, complimented by a trippy video that should connect with Cali’s current crop of dispensary-frequenting hip-hop heads.

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TOPS share 'Way To Be Loved' video, and a playlist to chill out to

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TOPS, a four-piece band from Montreal made up of equal parts guys and gals, has released the video for “Way To Be Loved,” off their sophomore LP, Picture You Staring (out today). 

Picture You Staring is an intimate affair — in the way it was made as much as the way it feels. Written, recorded, and produced over the course of 12 isolated months in Arbutus Records’ Montreal studio, it has a sound that’s simple, nuanced, and deeply personal. It’s as easy to get lost in your own thoughts as in theirs — or are they one and the same?

When asked about the video, the band says, “The video was inspired by the party scene in Midnight Cowboy and the movie Nowhere by Gregg Araki. We dolled up our place, provided refreshments and tunes. Our friends came with bells on and did their thing, it felt like a low-budget swingers wedding. Message: Be who you are and love one another.”

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TV on the Radio release guitar-driven single 'Happy Idiot'

After a decade-plus of being called an indie rock band without ever really sounding like one, avant-rockers TV on the Radio have released “Happy Idiot,” a track that emphasizes clean-toned guitar and accessible pop hooks over the atmosphere and electronic textures the rest of their discography’s been built on. The latest single from their upcoming album Seeds is as lyrically direct as it is musically, with frontman Tunde Adebimpe musing on non-thinking as a strategy for coping with emotional pain, sort of a less substance-centric relative of Sia’s “Chandelier” and Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High).” Seeds drops Nov. 18, and the band will be touring beforehand starting in mid-October.

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Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo is an emotional rollercoaster

Even in an age where music has become immediately accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and no need to wait for import CDs to make their way across the ocean and into Tower Records, it’s not uncommon for songs to find their American audience months or even years after breaking in Europe. In fact, some fairly sizeable hits have happened that way—Disclosure’s “Latch,” Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights,” for example.

There are a handful of such singles on the Hot 100 right now. Among them: Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High),” which this week reached No. 23, its highest point in the 13 weeks it’s spent on the chart. Lo initially self-released “Habits” in March of last year, after which it was picked up by a label and reissued in December. But it wasn’t until this past March, with the official release of a remix that the California duo Hippie Sabotage had originally posted online, that the song really took off. The remix hit the top 10 in a half-dozen countries in Europe and Oceania, and was picked up by a number of influential American pop blogs.

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Hear new songs from Prince's 2 upcoming albums

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Eccentric pop auteur Prince is set to release two new albums on Sept. 30, and he’s made a track from each available to hear now. One of the albums, Art Official Age, is a Prince solo album, the first in four years. It’ll feature “U Know,” a song that suggests the Purple One’s been keeping an eye on contemporary pop—with its libidinously throbbing beat, looping piano riff, and electronic flourishes, it serves as an excellent example of how to do a slow jam right in 2014, and Prince’s rhythmically focused vocal part suggests that he’s not quite as anti-rap as he used to be.

The other sneak peek comes from Plectrumelectrum, which is being billed as a collaboration with his latest band 3rdEyeGirl. “Whitecaps” proves how serious Prince is about sharing more than just the album credit, as he cedes lead vocal duties to drummer Hannah Ford on a tender ballad that harkens back to his Revolution days.

You can hear both tracks at The Hollywood Reporter.

Adele sings about (surprise!) love and loss on 2 unreleased tracks (Updated)

Update: Unfortunately, the songs have been taken down.

It’s been nearly four years since Adele released her last album, the Grammy-steamrolling, record-breaking 21. Though it’s still unclear when she’ll release a follow-up, two previously unreleased songs have leaked online to tide eager fans over. Digital Spy UK reported that the songs were recorded during sessions for 21 in 2010 with Fraser T. Smith, who co-wrote and produced “Set Fire to the Rain” from 21. READ FULL STORY

Julian Casablancas and The Voidz debut new track 'Human Sadness'

Julian Casablancas released his first solo album Phrazes for the Young in 2009, an album he said he wanted to go “weirder” with but ultimately didn’t. “I didn’t want people to say, ‘Okay, this is his weird abstract thing,’ and dismiss the album,” Casablancas told SpinBut “Human Sadness,” his just-released song with backing band The Voidz, proves that he’s not so scared of going into abstract territory anymore.

At 11 minutes long, “Human Sadness” at first sounds reminiscent of The Strokes until it becomes apparent that Casablancas isn’t going for the short ditties his band is known for, but rather an experimental, sprawling track featuring his signature falsetto. Casablancas’ vocals don’t rise above the instrumentals until mid-song, when the sound transitions from lo-fi atmospheric to chaotic rock complete with a guitar solo and Casablancas’ howls.

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