Justin Timberlake has announced the final tour dates of his “The 20/20 Experience World Tour,” and he’s enlisted some Oscar-worthy help to go out in style.
The club is BACK.
In music news that will delight millennials both across the pond and stateside, the late ’90s-early ’00s British band S Club 7—which has not performed as a group in over 10 years—is reuniting for a benefit performance. They’ll get together again for BBC Children in Need on the organization’s November 14 Appeal Night, according to the BBC and several band members on Twitter.
Two of the group’s past tracks were specifically designated the official singles for the charity: 2000’s “Never Had a Dream Come True” (their #2 best song, according to EW) and 2001’s “Have You Ever.” READ FULL STORY
Nick Paumgarten at The New Yorker has written a 10,000-word profile on legendary musician Billy Joel—a sweeping, vivid look at Joel’s personal history, the shaping of his career, and the man he is today. This year, “the Piano Man” became a resident at Madison Square Garden, playing sold-out shows every month—but he hasn’t put out a new album since 1993. Among the revelations in the piece is Joel’s candid, bitterness-free explanation of why he will never release another album: Mainly, he just doesn’t have anything new to say.
“Over the years, Elton [John] would say, ‘Why don’t you make more albums?’ And I’d say, ‘Why don’t you make less?’… Some people think it’s because I’m lazy or I’m just being contrary. But, no, I think it’s just—I’ve had my say.” Joel says when other artists continue to cash in on their name past their prime, the results aren’t pretty. “If I put out an album now, it would probably sell pretty well, because of who I am, but that’s no reason to do it. I’d want it to be good. And I’ve seen artists on that treadmill, putting out albums year after year, and the albums get worse and worse, less and less interesting, and it’s, like, maybe you should stop.” READ FULL STORY
Run the Jewels, a rap duo made up of El-P and Killer Mike, have two albums coming up: Run the Jewels 2 and Meow the Jewels, which is composed entirely of cat sounds.
Meow the Jewels was never supposed to actually happen. El-P just decided that he’d offer a bunch of bogus bonus packages on the album’s pre-order site, all of them ridiculously expensive (there’s one for $10 million) and ridiculously, uh, ridiculous. One fan clung to Meow the Jewels package, priced at $40,000, though, and made a Kickstarter to get it funded. And the Kickstarter was successful: On Oct. 15, it met its goal of $45,100. READ FULL STORY
When I first started this job back in April 2011, I was subjected to an EW tradition: I was sent a list of questions whose answers made up an office-wide introduction to my cultural obsessions. When it came time to express an all-time favorite from the music world, I settled on the one name I always shout out whenever anybody asks me what songwriter I defend above all others: Greg Dulli.
Dulli has made excellent work I have absolutely adored in several different guises, including the Twilight Singers, the Gutter Twins, and the Backbeat Band. But he got started with the Afghan Whigs, a mercurial indie rock/R&B hybrid from Cincinnati who first appeared on the scene with the haunting Big Top Halloween in 1988 and wrapped up their original run with 1998’s 1965. (They recently reconstituted for an ongoing series of shows and the brand new album Do To The Beast, which came out earlier this year.) Their masterpiece is, undoubtedly, their 1993 major-label debut Gentlemen, which is getting the deluxe reissue treatment today in the form of Gentlemen at 21. The new version contains a remastered version of the original record, plus a second disc of demos, B-sides, and live tracks that further flesh out the strange and wonderful universe the band helped create more than two decades ago.
Gentlemen has been a cornerstone album for the better part of its existence (and, subsequently, mine), so in honor of this definitive work now being able to legally order a boilermaker, here are 21 thoughts about Gentlemen. READ FULL STORY
EW recently reported that IHEARTCOMIX, stalwart pillar of the LA dance music community, is launching a new singles-only label called IHC 1NFINITY. Now we’ve got a first look at some of the music they’ll be releasing.
Its first release is by Australian electropop artist Chela, who’s previously recorded for the taste-making French record/fashion label Kitsuné. On previous releases, she’s offered a contemporary update of bouncy ’80s new wave from the brief era when synthesizers had come into the picture but the influence of UK punk and post-punk hadn’t quite taken over yet. Her new track, “Handful of Gold,” has a bigger beat and a bigger chorus than her earlier singles; the results make Chela sound almost spookily like Madonna back before she reached a superhuman level of fame, when she could still be caught kicking it at Danceteria. It’s an auspicious start for an audacious new venture.
ILoveMakonnen’s “Club Going Up On a Tuesday” is an odd example of a viral hit. It doesn’t come with its own dance or a hook that references a pop-culture property or a bass drop conducive to making Vine videos, and while it does have a lot of hooks in its deceptively complex melody, the Atlanta singer/rapper/whatever-he-is delivers them in a sleepy flow that soft-sells them in the most extreme way. Still, the song is massively infectious, and with little more than a co-sign from Drake, it’s become a global phenomenon with a fervent cult that spans all distinctions of pop music fandom.
The obvious next step would be for iLoveMakonnen to attempt to engage with the mainstream, and convert his memetic popularity into a more traditional type of success. The new video for the Drake-assisted version of the song, simply entitled “Tuesday,” would seem to be the first step in that direction. In keeping with the song’s title and subject matter there are a lot of shots of people going up in a club, albeit a club steeped in Makonnen’s eccentricities, where mannequin heads done up with Ziggy Stardust makeup get tossed around like crowd surfers. The other half of the video is made up of all sorts of people from all sorts of places singing along to “Tuesday” and smiling, reflecting and emphasizing the song’s idiosyncratically universal appeal.
On Feb. 3, indie-pop trio All We Are will put out their self-titled debut album. Last month, the band dropped the record’s first single, “I Wear You,” a funky cut that sounds equally inspired by Eno-era Talking Heads and 90s R&B, and now, they’ve released a cover of “Can’t Do Without You,” a track off the Caribou album that came out earlier this month.
Where Caribou’s woozy original sounds loaded up on NyQuil and Vicodin, All We Are’s approach moves a bit more, and their expanded guitars and drums bring to mind some of Passion Pit’s best work. READ FULL STORY
When news broke that Lorde would be curating the Hunger Games soundtrack, expectations were high: The 17-year-old broke out in 2013 with “Royals” and has been releasing hit after hit from her debut album ever since. But now the soundtrack’s tracklist is out, and it doesn’t disappoint.
CHVRCHES, Charli XCX, Tinashe, Bat for Lashes, and Lorde herself are among the artists featured on the 14-track album. Songs include Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat,” a single she premiered in September, and The Chemical Brothers’ “This Is Not a Game,” which began floating around on the internet Monday. READ FULL STORY
Chicagoans Gretta Rochelle and Jack Armondo have been making music together for almost as long as they’ve been romantically involved.
After playing in a “sex rock” band together for a few years, they launched My Gold Mask as a more electronics-based, pop-oriented project that over the past half decade has found a sweet spot between Siouxsie & the Banshees and Robyn. After last year’s Leave Me Midnight LP the band–now a trio thanks to the addition of drummer James Andrew–is focusing on the release of a series of singles recorded by metal guru Sanford Parker. The latest, “Explode,” is heavier than anything they’ve ever recorded, filled with dense synthesizer tones and a relentlessly pounding drum part, but with plenty of big hooks the song can gracefully slide into your brain and wedge itself there.
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