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NFL asks Rihanna, others to pay to play the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, audiences an artist will ever get. That’s probably why performers agree to do the show for free year after year. But what happens if artists are asked to pay for the privilege of performing at the big game?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL is considering three candidates to provide entertainment at the 2015 Super Bowl: Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Rihanna. And when reaching out to these artists, the NFL reportedly asked if any of the acts “would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.” Apparently, the stars’ representative did not take kindly to the idea.

As of now, no lineup has been set for the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, which will air on Feb. 1, 2015.

Kelela and Le1f team up for the spacey slow jam 'OICU'

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Kelela and Le1f are two independent artists teetering on the verge of serious pop stardom. Kelela is part of a new wave of R&B artists forging connections with the leading edge of electronic dance music who’s made a fan of, among others, Solange Knowles, who put her on the avant-R&B compilation, Saint Heron, that she released on her Saint Records label last year. Le1f, meanwhile, is doing something similar with rap and the underground club scene, and the raw energy he brought to his Letterman performance earlier this year gave him an unexpected foothold in the mainstream.

Neither of the two are content to just wait around for their seemingly inevitable breaks to come through. Both are busy at work on their next big moves. But in the meantime, while those projects are coming together, they’ve paired up to record “OICU.” Produced by beat-maker P. Morris, the track showcases their mutual talents for creating a vibe that’s spacey, sexy, and effortlessly chill. It’s a match made in stoner-avant-pop heaven.

Love it or loathe it? EW debates Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off'

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Taylor Swift dropped some big news yesterday—her forthcoming album 1989, inspired by the sounds of “late ’80s pop,” will debut on October 27. The singer also released the album’s first single and music video. EW writers Kyle Anderson (who knows a lot about music) and Marc Snetiker (who really, really likes music) debate the merits of Swift’s latest song—and whether it’s a hit or a miss.

MARC: Do you know what it feels like when Kermit the Frog dances? When he waves his hands in the air and lets his head wobble freely, as if little more than fabric and stitching is holding it together? That, perhaps, is how to best describe the dance I haven’t been able to stop doing—alone, in my office, with or without the lights on—since Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” dropped.

KYLE: I should begin by saying I don’t have any fundamental problem with Taylor Swift. She’s made a lot of songs that I like, and she’s made a lot of songs I don’t particularly care for. I’ve enjoyed work that she has done both in a pure country form (“The Best Day” is a tremendous acoustic story-song) and when she’s gone totally pop (“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” remains my jam). But I find “Shake It Off” pretty repulsive for a number of reasons. I’ll start with the one that has always driven me nuts about Taylor Swift: Her inexplicable persecution complex. Sure, her personal life gets written about in tabloids, and she’s had to put up with her share of paparazzi, but she isn’t affected any more than any other famous person, and she’s spun the prurient interest in her paramours into radio gold time and time again. The whole “Haters gonna hate” refrain rings so unbelievably false to me. READ FULL STORY

Kesha, A$AP Ferg, and more guest star in Haim's 'My Song 5' video

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Saturday Night Live star Vanessa Bayer already has a talk show, the web series Sound Advice where she gives hilariously bad advice to successful musicians. But in Haim’s latest music video for “My Song 5,” she has a whole new talk show: This one is Jerry Springer-style, featuring guests ranging from the cat-obsessed Kesha to the cotton ball-phobic Artemis Pebdani.

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Golden Coast delivers sunshiney vibes with 'Dream and an MPC'

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Golden Coast hails from Los Angeles, and their electronics-enhanced pop projects some of the same eternally sunny optimism that the city often gives off in movies. The band’s latest single, “Dream and an MPC,” is a follow-your-dreams anthem about hustling in the music biz, a trope as old as rock ‘n’ roll that they’ve updated with a modern technological twist, both in the shout-out to Akai’s iconic sampler and the streaks of ravey synthesizers laced throughout. Between the synths and a bouncy vocal melody that recalls Vampire Weekend’s cheerier moments, it should satisfy EDM fans and indie rockers alike.

Taylor Swift announces new single, album, and video in livestream

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In a half press conference, half fan event hosted on a Yahoo! livestream this afternoon, Taylor Swift shared a new single, its video, and the news that she has a new album out Oct. 27. The song, “Shake It Off,” is an enthusiastic, uptempo composition with flourishes of retro soul thanks to a skronking horn arrangement and a dance-friendly energy that the video, directed by Mark Romanek, reflects with performances by dancers in styles ranging from ballet to twerking. In a surprise turn, Swift handles the song’s rap interlude herself.

The album will be called 1989, both for the year of Swift’s birth and the period of pop history that it draws most heavily from. Swift said that according to people she talked to in the course of investigating late ’80s pop, the era was “apparently a time of limitless potential.” She described 1989 as both “my very first documented, official pop album” and “my favorite album we ever made.”

1989 is available for pre-order from Swift’s website, which seems to be down at the moment thanks to an overwhelming amount of traffic. A deluxe version of the LP will feature several songs in their earliest demo form as voice memos saved to Swift’s phone, as well as reproductions from Polaroids she’s shot.

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Aphex Twin announces new album via blimp and Deep Web

Electronic music pioneer Richard D. James, best known by the stage name Aphex Twin, has never seemed too interested in the traditional album cycle that the pop music industry is based around. Instead, he has released music under a bewildering number of different aliases, or in limited editions, or only on vinyl, or in assorted other ways to make buying and listening to his music more complicated than the average artist. He wasn’t even directly involved with his latest release, a digital edition of a previously unissued 1994 album recorded under the pseudonym Caustic Window that was sold by a group of diehard fans via a Kickstarter campaign.

In recent days, he’s announced the release of his first album of new material since 2001’s double-LP Drukqs in a typically cryptic manner. The first clues that something was in the works came over the weekend, when a blimp bearing the Aphex Twin logo standing in for the zero in “2014,” was spotted hovering over a music venue in London. In New York City, the same logo appeared stenciled on sidewalks in Chelsea and Midtown outside of Carnegie Hall. (The authenticity of a plate where the logo appears in a smear of jerk sauce has yet to be determined.)

Earlier today, James tweeted a link to a website accessible only through the anonymous web browser Tor, ie. a link to the Deep Web, which is better known as an online destination for illegal pornography and virtual drug markets than promotional sites for electronic music albums.
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Watch Nick Carter and Jordan Knight's debut video for 'One More Time'

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In 2010, boy band powerhouses New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys paired up for a joint NKOTBSB tour. Now a spinoff group has evolved, with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and New Kid Jordan Knight pairing for their own album and national tour.

The duo, now known as Nick & Knight, released their first single, “One More Time,” in July with their debut album scheduled for a September 2nd release. From there, Nick & Knight will head out on a two-month U.S. tour beginning in Nashville on September 15. Tickets are available now.

We’ve got an exclusive first look at the guys’ debut music video for “One More Time.”

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Zeus gives '70s soft rock a fuzzed-out twist on '27 Is the New 17'

With the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack recently winning both the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart and a place in the hearts of the movie’s surprisingly enthusiastic legion of fans, ’70s soft rock is once again back in vogue. That’s good news for Toronto band Zeus, whose upcoming third album, boldly entitled Classic Zeus (out Sept. 2 on Arts and Crafts), draws from a wide range of influences but leans particularly hard on a similar strain of AM gold.

Classic Zeus offers a look inside the minds of a group that has matured greatly over the past few years, and particularly so during a bumpy period of time after their last album that brought them to the verge of breaking up. It’s weighty material, but for their latest single, “27 is the New 17,” they lighten things up with a presentation that resembles a fuzzy, indie-fied take on ELO’s brand of effervescent psychedelic pop.

Hear Chilean singer-songwriter Yael Meyer's 'Human Divine'

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When Chilean singer-songwriter Yael Meyer began working on the song “Human Divine,” it was “much more mellow and acoustic track than it is on the record,” she writes. “I wrote it late and night and recorded a very rough demo of it and you could hear the keyboard making this really cool clicking sound that kind of made it sound like there was a beat underneath the song. So even though it was very mellow song, the implied beat made gave me the feeling that maybe this could be a dance song.”

The end result is bouncy, ebullient electropop that should appeal to the considerable number of people who are still waiting for Grimes to write another “Oblivion.” It also contains a timely, uplifting lyrical message: “You always hear in the news about the worst possible things happening in the world,” Meyer writes, “because that’s what sells, and that generates a fear-based society built on the idea that everything that happens is horrible. But I believe that there is a balance between good and evil. Yes, there is a lot of bad stuff happening, but there are also a lot of people doing good and it makes me believe that really good is leading the way after all.”

Meyer’s Warrior Heart drops Sept. 16 on KLI Records.

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