“I don’t think we did it consciously,” Milky Chance beat-maker Philip Dausch says of the mix of pop, folk, and house music that’s helped put their “Stolen Dance” on the pop charts in more than a dozen countries. “I think it’s something that we always do instinctually. We are not the persons to kind of have a favorite song or play only one certain genre.”
The German duo, made up of Dausch and songwriter/vocalist/instrumentalist Clemens Rehbein, are flexible musicians—they previously played together in a jazz group—and even more flexible listeners. “We have a good education in music,” says Dausch, “and we always love to play all tunes. We are always interested in a lot of exotic music. We like rap, we like classical, we like jazz, we like pop. We don’t have favorites. We like to put things together.”
Their adventurous listening habits are apparent on their genre-hopping debut LP Sadnecessary, which came out earlier this week. They also come through loud and clear on the exclusive playlist that they created for EW, which includes South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, wiggy former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, and shadowy post-dubstep singer-songwriter James Blake.
Not too long ago, Mary Lambert was tending bar in Seattle and following her muse as a spoken word artist in her spare time. A friend asked her to craft a hook for the independent hip-hop album he was working on—and then everything changed.
After the success of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love,” Lambert found herself being courted by record labels, dueting with Madonna on stage at the Grammys, and moving to Los Angeles to record her full-length debut. READ FULL STORY
At the moment, the rap duo Moors is best known for being the musical project of actor Keith Stanfield, who appeared in last year’s critically acclaimed Short Term 12 and will play a young Snoop Dogg in the upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. But the spaced-out, slow-motion hip-hop that he makes with producer HH, which finds a rich groove somewhere in between Tricky-style trip-hop and Common-style bohemian rap, is easily strong enough to stand on its own.
Moors drop their self-titled debut EP (which features remixes by Postal Service member Dntel and avant-hip-hop producer Daedelus) on Oct. 28 on the Haven Sounds label, and the pair will spend most of November on the road. For now, enjoy an early look at the single “Smoke.”
Following up on last year’s Wormford, Detroit synth-popsters Jamaican Queens have returned with a new single. “Bored + Lazy” keeps up the spaced-out vibes of the band’s previous work but has a bit more of a pop sensibility. The track sounds a bit like Ariel Pink got a little drunk with Destiny’s Child and got carried away with the Auto-Tune. Its synth blasts and arpeggiated guitar riffs fit in between some club-ready drum beats. This one’s a party banger for the indie crowd.
Nat and Alex Wolff both have movie careers that are only set to grow. Nat, who was in this summer’s YA phenomenon The Fault in Our Stars, has the lead in fellow John Green adaptation Paper Towns and a role in Nancy Meyers’s The Intern, and when EW talked to the brothers over the phone last week, Alex had just scored what Nat deemed a “huge” movie part. But music is “home base” for the brothers, whose musical talents have long been in the public eye considering their starring roles in Nickelodeon’s TheNaked Brothers Band.
Last week they released two new singles: the folk rock-inflected “Where I’m Goin'” and “Rock Star,” the latter of which was featured in one of Nat’s movies, the Gia Coppola-directed Palo Alto. The brothers chatted with EW about their songwriting process, productive procrastination, and the symbiotic relationship between their movies and music.
Wiz Khalifa and Future have a lot in common. Both are young rappers who’ve made the transition from mixtapes to the pop charts and are still rising, and both have recently had romantic relationships flame out in a very public fashion not long after having babies with their partners. (Wiz and Amber Rose filed for divorce back in September, just over a month after Future and Ciara broke off their engagement.)
Wiz has kept mostly quiet about his split with Rose, seemingly to keep attention on his recently released Blacc Hollywood. While on his new street single “Monster” (from his upcoming mixtape of the same name), Future talks a lot about his predilection for groupies and not at all about his recent relationship problems. But now, both have turned up on a track by Mike Will Made It called “Pussy Overrated,” and despite the fact that neither Rose nor Ciara’s names come up in the lyrics (both seem to deal with groupies), with that title and that timing it’s hard to see the song as anything but a shared breakup track and an epic subtweet aimed at their exes.
As the title suggests, the song paints a dismal picture of women, who are blamed alternately for being both too clingy and insufficiently attentive, too prudish and too blatantly sexual. Unlike the many, many rap songs with retrograde attitudes toward sexual equality, the song doesn’t even try to charm its way into the hearts of skeptical listeners–the refrain “Your pussy overrated” bluntly, explicitly reduces the women in question to the status of sex toys, and disposable ones at that.
Seeing Future taking the low road this way is especially disheartening. Throughout his relationship with Ciara, he’s been openly, almost cornily swoony over her on a level that few rappers have ever let themselves show in public before. Back in early 2013, they essentially inaugurated their relationship with the collaborative single “Body Party” with a video where Future follows Ciara around like a crushed-out teenager, an unguarded portrayal of naive romanticism that helped to establish Future’s reputation for being not like other rappers, at least when it came to dealing with women. Now he’s turned 180 degrees and become the living embodiment of #petty, and on social media the judgement from his fans, especially female ones, has been harsh.
Twitter’s been rallying for a response to “Pussy Overrated,” with Nicki Minaj being the obvious popular choice for recording it, although any hypothetical “Dick Overrated” would be incomplete without a Ciara hook. Meanwhile, Rose has shot back in very Rose-ish fashion by posting a butt selfie to Instagram.
You know that incessant Apple commercial starring U2 that you haven’t been able to get off your TV? The song’s called “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” and U2 just released a music video for it. That’s right: The video clip that you’ve probably seen more times than any music video since MTV still played the things wasn’t the actual music video.
The “Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” video is just the latest U2 stunt in which the band blurs the line between promotion and performance, like that notorious U2 iPod that came loaded with their discography 10 years ago. That’s because the video is essentially the same Apple ad, but branded as a new music video. The color palette is different, but this expanded version shows Bono and co. dancing against the same plain background, with images of Joey Ramone superimposed on them. Sort of like how you can’t listen to Songs of Innocence without at some point recalling how it emerged from a corporate deal with Apple, you can’t watch this video without recalling that a nearly identical version of it was an actual commercial for the company.
Leeds, England-based singer-songwriter Eaves sounds remarkably mature for an artist who’s only in his early 20s. The three songs on his upcoming Old As the Grave EP forgo the ’90s-style fuzz and postmodern electronic sounds of most buzzy young acts, presenting his songs with bare-minimum arrangements that give his deft melodies and crystal-clear voice plenty of room to breathe. The songs recall low-key folkies from Nick Drake and Fairport Convention to Bon Iver, but Eaves’s emotive vocals and the hint of darkness that he adds to them—even on the lilting piano ballad “Timber”—make them feel bracingly original.
On Monday, EW reported that British electronic musician Mark Bell, a former member of the acclaimed British dance-music duo LFO and producer of seven Björk albums, died last week of complications from surgery. Bell wasn’t widely known outside dance music aficionados, but his work has echoed through pop music since he started working with Björk, beginning with her 1997 LP Homogenic, which borrowed ideas from drum ‘n’ bass, trip-hop, house, IDM, and other cutting-edge electronic styles of the time and wove them into an entirely new sound unto itself, a vigorous mutant hybrid that was both thoroughly pop-friendly and unabashedly avant-garde.
The influence of his work has only grown over the years, and has become especially noticeable in recent recordings by FKA Twigs, Banks, and a legion of young artists looking to replicate Bell and Björk’s peculiar sonic alchemy.
In an apparent tribute to Bell, Björk’s posted to her SoundCloud his “Lucy remix” of “Possibly Maybe” from her album Post. Originally released in 1996 as one of several B-side remixes of the single, its boasts a syrupy beat, pitch-warped vocals, and a coating of amelodic tones that, nearly 20 years later, still sound ahead of their time.