On the surface, T-Pain may seem like an exceedingly odd choice for one of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, not only because the series usually focuses on rootsy singer-songwriters and indie rockers, but because his Auto-Tune-drenched signature sound seems wildly incompatible with the type of stripped-down intimacy the whole premise is founded on. But two things a lot of people don’t realize about T-Pain are that 1. behind the top hats and stripper lyrics he’s actually an incredibly talented musician, and 2. perhaps even more surprisingly, behind all that Auto-Tune he’s a phenomenally talented singer. READ FULL STORY
Last week, avant-R&B cosmonaut FKA Twigs released a video she directed for Google Glass that used a reworked version of “Video Girl” from her recent, EW-beloved LP1 as the soundtrack (along with the song “Glass & Patron”) for a hallucinatory dance-off between multiples Twigses. It served as a showcase for both her impressive dance moves and her equally refined sense of the surreal, but that wasn’t the end of the song’s video presence.
Wednesday morning, Twigs released the official “Video Girl” video, and it’s a whole world apart from the comparably conventional Google Glass clip and its white-room choreography. Directed by Kahlil Joseph, it trades in the lush, color-drenched psychedelia of her “Two Weeks” visual for harsh black-and-white, with the singer playing some kind of otherworldly presence haunting a prison and a man who’s being executed there. It’s an unsettling viewing experience that combines the most disturbing aspects of J-horror and Mulholland Drive, and it climaxes with Twigs straddling a dying man strapped down to a table with a tube of poison running into his arm. All in all, it delivers about 10 times as much creepiness as any horror movie this year in just a fraction of the time.
No matter whether you think Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” is a good representation of the city, she is using it to genuinely help her newly adopted home. Newly appointed New York City “welcome ambassador” Swift announced on The View, that all of the proceeds from sales of the song will go to public schools in the city.
Halifax indie-pop auteur Rich Aucoin‘s second album, Ephemeral, was heavily inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, and was in fact written specifically to sync up with the novella’s 1979 claymation film adaptation. For the video for the song “Want to Believe,” though, he seems to be tapping into a couple other beloved entertainment properties, pairing a ragtag gang of BMX-riding, adventure-seeking misfits with a burnt-out guy in a rumpled suit who has an obsession with exploring the unknown and a very familiar UFO poster on the wall. The wacky hijinks the group gets up to go nicely with the song’s fist-pumping, Andrew-W.K.-meets-The-Arcade-Fire positivity.
Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are likely the world’s two most zeitgeist-y and powerful pop stars right now. So, naturally, someone saw an opportunity. READ FULL STORY
Even before Rick Rubin took him back to basics on 2005’s 12 Songs, Neil Diamond had cachet with music snobs, who knew that the man had written a ton of timeless singer-songwriter classics before veering into more adult-contempo stuff in the ’80s and ’90s. (The 1974 collection His 12 Greatest Hits is pretty much bulletproof.) Diamond played some of those classics last month during what was—shockingly—his first performance in his hometown of Brooklyn. READ FULL STORY
Eminem might not be who first comes to mind when you think “good lullaby music,” but Rockabye Baby’s latest album will change your mind.
Rockabye Baby specializes in turning popular songs into baby-appropriate lullabies, and they delved into Eminem’s profanity-filled catalog for their latest album. The profanity doesn’t matter though: The tracks are purely instrumental, replacing angry F-bombs with pretty xylophones. READ FULL STORY
It’s not hard to understand how Toronto synthpop duo Electric Youth ended up on the soundtrack to Drive. One of director Nicholas Winding Refn’s favorite filmmaking tricks is to set scenes of unsettling violence to exactly the combination of stylized retro electronics and weightless pop hooks that their “A Real Hero” does so well. (See also: his use of New Order and the Pet Shop Boys in Bronson.) But beyond that, the pair (who recently released their debut album Innerworld) have soundtracks woven deep in their musical DNA, as the playlist they made for us proves.
Bleachers aren’t ones for car safety, apparently. The Jack Antonoff-led band performs on top of a moving ice cream truck in the new music video for “Rollercoaster “—and on a winding road in the mountains, no less.
Bleachers’ debut album, the ’80s-inspired Strange Desire, came out in July and debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and its first single, “I Wanna Get Better,” peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. Antonoff is also partially responsible for Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods,” one of the tracks off her latest album that the two wrote together. READ FULL STORY
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