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Big Data made us an eclectic electronic playlist

Big Data, a.k.a. Alan Wilkis, spends a lot of time thinking about heavy stuff, like the erosion of our privacy and how companies and the government exploit it. That admittedly paranoid worldview permeates pretty much everything he makes—including his song “Dangerous” and its hysterically gory video.

On the other hand, he’s also a pretty hardcore pop guy, and his sensibilities are accessible enough to land “Dangerous” at the top of the alternative rock charts. That side comes through loud and clear on the playlist that he put together for EW. Acts like Jungle and William Onyeabor that he chose aren’t exactly household names, but there’s an approachable, playful quality in pretty much all of his picks. The other major theme is that the tracks combine traditional instruments with electronics, a hybrid aesthetic that he himself works in. All in all it reflects his ability to challenge listeners in a way that they’ll actually enjoy.

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Grimes visits Dante's 'Inferno' in 'Go' music video

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Grimes’ music video for “Go” begins with David Hayter, a voice actor known for his work in X-Men and the Metal Gear Solid video games, reciting the opening lines of Dante’s Inferno in a gravelly voice: “Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark…”

And from that moment on, viewers are in Grimes’ version of hell.
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Hear Kandace Springs' buoyant neosoul single 'West Coast'

Kandace Springs is a young musician, but she seems to have more in common with artists from before the Internet upended the music industry. Her break didn’t come through social media, but by blowing away music heavyweights like Prince and Don Was with virtuosic interpretations of songs by Bonnie Raitt and Sam Smith. And while her style is deeply indebted to ’70s soul music, she’s not a purely retro act—for her debut LP, out next spring, she’s put together a production and songwriting team whose members have previously worked with CeeLo Green, Alicia Keys, and Bruno Mars.

In the meantime, Springs is releasing a self-titled four-song EP on Sept. 30. Lead single “West Coast,” produced by the duo Pop and Oak—who’ve worked with Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Usher—is buoyant neosoul that combines a rollicking horn arrangement and a bumping rap beat. Springs makes her TV debut Oct. 3 on Letterman. READ FULL STORY

Delta Spirit debut their sweeping video for 'From Now On'

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Delta Spirit have a talent for recreating the feel of classic rock styles–particularly the more psychedelic ones–without sticking too closely to their aesthetic playbooks, which is a remarkable quality in a rock scene that often seems to have traded innovation for making the most accurate emulations possible of sounds from the genre’s past. The lead single from their upcoming fourth album, Into the Wide (out Sept. 9 on Dualtone Records), has a widescreen scope but is still packed with hooks, especially in the searing bent-note lead that soars over the composition.

For the video, director Andrew Bruntel goes for a similarly epic sweep, with a disparate cast of characters living very diferent lives on the prairies of southeastern Colorado. “If I could parse it down to one simple theme,” he writes, “it would be vulnerability. Vulnerability in friendships, in our relationships with family and with the pets/animals that we allow into our lives.” It’s gorgeous and triumphant and sad all at the same time, much like the song itself.

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Exchanging the experience: Kate Bush's comeback couldn't have come sooner

A mere 10 seconds into the new Kate Bush documentary Running Up That Hill—aired by the BBC last week in honor of the reclusive singer/songwriter’s first shows in 35 years—she’s described as “waiflike.” For decades, words like that have been used to sum up what Bush is all about. Too often, those attempts fixate on her physicality. Bush’s body of work , from her 1978 breakout hit “Wuthering Heights” to her latest album, 2011’s 50 Words for Snow,gets examined—but so does her body. And her gender. And, ironically, her introverted nature, which is probably why she prefers not to be examined at all.

Others in Running Up That Hill speak of Bush in terms that range from gender-coded (The Sex Pistols’ John Lydon calls her “hysterical”) to patronizing (her former collaborator Peter Gabriel calls her “a strange creature”). In their defense, they’re clearly trying to be complimentary–like anyone else, the friends and admirers who appear in the film are often at a loss for words when describing her music. And there is something intangible and otherworldly about Kate Bush; her vivid, innovative music videos from the ’70s and ’80s only boost her image as some dimension-traveling elf, hovering overhead while singing songs of magic and moonbeams. READ FULL STORY

Watch a moody video for Trentemoller's 'Come Undone' remix

Anders Trentemøller is a Danish electronic musician who’s known for blending cutting-edge electronic production with dark and moody post-punk, resulting in tracks that can make a grown-up goth kid weak in the knees. For his last album, Lost, he took a more indie-friendly approach, collaborating with members of Lower Dens, Low, and the Raveonettes. On Sept. 1, he’ll release a set of remixes of Lost songs, including his own reworking of “Come Undone” featuring vocals by Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead. The accompanying video, by director Andreas Emenius, pairs the track’s shimmering electro-funk with greyscale footage of a diver in slow motion, creating a moody, nearly abstract juxtaposition that the old Factory Records creative team would have been proud of.

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Hear 10 songs Joey Bada$$ is feeling right now

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ is only 19 years old, but he’s got a passion for old-school hip-hop—the kind you normally only find among fans who were buying rap tapes before he was even born.

Over the course of several increasingly popular mixtapes, he’s carved out a style rooted in what’s frequently referred to as the golden era of hip-hop, when a broad coalition of mostly East Coast acts like Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest were making seminal, boom-bap-heavy music that went a long way toward getting the genre taken seriously outside of the hip-hop community.

Right now, Joey’s prepping for the release of his debut solo album, B4.Da.$$. He took time out from his European tour to send EW a playlist of tracks that he has in heavy rotation right now. In true budding rap mogul style, about half the selections feature either him or a member of his Pro Era crew. That said, the left-field inclusion of Kiesza’s throwback club-pop burner “Hideaway”–and the hint that the two of them have a collaboration in the works–has us particularly excited.

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Nicki, Ariana, and Jessie J dance on a skyscraper in 'Bang Bang' video

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Right after Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, and Ariana Grande opened Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards with a performance of “Bang Bang,” MTV premiered the trio’s wardrobe malfunction-free video for the song online.

The video begins with men ogling at Jessie J as she exits a car, but she pays it no mind and enlists female onlookers to join her in showing off their Cadillac-like booties. Meanwhile, Grande twirls around in a Miami-chic bedroom, applies makeup, and belts into a megaphone—A-plus on the multitasking, Grande.
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Jennifer Lopez drops 'Booty' remix featuring Iggy Azalea

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In today’s pop-music-and-butts news, Jennifer Lopez released a remix of “Booty” featuring Iggy Azalea, who claims “the last time the world seen a booty this good it was on Jenny from the block.” (Nicki Minaj might disagree.)

The original “Booty,” off J. Lo’s latest album A.K.A., features Pitbull alluding to Bubba Sparxxx’s “Ms. New Booty” and commenting on Lopez’s butt-related skills: “The way she twerk it, not fair.” Azalea prefers to talk about her own skills in her verse on the remix, though, rapping, “They beggin’ me to drop down but right now Iggy on top.” Can’t argue with that—three songs featuring Azalea are currently in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100.

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Emo revivalists Modern Baseball hit the road for 'Pothole' video

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After a solid decade as the go-to soundtrack for disaffected youth, emo has pretty much suffocated itself beneath a mountain of asymmetrical haircuts, metalcore breakdowns, and barely sublimated misogyny, and few people are in mourning over it. However, there’s a growing wave of young musicians who are throwing out the subgenre’s recent history and returning to the core values that defined it in the ’90s (before it was absorbed by Hot Topic), fusing punk’s energy and DIY ethos with the swooning romanticism of a teenage Smiths fan and the delicate melodies of a ’70s singer-songwriter.

Philly’s Modern Baseball is at the leading edge of this movement, and may be the most accessible to pop fans who don’t know or don’t care that there’s even an emo revival happening. Their latest single, “Pothole,” foregoes the pop-punk tendencies that define much of their material in favor of lightly fingerpicked acoustic guitar and nakedly raw vocals, to subtly powerful effect. The video, made largely out of footage filmed on one of their tours, highlights the energy that the band and their community of fans produce together at their shows, as well as the monotony of life on the road.

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