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
Every week, bands stop by the A.V. Club to cover songs for the site’s “A.V. Undercover” webseries. This week, thrash-metal outfit GWAR made their third appearance and—yes, you’re reading this correctly—performed their version of the 1984 Pet Shop Boys smash hit “West End Girls.”
GWAR’s members style themselves as barbaric interplanetary warriors, but earlier thisyear they lost their charismatic frontman, Oderus Urungus (Earth name: Dave Brockie). The group’s “West End Girls” cover soars because it includes a stirring tribute to Urungus, from a group that’s not exactly known for its tenderness. READ FULL STORY
Quintron and Missy Pussycat’s “Do The Raid” is something that would belong right next to “Time Warp” in Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it has more distortion—and plenty of puppets.
For over a decade, the New Orleans-based duo have been making psych-heavy rock that’s easy to dance to: In the “Do The Raid” video, Miss Pussycat bops around with her maracas as Quintron flops his hair around to the beat of the music, which sounds a lot like what LCD System was aiming for with 2007’s “Watch the Tapes.” READ FULL STORY
Yesterday it was announced that the release of Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint will be pushed back from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15, but to make up for it, she’s released a new single, “Only,” whose bonkers cover art (featuring cartoon portraits of Minaj in some kind of leather bodysuit and Drake in a pope hat) she’d previously teased on Twitter.
It features verses by Drake and Lil Wayne, a hook by Chris Brown, and a beat by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and J Mike, but Minaj’s rap is far and away the best part about it. It starts with her refuting the long running rumors that she traded sex for support from Wayne and Drake, then uses a hypothetical menage á trois to assert sexual dominance over both of them, seeming to claim the alpha spot on the Young Money/Cash Money roster, and neither one of her teammates can do much to change that perception.
You can hear it here.
Detroit may be techno’s birthplace, but nearly from the start it’s also had a sphere of direct influence that extends far enough to encompass places like Toronto and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Those are the hometowns, respectively, of the group Art Department (comprised of producers Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White) and Seth Troxler, techno scene stalwarts who balance a deep respect for the genre’s conventions with a sonic daringness that keeps their work from falling into the trap of rote reproduction.
Recently all three teamed up for a track called “Cruel Intentions” that coats techno’s relentless minimalist thump in a thick layer of organic grime that evokes greasy, beat-up machinery and tops it with an intriguingly enervated-sounding vocal part that sounds like it could have been recorded from a death bed. The video (produced with a grant from the Canadian talent-promotion foundation MuchFACT) adds in a bit of creepy surveillance-state paranoia and abstract sexiness to the cocktail of intriguingly weird vibes.
You know Nicki Minaj’s self-proclaimed answer to Jay Z’s The Blueprint we’ve been waiting so long for? Well, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer.
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