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Tag: An EW Exclusive! (21-30 of 645)

Wild Smiles' 'Another Year Older' is a slice of grunge-pop heaven

There are a lot of bands trying to do the ’90s thing right now, but few do it as effectively or efficiently as Winchester, England’s Wild Smiles.

Their new single “Another Year Older” skillfully jams together a handful of distinct alt-rock styles from the time, from grunge to Britpop to shoegaze, into one four-minute mass of post-adolescent angst and heroically distorted guitars.

If EW‘s endorsement’s not enough for you, consider the fact that Portishead’s Geoff Barrow is not only a fan of the band but even released their first EP on his own label. And that guy’s a certified genius.

Their new album Always Tomorrow is out today.

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Boxing and dance-offs commingle in Rocky Dawuni's 'African Thriller' video

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In his native Ghana, Rocky Dawuni is much more than simply a pop star, serving as the country’s unofficial cultural ambassador and promoting a range of social reforms from HIV/AIDS prevention and ecological preservation to healthier cookstoves. But he’s still a pop star at heart, and he’s quite good at it. While he’s named his particular aesthetic “Afro-Roots,” his music isn’t as beholden to traditional styles as the handle suggests–on his new single “African Thriller” Dawuni uses the recursive, hip-winding rhythms of contemporary Jamaican dancehall as the foundation for a pile-up of reggae and jazzy Afrofunk tuned for maximum body-moving.

“‘African Thriller’ is a persona, a concept and a vision of what contemporary beauty and excitement will emerge from the confrontation and collision of cultures,” Dawuni writes in an email. “The video hints at  historical and cultural signposts in a metaphoric expression of how the dance floor is one of the ultimate and most colorful places for global unity, celebration, and liberation.”

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TWICEYOUNG gives off dreamy electro vibes on 'Stay the Same'

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Nashville trio TWICEYOUNG has the chiming guitars and sweet hooks of an indie rock band, the synthesized sounds of an electronic project, and a sweeping cinematic sensibility that’s probably making film and TV music supervisors exceptionally happy.

Their new EP Prefer You drops on Nov. 11 and with the frequency that they’ve been appearing on music blogs it already seems destined to be a cult sensation, if not something bigger. In the lead-up to its release, they’re sharing “Stay the Same,” a cool blend of postpunk and dream pop that sounds like the slightly more gothed-out cousin of Drive soundtrack sensations Electric Youth.

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Stream singer-songwriter Pisces' luminous new LP

Pisces

On much of her self-titled debut LP, singer-songwriter Sarah Negahdari–the front person for the band Happy Hollows who also records under the name Pisces–sounds something like an L.A.-ified reincarnation of Nick Drake, with the same delicate, dreamy take on folk music but sunny Laurel Canyon vibes taking the place of Drake’s very British gloom. The Pisces LP, featuring the hard-to-shake single “Being With You,” came out last week. You can stream it here or buy it on Bandcamp.

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It's ghouls' night out in Johnny Aries' 'This Grave Is My Bed Tonight' video

Johnny-Aries

Last year, erstwhile Two Wounded Birds front man Johnny Aries moved from London to New York in order to join up with his former tour mates The Drums. Along with playing on their most recent album, Encyclopedia, Aries has also written and recorded his first solo LP, Unbloomedsince his relocation.

Combining punchy pop with a bit of gothy postpunk edge, it’s like a trip back in time to the period in the ’80s where alternative youth culture was ruled by swooning, floppy-haired Smiths fans.

The video for its lead single, “This Grave Is My Bed Tonight,” underlines that aspect by slapping some vampiric makeup on Aries and friends and sending them out onto the streets of New York.

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Naomi Punk's 'Television Man' gets a hypnotic, hypermuscular video

Last month Olympia, Washington weirdos Naomi Punk released Television Man, 10 tracks of jagged postpunk, Pacific Northwest grunge, and art-damaged sonic experimentation that’s as genuinely pleasurable as it is challenging. The title track is also maybe the album’s best, a hypnotic, mathy prog-punk anthem with touches of krautrock drive and almost New Age-y prismatic psychedelia.

The kaleidoscopic video for “Television Man” takes a slightly literal approach to visualizing the song with degraded videotape of flexing bodybuilders, but blasts the images into abstraction through repetition and reflection. “Basically,” writes director Robin Stein, “it came from an initial interest in using mirrors as an analog effect for manipulating video imagery. Beyond the initial visual treatment—inspired by imagery of 1970s body-building and the Philip Lorca Dicorcia photography series ‘Lucky 13’—I was looking at how the contours of extreme musculature could become an abstract and dark visual medium.”

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Sara Jackson-Holman releases a spooky Natasha Kmeto remix of 'Haunt Me'

In its original form, which you can hear on her River Queen EP, Sara Jackson-Holman’s “Haunt Me” is an airy piano ballad that shows off her knack for catchy melodies and interesting, unfussy arrangements, and is considerably cheerier than its title suggests.

In the hands of fellow Portlander Natasha Kmeto, whose dark but danceable electronic compositions might seem a world away from Jackson-Holman (but are actually strangely complementary), it becomes something much more, well, haunting. It should come in handy when you make your playlist of songs to get spookily down to this weekend.

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'The Goonies' meets 'The X-Files' in Rich Aucoin's 'Want to Believe' video

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.

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Niia's 'Breaking' gives vocal jazz an intriguing modern makeover

NIIA

Singer-songwriter Niia Bertino–who goes by her first name, pronounced”Nye-a”–is crafting a singular career path for herself. A classically trained pianist with a pop-friendly voice, she got her first big break on Wyclef Jean’s “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)” but has largely eschewed radio-friendly hits in favor of making subtle, intimate music that rewards careful listening. Her upcoming debut Generation Blue (out tomorrow on Something Local) was recorded with Danish musician Robin Hannibal, the producer behind the cultishly beloved groups Rhye and Quadron, and it deftly uses the template of contemporary minimalist electronic music to help bring vocal jazz into the here and now, a difficult mission that it pulls off with surprising ease.

The intriguingly spare “Breaking” is typical of the pair’s approach, even if it is atypical subject matter. “This song was one of the hardest songs to write on the EP,” Niia writes in an email. “Until I was really ready to admit my mistakes, the song felt unfinished. This is my first real apology song.”

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Mykki Blanco on Gay Dog Food and why you shouldn't call him a gay rapper

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Michael Quattlebaum Jr., better known as Mykki Blanco, is a singular presence in hip-hop, not just because he’s part of the first wave of openly queer rappers to gain traction with an audience outside the queer community but simply because there’s no other hip-hop artists who look, sound, or act like him. On his new mixtape Gay Dog Food he shows off some of the blunt-instrument flow that he built his reputation on, but spends far more time channeling Iggy Pop with an elastic sprechgesang that he uses to deliver hallucinatory lyrics about freaks, drugs, and kinky sex, wallowing in transgressive behavior with manic glee over beats engineered for maximum sonic filth. It’s one of the year’s most bracing rap records, and signals Mykki Blanco’s elevation from a new artist to keep an eye out for to an icon who demands attention. A few days before Gay Dog Food‘s release EW spoke to him by phone about where’s he’s been and where’ he’s heading.

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