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Thundercat and Eric Andre just made the most demented music video of the year

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 JASH, the YouTube comedy channel founded by Sarah Silverman, Tim & Eric, Michael Cera, and a bunch of other just-left-of-mainstream funny types, has a subsidiary called Buh, where stuff that’s even weirder than the weird stuff on JASH gets filed. One of the regular features there is called “$5,000 Video” where a comedian and a rapper are, as you probably guessed, are given $5,000 to make a music video. (Maybe you saw the one with Hannibal Buress and Chance the Rapper.)

The latest installment pairs Eric Andre Show and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 star Eric Andre with Thundercat, who’s not actually a rapper but whose association with Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder crew puts him in close proximity to the LA avant-garde rap scene. The track they chose is “Tron Song,” from Thundercat’s 2013 solo album Apocalypse, where he trades in his usual frenetic bass freakouts for a tender psychedelic soul ballad about his cat. Filtering the cat theme through Andre’s distinctive lo-fi surreal visual aesthetic–where glitchy psychedelia occasionally gets uncomfortably close to “bad trip” territory–results in a clip full of VHS-era video effects, deviant sex acts, and defecation in a human-sized litter box, along with a few cameos by the titular cat where he looks just as confused by what’s going on as anyone watching.

At a time where the plethora of music videos on YouTube has made shock value a close second behind gratuitous nudity as a method of attracting viewers, the “Tron Song” clip manages to stand out as particularly demented. Bravo, gentlemen.

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Listen to Ariel Pink's 'Put Your Number in My Phone,' off his upcoming double LP

Ariel Pink never stays away for long. On Nov. 18, he’ll release his first album since 2012’s Mature Themes, ending a hiatus that’s an especially long one for the prolific freak folkie .

The album, pom pom, will be a double LP, and Pink’s first record without his group, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. “Although this is the first ‘solo’ record credited to my name, it is by far the least ‘solo’ record I have ever recorded,” he said in a statement. We’ll see what exactly Pink means by that in a couple months.

For now, he’s given us the album’s first single, “Put Your Number in My Phone,” which you can listen to below. The groovy cut picks up where 2012’s flowery “Only in My Dreams” left off, while spurning the mellow vibes of classic Ariel Pink songs like “Round and Round” and “Baby”

“Put Your Number in My Phone” will be one of 17 tracks spanning pom pom‘s 69 minutes and four sides—which are slyly labeled P-I-N-K rather than A-B-C-D.

Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus team up on 'Never Catch Me'

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Speaking of Cali hip-hop, two of the most important figures in the contemporary L.A. rap scene, Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, just revealed a surprising new collaborative single. The pair embody two of the dominant themes that have been bouncing around it recently: on one hand, a nostalgia-tinged re-engagement with the city’s gangsta rap history, and on the other, a psychedelic deconstructionist movement, influenced by cosmic free jazz, that’s doing to the boom bap what Ornette Coleman did to bebop. They may seem like artists with very disparate goals, but “Never Catch Me” shows that they’re more compatible than they may seem on the surface.

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Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo is an emotional rollercoaster

Even in an age where music has become immediately accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and no need to wait for import CDs to make their way across the ocean and into Tower Records, it’s not uncommon for songs to find their American audience months or even years after breaking in Europe. In fact, some fairly sizeable hits have happened that way—Disclosure’s “Latch,” Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights,” for example.

There are a handful of such singles on the Hot 100 right now. Among them: Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High),” which this week reached No. 23, its highest point in the 13 weeks it’s spent on the chart. Lo initially self-released “Habits” in March of last year, after which it was picked up by a label and reissued in December. But it wasn’t until this past March, with the official release of a remix that the California duo Hippie Sabotage had originally posted online, that the song really took off. The remix hit the top 10 in a half-dozen countries in Europe and Oceania, and was picked up by a number of influential American pop blogs.

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Allah-Las get a psychedelic handmade video for 'Buffalo Nickel'

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LA’s Allah-Las are one of the few bands in existence that can come off as brain-meltingly psychedelic and totally chill at the exact same time. With the jangly guitars and vocal harmonies of a ’60s folk rock group and the hippie-fied, mind-expanding quality of a Carlos Castaneda book, they’ve spent the past few years instigating a cosmic takeover of the underground garage rock scene.

Their latest single, “Buffalo Nickel,” from their upcoming sophomore album Worship the Sun (out Sept. 16 on Innovative Leisure), is a fantastic place to jump on their trip. The video, made using the same handmade stop-motion techniques that were popular 50 years ago, makes a perfect accompaniment to the song’s slightly rough-hewn psychedelia.

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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

Surrealism meets avant-crunk in Shabazz Palaces' '#CAKE' video

Shabazz Palaces’ 2011 debut Black Up had a luxurious sleekness to its sound and a fiery political charge to its lyrics—qualities that it shared with Watch the Throne, which was released just a few weeks later—but with far less concern for pleasing a pop-oriented audience. For their new album, Lese Majesty, the duo has responded to Black Up‘s surprising success by pushing even further out with even more political intensity, even weirder beats, and much weirder promo photos.

Lese Majesty isn’t as easily accessible their first album, with song structures that consistently refuse to follow standard pop blueprints. But beat-maker Fly Guy ‘Dai and MC Palaceer Lazaro (aka former Digable Planets member Ishmael Butler) make sure to provide enough hooks to help listeners get on their deconstructionist level. A lot of them come on “#CAKE,” which is the closest thing to radio-friendly that the album gets, with a warped take on an old-school electro-rap beat and lyrics that walk a line between club-friendly sing-along and psychedelic chanting.

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Watch BLKHRTS party hard in their 'Porties' video

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Denver’s BLKHRTS are part of an insurgent movement that’s given hip-hop its own version of punk rock, overflowing with anarchic energy and intensely distorted sounds. They’re a little more gothed out than the other acts that fall under the umbrella of “noise rap,” like CLPPNG and the recently disbanded Death Grips. In an interview with their hometown alt-weekly, the Denver Westword, the group’s producer Yonnas Abraham–who makes the band’s beats on an outdated, not entirely functional, 20-year-old sampler–calls himself, “obsessed with romance, obsessed with death, and obsessed with the color black.”

BLKHRTS goth tendencies come through loud and clear on “Porties,” where they rap about romantic complications over a beat that samples Bauhaus’ “She’s In Parties.” The video, with its moody, high-contrast visuals and party-hardy action, sums up the group’s mission nicely.

Kelela and Le1f team up for the spacey slow jam 'OICU'

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Kelela and Le1f are two independent artists teetering on the verge of serious pop stardom. Kelela is part of a new wave of R&B artists forging connections with the leading edge of electronic dance music who’s made a fan of, among others, Solange Knowles, who put her on the avant-R&B compilation, Saint Heron, that she released on her Saint Records label last year. Le1f, meanwhile, is doing something similar with rap and the underground club scene, and the raw energy he brought to his Letterman performance earlier this year gave him an unexpected foothold in the mainstream.

Neither of the two are content to just wait around for their seemingly inevitable breaks to come through. Both are busy at work on their next big moves. But in the meantime, while those projects are coming together, they’ve paired up to record “OICU.” Produced by beat-maker P. Morris, the track showcases their mutual talents for creating a vibe that’s spacey, sexy, and effortlessly chill. It’s a match made in stoner-avant-pop heaven.

Taylor Swift announces new single, album, and video in livestream

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In a half press conference, half fan event hosted on a Yahoo! livestream this afternoon, Taylor Swift shared a new single, its video, and the news that she has a new album out Oct. 27. The song, “Shake It Off,” is an enthusiastic, uptempo composition with flourishes of retro soul thanks to a skronking horn arrangement and a dance-friendly energy that the video, directed by Mark Romanek, reflects with performances by dancers in styles ranging from ballet to twerking. In a surprise turn, Swift handles the song’s rap interlude herself.

The album will be called 1989, both for the year of Swift’s birth and the period of pop history that it draws most heavily from. Swift said that according to people she talked to in the course of investigating late ’80s pop, the era was “apparently a time of limitless potential.” She described 1989 as both “my very first documented, official pop album” and “my favorite album we ever made.”

1989 is available for pre-order from Swift’s website, which seems to be down at the moment thanks to an overwhelming amount of traffic. A deluxe version of the LP will feature several songs in their earliest demo form as voice memos saved to Swift’s phone, as well as reproductions from Polaroids she’s shot.

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