If you notice your computer or smartphone running hot recently, it may be because the internet is currently on fire after the release of “Bang Bang,” an en fuego team-up between Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and British pop star Jessie J. Written and produced by much of the creative team behind Grande’s “Problem,” including Swedish pop warlock Max Martin, “Bang Bang” is a floor-shaking pileup of soulful horn stabs and detuned kick drums. It sounds like the hyperactive love child of Amy Winehouse and DJ Mustard with a three-way battle between the vocalists to see who can go the hardest. It’s tempting to call the contest for Nicki just on general principle—bonus points for her “Queen Nicki dominant, prominent” line—but Grande’s performance, which feels like she’s determined to jump through your headphones and physically tackle your eardrums, offers some serious competition. READ FULL STORY
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Buffalo Clover is a Southern six-piece that blends vintage rock and soul influences in a way that makes them sound sort of like the Band, if instead of breaking up after The Last Waltz the Band had just turned the whole guest-star-filled soiree into an ongoing supergroup. On August 12, the group is releasing two albums, a studio record called Test Your Love and a live album called Live at Five recorded at Nashville’s The Five Spot.
The former album will feature “Hey Child,” a smoldering soul ballad dedicated to a child that the group’s founders and primary songwriters, Margo Price and Jeremy Ivey, lost to a rare heart condition soon after he was born in 2010. READ FULL STORY
Dutch DJ duo Partysquad were part of the sprawling crew of producers behind M.I.A.’s brilliant and noisy Matangi album, helping bring to life the Shampoo-referencing standout track “Double Bubble Trouble.” M.I.A.’s returned the favor now by appearing on the pair’s new Partysquad Summer Mixtape 2014. Along with a remix of “Double Bubble Trouble,” the 77-minute DJ mix also features a brand new collaboration with the Sri Lankan-born singer.
With its rowdy pile-up of handclaps, whistles, Caribbean rhythms, and woozy, pitch-bent synthesizer horns,”Gold” would have fit in well on Matangi. Actually, it sounds quite a bit like a Diplo production–Partysquad co-authored Major Lazer’s cacophonous reggae/EDM hybrid “Original Don”–so it does a pretty good job of suggesting what it might sound like if the creative partnership of M.I.A. and the DJ hadn’t flamed out as spectacularly as their romantic one.
Yawn is an electronics-heavy pop band who has spent the past five years building up a reputation in the Chicago DIY scene, and the band is starting to ease its way up aboveground. Last year, they played Lollapalooza, and this year they’re releasing their second album, Love Chills, with an immediately catchy lead single.
Like the rest of the LP, “Flytrap” was recorded in the band’s live-in studio, which was formerly occupied by the bro-metal band Disturbed (of “Down With the Sickness” fame), and its combination of swaggering fuzztone riffs and trippy electronic flourishes sound like something that will land them a nice spot on the festival circuit.
Love Chills is out September 9 on Old Flame.
Broods are a brother and sister—Georgia and Caleb Nott—based out of Auckland, New Zealand. Geographically inclined pop listeners will note that this is where zeitgeist-dominating teen pop phenomenon Lorde also lives, and the two acts have more in common than just a hometown–Broods’ upcoming album, Evergreen, was produced by Joel Little, who also helmed Pure Heroine, and they share a common goal of uniting radio-friendly pop hooks and the cool-toned minimalist aesthetic that’s been dominating hip-hop during the Drake era.
Recently they released the first single from Evergreen, “Mother & Father,” and with its sweeping hook and up-to-the-minute production it’s already looking like it has a good chance of continuing the Kiwi takeover of the American pop charts. (Their upcoming tour with Sam Smith should help as well.) EW got on the phone with Georgia Nott to discuss it.
On a good day, rapper T.I. and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris have enough drama going on in their lives to test the very limits of the reality show they’ve inhabited since 2011 on T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, and the past few months have been particularly dramatic—even by their standards.
Never ones to handle things anything close to quietly, Tip and Tiny have apparently decided to address the situation through a pair of songs about their relationship. Yesterday, T.I. released a new single, “Stay,” a slow jam with an early-Kanye-style chipmunk soul sample and nostalgia-drenched lyrics that profess undying devotion to a woman with the clumsily earnest hyperbole of a New Edition song. (“Girl, together or apart / But you’ll be forever in my heart, I swear.”)
T.I. and boxer Floyd Mayweather have been beefing recently, and back in May the situation escalated when Mayweather seemingly claimed during a press conference to have slept with Tiny. (Mayweather says he was misheard.) At the same time, the runaway success of T.I.’s protege Iggy Azalea has reignited longstanding rumors that their relationship extends beyond business.
At nearly the same time “Stay” went online, Tiny was posting a new video for “What You Gon Do?” which offers a much different take, and as its combative title suggests (the dirty version is actually called “What The F@#K You Gon Do?”), it doesn’t share “Stay”‘s optimistic perspective. The co-writer of “No Scrubs,” Harris is an expert at airing out men who don’t meet her standards, and the lyrics run down a long list of a partner’s shortcomings, interspersed with threats to up and leave him. The combination of unflinching frankness and a beat that consists of little more than a fantastically deep bass line is enough to blow the sappy “Stay” out of the water. If Tiny and T.I. are entering a full-blown feud with one another (whether actual, scripted or somewhere in between), she’s taking an early lead.
Claude VonStroke has spent the decade pushing dance music’s boundaries while maintaining a strong link to the style’s roots, something a lot of bigger EDM acts just don’t have. On his latest, “CaliFuture,” he fuses the gnarly, squelching synths of vintage Chicago acid house with a funky vocal line that sounds like it could have been lifted right off some super-rare ’80s electro 12-inch.
“I moved to California over 17 years ago with big dreams just like everyone else,” VonStroke says of the song’s lyrical theme. “Originally I thought I would be a filmmaker but I was always better at music. I worked every job from fake perfume salesman to tour guide at Paramount. I got screamed at for many years by Ari Gold-type movie producers but always with a blind belief that someday something good would happen. That’s what this song is about: the underlying belief that no matter how bad it is, you can be plucked out of oblivion and make it big in California.”
“CaliFuture” is available now on Beatport.
Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories helped to revitalize the careers of disco-era masters Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder. Now Arthur Baker—who helped guide disco’s evolution into modern dance music, producing Afrika Bambaataa’s massively influential “Planet Rock” and remixing the biggest pop stars of the ’80s (including, weirdly, Bruce Springsteen, who’s not known for being a club-music kind of guy) along the way—is engineering a comeback of his own.
Baker’s new track, “No Price,” was first written and recorded in 1979 for a collaborative album with soul singer Joe Bataan that was scrapped when their label folded. Thirty years later, Baker dusted it off and sent it to Al-P from MSTRKRFT, and later invited Chromeo crooner Dave 1 to add a new lead vocal part. The final result is a glossy, string-laden jam that gooses peak-era disco funk with some contemporary thump. Baker’s calling his new project Slam Dunk’d, and they’ll be releasing a full album in September.
When Drake first started promoting his OVO label signee PartyNextDoor the Toronto-based R&B singer was widely dismissed as a less compelling replacement for the Weeknd, who had by that point outgrown his early role as Drizzy’s pet project. Following up a shout out on his boss’s recent motivational anthem “0-100,” PND returns with the new single “Recognize,” that moves a little further away from Weeknd-esque atmospheric R&B to explore a harder-edged sound that combines the rhythms of Southern trap rap with rock’s aggressively distorted tones. As for PND’s vocal game, he seems to have picked up a few new tricks from Future and Young Thug.
“Recognize” also features a verse from Drake, the only guest appearance on the track listing for PND’s next full-length, PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO, out July 22. According to the impromptu OVO Sound shareholder report in the coda to “0-100,” the singer is also scheduled to release something next spring, suggesting that the new record is more like a mixtape, and that his official debut album is still to come.
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