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The Oscar music snubs: no love for Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, 'Llewyn Davis' or Coldplay

Check to make sure the rivers haven’t turned to blood and all first-borns aren’t suddenly afflicted with pox, because the impossible has happened: Taylor Swift was not nominated for an award.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ passing on Swift’s “Sweeter Than Fiction” (from the film One Chance) is easily one of the most high-profile snubs from this morning’s Oscar nominations announcement. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe and seemed like an obvious pick for an invite on Oscar night, if only because people love giving Taylor Swift gold trophies (and also because it would have brought some much-needed youth to the Oscar party).

Instead, the contenders in the Best Original Song category are U2’s “Ordinary Love” (from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom), Karen O’s “The Moon Song” (Her), Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (Despicable Me 2), Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel’s “Alone But Not Alone” (from the deeply obscure Christian film of the same name), and the song “Let It Go” from the Disney blockbuster Frozen, which is performed by Idina Menzel and written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. (It’s the writers, not the performers, who take home the gold.)

The race seems to be down to the Golden Globe winner and sentimental favorite “Ordinary Love” (which would be as much an award for the late Nelson Mandela as it would be for U2) and the sales juggernaut “Let It Go” (which has propelled the Frozen soundtrack to the top of the mainstream album chart and elevated it to gold status). “Happy” and “The Moon Song” are much longer shots, but both are both cool choices crafted by deeply respected members of the music world.

Of course, that leaves “Alone But Not Alone,” one of the most inexplicable Oscar nominations in the history of the awards. The film barely exists, and the song itself is a dreary dirge of a hymn that sounds like it should be played in the midst of a sleepy Sunday morning mass. It has virtually no chance of winning, and its legacy will be as a bizarre curiosity in a category notorious for them.

It would be a less shocking inclusion if the Oscar nomination shortlist (75 songs in all) didn’t contain so many markedly stronger options. READ FULL STORY

Staff Picks: Stream our January playlist featuring Broken Bells, Angel Haze, Black Lips and more

Pop’s superstars may be busy picking out their Grammy outfits, but a relatively quiet post-holiday release time just means there’s more room for lesser-known names (and a few old-school alt icons) in our headphones.

Read on to stream some of our favorite songs from the likes of Stephen Malkmus, Mø, Dum Dum Girls, Sevyn Streeter, St. Vincent, Mogwai and more — all from just-released or upcoming albums.

READ FULL STORY

Kanye West makes Kim Kardashian star of 'Bound 2': Watch it here

Kanye West is on quite the charm offensive.

Yesterday, ‘Ye dropped by a college in Boston — well, not in Boston, but nearby — to give not only a surprisingly self-deprecating speech but also free tickets to his Yeezus tour stop at TD Garden.

Then, this morning, he stopped by Ellen‘s studio to premiere his latest video for “Bound 2,” starring his fiancée Kim Kardashian, who rides on a motorcycle with her man and without a helmet.

Oh, and she’s topless.

And with that, let’s get straight to the video:

READ FULL STORY

Lady Gaga's Russian concert promoters fined for 'propaganda of homosexuality'

It’s not all self-effacing SNL appearances and surprise H&M appearances in GagaWorld. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that promoters who brought the pantsless diva to St. Petersburg in 2013 have been fined for violating the nation’s controversial anti-gay law, which bans the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.”

Specifically, a court ruled, the concert organizers engaged in “propaganda of alcohol consumption and homosexuality,” which violates a Russian law about “protecti[ng] children from information that could harm their health or development.” The offenders were ordered to pay a fine of 20,000 rubles, or $615, on Nov. 14 when the court upheld a ruling passed in May.

The verdict comes nearly a year after Gaga’s performance — and about 15 months after St. Petersburg regional deputy Vitaly Milonov told the organizers to deny minors entry to the Gaga show. At least Gaga can take comfort in knowing she’s in good company; her sometime-rival Madonna came under similar fire during a St. Petersburg show in August 2012, when she voiced her support for the gay community. (A Russian court ultimately ruled in favor of the singer.)

Though the fine itself is nominal, The Hollywood Reporter notes that this ruling allows complaintant Nadezha Petrova — who alleged that her 13-year-old daughter “was exposed to an imitation of sexual intercourse between women and advocacy of alcohol consumption” during the Gaga show — to sue Gaga’s organizers in criminal court, possibly demanding millions of rubles in damages.

The organizers declared on Russian TV that they plan to appeal the decision.

Lily Allen's new, Robin Thicke-teasing NSFW 'Hard Out There' -- watch it here

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Lily Allen, where have you been?

Mostly she’s been busy being Lily Cooper, then Lily Allen again — getting married, making babies, and dipping a toe back into the pop pool.

Now she’s fully back with a new single, “Hard Out Here,” and a video that pokes at both Hype Williams-era rap videos and right-now product placements plus … other kinds of placements. (Paging Mr. Thicke!)

It’s all a little bit NSFW, but keep your 18-and-over eye on the Mylar balloons that come in around 3:08: READ FULL STORY

Miley Cyrus lights up onstage at MTV European Music Awards -- VIDEO

Remember when you were so emotionally disturbed by Miley Cyrus’ twerking at the VMAs you wanted to remove your eyeballs with a rusty spoon? Or the time you rushed your family down to your homemade bomb shelter after viewing her “Wrecking Ball” video? Nope, me neither. But, as previously reported, earlier today the pop star continued her year of Offending People Who Enjoy Being Offended By Things Miley Cyrus Does when she lit up what most definitely did not look like a cigarette at the MTV European Music Awards in Amsterdam, birthplace of the marijuana-dispensing coffee shop and Kirk Douglas (although only one of those facts seems relevant to this story).

READ FULL STORY

Hear the National's new 'Hunger Games' soundtrack song 'Lean'

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We’ve already heard the contributions from Christina Aguilera, Coldplay, and the Lumineers — but the child gladiators of Hunger Games: Catching Fire demand more, more kill ballads!

Sonorous Brooklyn-via-Ohio vest rockers the National oblige today with the stately “Lean”; listen here: READ FULL STORY

M.I.A.'s 'Matangi': A great album, not to be taken too seriously

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Why some people take M.I.A. so seriously, I don’t know. Haters, stans, people who use the word “appropriative”—I’d hope they would all share a laugh when Maya flips off the worldwide audience of the 2012 Super Bowl, invites Julian Assange to Skype from the stage of a concert, or—as she does on her fourth album, Matangi—answers the long kaput YOLO business with “Y.A.L.A.,” or “You Always Live Again,” a song that ends with her explaining, “[and] that’s why they invented karma.”

I’m as entertained, in other words, by Maya’s chaotic and sometimes kooky nonconformity as by her free-trade beats, far-out hooks, and supremely self-aware exploitation of (to Westerners) “exotica.”

And I don’t doubt that the she’s got a sense of humor about it all, either. Unless I’m misreading lines like, “If you’re gonna be me you need a manifesto/If you ain’t got one you better get one presto,” from the new album’s thrumming title track.

READ FULL STORY

Stream singer-songwriter Chris Garneau's 'Winter Games' here -- EXCLUSIVE

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Brooklyn singer-songwriter Chris Garneau — whose charmingly eccentric compositions you’ve heard everywhere from Grey’s Anatomy to terrifying Pedro Almodovar movies — will release his new album, Winter Games, on Nov. 12.

But you can hear it here exclusively a full week early. Listen below: READ FULL STORY

Southern psych rockers Wax Fang debut 'Hearts Are Made for Beating' video -- EXCLUSIVE

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You may know Louisville psych rockers Wax Fang from their many tour dates with fellow Kentucky beardos My Morning Jacket, or their guest-starring soundtrack role on a memorable episode of FOX’s American Dad this spring centered around “the surreal sci-fi aftermath of Jeff Fischer’s alien abduction.”

Or maybe this is your introduction to the band — in which case, enjoy this cinematic lesson on kids, cardiology (hearts, what are they made for?), and balloon-icide. Enjoy!

Watch “Hearts Are Made for Beating” below: READ FULL STORY

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