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Danny Brown has a psychedelic house party in 'Smokin' & Drinkin' video

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Back in July, EW visited the Greenpoint, Brooklyn location where Detroit rapper Danny Brown was shooting a video for the Old track “Smokin’ & Drinkin’.” Wednesday, the final product hit the Internet in all its hedonistic glory.

Director Alan Del Rio Ortiz described the clip’s theme as “like a house party, but in a dream,” and to that end, he dropped Brown (clad in a leather jacket and Dead Boys tee) into a group of pretty young people going bananas in a psychedelically lit apartment. There’s a lot of dancing, a lot of glitter, a lot of 40′s being chugged, and since it’s a rap video, a generous number of attractive women just chilling in a shower.

Behind the scenes at Danny Brown's 'Smokin' & Drinkin' video shoot

Wednesday night in a Greenpoint apartment, the air was thick with weed smoke. All of the furniture in the living room was shoved into one corner, while in the kitchen, a group of partially undressed young people milled around with drinks in their hands. Rap songs played out of a small guitar amp on the floor. It looked like a house party, aside from the lighting rigs and the large camera dolly in the middle of the room.

In actuality, it was the video shoot for Detroit rapper Danny Brown’s A-Trak-produced “Smokin’ & Drinkin’” off last year’s album, Old. “The way I’ve been explaining it to people,” says director Alan Del Rio Ortiz, “is like a house party, but in a dream. So there’s a lot of strange lighting and strange camera movements going on. We have Froot Loops everywhere. The hardest thing was really the logistics of getting a really crazy party going with people who’ve never met each other.” READ FULL STORY

Pitchfork Music Festival was more than just indie rock

The online music magazine Pitchfork is synonymous with indie rock, but as it’s grown in reputation and influence it has also branched out stylistically to give nearly equal space to rap, metal, dance music, and other genres that aren’t based on fuzzy, jangly guitars. (Full disclosure: I was a regular contributor there until recently.) This year’s installment of its annual music festival was a reflection of that diversity, and of the expanding listening habits of the contemporary counterculture.

One of the first performers to take the stage on Friday night was Neneh Cherry, whose 1989 Raw Like Sushi was an unprecedented collision of pop, punk, R&B, rap, and dance music, and whose “Buffalo Stance” remains one of the best singles of the ’80s. Since she came out of retirement in 2012 she’s traded the brashness of her early years for a subtler approach, particularly on her most recent album, Blank Project, where she traded the hard-edged beats she built her career from for an emphasis on texture. Her performance, backed by the group RocketNumberNine, used the same approach, peaking with a rendition of “Buffalo Stance” that was considerably softer and smoother than the original, but still delivered the same crowd-moving energy.

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Image Credit: Barry Brecheisen/AP

While Cherry may have moved on from her ’80s template, there were a number of performers over the weekend who are working from the style-crossing template she created. Kelela is an R&B artist who songs over propulsive beats by dance music producers who occupy some of the genre’s darker corners. While her collaborators still reside in the underground, the massive crowd at her side-stage performance indicates that she’s on her way to a much larger audience. FKA Twigs also brought a big crowd to the smaller stage for a set of heady electronic R&B that pulls from a variety of sources–from Houston rap to the post-dubstep UK dance scene–and ends up sounding like a batch of Aaliyah songs drifting psychedelically through outer space.

R&B is a recent addition to the festival. Hip-hop, on the other hand, has been a part of it nearly from the start, but never to the extent that it was this year. Danny Brown and Pusha T both delivered performances from one of the big stages on Saturday that overflowed with sing-along hooks and swagger. Brown has spent most of his time since 2011′s XXX blew up on the road, and onstage he delivers energy as tightly focused as his raps.

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Image Credit: Barry Brecheisen / AP

Rap dominated Sunday, with performances by up and comer Isaiah Rashad, Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt, and Schoolboy Q in quick succession, the latter two back to back on the big stage, which hasn’t happened before at the Pitchfork Festival. Kendrick Lamar closed out the festival on Sunday night, which was another first. Backed by a full band and some gorgeous cinematic visuals he blasted through a set of already-classics from his 2013 Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City to a crowd several times the size of the one he played to from the side stage at the 2012 Pitchfork Festival. In scale, ambition, and crowd response it was the biggest set of the festival, its one true rock-star moment.

Dance music still isn’t Pitchfork’s strong suit, and lackluster sets by Jon Hopkins and Hudson Mohawke never quite ignited. But the genre did provide the most moving moment of the weekend, during a Sunday afternoon performance by Chicago producer DJ Spinn, whose creative partner DJ Rashad died in April. Spinn and Rashad are to of the most important figures in a style called footwork, and Spinn brought out a stage full of footwork dancers—whose speed and acrobatic dexterity can seem almost superhuman—to accompany him. It felt something like a wake, and a celebration not only of the music that he devoted his life to but the very power of music to make us move, sometimes in extraordinary ways.

New Album Roundup: Read EW's reviews of Justin Timberlake, Drake, Icona Pop, and more

Every Tuesday morning in New Album Roundup, we’ll publish our reviews of the week’s releases as found in the pages of Entertainment Weekly. This week: Justin Timberlake, Drake, Elton John, Danny Brown, Icona Pop, and CHVRCHES. 

Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience—2 of 2  The 20/20 Experience found Timberlake and longtime collaborator Timbaland turning the latter’s signature syncopated funk into a strangely insular experience. Apparently the producer saved his haymakers for round 2, because he’s in full classic-Timba mode here…. Those throwback blasts give 2 of 2 a more immediate punch than its predecessor, even as 2 falls prey to the same pitfalls.” (Click here for Kyle Anderson’s full review.)

Drake, Nothing Was the Same  Nothing Was the Same bristles with epiphanies, absurdities, and plenty of bluster, but it’s all fodder for a hyper-realistic portrait of Aubrey Drake Graham, not some coronation ceremony…. Meanwhile, the music itself, largely produced by his stalwart collaborator Noah ’40′ Shebib, explores affinities with songs that overlap and build on each other. It’s a thinking rapper’s paradise.” (Click here for Nick Catucci’s full review.)

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