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Future Islands warm up a chilly New York City

“Sometimes it can’t be warm on the outside so we have to warm it up on the inside,” Sam Herring, frontman for Future Islands, told a rambunctious crowd Thursday night at New York’s Terminal 5 concert venue, their first in a two-night series. Future Islands aren’t a new band—their first release together came with 2006’s Little Advances—but thanks to an electric Letterman performance last spring (one of EW‘s top videos of the year), Herring has been playing to bigger and bigger crowds and beguiling them with his with his arsenal of grave crooning, death-metal roars, and propulsive dance moves.

Thursday’s show was just the band’s second time playing Terminal 5, a 3,000 person venue, and their biggest U.S. show to date. Their first appearance here was back in 2011 where, Herring told the crowd in his slightly Southern lilt, the band played to just about a hundred people. Thursday night saw a sold out crowd of dancers, moshers, and bodysurfers ready to dance, jump, and mosh as prompted. (“I wanna see what kind of moves y’all got!” Herring declared at the opening of “Doves.”)

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Best of 2014: EW's music staff picks their personal favorites

EW‘s end of year lists are a group effort, the product of several rounds of nominations, negotiations, arguments, and compromises. While there were a lot of passionate appeals made on behalf of our favorite albums and songs of 2014 when we were assembling our official list, not every one of our jams made the final cut. Presented here are our music staff’s personal favorite albums and songs that were left off.

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The 5 best music videos of 2014

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Over the past few decades, music videos have gone from promotional larks to a nascent cable network’s cornerstones to relics of an old promotional strategy to perhaps the single most important element of an artist’s rollout plan. A good music video can completely make an artist, or turn a song from a mild hit into a phenomenon. And since most of the Billboard charts now take streaming numbers into account when making calculations, a well-watched clip can be the difference between a write-off on your business expenses and chart dominance.

This was a pretty excellent year for music videos. Though there are only five picks below, they were culled from a list of several dozen, many of which served not only as vessels for excellent songs but also as gripping short films.  READ FULL STORY

SXSW: Future Islands deliver their own brand of art-pop

Thursday night at SXSW, scores of badge-less festivalgoers could be seen lingering on the curb outside of Stubb’s, craning their necks to catch a mere glimpse of Lady Gaga, the ARTPOP diva who was playing the (ahem) Doritos Bold Stage. Which is a shame, because for a just few dollars those fans could’ve walked 20 feet up the street to Cheerup Charlie’s and seen Future Islands, the Baltimore trio that’s been making waves with their own brand of synthy, deliriously fun art-pop.

Without a doubt, Future Islands was the name I heard most often when I asked people what they wanted to see this week. And it’s no wonder: The group’s hypnotic performance on Letterman last week quickly propelled them to famous-on-the-internet status, just in time for their big week in Austin. The level of excitement at their 4AD showcase last night was appropriately high.

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