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CHVRCHES bring 'Mother We Share' to Guitar Center Sessions

The eighth season of the DirectTV-based concert series Guitar Center Sessions has leaned heavily on ’90s acts like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Damon Albarn, and Snoop Dogg, but for its penultimate episode they’ve brought in a group that’s only just started to bloom. This Sunday, Aug. 10, the show will feature Scottish trio CHVRCHES, whose debut LP, The Bones of What You Believe, has been steadily accumulating fans since it was released last fall, making them one of the more popular acts in the electropop revolution that’s leapt up from the indie underground and started taking over the pop charts.

Here’s a first look at their performance of “Mother We Share,” one of the standout songs from a catalog that’s full of exceptional pop hooks and delicious electronic production.

Hustle and Drone live out their hoop dreams in 'The Glow' video

Ryan Neighbors played keyboards for the proggy rock band Portugal. The Man until 2012, when he left to form the synth-heavy power trio Hustle and Drone. After a spending the past couple years woodshedding in Portland, the group is preparing to release their first LP, HOLYLAND, September 2 on Red Bull Sound Select.

The album’s lead single, “The Glow,” has the fist-pumping energy of an arena-rock anthem, so it makes sense that the group shot its video in the Moda Center, home to the Portland Trail Blazers, fulfilling what Neighbors calls “a childhood dream.” The clip features high-flying, slam-dunking luchadores and a whole lot of fake blood, not to mention enough synthesizers to stock a Guitar Center keyboard section.

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Get familiar with the summer's two biggest dance crazes

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If you don’t spend much time listening to independently produced regional rap music, you’d be forgiven for thinking that songs that spawn particular dance crazes died out somewhere around the time Fat Joe reimagined the dance-song format as a PSA against dancing itself. In fact, the form remains alive—even healthy—in generally isolated pockets of black youth culture. It may not be generating the kind of globe-sweeping phenomena as the Twist or the Macarena, but recent virally popular dances like the Nae Nae and the Cooking Dance have found some measure of mainstream traction, thanks in large part to professional athletes.

Over the summer, two such crazes have taken off from two opposite coasts. At the end of June, 20-year-old rapper Bobby Shmurda blew up out of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, to dominate the rap zeitgeist with his song “Hot N–,” which gives an East Coast spin to Chicago drill music. He possesses the kind of ineffable rock star charisma that makes him captivating even when he turns his back to his audience (showing shades of Jim Morrison). In the video, he deploys a move called the Shmoney Dance, which his GS9 crew co-hort Rowdy Rebbel first introduced to the world through its titular song back in February (though few noticed at the time). Since then, Shmurda has signed a deal with Epic Records, made a rather enthusiastic fan of Lil Wayne, and turned the Shmoney Dance into the latest celebrity fad.


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Maddie and Tae give Nashville a shakeup with 'Girl in a Country Song'

Ever notice how every country song on the radio kind of sounds the same? So did Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye, a teenage country duo who are currently storming up the charts with the single “Girl in a Country Song.” Built around the same drum-loop-kissed, honky-tonk hop that dominates the country airwaves, Maddie and Tae stick it to all the clichés that drive the problematic subset of the mainstream Nashville sound dubbed “bro country.”

“We were going into a songwriting session one day, and we had just been in the car listening to country radio like we do every single day, because we love these songs and we love these guys,” explains the 18-year-old Tae. “We were laughing, because all these lyrics were very similar, and there were a lot of clichés in them. So what we did was we made this checklist, and on the checklist it had bare feet, cutoffs, tanlines, tan legs, but the most important one is the girl.” READ FULL STORY

Watch Charli XCX slay 'I Want Candy'

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Between her assists on massive singles by Iggy Azalea (“Fancy”) and Icona Pop (“I Love It”) and her own chart-scaling single “Boom Clap,” Charli XCX has earned herself a well-deserved reputation as a go-to performer of potently exuberant, candy-colored pop songs. There are few songs in the modern pop songbook that fit that same description as well as “I Want Candy,” originally performed by an ad hoc group called the Strangeloves in 1965, but thoroughly owned by Bow Wow Wow since they recorded a cover in 1982. So it’s not unexpected that Charli covering “I Want Candy” would work out pretty well.

What is surprising is how raw and–to use a shudderingly uncool word–rocking it is. Charli has been touring in front of a crack power trio, and “I Want Candy” is a much better showcase for their skills than acoustic versions of “Boom Clap.” Their version is just a little too fast and just a little too loud, and it’s pretty ragged around the edges, which is to say pretty much the ideal way of tackling this particular song. (Thanks in part to the usual lack of practice time before promotional duties like covering songs for internet TV shows, probably.) If Charli ever decides pop stardom isn’t for her, she and her girls could probably find a home making noise on the DIY punk circuit without much trouble. READ FULL STORY

Radiohead drummer Philip Selway releases super-cool 'Coming Up for Air' video

Normally when the drummer for a rock band releases a solo record, there are exactly two kinds of people who care: the band’s most devoted fans, and the drummer’s closest family and friends. Given how proggy Radiohead’s gotten—and the fact that albums by drummers tend to be the most self-indulgent, “jazz odyssey” type of solo projects—it’s therefore a little surprising that “Coming Up for Air,” the lead single from drummer Philip Selway’s sophomore album, Weatherhouse, isn’t a six-part instrumental composition for gamelan in 5/18 time, or something. Instead, it’s a perfectly nice trip-hop-inflected pop song, with vocals and everything.

Just as cool as the song itself is its accompanying video, directed by the Spanish film collective NYSU. With its surreal imagery and overwhelming atmosphere of noirish paranoia, it’s like a collaboration between Rene Magritte and Alfred Hitchcock—albeit overlaid with the flattened look of a late-’70s cop show. READ FULL STORY

Chris Messina, Dianna Agron get serious in Sam Smith 'I'm Not The Only One' video

The latest single from Sam Smith’s debut album, The Lonely Hour, is “I’m Not The Only One,” a song about exactly what it sounds like: Infidelity. Fittingly, in the newly released video for the single, directed by Luke Monaghan, The Mindy Project‘s Chris Messina plays the cheating husband to Dianna Agron’s heartbroken wife. There’s sex, there’s alcohol, and there’s Smith’s killer vocals; what more could you ask for? READ FULL STORY

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

Watch Katy Perry's pop-art video for 'This Is How We Do'

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In a new Rolling Stone interview, Katy Perry complains about being accused of cultural appropriation—thanks to the big-bootied mummy dancers on her recent tour and the geisha outfit she wore at the American Music Awards. From now on, she says (presumably no small amount of sarcasm), “I guess I’ll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that’s it.”

Neither baseball nor hot dogs appear in the video she just dropped for her YOLO anthem “This Is How We Do.” There are, however, plenty of vivid colors and retro styling that references the early days of pop art, not to mention pizza and watermelon. She also rocks a “ratchet” getup with cornrows and a friend listed in her phone as a “thot…” so those cultural appropriation charges will probably keep rolling in. READ FULL STORY

Macy Gray kills in music video for (another song called) 'Bang Bang'

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The scene in Macy Gray’s latest music video for “Bang Bang” starts out innocent enough: There’s drinking, some dancing, poker. Then things quickly escalate until two people are dead. Oops?

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