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Animal Collective's Panda Bear made us an eclectic playlist of music to explore

If you’re a fan of Animal Collective, the pack of indie art-pop weirdos who’ve released a whopping nine albums together, you know its co-founder Panda Bear. The 36-year-old multi-instrumentalist (whose driver’s license reads Noah Lennox) recently released his fifth studio album, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. It’s a complex quilt of psychedelic keyboards, samples of animal noises, and loopy, echoing vocals. It has the catchy melodies we’ve come to expect from him, but also pushes the envelope sonically into new terrain. Grim Reaper is the rare album that works as well for heavy headphone listening as it does for blasting out of car speakers, and you’ll find something fresh on every spin.

Lennox made us a playlist of some of the albums and songs that have made him the odd, awesome songwriter he is today. Just like his own albums, it’s eclectic, addictive, and packed with audio gems.

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Sia's dancer mini-me, Maddie Ziegler, talks 'Chandelier,' 'Elastic Heart,' and dance-fighting with Shia LaBeouf

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Inscrutable pop priestess Sia found herself with a juggernaut on her hands last May, when she released the lead, platinum-selling single “Chandelier” from her sixth LP, 1,000 Forms of Fear. Instead of slapping on some makeup and thigh-high boots to star in that song’s video, she let a (literal) kid take the spotlight—in a janky blonde wig and a nude leotard. It was an outfit that launched a thousand parodies and tribute Halloween costumes. The tween at the center of the meme was dancer Maddie Ziegler, star of camp-reality show Dance Moms. In the video, she delivers a performance that’s spookily intense, delightfully weird, and thoroughly twitchy—one that placed Maddie squarely in music-video history.

Sia tapped the now-12-year-old Maddie to star alongside Shia LaBeouf in her latest video, which spotlights the single “Elastic Heart.” The result—a tough-to-deconstruct face-off between Maddie and the temperamental actor—is already the subject of controversy and a slew of think pieces. We chatted with Maddie about being “family” with Sia, her place in the pop-culture pantheon, and what she really thinks of Shia’s dance skills.

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Nick Jonas: The former boy bander goes rogue

From ages 13 to 21, Nick Jonas was a member of one of the early-aughts’ most beloved pop confections, the Disney-approved Jonas Brothers. His family band called it quits last year, but Jonas didn’t stay out of the recording booth for long: His R&B-infused, Parental-Advisory-sticker-bedecked solo album, Nick Jonas, was released in November. This soulful, sexy LP brought him a brand-new gang of fans who are just like Jonas: all grown up.

Now Jonas is making headlines by his lonesome—he’s got his first Top 10 single (“Jealous”), a recurring part as a closeted mixed martial-arts fighter on DirecTV’s Kingdom, and he’s (gasp!) admitted to taking off his purity ring and becoming, well, unpure. He can barely sip a latte without being stalked by the paparazzi, and his on-screen sex scenes are gleefully GIF-ed within hours of hitting the airwaves. In short, it’s Nick Jonas’ world: we just look at his abs in it.

Jonas chatted with EW about his image re-haul, posing shirtless, and inciting a scandal.

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Synthpop auteur Harrison Scott shares retro-fied 'Silence Into Noise' video

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New York-based Harrison Scott has a real knack for emulating the sounds of ’80s synthpop, but it’s the little tweaks that he throws into the proven formula–like the Auto Tune-esque vocoder–that make his new single “Silence Into Noise” stand out.

With its sticky melody, body-jacking beat, and whiff of haughty intellectualism (which is definitely not a bad thing in this case), the track would have worked well on club dance floors when Erasure first hit the scene—and it still works great now. The video continues the theme of slightly chilly aesthetics by putting Scott in a couture shorts set and a series of mannered poses, which reflect the aloofness that all serious synthesizer artistes should aspire to.

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One Direction channels Journey, gets dad-friendly with 'Steal My Girl'

Did One Direction recently spend some time at the School of Rock? It’s possible—if the School of Rock happens to be headed by Journey.

For the boy band’s latest single, “Steal My Girl,” One Direction takes things in a new, ’80s classic rock direction. More specifically, the opening of “Steal My Girl” is enough to give any Journey fan a bit of deja vu, as the song sounds something like One Direction’s version of Journey’s 1983 hit “Faithfully.” One Direction’s mid-song “na na na na na” even recalls Journey’s mid-song “woah oh oh oh.” It feels a lot like One Direction is trying to make a new name for itself—and it’s not terrible.

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From Madonna to Miley Cyrus: The most memorable VMA performances ever

Creating a memorable VMA performance can be done any number of ways—shocking collaborations, wardrobe malfunctions, on-stage intruders, on-stage makeouts, and then there’s always the option just to put on a really, really great show. And since the MTV VMA Awards first aired in 1984, all of those things have happened on the show’s stage … and more.

In honor of this year’s show, here are some of the most memorable VMA performances of all time:

1984: Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” performance
An obvious first choice was Madonna kicking off the VMAs by debuting her single, “Like a Virgin.” But because she’s Madonna, she didn’t just sing the song. She sang it in a wedding dress, on top of a wedding cake, and later, rolling around on the floor (as all good brides do).

1992: Nirvana’s “Rape Me”-into-“Lithium” fakeout
This performance is also known as that time Krist Novoselic knocked himself out with a guitar toss.

1995: Michael Jackson’s 15-minute performance
Fifteen minutes of Michael Jackson meant we got a taste of numerous songs, from “Beat It” to “Billie Jean” and “Black or White,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and more. Add in moonwalking and Slash on guitar and there’s a very small chance anyone who saw it has forgotten this performance … ever.

2000: Eminem’s army of Slim Shadies
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? When Eminem performed his hit song, followed by “The Way I Am,” he brought a few friends with him. Specifically, he and about 50 look-a-likes came into the show off the streets of New York to liven things up (bleached hair and all).

2000 & 2001: Britney Spears’ back-to-back naked outfit and snake performances
In 2000, all the buzz surrounded Spears’ scandalous nude outfit that she wore during a performance of “Satisfaction” and “Oops I Did It Again.” But in 2001, she decided to add a few accessories to her outfit, namely a very large snake, for her performance of “”I’m A Slave 4 U.”

2003: Madonna/Britney kiss
In a callback to Madonna’s iconic 1984 performance, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera both wore replicas of Madonna’s wedding dress for a performance of “Like A Virgin,” followed by Madonna coming out on stage in a black pantsuit—get it? she’s the groom—to sing her song “Hollywood.” Before Missy Elliott joined the ladies on stage, Madonna smooched both of her brides. So why did the Spears kiss cause more discussion? Two reasons: 1) There was more tongue; and 2) The camera man cut to Justin Timberlake’s reaction face when Madonna kissed Aguilera.

2005: R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” performance
R. Kelly performing “Trapped in the Closet” live was one of the most fascinating things that’s ever happened at the VMAs. It was just one man, on one stage, sing-talking, making a lot of gestures, playing multiple parts, and ultimately, succeeding at life.

2007: Britney Spears biffs “Gimme More”
In 2007, Spears was not in typical VMA shape. At the time, the singer was in the middle of a public meltdown and seemed to fake her way through a painful performance with obvious lip-synching, very little movement, and even less joy.

2009: Lil’ Mama crashes “Empire State of Mind”
Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” performance almost went perfectly. If you cut to the 5-minute mark of the video, you’ll see they got a last-minute visit from Lil’ Mama, who crashed the stage just in time for Jay Z and Keys to strike their final pose. If Jay Z’s body language doesn’t say “get off my stage,” then nothing does.

2009: Lady Gaga “Paparazzi”
In typical Lady Gaga fashion, she made this a performance to remember by hanging from the ceiling, and more notably, throwing fake blood on herself.

2011: Beyoncé’s mic-drop baby reveal
At the beginning of Beyoncé’s “Love On Top” performance, she asked the audience to stand up and “feel the love that’s growing inside of me.” That sentence didn’t make all that much sense until the end of the song, when Beyoncé would drop the mic—after a killer vocal showing—and unbutton her blazer to reveal her growing baby bump. It was Blue’s first performance!

2013: Miley Cyrus’ plushie porn
There’s so much about this performance that’s burned into viewers’ brains. From Cyrus’ tongue to her twerking, this combination of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” was the performance that launched a thousand GIFs. Oh, and Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz were also there (if you could see them behind the perverse teddy bears).


2013: Justin Timberlake’s Video Vanguard performance
Timberlake took fans back through just about all of his biggest hits in this 15-minute performance. The most buzzed about moment was, of course, the very brief ‘N Sync reunion.

This year’s Video Music Awards air Aug. 24 on MTV.

Questlove on the Iggy Azalea debate: 'Hip-hop is a contagious culture'

Most people recognize Questlove as The Roots’ drummer and Jimmy Fallon’s sidekick, but as of Wednesday night, he will also be the executive producer of SoundClash, a new music show coming to VH1 and Palladia. In honor of this venture, in which he gets top artists to play different renditions of their hits and/or cover other performers’ work, Time talked with the artist about the music of summer, and specifically, where he falls on the cultural appropriation debate surrounding Iggy Azalea.

When asked if he was pro- or anti-Azalea, Questlove said he can see both sides. “I’m caught in between,” he said. “And I defend it. I see false Instagram posts like, ‘She said the N-word! She said the N-word!’ I’ll call people out—’Yo, don’t troll.’ I know you’re ready to give your 42-page dissertation on theGrio about why this is culture vulture-ism.

“You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture,” Questlove continued. “If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that ‘Fancy,’ above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.”

For Questlove, the Azalea conversation is about more than just her music. It’s also about where she’s from. And she isn’t the only Australian artist Questlove’s currently listening to. “I don’t think it’s a mistake that a lot of of my favorite artists are coming from Down Under,” he said. “A lot of them [are] more soulful than what we’re dealing with now. When you think soul music and Aretha Franklin and the Baptist-born singer, that’s sort of an idea in the past. As black people, we’re really not in the church as we used to be, and that’s reflected in the songs now.”

Though he’s still on the fence about the simmering Azalea controversy—”I’m not going to lie to you, I’m torn between the opinions on the internet, but I’mma let Iggy be Iggy,” Questlove said—he was able to come to a decision on whether her hit “Fancy” should be labeled the song of the summer. “The song is effective. I’m in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I’ll say,” he explained, again acknowledging the debate. “Part of me hopes she grows out of that and [sings] with her regular dialect—I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, ‘Fancy’ is the song of the summer.”

Ke$ha enters rehab for eating disorder

Singer Ke$ha today announced she has entered rehab, seeking treatment for an eating disorder.

In a statement, the “Timber” singer said she plans to spend 30 days in treatment.

Her full statement is below:

“I’m a crusader for being yourself and loving yourself but I’ve found it hard to practice. I’ll be unavailable for the next 30 days, seeking treatment for my eating disorder…to learn to love myself again. exactly as I am.”

Just three days ago, Ke$ha released a music video for her single, “Dirty Love,” which was also the singer’s directorial debut.

Selena Gomez cancels Australian tour to 'spend time' on herself

After wrapping her Stars Dance tour in the U.S. and Europe on Nov. 26, Selena Gomez is ready for some time off.

According to People, Gomez has canceled her 2014 Australian tour to take some time to herself. The singer reportedly released a statement saying, “My fans are so important to me and I would never want to disappoint them. But it has become clear to me and those close to me that after many years of putting my work first, I need to spend some time on myself in order to be the best person I can be.”

Beyonce releases surprise album

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Beyoncé has delivered the ultimate holiday surprise.

Just after midnight on the east coast, the singer suddenly dropped a brand new 14-track self-titled studio album  on iTunes. That’s right — without any pre-promotion. (Read Nick Catucci’s review here.)

As if this bombshell — which, in her Instagram announcement, she described as a “visual album” — needed anything else, each song also comes with a music video and the download of BEYONCÉ will also score you three additional videos.

Here is the full track list. Notably, there’s a duet with husband Jay-Z and a cameo from daughter Blue Ivy:

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