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EW’s Midsummer Playlist: Frank Ocean, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Killers and more — stream it here

frank-ocean

Are your favorite May and June jams starting to melt in the sun? We update your BBQ soundtrack with 10 fresh picks which you can listen to.

1. FRANK OCEAN, “Sweet Life” L.A. rich-kid oblivion never sounded so seductive. In his silky Stevie Wonder croon, the R&B wunderkind chronicles a “domesticated paradise” of palm trees, pills, and ever-replenishing exotic-fruit bowls: “Whatever feels good, whatever takes you mountain high.”

2. THE KILLERS, “Runaways” Between Brandon Flowers’ Boss-y conviction, that surreal Las Vegas shimmer, and a chorus that flies high enough to make Icarus jealous, the opening salvo from the band’s September album is an oasis in the radio-rock desert.

3. FUTURE, “Same Damn Time” Summer presents a lot of choices: Hot dogs or hamburgers? Sandy beach or country-club pool? Shorts or short shorts? With its booming beat and Godzilla-size trap-star swagger, the white-hot rap anthem of these multitasking times says you can have them all.

4. USHER FEAT. PHARRELL, “Twisted” The typically super-modern R&B maestro goes retro, enlisting the Neptunes beat king to stir a little James Brown funk peanut butter into his Stax-style soul jam. And guess what? It’s delicious.

5. CARLY RAE JEPSEN AND OWL CITY, “Good Time” Soaring cheerleader-pop melody? Flirty boy-girl chorus? Magic pixie dust left over from Jepsen’s smash “Call Me Maybe”? Yes, yes, and… Wait, what did you say? We couldn’t hear you with our face pressed up against the speakers.

6. TANLINES, “All of Me” The Brooklyn electro duo’s name says, “Oh! You missed a spot with the Coppertone.” But their airy synths-and-handclaps ’80s throwback sighs, “Actually, I’m too busy watching Pretty in Pink for the 93rd time to go outside.”

7. JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD, “Sixpack” Nashville stoner-rock bros Jake and Jamin Orrall know that all you need this weekend is a massively buzzed-out guitar, a few PBRs, and a choice mantra to shout at your rooftop pool party: “I wanna cool out/And get wasted!”

8. DEMI LOVATO, “Give Your Heart a Break” Don’t be frightened by Demi’s stalker intensity. Like all the best guilt-free summer flings, this unshakable single—all seesawing violins, pretty synths, and sweet pleas—simply wants you to put a Ring Pop on it.

9. MATT & KIM, “Let’s Go” Their buoyant indie-pop gem comes complete with instructions: Sing along to its bright hooks and softly crooned ooh-ooohs with your “windows rolled down.” With a decent stereo and a broken air conditioner, you’ll have no trouble obliging.

10. CAT POWER, “Ruin” You may not be leaving your zip code this summer, but indie rock’s recently returned siren will stamp your mental passport with her far-flung travelogue (Soweto, Calcutta, Chile, Mozambique). Just take care to listen to the cautionary message beneath the song’s tropical piano and gorgeous echo-chamber vocals.

Give our picks a spin with the Spotify playlist below!

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No Doubt drop new single 'Settle Down': Watch the video here

It’s been almost a decade since No Doubt released a single, and even longer since they gave us an album. That all ends now!

The Gwen Stefani-led Orange County band is releasing their comeback album Push and Shove on Sept. 25, and today they debuted their LP’s first single, “Settle Down.” And it’s good!

Check out the reggae-infused, summer-loving No Doubt track below and let us know if you like what you hear:

[Update: There's a video now!]

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Azealia Banks releases 'Fantasea' mixtape as a free online download

It must be International “Get Free Music From Up-and-Coming Hip-Hop Artists” Week. First there was Ocean’s Tumblr stream, and now we’ve got Azealia Banks dropping her anticipated mixtape Fantasea for free via Twitter. Get the 19-track beast here and then return to the comments section below to let us know if the “212” wunderkind is living up to your expectations.

Read more on EW.com:
Azealia Banks heads to the country in ‘Liqourice’ video: Watch it here
Azealia Banks drops rhymes, balloons, confetti at NYC Mermaid Ball
Azealia Banks, Patti Smith, Haley Reinhart invade our weekly Spotify playlist

Fly like GOOP: Gwyneth Paltrow reveals her ultimate travel playlist -- Hear it here

Are you still catching your flights to Brian Eno’s Music For Airports? Pssh, that’s so last century.

Thanks to the consistent knowledge droppings we pick up from GOOP’s weekly newsletters, we now know how Gwyenth Paltrow likes to flyfancily!

First of all, we learned that Mrs. Chris Martin boards planes with high doses of vitamin C to “ward off viruses and strengthen immunity.” Contagion taught her well! On top of that, she also makes sure to carry on fizzy quantities of magnesium (to calm her nervous system, of course), as well as bottles of “active silver.” That’s right, wankstas — active silver.

But despite all that GOOP-y goodness, we’re still more interested in what she dubs her “transatlantic playlist,” which she jams on her iPod/iPad devices during her frequent flights between Los Angeles and London. It’s quite long — 27 songs long, to be exact — and full of surprises. READ FULL STORY

Paul McCartney is 70 today: What's your favorite Fab Macca song?

Paul McCartney celebrates his 70th birthday today. So how exactly should one celebrate the septuagenarian-ization of a man responsible for helping create pop music as we know it, and bringing us the best animated cartoon about singing frogs ever created?

Somehow, a Hallmark card and a Best Buy voucher didn’t seem to quite cut the mustard (particularly as Sir Paul could probably buy Best Buy with the loose change in his pocket). Instead, we thought we would ask you to name your favorite-ever McCartney track, be it a Beatles tune, a number from Wings, or something from his now more than four decade-long solo career.

To get things started, you’ll find a selection of great Paul pop below: READ FULL STORY

Azealia Banks heads to the country in 'Liqourice' video: Watch it here

Fashion-world favorite and noted non-rapper Azealia Banks has teamed up photographer-director Rankin to make your day feel fancier.

Their new, Star Spangled video gives the 1991 track “Liqourice” some striking visuals, taking the “212” girl out of the city and into the wild, wild west. Liberated from Manhattan, Banks gets a chance to ride around on horses, shoot toy guns, and put horns on her head.

Of course, she inevitably works up a hunger — but luckily, she’s got a supply of hot dogs and popsicles to keep her satisfied. Check it out in the video below:

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Usher, Grace Potter, Superchunk are all over this week's Spotify playlist

This week in new releases, Usher’s latest finds the radio vet keeping up with the cool kids (hey there, Diplo!), much like the 68-year-old Bobby Womack does on his Damon Albarn-helmed 28th album. And speaking of cool kids, new releases from the likes of Waka Flocka Flame, Evans the Death, and Hot Chip also kept our headphones busy this week.

Plenty of stand-alone singles made the grade as well, including new ones from Lil Wayne, Kylie Minogue, Superchunk and more. Check it all out in the playlist below:

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Three new Justin Bieber tracks leak, with guests Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Big Sean: Hear them here

Justin Bieber’s rap collaborations: Collect them all!

Last week, we had a chance to hear Believe‘s Ludacris-featuring “All Around the World.” But hold your breath, Beliebers: the album’s other three rapper-infused tracks have hit the ever-eager internets.

Here’s the roll call: the Nicki Minaj duet “Beauty and a Beat,” the Drake collab “Right Here,” and the Big Sean-assisted “As Long As You Love Me” — which, it should be noted, is not a cover of the 1997 Backstreet Boys hit of the same name. We still don’t know if we’re sad about that or not.

Give ‘em all a listen in the videos below. UPDATE: The leaked songs have been pulled, per request from Bieber’s record label.

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Beach Boys, Japandroids, Big K.R.I.T. crowd our weekly Spotify playlist

JAPANDROIDS

Thanks to great new material from the likes of Liars, Japandroids, and Temper Trap, this week’s playlist goes heavy on indie rock. Underground hip-hop is also repped hard by Mississippi mixtaper Big K.R.I.T. And then there’s the obscure little garage heroes the Beach Boys, who recently reemerged for their comeback album That’s Why God Made the Radio. 

Also on deck this week: a new collaboration between Sean Kingston and T.I., a fiddle-heavy number from Zac Brown Band, and a downtempo howler from Swede garage monkeys the Hives. And if Wilco’s “Me Avivé” sounds a little familiar to you, it’s because they covered their The Whole Love standout “Dawned on Me” — in Spanish. Y se trabaja muy bien!

Find out what we’re talking about by giving this week’s playlist a spin in the player below:

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Maroon 5 'Songs About Jane' release includes 'This Love,' 'She Will Be Loved' demos: Hear them here -- EXCLUSIVE

MAROON5

In a few weeks, Maroon 5 will deliver the band’s fourth album, Overexposed. But first they’d like to remind you of their breakout debut, Songs About Jane, which is getting the rerelease treatment today in honor of its tenth anniversary.

Can you believe it’s been a decade since a young, Voice-less Adam Levine first entered our lives? To put that in perspective, take into consideration that Songs About Jane is older than: Kanye West’s College Dropout, the Postal Service’s Give Up, and most Carly Rae Jepsen fans.

But Maroon 5’s debut wasn’t an immediate hit. Its first single, “Harder to Breathe,” was only a modest success, topping out at No. 18 on the Billboard 100 when it was released in 2002. It wasn’t until two years later when band released their next single, “This Love,” that things took off: chart domination, a Grammy win, and the seal of approval from John Mayer, who told Rolling Stone, “It’s one of those perfect songs you always hope to write.” The album became the tenth best-selling album of 2004, two years after its release.

To get an idea of how that hit single — and its follow-up, “She Will Be Loved” — came to be, the Songs About Jane: Tenth Anniversary Edition includes a second disc containing demo versions of the tracks, which you can listen to here.

And as a bonus, we’ve also included an exclusive video of Levine and the guys trying to pick out a band name. (Let’s just say we’re not writing this post about a band named Maroon Poon.)

Check it all out in the videos below:

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