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Hear The Clash's virtual reunion with EW's homemade Clash 'Black Album'

In one of the best and most talked-about sequences in Richard Linklater’s instant classic film Boyhood, Ethan Hawke gives Ellar Coltrane a homemade compilation he calls The Black Album. It consists of solo tracks from each of the four Beatles, sequenced in a way that captures the magic the band were able to make when they were still a cohesive unit. “Basically, I’ve put the band back together for you,” Hawke wrote in the liner notes.

It’s such a good idea that EW decided to steal it. There are countless bands who have broken up and never circled back around to a cash-grab reunion, and we’ve begun with one of my absolute favorites: The Clash. The group didn’t officially stick a fork in it until 1986, but the bloom was well off the rose by the time drummer Topper Headon left the group just prior to the release of 1982’s Combat Rock. The relationship between co-leads Mick Jones and Joe Strummer were hopelessly strained by the end, and by the time the group released the disastrous Cut the Crap in 1985, Jones was already deep into his second life as the frontman for Big Audio Dynamite.

Like the Beatles before them, the members of the Clash did make up and collaborate on an individual basis after they broke up, but they never got the band back together (and once Strummer suddenly passed away in 2002, that door was officially closed for good). Still, here are 19 tracks (the same number that appeared on the watershed London Calling) from the post-Clash lives of the core four that re-capture the spirit of what made them sonically and philosophically revolutionary.  READ FULL STORY

Kelela and Le1f team up for the spacey slow jam 'OICU'

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Kelela and Le1f are two independent artists teetering on the verge of serious pop stardom. Kelela is part of a new wave of R&B artists forging connections with the leading edge of electronic dance music who’s made a fan of, among others, Solange Knowles, who put her on the avant-R&B compilation, Saint Heron, that she released on her Saint Records label last year. Le1f, meanwhile, is doing something similar with rap and the underground club scene, and the raw energy he brought to his Letterman performance earlier this year gave him an unexpected foothold in the mainstream.

Neither of the two are content to just wait around for their seemingly inevitable breaks to come through. Both are busy at work on their next big moves. But in the meantime, while those projects are coming together, they’ve paired up to record “OICU.” Produced by beat-maker P. Morris, the track showcases their mutual talents for creating a vibe that’s spacey, sexy, and effortlessly chill. It’s a match made in stoner-avant-pop heaven.

Is this a leak from Kanye West's 'Yeezus' sequel?

Kanye West is famously as fastidious about security at his recording sessions as he is about bathroom arrangements at his wedding, so when a previously unheard song purporting to come from his follow-up to last year’s Yeezus hit the Internet last night it was a big deal. While West has remained uncharacteristically silent about it, the lo-fi two-minute clip seems legit. The voice on the recording sounds like him, and the lyrics match up with the excerpt from what he called his “new single” titled “All Day” that he teased in a recent GQ interview. It’s also hard to imagine any fakers coming up with anything as clever and Kanye West-ish as “middle finger longer than Dikembe” or the offhand reference to “Rico Suave.”

If this version of “All Day” really is intended for inclusion on the next Kanye West record it’ll probably sound radically different by the time it’s released. His past few albums have been heavy on psychedelically complex, prog-rock-influenced arrangements, and something about the straightforward loops of vaguely Timbaland-sounding drums and digitally harmonized vocals seems a little to basic to pass his strict standards.


Watch a clip of 'Garfunkel and Oates' guest-starring the actual Oates

Comedy folk duo Garfunkel and Oates recently followed in the footsteps of past comedy folk music duos like Flight of the Conchords and the Smothers Brothers by bringing their act to the small screen. Last week, IFC aired the first episode of Garfunkel and Oates, which follows the ups and downs of a lightly fictionalized version of the pair as they play uncomfortable corporate gigs, try to land TV appearances, deal with comedian boyfriends who use their sex lives as joke fodder, and face other challenges comedy folk music acts apparently encounter.

The pair have assembled an impressive lineup of guest stars for their first season, including Chris Parnell, Natasha Leggero, Anthony Jeselnik, Tig Notaro, Steve Agee, Chris Hardwick, and, most improbably, Sir Ben Kingsley. But in terms of metatextual humor, it’s hard to beat a cameo from the group’s partial namesake John Oates. He appears in an episode entitled “Rule 34″ (airing this Thursday, Aug. 14), in which Garfunkel and Oates encounter a porn version of themselves played by Abby Elliott and Sugar Lyn Beard.

We have an exclusive sneak peek at Oates’s scene, plus a Q&A with the soul-pop star about his acting debut.

READ FULL STORY

Catching up with Spoon's Britt Daniel: An EW Q and A

The frontman of the beloved Austin indie-rockers—who’ve just returned with their eighth album, They Want My Soul, and recently hit the road with Arcade Fire—talks girl groups, long hiatuses, and literary heroes. (If you missed them this summer don’t worry; they’ve got a ton of dates left, including multiple festivals.)

EW: It’s been four years since Spoon last made a record. I know you’ve been working on other projects, but what’s been happening for you life-wise in the meantime?

Britt Daniel: Life wise? That’s a tough question. You’d think it’d be the easiest one, right? When we finished that last tour in November of 2011—it was at some festival in Germany—we kind of just said, “Well that’s the last show for awhile, and who knows what’s going to happen.” And we were all a little ground down at that point. It had just been too long that we were touring that record. So we went our separate ways without really saying anything. And I took three or four months of doing nothing really. I got a girlfriend and I just chilled. Which is the first I’ve done that in…I don’t know, it might have been the first time I’ve done that by choice. And then I met up with Dan [Boeckner], who’s an old friend of mine. He was doing a show in Portland and he was there for a few days. We talked about starting a band and we…started a band. READ FULL STORY

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

Get on Tkay Maidza's level with the gleefully noisy 'U-Huh'

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Eighteen-year-old Australian Tkay Maidza is the closest thing we have right now to a reincarnation of early M.I.A.—that is, M.I.A. as she was before the massive record deals and truffle fries and Madonna co-signs, when she was making a big racket out of sounds collected from around the world with the chaotic but innocent glee of a toddler smashing toy trucks together. Over the past year, she has released a string of singles that mix together glitchy electronic noise, hip-hop’s rolling rhythms (not to mention its unabashed swagger), and some truly uncanny natural pop instincts—and in the process, she has become a cult star in the increasingly influential antipodean EDM scene.

READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda' sneaks online

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Nicki Minaj has been spending the summer casually stealing songs out from under everyone, from virally popular underground rappers to chart-topping pop starlets. For her latest and most audacious trick, she’s flipped Sir Mix-A-Lot’s enduring classic “Baby Got Back” into “Anaconda,” a swan dive back into the gleeful raunchiness of her early mixtape days.

A very, very low quality rip of the song leaked online last night (it’ll be officially released on August 5)—and while it may sound terrible, you can at least hear Nicki turning the tables on Mix-A-Lot’s original, taking on the role of the big-bootied girl who actually wields the power in the situation. She also makes some comparisons between the male anatomy and certain famously phallic French architectural landmarks. With its unbridled lewdness, the song doesn’t seem likely to become a standard at wedding receptions in the foreseeable future—but you probably could have said the same thing about “Baby Got Back” in 1992. READ FULL STORY

Hear Brooklynn's disco-fied new single 'Wild Game'

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Despite what her name might suggest, the pop singer Brooklynn is based out of Atlanta, where she’s been developing a musical identity that pulls from a respectably diverse range of influences—Johnny Cash, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, and Howlin’ Wolf among them. Working with Lady Gaga’s former musical director, Nico Constantine, she’s recorded an EP that comes out later this fall. It features one song, “Wild Game,” that sounds like Emotional Rescue-era Stones fronted by Donna Summer, which is a pretty seriously great thing to sound like.

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

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