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Tag: Pop (1-10 of 1144)

Stream an EP of cathartic synthpop by L.A. duo Radar Cult

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These days you can barely swing a MIDI controller without hitting a synthpop band, but LA duo Radar Cult sets itself apart from an increasingly crowded field not only by tapping into the slightly menacing analog tones of vintage John Carpenter scores, but by infusing their music with real emotion.

The pair have their debut LP scheduled for release next year on the Plug Research label. In the meantime, they’re putting out a five-song EP called Splitting that sounds like Erasure writing notes to an unrequited love on an overcast day. It’s due out Nov. 25, and EW has an exclusive first listen below.

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A runaway bride stars in buzzy electro duo Phantoms' 'Broken Halo' video

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Vinnie and Kyle, the two members of LA electronic group Phantoms (who both go by their first names alone), have funky, synth-heavy music in their blood. Vinnie’s dad was a rhythm guitarist who played in funk bands back in the ’60s, and Kyle’s uncle played keys for Michael Jackson.

The pair were formerly actors, “doing TV movie work and stuff like that,” Kyle says. “As a side project, we always wanted to make music together.”

“Originally we wanted to make this funk rock group,” Vinnie adds, “and eventually it formed into this electronic project because we fell in love with the genre.” READ FULL STORY

'Shake It Off' gets the most intensely 1989 music video possible

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Three things that were very major in 1989 that Taylor Swift did not work into her album 1989: aerobics, Alan Thicke, and Crystal Light. Thankfully, YouTuber Thomas Jung somehow figured out that “Shake It Off” syncs up with almost eerie perfection to a routine from the 1989 Crystal Light Aerobic Championship, hosted by Alan Thicke, which was something that actually aired on television at one point.

The video’s hilarious. (Aerobics! Spandex! Floofy hair!) But there’s a poignant quality in seeing a bunch of people celebrating something that would almost immediately after seem dated and vaguely creepy. Good thing that’ll never, ever happen to our collective obsession with Taylor Swift!

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Inside Light in the Attic Records, the vinyl-loving crate-digger's favorite label

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In 1968, Barbara Lynn was riding high. A gifted young blues guitarist and songwriter whose compositions had already been covered by Otis Redding and the Rolling Stones, the Beaumont, Tex., native had just signed with Atlantic Records to release her major-label debut, Here Is Barbara Lynn. Though it spawned the radio hit “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” and landed her an extended tour with B.B. King, it wasn’t the success Atlantic had hoped for. By the mid-1970s, a disillusioned Lynn had mostly withdrawn from the industry to raise her family—and Here was essentially lost to history.

Fast-forward four decades, and cue the entrance of Matt Sullivan. In 2002 the then-26-year-old founded Light in the Attic Records, a label whose raison d’être is resurrecting forgotten classics for a new generation of vinyl fetishists and crate diggers. “When they called, I was amazed,” says Lynn, now 72, via phone from her Beaumont home. “I feel so good about these songs. I didn’t think anybody was still thinking about me.”

Here Is Barbara Lynn is the latest in a series of some 150 eclectic reissues put out by the Seattle-bred boutique label. READ FULL STORY

Watch Selena Gomez's sad video for 'The Heart Wants What It Wants'

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Selena Gomez is very, very sad in her new music video.

In the music video for the first track off Gomez’s upcoming album For You, “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” the singer displays quite a different sentiment from the last time she ruled the charts with “Come and Get It.” READ FULL STORY

The Dirty Heads' Jared 'Dirty J' Watson on the hit 'My Sweet Summer' and his current rider obsession

The fall chill is in full effect for the parts of the United States that actually experience seasons, but for anybody wanting to hang onto the spirit of beach weather, the Dirty Heads have a pretty excellent balm. It’s called “My Sweet Summer,” and it has been a steady performer on the rock charts since the album it came from, Sound of Change, dropped in July.

“We knew coming out in the summer time it would work, and it turns out it works when it’s cold too,” explains frontman Jared “Dirty J” Watson. “It’s got legs.” According to Watson, the song was initially something he was going to give away. “I heard Kenny Chesney liked our music, so I wrote the hook and was going to send it to him just to see if he’d like it,” he says. “But [producer] Niles [Hollowell-Dhar] said, ‘This is a hit, you’ve got to release this first.’ We ended up finishing it in about a day.”

The song is an excellent bridge track for the Dirty Heads, who made their bones as a reggae-blessed beach-ska hybrid since their inception. “My Sweet Summer” has a lot of that vibe to it, but it also hints at what’s on the rest of Sound of Change, which is much more heavily invested in bringing in hip-hop elements. READ FULL STORY

Adventurous pop musicians Soft Touch unveil 'Swim in the Night'

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Soft Touch is made up of two musicians with formidable reputations in beat-based music: Chrome Canyon releases soundtrack-inspired music on the iconic Stones Throw label, and Saarid, (a.k.a. Mark Palgy) helped to find a place for rock ‘n’ roll in the contemporary club scene with his former band VHS Or Beta. When they joined up, they gave themselves a broad mission to make “adventurous pop music.”

On “Swim in the Night,” their collaboration with Norwegian singer Silya, that means blending together ’80s electro-funk and freestyle with a dash of house music, resulting in a big, bubblegummy mass of burbling synthesizers and hooky vocals that would have slayed at middle school dances 30 years ago (but still sounds great today).

“Swim in the Night” is available for pre-order as an MP3 or on vinyl.

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Boxing and dance-offs commingle in Rocky Dawuni's 'African Thriller' video

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In his native Ghana, Rocky Dawuni is much more than simply a pop star, serving as the country’s unofficial cultural ambassador and promoting a range of social reforms from HIV/AIDS prevention and ecological preservation to healthier cookstoves. But he’s still a pop star at heart, and he’s quite good at it. While he’s named his particular aesthetic “Afro-Roots,” his music isn’t as beholden to traditional styles as the handle suggests–on his new single “African Thriller” Dawuni uses the recursive, hip-winding rhythms of contemporary Jamaican dancehall as the foundation for a pile-up of reggae and jazzy Afrofunk tuned for maximum body-moving.

“‘African Thriller’ is a persona, a concept and a vision of what contemporary beauty and excitement will emerge from the confrontation and collision of cultures,” Dawuni writes in an email. “The video hints at  historical and cultural signposts in a metaphoric expression of how the dance floor is one of the ultimate and most colorful places for global unity, celebration, and liberation.”

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I hate Christmas songs -- but I love 'All I Want for Christmas Is You'

There are plenty of reasons to dread the holiday season—and even if the inescapability of dreary Christmas music doesn’t seem as serious as family troubles or seasonal affective disorder, it’s no less depressing.

The genre’s religiosity isn’t the main thing that’s so off-putting to a certain type of listener; neither is the miasma of nostalgia that clings to these tunes. In truth, it’s simply the fact that most of them are just bad songs—stiffly pious, musty with age. Every year, it seems like they become a little longer than you remember, a little slower, a little harder to endure. The one bright spot during this time of year? Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” an incredible pop song doomed by its subject matter to only be played for a couple months each year. (The song celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend.)

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Ryan Hemsworth talks about his new direction on 'Alone for the First Time'

Ryan Hemsworth has spent the past several years doing exactly what a young producer working on the increasingly blurry border between dance music and hip-hop should do to advance his career: playing for an adoring underground fan base while also booking bigger and bigger EDM festivals and assembling a portfolio of high-profile remixes for clients like Cat Power and Frank Ocean.

According to the producer playbook, his next move should have been to cash in all the professional capital he’s accumulated to pack an album of expansive, dance-friendly pop and rap with enough guest stars to attract attention from mainstream listeners. Instead, next week he’ll release Alone for the First Time, a collection of subdued pop songs with a decidedly organic feel, created alongside cult artists like Dawn Golden and The GTW who many listeners have probably never heard of. It’s a decision he’s extremely happy with.

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