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Tag: Things That Are Awesome (51-60 of 463)

Metallica shred through heavy classics at Apollo Theater

Improbably, Metallica are currently at their peak. Though their recorded output in the 21st century has been relatively lackluster, the live experience operates at a level that is far beyond just about any other band on the planet, metal or otherwise. Thirty years after the release of their gloriously nasty debut Kill ‘Em All, they are still making discoveries about how fast and brutal two guitars, a bass, and drums can be.

They’re also still hitting milestones. On Saturday night (September 21), Metallica played the legendary Apollo Theater, in the heart of Harlem in New York City. At only 1,500 seats, it’s a cartoonishly small space for the band in 2013 (their previous trip to New York found them headlining Yankee Stadium), but the intimacy (and lack of pyrotechnics) did not stop the group from turning a few hundred lucky SiriusXM subscribers into a fine ash over the course of their two-plus hour set (which was also simulcast on SiriusXM’s Mandatory Metallica station).

The event was part of the band’s promotion of their about-to-open 3D concert/action flick Metallica Through The Never, which features both Dane DeHaan fighting a horse-riding embodiment of death and a vivid run through some of the most intense jams in the Metallica catalog.

The set list at the Apollo skewed towards those early blasters: Following the band’s now-traditional entrance to Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” (from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), Metallica plowed through a triple-shot of old school shredders in “Hit the Lights,” “Master of Puppets,” and “Ride the Lightning.” READ FULL STORY

Miley Cyrus fires off 'Bangerz' album cover and new track 'Wrecking Ball' -- listen now!

If you thought Miley Cyrus was going to commission trap-rap-style packaging for Bangerz, you were completely wrong. (Although I appreciate the impulse.) Last night Miley tweeted the cover to her album (due Oct. 8), and if anything, it seems inspired by the famous cover of Duran Duran’s Rio, which was made by the quintessential American artist Patrick Nagel. Meanwhile, she released the mega-ballad “Wrecking Ball,” which should have Katy Perry quaking in her boots.

First, the cover: As you can see above, it shows the title in neon and includes palm trees, which will make many people think of Miami Vice (the TV show) and the 1980s (even though there was a lot more to the ’80s than neon and palm trees … and Miami Vice). There’s no reason why Miley would want to evoke that decade—she was born in 1992, and as I alluded to above, recently she has taken inspiration from contemporary rap.

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Take a look at Nirvana's first record contract with Sub Pop, worth a hefty $600

“Six hundred bucks well spent—not that we had it at the time.”

The official Tumblr account of Sub Pop Records just put up a copy of Nirvana’s first contract, along with that note — the contract that would yield the band’s first album, 1989’s Bleach.

There are some remarkable pieces of history embedded in this artifact: The fact that the band was signed as a four-piece (featuring soon-to-be-departed members Chad Channing and Jason Everman, the latter of whom did not play on Bleach), that they were originally only signed for two years (it was set to expire at the end of 1991, though Sub Pop made a deal with DGC about Nirvana prior to the release of Nevermind), and that the band’s first advance was for a guaranteed $600 (with jumps up to $12,000 and $24,000 in the option years).

Of course, the band became far bigger than anybody at Sub Pop could have predicted back in ’89: They went on to sell over 30 million worldwide copies of their second album Nevermind and changed the course of popular music for a few years in the early ’90s.

As noted yesterday, Nirvana’s In Utero is getting the 20th anniversary box set treatment next month.

Dave Chappelle and Prince, together at last! (Sort of)

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The cover art for Prince’s new single “Breakfast Can Wait,” debuted on Prince’s brand-new Twitter, is getting a lot of exciting reactions across the Internet, as it should — though some might be taking things too far. It is not, for example, “the best thing he’s ever done,” as one headline declared — we’d imagine Purple Rain or Sign o’ the Times might be near the top of that list.

Still, we do agree that it is pretty amazing. For those who were asleep during the years of 2003 and 2004, the cover is an image taken from one of Chappelle’s Show most famous sketches, featuring host Dave Chappelle dressed as a pancake-serving, basketball-playing Prince. And as Sunday’s New York Times pointed out, Chappelle is staging a return to comedy, so this is good timing for him, too.

To fully enjoy the moment, check out the original Chappelle’s Show sketch below:

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MGMT's best song in ages, 'Your Life Is a Lie,' gets a great video -- WATCH

We all know MGMT have a fame-and-fortune complex: When F&F beckoned, they responded with the snidely-titled Congratulations, which our then-critic called an “odd little sonic onion … [that] studiously avoided any obvious pop hook.”

Their third album, which comes out September 17, is self-titled, so it could be about anything. “Alien Days,” a space-out from the album that was released as a Record Store Day cassingle (LOL), suggested we were in for more of the same. But their bracing new single, “Your Life Is a Lie,” hints at an MGMT under new management.

Two minutes long and rather rude, “Your Life Is a Lie” is more or less the sound of a band pulling its head out of its ass. It’s got a gnarly, looping garage-rock drive, and more niceties than you’d expect from such a quickie: cowbell, an almost comically buzzy high-end, some kind of something solo that you could (yes) call spacey, and a magnificent hook.

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Mumford & Sons get Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and more to spoof them in 'Hopeless Wanderer' video -- WATCH

Mumford & Sons have got a sense of humor after all … is what you’re supposed to think after watching the video for “Hopeless Wanderer.”

The professional white funnymen Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Ed Helms and Wil Forte stand in for the band, wearing suspenders and fake beards, hauling their instruments down a dusty lane, playing in a row boat, crying, tasting each other’s tears, and eventually smashing their instruments and at least one of the filament bulbs lighting the barn they’re in.

Because you can’t make a parody these days without taking it over the top, Sudeikis and Forte also share an open-mouthed kiss.

I was more tickled by the smoke coming off Bateman’s hands during his banjo solo. Although the kiss seems less rote when you think of it as underlining the song’s vague references to a young man’s romantic confusion (key line: “I wrestled long with my youth,” snicker).

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Childish Gambino gives away awesome new song 'Centipede': Hear it here

Here’s the bad news, Community fans: Though he will be appearing on the unlikely fifth season of Community, Donald Glover isn’t going to be around as much. But the good news is that part of the reason he is stepping back is so he can focus on his music career as rapper Childish Gambino.

Glover has been steadily showing up on tracks and releasing new music since his debut album, Camp, dropped in 2011 (his Royalty mixtape was one of the best of 2012, and not just because it featured the rap debut of Tina Fey), but he’s got a proper follow-up coming out soon, and he just made a track called “Centipede” available as a free download.

“Centipede” is a pretty nutty track, opening with some a cappella scatting before giving way to a spacey beat built around a chunky piano riff and Glover’s confident delivery. From a performance standpoint, Childish Gambino is all the things we love about Kanye West without all the messianic self-aggrandizing. Give “Centipede” a listen (and download it gratis) below: READ FULL STORY

M.I.A. finds more controversy, this time with her label over her documentary -- watch the trailer here

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Musically, M.I.A. has lived up to her name — at least as it pertains to her forever-delayed new album Matangi.

The album has been bumped from a number of planned release dates, and at the moment it doesn’t have a place on the calendar. Which is strange, especially considering she’s a critically-beloved artist who had two major culture-jamming singles in “Paper Planes” and “Bad Girls.”

But it seems as though the delay may be because she’s on the outs with her label, Roc Nation (who, according to M.I.A., do not approve of positive jams). Along with Matangi, M.I.A. has been working on a documentary about her life with director Steve Loveridge.

The doc has been similarly delayed, and over the weekend Loveridge put up a five minute teaser for the flick on his Tumblr. YouTube pulled the video based on a copyright claim that came from the label; shortly thereafter, Loveridge published this vividly worded e-mail exchange between himself and a representative from Roc Nation.

The teaser was re-uploaded to Vimeo, and you can watch it below.  READ FULL STORY

Phoenix drop 'Trying to Be Cool' video for the Creators Project: Watch it here

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For French electro-rock masterminds Phoenix, it never seems that being cool takes any effort.

Still, they managed to craft a track called “Trying to Be Cool” anyway, and they’ve paired it with an in-performance video that brings together all of the necessary elements for true coolness: Ladies in bikinis for no reason, guys blowing bubbles, cannons, a Marilyn Monroe tribute, an angry kid playing chess, solo ping pong, and a dance sequence straight out of Streets of Fire.

Check it out below:

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On the scene: NKOTB, 98 Degrees, and Boyz II Men show Brooklyn their package (tour)

Yesterday may have been Father’s Day, but EW’s social media all-star Nika Vagner and I were the ones who received the greatest gift of all — a triple bill of boy-band hotness, courtesy of New Kids on the Block’s cheekily named The Package Tour, featuring 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.

We posted to EW’s Instagram and Vine accounts last night from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Now I’m here to deliver the in-depth report: READ FULL STORY

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