<p>Jolie Holland</p>

Jolie Holland

Credit: Anti-

Song Of The Day: Jolie Holland returns with 'Gold and Yellow,' new album

Singer-songwriter is out for 'Blood' on June set

You gotta give it to them: Anti- has a knack for signing artists with a unique voice.

Whether is Tom Waits or William Elliott Whitmore, they've managed to grab hold of personalities that truly offer some imagination to the general singer-songwriter category.

Jolie Holland is among one of my favorites, where her odd warble and emotive narratives seem to tumble without effort and, unlike kindred Lucinda Williams, I never wonder if she's ever drunk when she records. She always seems to be "on."

And she's back with a new album, deliciously titled "Pint of Blood" [passes out], due June 28.

The first offering of 10 from this fifth full-length is "Gold and Yellow," sentimental in its motorcycle jackets and tears and "ashes to ashes." Nothing you can't handle, princess. The sound is very warm, very much live, and recorded out of Holland's home studio with Shahzad Ismaily. Ismaily helped helm Holland's last 2008 album, as well as material from Doveman, Bonnie "Prince" Billy and my pretend boyfriend Sam Amidon.

[Track after the jump...]

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<p>Arcade Fire at New Orleans Jazz Fest this weekend</p>

Arcade Fire at New Orleans Jazz Fest this weekend

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Arcade Fire, Cyndi Lauper sing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' live

New Orleans JazzFest was apparently the place to be this weekend

I'd be remiss to simply overlook this: so, here. Here's the video of Cyndi Lauper singing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" with Arcade Fire at New Orleans JazzFest this past weekend.

The legendary singer was in town to sing a blues set at the event, and AF was there to, naturally, headline. Regine Chassagne essentially passes with a "karaoke" rating, and the pizzicato violin solo is just adorable.

I'm so glad I have this off my chest.

Arcade Fire are headlining Bonnaroo, Montreaux and a load of other festivals this summer. All dates through Sept. 3 are here.

[Video after the jump...]

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Watch: Nicki Minaj has black-lit sex appeal in 'Super Bass'

Is she primed for the Britney tour?

"Super Bass," one of the tracks from the deluxe version of Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday," sort of encapsulates one of the major issues with the rapper, in that she and her team are trying to establish her hard as a pop singer too. It's a problem, to these ears, but for Minaj it may be a solution -- to bring her to large-scale superstardom, fit for, say, a Britney Spears tour.

The video to the track, released today, features Harajuku Barbie in various eye-popping accoutrement including thigh-high lace-up Docs, push up bras and unbuttoned jorts, sexy bathing suits and writhing on an ice-sculpture motorcycle (cool, but ow!). Sometimes she dallies around a crew of men, sometimes she vying for them. It's a lot of the same moves you'll see in rap vids that make mere sex objects out of women, but then Minaj throws in a few power moves to playfully remind you who's boss. It's kind of a mess. The black-lit portion is pretty cool-looking, though, thanks Crazy Eyes.

Her raps are a little redundant, nothing new to see here, which is why it was bonus material and not the core crop. But then there's the Hook, that ever-required Hook that is now lodged into my summer-lusting mind. It's a fit replacement for "Moment 4 Life," thank goodness.

Nicki's Brit stint starts in June, all dates here.

[Video after the jump...]

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<p>Junior Boys</p>

Junior Boys

Credit: Domino

Song Of The Day: Junior Boys return with dance-ready 'Ripple'

Cold-house duo ready new Domino album

Junior Boys have always pumped out cold house grooves and ambient electro-pop to help you melt into a couch (or, ehm, bed). With the Canadians' forthcoming new set, they clearly want to melt with you.

"It's All True," due June 14 on Domino, features "Banana Ripple," nine minutes of breathtaking ambient, new wave and dance-friendly tunage. It's also an archive of pop cultural minutae, too, if you just pay attention.

The single will be released on 12" on May 31, with a remix by The Field as B-Side.

Them 'boys -- Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus -- are touring in support of "True" starting June 9, dates below.

Junior Boys - Banana Ripple by DominoRecordCo

Here are the Junior Boys' tour dates:

Jun 09 Toronto ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
Jun 10 Ottawa ON – Mavericks
Jun 11 Montreal QC – La Salla Rossa
Jun 12 Cambridge MA – Middle East
Jun 14 New York NY – Webster Hall
Jun 16 Washington DC – Black Cat
Jun 17 Philadelphia PA – Johnny Brenda's
Jun 18 Charlottesville VA – Jefferson Theater
Jun 20 Atlanta GA – The Earl
Jun 21 Nashville TN – Mercy Lounge
Jun 22 Louisville KY – Headliners
Jun 24 Chicago IL – Metro
Jun 25 Pontiac MI – The Pike Room at the Crofoot

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Watch: PJ Harvey completes 'England' video project, 12 clips for 12 songs

Watch: PJ Harvey completes 'England' video project, 12 clips for 12 songs

Watch every video, including the last and latest 'All and Everyone'

I've already given my two cents about PJ Harvey's excellent "Let England Shake" album. Now it's time to revisit those songs, in video form.

Accompanying videos for all 12 of "Shake's" songs have now been released, the latest and last including "All and Everyone." Each were shot by Seamus Murphy, whose usual gig is battlefield photographer.

There's a weird serenity and slow-motion to each of the videos, with colors poking out of landscapes, creases in people's faces and blank-faced participation from Harvey and her bandmates themselves. It's was obviously a massive undertaking, with beautiful and brave results.

"Let England Shake" was released earlier this year. Watch all the videos below...

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<p>Beirut's Zach Condon</p>

Beirut's Zach Condon

Interview: Beirut sets sights on 'Bombay Beach,' new album this summer

Zach Condon on New Englander clichés and taking the ukelele more seriously

If you want a little flavor of things to come from Beirut, look West, to “Bombay Beach.”

 The film, titled after the California community of the same name, features new and old music from Beirut mastermind Zach Condon. Prior this full-length feature, the movie’s director Alma Har’el helmed several music videos, including a trio for Beirut.
“Bombay Beach” is a gem of a documentary, interspersed with choreographed dance number set to music – a hybrid, really, which is also an apt descriptor for the music of Beirut. Ever since Condon burst independently onto the scene in 2006, he’s combined elements of folk, banda, early pop, gypsy and Eastern European musics, carnival, big band, mariachi and more. He made it onto the map, in part, because his music is drawn from it.
Speaking to me from his home in Brooklyn, Condon says that Har’el wanted to collaborate because “she found the beaten-down landscape [of Bombay Beach] to fit my music quite well, and all the dreamy-eyed wandering of the people who live in the desert there.”
“Sometimes I’m more affected by places that I haven’t been to,” Condon says, offering that he actually never visited the impoverished former "beach” town. For instance, he credits his “wild imagination” for what he wrote on his first album, 2006’s “Gulag Orkestar,” inspired by a backpacking trip to Europe that he took in his head. Furthermore, his upbringing in New Mexico informs the sparseness and Southwesternly appeal of his previous tracks. (He did, of course, go on a trip, to Europe and then some.)
But now that the 25-year-old songwriter has been around the world with his subsequent albums and releases like 2007’s “The Flying Club Cup” and the Realpeople electronic sketches, he’s looking “inward” for his next, post-“Bombay” effort.

[More after the jump...]
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<p>M. Ward</p>

M. Ward

Interview: M. Ward's return to solo after She & Him, Monsters of Folk

Singer-songwriter reveals future plans with Zooey Deschanel, Carlos Forster, the lonely stage

“2010 is the year of me,” M. Ward says, calling from his homebase in Portland, Ore. “Oh, man, it’s 2011, isn’t it? I mean 2011. This is my year.”

It’s understandable why the little matter of what year it is could disorient the singer-songwriter. Ward’s last couple have included a whirlwind of releases, tours and one-offs, including two albums with Zooey Deschanel in pop-rock project She & Him, one with Monsters of Folk, soundtrack work on forthcoming film “Winnie the Pooh” and helming production for For Stars’ Carlos Forster’s solo set. The 37-year-old’s last solo set, 2009’s “Hold Time,” was a much larger-scale, band-oriented affair with guests like Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, Deschanel, DeVotchKa’s Tom Hagerman and Lucinda Williams.
So, Matt Ward is due for a little “me” time.
Which explains, in part, why he’s plotted a series of solo shows, featuring only him and his guitar on his own songs, starting in May. First, he’ll be christening the newly redesigned Crystal Hotel in Portland with a trio of back-to-back dates, then a European stretch of dates, then opening for Monsters of Folk cohort Conor Oberst and his band Bright Eyes, then crowning things off at the Newport Folk Festival.
[More after the jump...]
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<p>Jennifer Lopez and friend</p>

Jennifer Lopez and friend

Watch: All Jennifer Lopez, no Lil Wayne in 'I'm Into You' music video

The 'American Idol' judge debuts her latest creation on the 'Today' show

Because this blog lately has turned into J-Lo News Central, we might as well turn our eyes to the further simplicities of the "American Idol" judge's newest musical endeavors.

Case in point, the latest video for her "I'm Into You." Not only is there next to no effort exerted for the sticky, gummy, catchy chorus, but the video concept probably took about 10 seconds to explain.

Jennifer Lopez is featured writing in the water on a sandy beach in Mexico (in an impractical swimsuit cover-up, no less). Jennifer Lopez posing like a model on some stairs. Jennifer Lopez delightfully descending the steps of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan. Here's one where she has hair like Shakira. Throw a really hot guy (who is not her husband or FEATURED RAPPER Lil Wayne) (William Levy, yowzers) into the mix.

The clip -- which debuted on NBC's "Today" show -- makes plain why the 41-year-old is People's Most Beautiful Woman Of The Year.

"But," pleaded attending executives at the development meeting, "can we please include something ethnic? Even if it's a non-sequitur, totally unnecessary and unneeded in this particular capsule?"

The other executives sat thoughtfully, drinking their diamond champagne out of manatee skulls.

"I'm Into You" is on Lopez' new "Love?", out tomorrow (May 3).

[Video after the jump...]

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<p>Big Boi</p>

Big Boi

Big Boi working on new music with Modest Mouse, Owl City

Is the Outkast rapper slapping a little Stankonia onto these efforts?

Remember how we were surmising Modest Mouse were finishing a new album, despite few murmurs of such news were emanating from their camp? Well, it seems the Northwest rockers are hard at work, and may be sonically roaming to different pastures.

Big Boi Tweeted this week that he was up to SOMETHING with frontman Isaac Brock and Co.

"Me and @mouche1 [producer Chris Carmouche] in the studio workin with Modest Mouse on their new album Turnt up ! Shout out to Issac and the crew!" Then, "Been camped out in the Lab with Modest Mouse all week, workin on the new mouse LP, coolest cats ever. Long Live The Funk."

No word if he's simply producing or contributing beats or vocals to the set.

Oh, but that's not all! The one half of Outkast has already done some time with Owl City's Adam Young. A spokesperson from Young's camp informed me that a winter recording session did, indeed, occur, and has dubbed the result as a "a quick collaboration." However, the track will not be included on Owl City's forthcoming album "All Things Bright and Beautiful," due June 14. Also, the source also said she was "not sure what's coming
of it."


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Listen: Eminem and Royce Da 5'9" on living life in the 'Fast Lane'

A verbal tractor-trailer: Look out Nicki Minaj

Eminem and his bestie/former feuder Royce Da 5'9" recently announced a reunion of sorts for a new EP due in June; today, there's a taste of things to come.

The boys put the "pedal to the metal" for "Fast Lane," and there's a slew of metaphor, hackneyed and not. Along with the usual expectations on Em's end for rhymes on sucking d*ck and decapition, there's the sexy, sexy coo of "I hope I don't sound too heinous when I say this / but Nicki Minaj: I want to stick my penis in your anus."

I was about to launch into a feminist digression, on how the threat/come-on of anal sex to a female MC from one of rap's mainstays is hardly a backwards (no pun intended) compliment but a boys' club threat, the penance for entry into the male-driven industry is to invite a distillation of talent into a mere sexual object. Even for a pair of rappers who clearly have a mutual appreciation, and have collaborated extenstively before, even a joke-stripping of a woman publicly is to strip her of her power, blah blah. But then again: this is not new territory for Marshall Mathers or, rather, Slim Shady. This is to be expected. It's, again, like a nitrous-masked Dennis Hopper crouched on the floor, shouting into a vagina. I look forward to Minaj's "Roman-tic" response.

Meanwhile: "My natural persona's much worse," starts Royce, before his own collection of gross references, in hanging by one's balls from a unicorn horn, lighting cigarettes with one's assh*le and the "snatch of a fat dyke." He toys a lot with a number of crazy cadences while Mathers stays in the higher Shady register.

This, all on top of a dense thumping beat and a horns section from deep within your "Inception"-bound dreams.

"Bad Meets Evil" is out on June 14 on Em's Shady Interscope imprint. It's the first major collaboration between the two since 1999.

Do you like the track?


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