<p>Dr. Dre</p>

Dr. Dre

Watch: So Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Akon walk into a bar... for 'Kush'

Plenty of green, just none of the pot variety

It's not new news that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg like their green. But you won't find much of the pot variety in the music video to leaf-loving "Kush," the first single from Dre's long-awaited "Detox" album.

You will find plenty of green dollar bills floating around. And girls, girls, girls. Cars, booze (including at least one prominent product placement), parties in the parking lot, at the club, in the plane, in the elevator.

The odd thing about "Kush" the clip is that all this happens with no motion, literally no motion, as Dre and Snoop walk through scenes that appear to be on pause. Ah, sweet allegory.

It does also contain the extra-helpful tip, that the fastest way to get girls' clothes off in a bar is to set off the water extinguishers off with a lighter. Because that wouldn't piss them off at all, we just live to serve dance. Get it? Party doesn't start until you light up.

Akon obviously wasn't onsite for the shoot, but he's been busy, too, with that whole Michael Jackson "Hold My Hand" thing, plus Gaga's album coming out next year.

It's a throwback in some way to Dre's lower budget days in the heyday of West Coast rap, where all you needed was the cars and the girls. It's nice to see Doc taking a walk with Snoop.

No word yet on an official drop date of "Detox." March? I still vote "never," as much as I'd like to hear it.

Get Instant Alerts - Music News
By subscribing to this e-alert, you agree to HitFix Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and to occasionally receive promotional emails from HitFix.

Follow Melinda Newman and The Beat Goes On on

RSS Facebook Twitter

Follow Katie Hasty and Immaculate Noise on

RSS Facebook Twitter
Read Full Post
Song of the Day: Mogwai shows you 'How to Be' a cyclist in short film clip

Song of the Day: Mogwai shows you 'How to Be' a cyclist in short film clip

Track culled from Scottish rockers' forthcoming new album

Mogwai have a new album dropping in February and what better way to promote it than help spotlight the travels of a cyclist how literally biked around the world.

"How to Be a Werewolf" is a pretty light track -- considering it's Mogwai -- and a remix of it appropriately soundtracks a clip of James Bowthorpe, who broke the record for biking 'round-the-world, in Norway during a "white night," a night during which the sun never goes down. Talk about Northern lights.

The video is part of a longer short film, directed by Antony Crook, chronicling the travels. Crook also designed the cover for Mogwai's next album, "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will." (Which is now, officially, my favorite album title of all time for today.) The set's due Feb. 15 on Sub Pop.

"We found the perfect backdrop to tell this story of somebody who points his bike at the horizon and then doesn't stop pedaling. It's a film about never giving up,” says Crook in a statement. He had been listening to the Mogwai "Hardcore" demos as he filmed.

Now let's talk about Mogwai for a second, because I'm trying to put this somewhat-uplifting song into some context. I saw the Scottish rockers finally for the first time two years ago at All Points West in New Jersey and --  even with My Bloody Valentine shaking equilibrium to their core later that night -- they were still the loudest motherf*ckers in that park, bless their hearts.

But with "Werewolf," there's a lot more identifiable structure, a lot more high end, than I'm used to, and not just comparing their live sets to recordings. I'm curious to hear the rest of "Hardcore," if just for more of that magnificent snare sound.

Mogwai "How to Be a Werewolf" (in Thirty Century Man) from Sub Pop Records on Vimeo.


Read Full Post


Watch: Bjork pays tribute to Alexander McQueen with new song

'To Lee, With Love, Nick' is as discordant as that Volta getup

The world may have lost world class designer Lee Alexander McQueen earlier this year, but, in tribute, it gains a new tune from Bjork.

The Icelandic songwriter contributed a track to very-short film "To Lee, With Love, Nick," which made its debut in London on Monday at the British Fashion Council Awards. The Nick Knight-directed clip features the fashions of the late, great visionary and Knight's photography.

"But there's so much hope out there/I've been trying so hard/to complete all the possibles/to create a flow," Bjork sings over discordant horns prone to wander, as moth wings and the burrrring of metal on metal intensify the exercise. She breathes when the composition breathes, ferociously. Dresses and bodies capture violent lights as abstract shapes twist in shadows.It's like a really good-looking bad headache.

Bjork -- a fighter for fashion herself -- collaborated frequently with Knight and McQueen. She sang "Gloomy Monday" at the latter's memorial in September.

What do you think of the clip?

Read Full Post
<p>James Franco came to win</p>

James Franco came to win

Watch: Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, James Franco get a Pallett makeover

'Fourteen Actors Acting' video portrait project spotlights a killer series of soundtracks

James Franco charms. Natalie Portman collapses in glamor. Matt Damon militaristically dissents. Robert Duvall prepares for something big. Tilda Swinton exhales with dissonance and awe.

These are the visual cues from the New York Times Magazine's "Fourteen Actors Acting" video feature, but they're also the musical themes that accompany, composed by man-about-town Owen Pallett.

It's an exhilarating piece, running in tandem with the mag's Hollywood Issue out this week. The video vignettes run in a minute or less for each actor, each personality interpreting their idea of a "decisive moment," of "classic screen types." But for me, the music makes it.

Pallett has fun with his, well, palette here, utilizing the Czech Symphony Strings to realize 14 different (black and white) visions, with other actors including Javier Bardem, Jesse Eisenberg, Chloe Moretz, Michael Douglas, Jennifer Lawrence, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel, Anthony Mackie and Lesley Manville.

It's a neat little self-contained project and a sweet opportunity for the Canadian songwriter, violinist, composer and collaborator.

Of course I'm particularly taken, too, with the James Franco clip, because oh my.

Watch the whole thing here, it's worth it.

Get Instant Alerts - Music News
By subscribing to this e-alert, you agree to HitFix Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and to occasionally receive promotional emails from HitFix.

Follow Melinda Newman and The Beat Goes On on

RSS Facebook Twitter

Follow Katie Hasty and Immaculate Noise on

RSS Facebook Twitter
Read Full Post
<p>Feist's silhouette on the cover of &quot;The Reminder&quot;</p>

Feist's silhouette on the cover of "The Reminder"

Credit: Cherrytree

Exclusive: Watch a new clip from Feist doc 'Look at What the Light...'

What did photographer Mary Rozzi have to say about the mysterious Leslie Feist?

In a clip exclusive to HitFix, photographer Mary Rozzi explains the mystery that is Leslie Feist -- a mystery that is still one to the songwriter herself. The clip is taken from "Look at What the Light Did Now," the Feist documentary released to DVD on Tuesday (Dec. 7).

And I do like the doc. An awful lot.

"[Feist] has a way of showing herself without showing herself," Rozzi says right before a long look into the quiet rehearsal of a Reminder Tour show. "must be hard to show yourself like that. Because maybe you're trying to figure out who you are... you're really naked up there. Scary."

The nakedness of the band's hollow, sparse clicks before showtime is buttressed by darkness, the palate for "light artist" Clea Minaker, Feist's visual muse during the recording and touring of "The Reminder."

Feist, througout the film, struggles with her own fame, and her own image; she's loath to put her own face on the cover of her album, and to step out as a solo act rather than a bandleader. As I mentioned in my interview with doc director Anthony Seck, Feist refused to even do an interview for the flick until it made it all the way to the editing room floor. It's an exploration of her personal personality in real time.

As previously reported, Feist is heading back into the studio this winter to work on a follow up to her last 2007 album.

Get Instant Alerts - Music News
By subscribing to this e-alert, you agree to HitFix Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and to occasionally receive promotional emails from HitFix.

Follow Melinda Newman and The Beat Goes On on

RSS Facebook Twitter

Follow Katie Hasty and Immaculate Noise on

RSS Facebook Twitter
Read Full Post
<p>Daft Punk</p>

Daft Punk

Review: Daft Punk's 'Tron: Legacy' 'bridges' man and machine

How is the Disney sequel's score like 'Inception?'

Daft Punk firmly establish themselves as more than just dance guys in the score and soundtrack to Disney’s forthcoming “Tron: Legacy,” though holding dear the same elements in the classical orchestrations that they do in their famous electronic compositions.

The French duo had talked with and culled ideas from other Hollywood music-makers like Hans Zimmer before they delved into scoring, and it was precisely Zimmer they channel in stretches of “Tron.” One of the overriding motifs is the blare of horns, like a foghorn, that dominated the dream-in-a-dream sequences in “Inception.” And like that score, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo don’t care to bother with major key, but sits firmly in minor-keyed revolutions – yes, cycles – in as much as a temperamental fashion as this sometimes-ridiculous movie would allow.

[More after the jump...]

But that’s like “Inception” in timbre not always in style. Particularly in “Adagio for TRON” or in “Outlands,” the 100+ person orchestra shift through the modulating that the synths and drum machines normally would in a Daft Punk song. It’s a full restructuring of a dance song with new instrumentation, plunging into two- or three-minute vignettes, capped by those foghorns or with a blast of “Flynn’s Theme” that take you back to the original arcade of the first film.

“Tron: Legacy” the Film is a lot on the eyes, and rarely do these tracks interfere with the feast. That’s why they were hired, that’s why it works. “End of the Line” is that essence, where it verges on dance music, album-esque territory, but avoids it altogether by just staying with the same repeated motif. The only tracks that maybe could be pulled from the mix as traditional Daft Punk songs and beats are companions “End of the Line” and “Derezzed,” the latter of which just got its own music video.

The pair stay traditional orchestral for the overtures, and the sign-off credit and finale songs. But as Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and his son Kevin (Garrett Hedlund) battle programs in The Grid, electronic battles these flesh-and-blood orchestras, and sometimes move in tandem with them. In one particular scene, as the Flynn family flies toward the light that will send them back into the Real World, they’re accompanied by beautiful half-“human” iso program Quarra (Olivia Wilde); the organic and electronic music shifts from harmonic to turbulent as the threesome battle evil program C.L.U. and his other flying minions.

It’s the perfect platform for the artists themselves, considering their propensity to appear as robots at their blockbusting dance shows: Daft Punk themselves have one leg in machinery and one in humanity. In “Tron,” they’re performers as Daft Punk, but composers as Homem-Christo and Bangalter.

As far as arc goes, though, the duo and its crew of musicans can’t help themselves but send the needle always to either the one and two, or to the nine and 10, with nothing in between. Like the film itself, there’s few blissful plateaus and letups before well-intended plans are foiled by interference and static. This is a series of slow-breathing warm-up and cool-downs, with bounding melodramatic beats and chest-beating orchestrations in the creamy middle. It’s a slow, mean march to the batter’s box (or the disc wars grid). But it’s far, far from a DaftPunk album, even with their “Electroma” in mind. They use their orchestral resources wisely, but not too cleverly. We’re not going deep down into seventh-level dreams or whatever, there’s just that unstoppable, ever-useful Grid structure -- that 4/4 time.

Follow HitFix’s Katie Hasty on Twitter for more music and movie news at /katieaprincess.

Get Instant Alerts - Music News
By subscribing to this e-alert, you agree to HitFix Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and to occasionally receive promotional emails from HitFix.

Follow Melinda Newman and The Beat Goes On on

RSS Facebook Twitter

Follow Katie Hasty and Immaculate Noise on

RSS Facebook Twitter
Read Full Post
<p>Feist in &quot;Look at What the Light Did Now&quot;</p>

Feist in "Look at What the Light Did Now"

Interview: Feist documentary director tells HitFix 'What the Light Did'

Canadian singer-songwriter heading back into the studio this winter

A couple years ago, Leslie Feist and her whole crew were in Malibu, staying out near the beach, while she was touring off of "The Reminder." She and friend Kyle Field (aka Little Wings) were outdoors, working on their sets, trading songs and singing together. At one point, they and filmmaker Anthony Seck heard dogs barking and whining at the fence that divided the yard from the beach. Everyone got up to see what the fuss was about, and there was a baby seal, rapt, apparently listening to their music. Feist entertained the animal with some shadow puppets and she and Field moved camp to a gully on the beach. They started playing Little Wings' "Look at What the Light Did Now" to further entertain their new friend, to take advantage of a rare moment.   

The next day, Feist's documentary had its title. Even though "Look at What the Light Did Now" is not the name of a Feist song, Seck -- the doc's director -- agreed that it was a phrase that captured such precious and small moments that made up "The Reminder" and its subsequent, unique tour, with film footage culled from more than four years.

"It was all, special intimate stuff," Seck told HitFix of the scenes he and editor Holly Singer kept for the final product, out tomorrow (Dec. 7) on DVD. "Les and I were conscious that we wanted something more subtle and artistic. [The interviewees] all have these philosophies, people as a perspective… we said, 'Let's make this a non-narrative narrative.'"

Seck and Feist had been longtime friends in Canada; the film was initially shot to be a 20-minute vignette on Clea Minaker, who shaped the extraordinary lights-and-shadow show that accompanied Feist's live sets. Then Seck was invited onto the entire "Reminder" tour and took down the thoughts of Feist's musical co-conspirators (like frequent collaborator Chilly Gonzales and Broken Social Scene alumni Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew) her artistic muses (like Minaker, photographer Mary Rozzi and multi-format artist Simone Rubi) and even the sound and light guys.

Special focus, too, is given to Patrick Daughters, whose music videos for Feist helped give her rise to mainstream fame: "1, 2, 3, 4" had its day in the sun in an Apple iPod commercial, and the spotlight burned a little bit brighter.

"Some people scrape, some people spend their entire lives and earnings for a break. For Leslie, it just falls in her lap. She knows she's in the record business and wants to make a living that way, but she maintains a core of remaining creative. I think women get pushed around by [major] record labels, just like in the film industry. But she holds her own," Seck says.

Getting Leslie Feist to accept that spotlight -- even as a frontwoman of a highly creative circus, and not just a singular icon -- was no easy feat. It wasn't even until Seck was in the editing room that Feist allowed him to interview her for the project.

"She said, 'I'll ask you a question, and we'll talk about that, and then you get to ask me one,'" Seck explains, comparing her, too, to the singing frog in the Looney Tunes short, who would sing for the man who saved him from a shoebox, but would clam up in front of a paying crowd.

Don't take the metaphor too far, though. Feist positively owns her paying audiences as she's toured stadiums in support of the 2007 effort. And Minaker's work as an incorporated member of Feist's band was no novel act: Seck artfully incorporates that live footage with the narrative, avoiding the "cop-out" pitfalls of some concert films.

The film also includes an invigorating fast-speed slideshow of all the hundreds of design ideas Feist's collaborators crafted for the album art; a how-to guide of getting Leslie Feist to jump out of a window; and a stunning focus on the recording of "The Water." There's really a lot to the story, which is a triumph for Seck and his team for completing such a daring "non-narrative," originally whittled down to a mere 77 minutes.

Of course, then, there's less room to leave in fun details from shooting, like Kevin Drew having an uncontrollable laughing fit for 10 minutes or Feist's manager destroying the tour printer with a hockey stick.

"When were ready to shape the movie, we had to draw the lines pretty tight. There were a lot of schematics -- the road, shadow puppetry, live concerts, music recording, music videos, handling press," Seck says of the business of Feist. "She wanted to make a film that worked. It could’ve been cut two years before [now]. But from final shooting, it needed to take that time creatively. She was the force that got me out there and shooting it. So it was only right she allowed it to have the time that it needed to be finished."

Seck says Feist is heading back into the studio to record this winter. No word yet if he'll be on hand to put it all down on film.

Read Full Post
<p>A Tribe Called Quest</p>

A Tribe Called Quest

Watch: Trailer for A Tribe Called Quest's Sundance-selected documentary

I will watch the hell out of this movie

Sundance announced its selected slate of featured films for its 2011 film festival, including documentaries. And one in particular caught my eye.

"Beats, Rhymes and Life" turns the lens on "the rise and influence of one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the collective known as A Tribe Called Quest." AKA my favorite hip-hop troupe of all time. The movie gets a world premiere at the fest.

Lucky for me us, the trailer appeared on YouTube around the same time as the announcement. And it looks pretty explosive.

One of the keener points of the film with focus on the band's inner-turmoil, disintegration and breakup, all around the moment they'd achieved ultimate escalation with "Find a Way" from their last "The Love Movement," from 1998. Additionally, the live concert footage looks white-hot and any insights from the likes of Kanye West, Nas and De La Soul. Appears the film used to be dubbed "Beats, Rhymes and Fights," so there's always that.

Mike Rappaport directed the effort; vet Madlib composed the original score and Peanut Butter Wolf (!!) was music supervisor. Can I pre-order that soundtrack now?

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Utah.

Watch the trailer below.

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Martin in Coldplay's &quot;Christmas Lights&quot;</p>

Chris Martin in Coldplay's "Christmas Lights"

Watch: Coldplay gets down, lights up for 'Christmas Lights'

Lonely at Christmas? Take a trip to London

Coldplay have released a digital download-only holiday single this year, "Christmas Lights," and doubled the fun with a gangbusters music video to boot.

The most extraordinary thing about the clip, in my opinion, is that it was filmed a week ago: exquisite "Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll" director Mat Whitecross helmed the shoot, which was edited to appear like one long shot. It's got many of the typical elements of a Christmas scene -- fake snow, twinkle-lights, green and red -- but also ropes in a trio of violin-playing Elvis impersonators, vaudevillian stage props, fireworks over London and Chris Martin laying on the floor wailing about a lost lady love.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

2011 Grammy Nominations surprises and snubs: Lady Gaga, Sade, 'Glee'

What did you think of picks from Katy Perry, Ray LaMontagne, Eminem and Bruno Mars?

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards finally has its nominees, and -- as is custom -- there's some real duds, shockers and pleasant surprises on the list. Here's a breakdown of what we found in the popular music categories, from Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to Ray LaMontagne and Esperanza Spalding.

Click here to check out the popular music nominees, and here for the full, entire list.

The Album of the Year category should feature an asterisk in its name, considering it’s just letting “Collections of Songs Roughly the Length of an Album” and “EP” waltz right in there. Katy Perry made some unforgettable singles this year, but – as I wrote in my review – Katy Perry doesn’t really make great albums. And perhaps the voting Academy felt bad that “The Fame” didn’t win in 2009, so Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" gets a pass before she even puts out a real sophomore set. PATIENCE, voters, you can coddle her all you want after “Born This Way” drops.

… That is, a good butt-kissing ought be issued in the 54th ceremony, considering “Bad Romance” didn’t get the nod in Record of the Year. Don’t get me wrong -- “Nothin’ on You” from B.o.B. and this year’s golden boy Bruno Mars is a very, very, very pleasant song. But it’s in-store music at the local Quik Trip compared to the luscious muscle memory of singing “rah-rah-ah-ah-ah roma-roma-ah” aloud.
But, hey, how 'bout that Bruno Mars? It doesn't hurt that dude co-wrote Cee Lo Green's "F*ck You"/"Forget You," but you had to know something was up when he took the stage to perform twice. Seven nominations is a monster.
Sade gets no big album, song or record nod – just Pop Performance in a Group or Duo, and R&B Performance by a Group or Duo, for “Babyfather” and “Soldier of Love” respectively. In the latter category, she and her band are up against two cover songs and a Chris Brown track, so it feels a bit like a pity prize to dominate.
A live version of Beyonce’s “Halo” makes the cut for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance? Isn’t that like bypassing thousands of unique, fresh-made meals for some decent leftovers from two years ago?
It’s a little uncomfortable that Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” only got one nod. And it was for a live version, go figure. Another shocking realization that Grammy eligibility doesn’t always run in tandem with popularity. NOT. THAT. POPULARITY. MATTERS. RIGHT. GRAMMYS?

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post