Listen to Ariana Grande's new R&B jam with Big Sean

Listen to Ariana Grande's new R&B jam with Big Sean

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Things you know you like, together

Ariana Grande's summer jam "Problem" was successful because it was an amalgam of a things we already knew we liked. She reminds us of classic Mariah Carey in her range; there's that four-part harmony that's like the Andrews sister; there's hints of New Jack Swing and the funk of the horns section from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop"; even if you don't know the verse, everyone can sing "you-hoo-HOO!"; Iggy Azalea is/was on fire at time of impact.

Grande has released a new song, "Best Mistake," ahead of her second album "My Everything," out on Aug. 25. This song may similarly ring a couple bells. There's a particular treatment to the keyboards that are reminiscent of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball." The vocal bend and auto-tune filter is a reminder of Rihanna. Those chimes make us think our princess is in another castle.

But unlike her first big number, this is a song I have listened to many times now and keep forgetting I've heard it. Big Sean turns in a verse that gets a C+ -- hey, slightly above average without sticking out in the crowd! -- and Grande's voice is appropriately if not robotically melancholy.

So to answer the question what happens when the water dries up? You wait until Aug. 25 to get a real gulp of what Grande can really offer. This is a pretty, easy song. The next hit's in another castle.

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Elvira returns in Ryan Adams' 'Gimme Something Good' video: Watch

Elvira returns in Ryan Adams' 'Gimme Something Good' video: Watch

'70s meets '80s in this new music clip

Ryan Adams' single "Gimme Something Good" wears out its '70s roots rock influences, but the singer-songwriter fully embraces his love of the '80s in the new music video for the track.

Or, rather, he wishes to embrace Elvira in this clip. Adams has an unabashed and well-documented love of metal, even hair metal and power-rock from the 1980s, and if all the bros I remember from my youth are any indication, Elvira and her witch wiles go hand-in-hand with all things 1980s rock 'n' roll.

So what do you do when you grow up ("grow up")? You enlist the help of the Mistress of the Dark in a stoically cheeky video, complete with the home video aesthetic chirping into your mid-tempo longings.

I've always had a soft spot for Adams. I feel bad for any songwriter who's endured maligned bullsh*t after they get sober, and after they leave the fold of traditionally admired labels like Lost Highway, all of which happened around 2007 and 2008. There's shining moments in sets like "Orion" and "Ashes & Fire," since then, that expose his heavy metal past, his sense of humor, his endless production ethic.

But most of all, it's sounded like he's rebuilding his mold, working with Mike Viola on this new, forthcoming self-titled album instead of producing himself, or working with consistent former collaborators like Glyn or Ethan Johns, Jamie Candiloro, Tom Schick. Or even dipping back into the waters of switching up the Cardinals lineup. (Fun fact: Viola previously produced albums for Ryan Adams' wife, Mandy Moore.)

"Gimme Something Good" isn't bold. But it is catchy as hell, like something from "Gold" or "Easy Tiger" that highlight his deft touch at rock-pop. "My Wrecking Ball," which is also available now (stream below) will tickle anybody who has enjoyed the lo-fi, solo workings of the Bedhead bootlegs, and his finer solo moments.

This is all to say I'm hopeful. He's striking a chord with this lightly funny video of Darkness (and oh those famous breasts).

Expect a redux of it tomorrow (Aug. 13) on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon."

"Gimme Something Good" and "My Wrecking Ball" are on "Ryan Adams," due out on Sept. 9 via Adams' Pax Am label with distro from Blue Note. Tour dates are below the videos.

Here are Ryan Adams' tour dates:

09/08/14 — Washington, DC — 9:30 Club *
10/01/14 — Santa Barbara, CA — Arlington Theater
10/03/14 - San Francisco, CA - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
10/05/14 — Portland, OR — Arlene Schnitzer Hall
10/06/14 — Seattle, WA — Paramount Ballroom
10/07/14 — Vancouver, BC — Orpheum Theater
10/09/14 — Edmonton, AB — Francis Winspear Theater
10/10/14 — Calgary, AB — Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
10/12/14 — Winnipeg, AB — Burton Cummings Theater
10/13/14 — Minneapolis, MN — Northrop at the University of Minnesota
10/14/14 — Milwaukee, WI — Riverside Theater
10/16/14 — Chicago, IL — Chicago Theater
10/18/14 — Ames, IA — Stephens Auditorium @ Iowa State Center ***
10/19/14 — St. Louis, MO — Peabody Opera House
10/20/14 — Kansas City, MO — Uptown Theater
11/06/14 — Indianapolis, IN — Murat Theater *
11/08/14 — Columbus, OH — Palace Theater *
11/09/14 — Detroit, MI — The Fillmore *
11/11/14 — Cleveland, OH — State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare **
11/18/14 —Boston, MA — Wang Theatre *
11/19/14 — Philadelphia (Upper Darby), PA — Tower Theatre *

* On sale Friday, August 15 at 10am local time
** On sale Friday, August 15 at 11am local time
*** On sale Friday, August 22nd

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Danny Brown, all day: Rapper's video for Rustie, new song with Lucki Eck$

Danny Brown, all day: Rapper's video for Rustie, new song with Lucki Eck$

It's raining feathers

Danny Brown has new music lined up with a couple different sources this week: he's combined with throwback sounds for Rustie's sophomore set, and hit up Lucki Eck$ for a new crunchy club track.

Regarding the first one: Rustie's song "Attak" IS RIDICULOUS, in part because of the d'n'b noise that won't give up on that trap, and in part because of bespeckled Danny Brown's nasally rhymes dripping off of it like a well-worn scarf. The lyric video for the second song to arrive from Rustie's album "Green Language" -- due Aug. 25 -- is below.

If you're having trouble deciphering the Detroit MCs lyrics... well, you may continue to have problems (but in a FUN way!) trying to wrap your head around the animated words that stream across the screen. If you checked out Rustie's video for first single "Raptor," then take joy in the falling feathers again.

Then there's Lucki Eck$ who first crossed paths with Danny Brown during Red Bull's Sound Select emerging artist concert in Austin back in March. "Weightin' On" is the result of them joining back up in the studio, and features Brown on the hook and Chicigo-bred rhymer Eck$ on the verses. This banger goes up for sale via digital retailers tomorrow (Aug. 12).

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Which popular music artists still haven't had a No. 1 album in the U.S.?

Which popular music artists still haven't had a No. 1 album in the U.S.?

Tom Petty, show them the away... Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, The Roots and more

It only took him 38 years: today it was announced that Tom Petty achieved a first in his career, earning his first-ever No. 1-selling album in the U.S. with his and The Heartbreakers' "Hypnotic Eye." The Billboard 200 chart's top has always eluded the rocker, but last week "Eye" saw 131,000 copies, enough for the top.

Just a couple of weeks ago, it was "Weird Al" Yankovic scoring his first No. 1 album, "Mandatory Fun," with more than a dozen studio sets under his belt.

But who are the remaining active popular artists who have yet to witness their albums hit the top? There are some legends -- like David Bowie and Aretha Franklin -- who have shockingly spent decades falling short at No. 2. Shakira, Wilco, OneRepublic and The Roots have plenty of time too...

Which of these artists could still make it to the summit, and which ones do you think will go the way of The Clash, Marvin Gaye, The Ramones, James Brown, The Who and Blondie, in regards to artists who have never pocketed a top-charting album in the United States?

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Azealia Banks revs up in her new 'Heavy Metal and Reflective' music video

Azealia Banks revs up in her new 'Heavy Metal and Reflective' music video

Gee, I wonder if it's a metaphor

Azealia Banks arrives in the desert bound and hooded at the beginning of her "Heavy Metal and Reflective" music video. But like a lilting butterfly -- unfettered by the scorching heat and the wild band of motocross bikers -- she escapes her ties to rule the crew.

You'd think that's a metaphor or something.

The rapper became loosed from her contract with Interscope last month, leaving way for her to finally maybe perhaps release a full-length record, which never came to pass for her "Broke with Expensive Taste" LP when she was with the major.

"Heavy Metal..." is the first taste of what she's been up to since then. I like what I'm hearing.

Her low drone bounces off of steep low ends and a similarly "cheeky" clap to Big Sean's "A$$"; the violent neons and flaming reds of her riding gear in the video is echoed in the bright and mean production overall.

I was also caught unawares that there was such a thing as a thong motocross bodysuit in the world. I did, however, know that it's difficult to make anybody look cool in double-plated riding goggles.

Check out the video below: does Banks have a fighting chance now that she has no label home? Want to hear more?

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Lollapalooza 2014 in photos: Eminem, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Outkast and more
Credit: AP Photo

Lollapalooza 2014 in photos: Eminem, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Outkast and more

The rain didn't keep a weekend of music away in Chicago

Lollapalooza returned to Chicago this past weekend, and brought with it headliners like Kings Of Leon, Eminem, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Outkast and more.

The three-day event ran over Aug. 1-3 in Grant Park, with a few hours spent in the "rain" portion of the "rain or shine" policy.

Still, Nas, Grouplove, Cage The Elephant, Bleacher, Jhene Aiko, Lykke Li, John Butler Trio, White Denim, The Bombay Motorcycle Club, Glen Hansard, Jungle, The Head and the Heart and The Avett Brothers were caught doing their thing on camera.

Check out photos from the intrepid shooters at Associated Press below. Which are your favorite pics?

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These actors could play these pop stars in a biopic now

These actors could play these pop stars in a biopic now

Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mark Ruffalo... who would they play?

James Brown biopic "Get On Up" with recent Hitfix interviewee Chadwick Boseman heads to theaters Friday. Tom Hiddleston and Ansel Elgort will play Hank Williams and Van Cliburn, respectively, soon. The N.W.A. flick has its cast. Andre 3000 already stepped up as Jimi Hendrix in "All Is By My Side," out just recently.

Biopics have been a draw for awards voters too, like for "Ray" and "Walk the Line," for their actors and the music.

So why wait? Might as well start planning ahead while our favorite artists are with us.

In the gallery below, I spitball some actors and the contemporary musicians they could play. Undoubtedly, Tilda Swinton could play quite a few, but which first? Who looks like Taylor Swift? Who could be a doppelganger for Alicia Keys or Drake? How does Miley Cyrus fit in? And why are Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Ruffalo on this list?

Add your own suggestions in the comments. I'd be particularly keen to see Mark Strong take on Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor -- "Come Back Stronger," what do you think?

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Exclusive song premiere: Adebisi Shank's 'World in Harmony'
Credit: Sargent House

Exclusive song premiere: Adebisi Shank's 'World in Harmony'

From 'This Is The Third Album From A Band Called Adebisi Shank'

Imagine a green pasture through which you and an army of one thousand synthesizers charge toward the ocean on pixelated horses, the sky is gold glitter, and you are a stick of candy dynamite.

That's one approximation of "World in Harmony," the opening track from Irish trio Adebisi Shank's new self-evidently titled "This Is The Third Album From A Band Called Adebisi Shank," due Aug. 12. Check out the HitFix exclusive premiere of the track below.

"We were trying to make something euphoric and huge, a universe of our own imagination that we could escape into," said bassist Vin in a statement. "Our inspirations were more cinematic and fantastical."

It should tell you something that the band lists video games, movies and one particular HBO hit series among its other more musical inspirations.

Want more to sample? Below "World in Harmony" is "Voodoo Vision" and "Big Unit," too.

Here is the tracklist for "This Is The Third Album From A Band Called Adebisi Shank":

1. World In Harmony
2. Big Unit
3. Turnaround
4. Mazel Tov
5. Thundertruth
6. Sensation
7. Chaos Emeralds
8. Voodoo Vision
9. (trio always)

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Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and more made a rap song for 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'

Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and more made a rap song for 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'

If the movie looks like what this song sounds like...

The new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie got itself a new Teenage Music Ninja Track, it's a rap song, and it's called "Shell Shocked."

I'm going to give you a minute to stop laughing.

 

 

"Shell Shocked" is by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign and guests producers Kill The Noise & Madsonik. That's officially more features than there are turtles. Somebody has to call dibs on Splinter.

Beyond its many rhymers, "Shell Shocked" has all the things to make your favorite nine-year-old slam dance in the living room: big bass, clap track, trap clap and mastering with no restraint, on top of the recurring chorus "knock knock / you about to get shell shocked."

In a press release, Wiz, Ty and Juicy J each justify why they decided to take on the song, with nary a mention of the obvious ($$$$$$$), and yet (and yes) there's mentions of Rolex watches and girls taking naughty pictures in its narrative.

God is dead and the world is on fire. Check out the single "Shell Shocked" below. Another TMNT rap classic is below that. "TMNT" is in theaters on Aug. 8.

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Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway dress in drag for Jenny Lewis' new music video

Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway dress in drag for Jenny Lewis' new music video

Read the personal and female-centric lyrics to the Beck-guesting tune

Today, Jenny Lewis' premiered the music video for her Beck-produced song "Just One of the Guys." It is silly to perfection. And it has more than just Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway and Brie Larson in drag to unpackage.

I think of Jenny Lewis as an artist whose spent a career surrounded by dudes. She started up with in Rilo Kiley at the age 22 with all-guys, toured with the Postal Service, written and recorded music with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice as Jenny & Johnny, works in an indie rock industry that is male-dominated. In her earliest career, she was a child actress, and now she writes scores and soundtracks for film. (Though, don't discount: she also recorded and toured with ladies The Watson Twins, who helped launch her as a solo act, a wonderful ensemble.)

In a lot of industries, being "just one of the guys" holds serious social capitol as a woman. This can take a variety of forms, but I think it whittles down to having a voice and being a hang that isn't perceptively different from males around you. The stereotypes: farting, drinking whiskey, talking about hot girls, low self-maintenance, Chuck Taylors, whatever.

In Lewis' video, dressing in drag means lampooning these cliches, but also offers social commentary to what the content of her song actually speaks to: "No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys / there's a little something inside that won't let me... There's only one difference between you and me / when I look at myself all I can see / I'm just another lady without a baby."

Lewis is 38 years old. The video shows her taking a pregnancy test, she makes reference to her "ticking clock" and how "all our friends they get it on / But the girls are still staying young." Her age and her want/ability to bear children weighs on Lewis in this song, who acknowledges how "hard" she wants to be one of the guys while at the same time shrugging off the ageist tendencies of her "friends" as so-typical at best and sexist at worst. There are those outside forces and there are those inside her, as the "sister to my own sorrow."

And I don't think Lewis' selection of talent for her music video directorial debut is coincidence, either. Brie Larson, Kristen Stewart and Anne Hathaway (and collaborator-drummer-actress Tennessee Thomas) are fans of Lewis' work, but they can also be stand-ins for industry double standards. I think of Hathaway as ultra-feminine, and her famous tears for "Les Miserables" are recreated here as she apes as a dude. "Twilight" franchise star Kristen Stewart is an accidental celebrity in a lot of ways, and took the brunt of attacks over her romantic life's foibles. Brie Larson is a comedic and dramatic actress, who so far seems to actively avoid compromising roles that box her into one type of character or another.

So, yes, dressing them in (tacky) drag is funny on its face; it makes light what is heavy. But it's also a shot back at baby-making, "having it all" notions, topics rendered inapproachable "if I were a boy..." They're a crop of what ladies do and do not do, as the last lines of the song suggest.

Which takes it to some next-level sh*t debuting it on GQ, the self-proclaimed "authority on men." It's a deliberate choice -- a little bit of punking, a little of education, a little subtext, a little empowerment. (I find that emphasis of the article is on the "fun" of the shoot, and a light mention of how good Brie Larson looks as a bro.)

Aside from/because of/despite all that, it's a great tune to boot.

"Just One of the Guys," produced by and featuring Beck, is on Jenny Lewis' next solo album "Voyager," out on July 29.

Read the full lyrics below the video.

All our friends they get it on
But the girls are still staying young
if I get caught being rude in a conversation
with the child-bride on a summer vacation

No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys
there's a little something inside that won't let me
no matter how hard I try to have an open mind
there's a little voice inside that prevents me

And how I live you got me here
locked in this bathroom full of tears
and I have begged for you and I have borrowed
but I've been the only sister to my own sorrow

No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys
there's a little something inside that won't let me
no matter how hard I try to have an open mind
there's a little clock inside that keeps tickin'

There's only one difference between you and me
when I look at myself all I can see
I'm just another lady without a baby

No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys
there's a little something inside that won't let me
no matter how hard I try to have an open mind
there's a little cop inside that prevents me

I'm not gonna break for you, I'm not gonna pray for you, I'm not gonna pay for you
that's not what ladies do

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