<p>Doug Paisley</p>

Doug Paisley

EXCLUSIVE Song Of The Day: Doug Paisley's 'No One But You'

Folk and alt-country combine for a solid second outing

Last night at New York's Living Room, Doug Paisley oscillated between the folksy modesty of someone raised right and the bold knowledge of his own unstoppable, subtle songwriting. One moment, he refrained from describing a vivid dream he had 'cause "nobody likes hearing about other people's dreams"; the next, he mentions he got his left-handed guitar from fellow Canadian and living legend Garth Hudson of The Band (oh, yeah, we may have heard of him). He willingly admitted that his tuner never thinks he's good enough, but then whipped those six strings and his tenor around a melody that sticks. He shaved the 'stache (at left), otherwise, he'd have another thing to brag about.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Kid Cudi in &quot;Erase Me&quot;</p>

Kid Cudi in "Erase Me"

Watch: Kanye West, McLovin cameo in Kid Cudi's rocker 'Erase Me'

Jimi Hendrix is strong with this one

As busy as he is , Kanye West took out some time this year to shoot a cameo with his protégé Kid Cudi in the vid for the latter's track "Erase Me."

Shot by Jason Goldwatch -- who's helmed for Linkin Park, Jay-Z, Ludacris and other Cudi clips -- the video takes the viewer backstage and on the tour bus with Cudi and his crew, who blab out silly things in British accents. Cudder dons the bell bottoms and big hair as Jimi Hendrix, while sidekick McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse spouts wisdom and truth from underneath a blonde wig. They drink, shenanigans ensue.

The only women to appear, of course, are model-ly groupies and a Rolling Stone music journalist (why do women rock writers on film always ask bad interview questions?). Kanye shows up for a verse with a crown of gold instead of thorns (as he's prone to, lately); he uses some clever word play involving the word "diarrhea."

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Daft Punk in a new &quot;Tron: Legacy&quot; image</p>

Daft Punk in a new "Tron: Legacy" image

Credit: Disney

First Look: Daft Punk reveal 'Tron' image, snippet of new track

'The Game Has Changed,' indeed: French duo steps into the Grid

I don't blame anybody for getting excited about the "Tron" sequel, "Tron: Legacy," but equally exhilarating is Daft Punk's appearance in the film, and the promise of new material from French dance music duo.

Disney has now revealed its Daft Punk "Tron" teaser poster, on the heels of the news that the robotic pair are, indeed, will be in the film as well as providing its score and soundtrack. In the flick, it may surprise you to learn that they'll play helmet-wearing DJs.

However, the release date has now been pushed back from its original, Thanksgiving-ish drop, to Dec. 7. There is still the guarantee that those who pre-order the CD version will get a poster of Daft Punk in the Grid from "Tron" with their package. Christmas: still coming early.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Sufjan Stevens</p>

Sufjan Stevens

Credit: Denny Renshaw

Album Review: Sufjan Stevens 'Age of Adz' marks a new era

Would you rather he go back the States Project?

Sufjan Stevens has never been a man to shy away from concepts. He’s famously penned albums based on individual United States. He crafted a little something around the Chinese Zodiac and put out a box of Christmas songs. His last major project, “The BQE,” was about the object-song of New York’s Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, projected on screen as well as on record. 

There are fans frustrated by the singer-songwriter’s schemes because, in a way, it makes his albums seem like a drill, never the “real thing” –like sonic exercises. “The Age of Adz” denies a concept outright but will be, beyond that, a major challenge for these fans, musically.
 
But I think that if Sufjan Stevens didn’t make albums like “The Age of Adz,” he’d be really bored. That’s not a bid in favor of the set, mind you, but gives some context to why there’s a lot going on here.
 

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Belle and Sebastian's &quot;Write About Love&quot;</p>

Belle and Sebastian's "Write About Love"

Credit: Matador

Album Review: Belle and Sebastian returns with 'Write About Love'

What does a four year wait, cameos from Carey Mulligan and Norah Jones and a 'Bimbo' get you?

 

For its eighth album, after a four-plus year wait, Belle and Sebastian have opted out of complete evolution or recreation, but instead honed on its strengths and – thankfully – come up with some nice stories to tell.
 
In those years, the Scottish band has allowed adventures beyond the road and outside of the studio to flourish: some folks got married, some started families, others dabbled in extra musical projects. But a palate cleanse doesn’t mean the mouth forgets what it likes. “Write About Love” excels, again, in nuanced pop, with exhalations of love, explorations of “what if,” journal-like explanations of good and bad behavior.
 
… All of which would be less than exhilarating if the melodies weren’t equally refined, fashioned from the same anything-goes cadre of delicate musical instruments, from Casio keys to acute amplifiers to shape-shifting guitars. The band confidently burst in with “I Didn’t See It Coming,” with a memorable tune that you could put your own little lyrics to and it’d still make sense, if it weren’t already so beautifully inked by the pen of Sarah Martin. She also makes a solid showing on “I Can See Your Future,” which has a pop of the older B&S recordings and the strings like those of Sgt. Pepper’s famous band.
 
That track cleans up the little mess that is “Read the Blessed Pages” a gentle piece of journal paper smacking of synthetic pan pipes (quit f*cking with me, Murdoch). By the time of closer “Sunday’s Pretty Icons,” all’s forgiven: it’s simply one of the strongest songs, lyrically, that frontman Stuart Murdoch has ever penned, in that it says so much without saying much at all. “Every girl you ever admired / every boy you’ve ever desired / every love you’ve ever forgot / every person that you despised is forgiven” sings the sentiment, a reason to hit “repeat” – on the whole album.
 
Which is reason to pick up on the impeccable track ordering on “Write About Love.” Shuffling would be like ignoring the syntax of a sentence because you like certain words together. It’s not like there’s One Meaningful Concept to draw from the set, but it maneuvers from quiet to loud, witty to vulnerable -- sometimes all within a single song – so well.
 
In “Come on Sister,” Stuart’s usual breathy, plain voice dabbles with a little machismo, inviting his subject to the bar (despite a keyboard’s 8-bit warning that, sorry, the princess is in another castle). But then “Calculating Bimbo” features him and his backers simply, dreamily reciting the song’s title in song, calmly reporting on the bimbo in question.
 
Solid “I Want the World to Stop” is fleshy and mysterious-sounding, with a echoing call-and-reponse and warm treatment of sad matter. It’s followed by unfortunate, snoozy Norah Jones vehicle “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John”; it’s bothersome in that it simply does not belong on this collection and that it's most exciting feature is its title.
 
The cameo is made up for with from actress Carey Mulligan guesting on the title track. The Rhodes and electric guitar opening revs like a Kinks cover as working class minutae and bereaving of a boring job gets the most cheerful treatment on the set. “Get on your skinny knees and pray,” Murdoch encourages, “You gotta see the dreams through the windows and the trees of your living room.”
 
The lyric expresses is a fine feeling of forward motion, for its listener and for the band. “Write About Love” is a charge without being high voltage. It fulfills what fans have come to expect from the band without overwhelming. It’s just enough to fall in “Love.”

 

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<p>Linkin Park</p>

Linkin Park

Watch: Linkin Park are seeing stars in 'Waiting for the End'

Whoa: A Linkin Park song you might actually like

Particularly after the band's MTV VMA performance, the "Blackbirds" promotion and their association with "Transformers," I haven't been much for Linkin Park over the last year. But today, I was pleasantly surprised: there's a recent LP song that I can say I actually like now.

The rockers premiered the video to "Waiting for the End" today, and the clip is packed with a lot of data and stuff going on that somehow turned out to be very beautiful. The band members are grids. They're constellations. They look great.

This is a fine instance of liking a track more because of its video, with props due to Linkin Park DJ Joe Hahn, the clip's director. The songwriting is kind of a mess, and the mix is so over-the-top for such an intimate sentiment and the drums are grumbling like D'n'B is back in style.  But it works for me, with such a dark palatte and strong imagery.

"Waiting for the End" is culled from the band's latest full-length, "A Thousand Suns," released this summer.

What do you think of the video?

 

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<p>Feist</p>

Feist

Credit: AP Photo

Watch the trailer for the Feist documentary; screenings announced

'Look at What the Light Did Now' is fresh off its Pop Montreal debut

Think what you will of her brand of pop/rock music, but you have to admit: Leslie Feist is a respectable, hard-working musician. From her early days with Chilly Gonzales and Peaches and then Broken Social Scene, to her bountiful arrangements and arresting voice on "The Reminder" and "Let It Die," she's a woman of variety.

I haven't seen it yet, but documentary "Look at What the Light Did Now" promises to show just that -- Feist's diversions and diversity in making a live show around "The Reminder," my personal No. 1 favorite record from 2007.

The film centers on bringing that studio album's artistic vision to stage, with the help of visual artist and puppeteer Clea Minaker, who transformed what could have been a straight-forward gigs into an active organisms that morph each night. Supporting characters like Gonzales, Mocky, music director Patrick Daughters, photographer Mary Rozzi, artist Simone Rubi and former BSS bandmates Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew take turns speaking on the famously spotlight-shy but energetic Feist.

Directed by Anthony Seck, "Look at What the Light Did Now" premiered at the Pop Montreal festival late last month. Just this week, screenings of the indie film were announced, dates and places below.

There's no official word yet what the status is on a new LP from the Canadian singer-songwriter, though she's helped out on recordings from pals Beck and Jamie Lidell in the last year. She also apparently helped compose music for a film called "She, a Chinese." But something makes me think she's not just taking it easy.

What do you think of the trailer? Will you go see it?

Here are the "Look At What The Light Did Now" screenings, with more TBA:
 
Oct 7th - 7:00 pm
Minneapolis, MN
Sound Unseen Festival
The Trylon Theatre
 
Oct 9th - 8:00 pm
Grand Rapids, MI
ArtPrize
Ladies Literary Club
 
Oct 15th - 8:00 pm
Los Angeles, CA
The Masonic Lodge
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
 
Oct 22nd - 9:30
Ithaca, NY
Cornell Cinema
 
Oct 29th - 7:00 pm
Seattle, WA
Henry Art Gallery

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<p>La Roux's Elly Jackson</p>

La Roux's Elly Jackson

Credit: Cherrytree

Watch: La Roux releases official U.S. music video for 'In for the Kill'

Duo announces headlining tour dates

The U.S. is about a year behind the U.K. in its widespread love and acceptance of La Roux, but on the other hand, better late than never.

The duo's "Bulletproof" was unavoidable all summer and now Cherrytree has released "In for the Kill" as the official follow-up. Forget that La Roux's album dropped more than a year ago and that there's already been one other video for "Kill." The swoopy-haired singer Elly Jackson's appearance in the new LEGS-directed video is worth the wait.

Jackson acts as a Bell Hop in the seedy-looking Chelsea Hotel (I remember it well), in its even seedier-looking corners. No sordid acts are actually captured on camera, but hints and allegations involving shrimp cocktail, a beardo stroking the legs to two ladies, a sailor with a hairdryer and a can of styling spray merely tickle the grimey parts of your brain.

I love her styling, the humor and the cinema of the clip. I also love that La Roux is on its own headlining tour this fall, with Francis and the Lights and "G6" hitmakers Far East Movement.

How you do you like the video?

[Video and tour dates after the jump...]

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<p>Ken Jeong in &quot;Fast Don't Lie&quot;</p>

Ken Jeong in "Fast Don't Lie"

Watch: Ken Jeong and NBA star Dwight Howard remind you that 'Fast Don't Lie'

'The Hangover' baddie puts on the gold jogging suit as Slim Chin

Ever since his endearing speech at the MTV Movie Awards, I've given Ken Jeong's single-note psychosis a free pass to do Whatever.

And that Whatever includes a two-minute commercial with NBA superstar center Dwight Howard, plugging shoes as a fake pop star named Slim Chin in a song called "Fast Don't Lie."

The Adidas spot fulfills the "Hangover" baddie's apparent contractual obligation for his appearances to feature large felines -- namely, cheetahs, tigers and his person dressed as a tiger. A stuffy butler, a plane to Aruba, a pile of money, jazz hands, a gold lamé track suit and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls also make cameos.

Howard doesn't make much of a singer, but his technical shortcomings are overshadowed by the one-take improv vamps at the end of the song.

GET PAID

[Video after the jump...]

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<p>Nas</p>

Nas

Credit: AP Photo

Nas pens angry letter to L.A. Reid: What's going on over at Def Jam?

Email comes after a rumored exec exit and a confirmed drop date from Kanye West

Nas has penned an irrate email to the executives at his label Def Jam, highlighting discord between artists and the traditional label record release cycle.

About three weeks ago, rapper Nas (born Nasir Jones) Tweeted that he was prepping the release of "The Lost Tapes Vol. 2," the follow-up to the first fan favorite compilation released in 2002, and told MTV it'd be out on Dec. 14. Def Jam issued no official press release to support its imminent appearance.

About a week later, a rumor began spreading that L.A. Reid, the label's top brass, was fired or forced to resign after six years. The news proved false, but did give major hip-hop and pop press the opportunity to muse why Reid may have been canned: he's helmed the careers of many of Def Jam's biggest names, but his move to sign more pop-leaning artists like Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez may have ruffled some feathers.

Kanye West has dropped Reid's name a few times since his impressive Twitter career launched a few scant weeks ago. Most recently in a post indicating that Def Jam was down with the Nov. 22 drop of new set "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," he mentioned Reid's name like the exec had finally and officially sanctioned the due date -- adding that Reid is "doing a great job."

Which leads us up to last night or early this morning that Nas sent his email. XXL has confirmed that the hip-hop vet was, indeed, the author of the letter, though he didn't intend for it to be publicly circulated. Then again, the mag writes, he didn't mind, either.

[More after the jump...]

Below is the complete text of the letter. The rapper's biggest complaints include the apparent shelving of "Lost Tapes," the fact that Def Jam isn't releasing any other major albums in the fourth quarter and how -- in his eyes -- Def Jam is no longer a definitive hip-hop label. He accuses its executives of attempting to steal the spotlight from its artists and caring too much about what radio and print press has to say about the records.

"Stop being your own worst enemy. Let's get money!" he wrote.

A request for comment from Def Jam was not returned by press time.

I doubt the conclusion of the "Lost Tapes" debacle will be what Nas wants, but clearly he's willing to risk his relations with the label in support of his project. If the record does get its release, but fails to "get money," I can't imagine that support network growing stronger for future releases unless they're of the contractual, capital-A Official Album variety.

 

Nas released an album with Damian Marley, "Distant Relatives," earlier this year, but his last solo set, , which was self-titled, was released in 2008. It bowed at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. The album cover featured his bare back, with scars from what look like lashings to make out an "N." Perhaps, to wit, in the first paragraph of the letter below?

What do you think of the email? Would you rally in support of his "Lost Tapes" release?

From: Nas
To: LA Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino, Chris Hicks

Subject: PUT MY SHIT OUT!

Peace to all,

With all do respect to you all, Nas is NOBODY’s slave. This is not the 1800′s, respect me and I will respect you.

I won’t even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. People connect to the Artist @ the end of the day, they don’t connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it. Yet time and time again its the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist’s dream and aspirations. You don’t help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don’t even do a great job @ selling it. The #1 problem with DEF JAM is pretty simple and obvious, the executives think they are the stars. You aren’t…. not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn’t work out so you took a desk job. To the consumer, I COME FIRST. Stop trying to deprive them! I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP. Pretty fucked up situation

This isn’t the 90′s though. Beefing with record labels is so 15 years ago. @ this point I just need you all to be very clear where I stand and how I feel about “my label.” I could go on twitter or hot 97 tomorrow and get 100,000 protesters @ your building but I choose to walk my own path my own way because since day one I have been my own man. I did business with Tommy Mottola and Donnie Einer, two of the most psycho dudes this business ever created. I worked well with them for one major reason……. they believed in me. The didn’t give a fuck about what any radio station or magazine said….those dudes had me.

Lost Tapes is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands. I started this over 5 years ago @ Columbia and nobody knew what it was or what it did but the label put it out as an LP and the fans went crazy for it and I single handlely built a new brand of rap albums. It’s smart and after 5 years it’s still a head of the game. This feels great and you not feeling what I’m feeling is disturbing. Don’t get in the way of my creativity. We are aligned with the stars here, this is a movement. There is a thing called KARMA that comes to haunt you when you tamper with the aligning stars. WE ARE GIVING THE PEOPLE EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. Stop throwing dog shit on a MAGICAL moment.

You don’t get another Nas recording that doesn’t count against my deal….PERIOD! Keep your bullshit $200,000.00 fund. Open the REAL budget. This is a New York pioneers ALBUM, there ain’t many of us. I am ready to drop in the 4th quarter. You don’t even have shit coming out! Stop being your own worst enemy.

Let’s get money!

-N.Jones

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