Lady Gaga is nude on the cover of her new 'ARTPOP' album

Lady Gaga is nude on the cover of her new 'ARTPOP' album

Is it artful? Does it pop?

Lady Gaga has birthed the new album cover to her next album "ARTPOP."

The pop star poses nude as a plastic version of herself, fairly makeup-less, with lights shining down on her to make her eyes rather placid, if not downright tired. And I say tired because she is straddling a shining blue orb, to which she may have just performed coitus or given birth, the photographer's flash reflected back at us. She is gripping her breasts -- spheres censored -- an activity less sexual than protected. Renaissance and classical art is chopped and screwed in a sun's rays pattern behind the giant hot pink letters of her name.

The artwork is by Jeff Koons, who she name-checks in her latest single "Applause." Gaga Tweeted the lyrics in her reveal of the cover.

 

As the nation is having its Naked Miley Cyrus conversation, it's interesting to have yet another provocative image of solo female singers straddling balls that are not of the "Wrecking" variety. There's a celebrity awareness in this image, and while I don't think it's really all that pleasing, it wants to intimate a larger conversation about plastic "pop" music and the legacy of art before it.

Or all the songs could just sound like "Applause" and I'd be OK with that.

"ARTPOP" is out on Nov. 11.

Lady Gaga ARTPOP cover artwork

Track-by-track review: Miley Cyrus' new album 'Bangerz'

Track-by-track review: Miley Cyrus' new album 'Bangerz'

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
Bangin' or bust?

Miley Cyrus has a brand problem ahead of her. This is nothing new to female solo artists who have had a run in their youth only to be painted into a corner in their later years, and no doubt, she and her label are looking at longevity even as the "nowness" of some songs from "Bangerz" fade within a near-instant.

"Bangerz" is all over the map. It's expensively made and tailored song-for-song to showcase Cyrus' affinities and still-growing sense of style and delivery. There's raw material there in the 20-year-old, and any inch of good tape is blown to such max proportions, it's hard to hear what a Miley Cyrus even is. The former "Hannah Montana" has caught flack lately for her boisterous fashions and photos, sexual explicit performances and the pre-occupation (and co-option) of black culture to lend legitimacy to her "grown-up" recording phase. But make no mistake: controversy often parades as substance, with which fun-loving "Bangerz" struggles. There are too many imitations and unearned affectations to know what kind of performed Cyrus is at her core.

Still, when it's on, it's so on, like with her single "We Can't Stop." "Bangerz" also has its fair share of starters.

Below are thoughts on the album, track by track:

1. “Adore You” – It’s always a risk to start an album with a "baby baby baby" ballad, but here, the the point seems to attract the crowd who prefers their Rihanna simmering rather than boiling.

2. "We Can't Stop" -- Still one of the more tasty, hearty dark pop jams of 2013, "Stop" should have kicked this thing off. The unfussy tempo mixed with an insistent melody and casual drug use makes this a winner. Also features one of the four hundred million Mike WiLL Made It shout-outs on this album.

3. "SMS (Bangerz)" -- You know you're in trouble when the thing that makes the most sense on your track is a codeine-controlled Britney Spears verse bubbling nonsense over more nonsense. This hot pop mess irrationally rips off Ke$ha's "Animal" a couple years too late.

4. "4x4" -- Did you know: Miley Cyrus is the daughter of singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and that she is also a very unruly? According to this experiment, she's a "female rebel," though fails to differentiate a female rebel from any other kind of rebel. She's too busy explaining her behaviors by banging on the dash as she drives "round and round" a spiral of accordion and shame. This genre hybrid represents "country" and "the South" in much the same way drag queens represent women. They're a different thing altogether.

5. "My Darlin'" -- The final song in this nasty block of blunders. Classic "Stand By Me" becomes reinterpreted into Cyrus and Future's auto-tuned grievances, a filler tune at best.

6. "Wrecking Ball" -- Without the mostly-nude music video, the ballad stands up as striking -- if somewhat generic - single for Cyrus, whose growl handles the tearful melodrama well.

7. "Love Money Party" -- While the best parts of this song are copy and pasted with little wiggle room for a varied performance, Cyrus seems to thrive in the rap-singing and the hot dance pace. The former child-star makes a comment here about the interchangeability of making money, partying and loving, something she may know a lot about. Her public persona and that slight drawl over an ominous beat is truly something to be beheld. Big Sean shows up for his bars, and while he could have just sneezed into a mic and collected a paycheck, he puts out primo effort. I want more songs like this.

8. "#GetItRight" -- The world will be better off when songs with hashtags in their title become a thing of the past, but I hope this tune gets trotted out as a single around April next year, becoming a contender for Song of the Summer 2014. Simple and catchy, Cyrus sounds like she's having fun for once.

9. "Drive" -- Another Mike WiLL joint, a laser-pointed EDM sound meets "Bleeding Love" with a middling vocal performance. No valentines awarded.

10. "FU" -- Christina Aguilera or Amy Winehouse would have doubtless blown this torchy, fabulous burlesque outta the bedroom. Here, I'm just pleased Cyrus doesn't blow it, period. "FU" showcases a carefully comped vocal line with French Montana, who might as well be just some guy from somewhere. It brims with attitude, but surgically tight to a fault.

11. "Do My Thang" -- Cyrus sings the big hook and lopes through raps in this trap-dripping hip-hop song. Any producer can plop lyrics to a click track, but Cyrus' fails hard as a rapper because of the patent falseness of her flow and thang-doing. This is like rote academia, with its senseless Mad Libs of "bitch" and "f*ck" and eye-rolling, fantastically fake-ass swagger. This is probably where she fought to keep a song on the 13-track set, and where she should have lost.

12. "Maybe You're Right" -- Proportionally, this would have fit right next to "FU," and thematically, it's like the regret that follows a bad blow-up like "FU." Her range struggles with the improved climaxes, though it's refreshingly emotive.

13. "Someone Else" -- This ooncha-ooncha closer might as well be about Cyrus' relationship to her fans and the press that's followed her in recent days. There's hints of instability and neediness in her high-pitched pleas and she reports "I've turned into someone else." We noticed. "Hold me close... tell me now is not the end." It's big and convincing, so maybe we'll stay after all?

Win it! Patty Griffin's 'Silver Bell' and lithograph

Win it! Patty Griffin's 'Silver Bell' and lithograph

'Lost' album from 2000 finally seeing the light of day on Oct. 8

Patty Griffin's new album is actually a bit old -- 13 years, in fact. "Silver Bell" has been an underground favorite of the folk singer's fans, ever since it was shelved and lost during the major label shuffle back in 2000.

Now "Silver Bell" is getting a proper release on Oct. 8 via Universal, and what is lost is now found: HitFix is giving away a copy of the album plus a lithograph of the album artwork.

Below are super-easy instructions on how to WIN IT:

1. Follow HitFix on Twitter.

2. Retweet HitFix's message below:

 

A winner will be randomly selected from retweeting entrants. Entrants cannot have their Twitter on "private," as we won't be able to see your tweet. Entrants must be U.S. residents.

And that's it. Contest is over at 11:59pm PST on Monday, Oct. 7.

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<p>Slash</p>

Slash

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Slash talks the state of rock

Legendary former Guns N' Roses guitarist takes modern rock to task

LOS ANGELES - Slash is known for his hats, and recently he's been wearing a good many of them -- specifically as a producer on new horror film "Nothing Left to Fear," the composer for that same soundtrack, the head of his own Slasher Films and a touring and recording musician. He, in fact, was touring to support his most recent solo outing as "Nothing Left..." was being shot.

The legendary guitarist spoke to HitFix this week about the film, but also took the time to take rock 'n' roll of recent days to task for its problem with mediocrity. Slash gave a hand to Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains and Queens of the Stone Age (plus a little backhand to Avenged Sevenfold) for their latest albums, but said, overall, "rock is in a really bad way."

"Everybody's conforming to the industry standards," he said in talking about the current state of his longstanding genre. He said the industry gives no room to development, and has an overemphasis on the creation of a hit off the bat. "Younger bands can't even get a record made... in order to make a hit record out of the box, you gotta copy everybody else that's making hit records."

He called pop artists like Katy Perry "genuinely good" but the domination of pop has given rock a formula problem.

Watch the excerpt from our interview above, and stay tuned later this week for the complete interview on "Nothing Left to Fear," horror films, Slash's next solo album with Myles Kennedy and more.

<p>Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo at Fantastic Fest</p>

Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo at Fantastic Fest

Credit: Arnold Wells

Want to hear new Metallica music? Get 'Through the Never' on home video

Band has plans to take film's epic, fantastical stage concept on tour

AUSTIN - Metallica fans will hear previously released material in the soundtrack to the band's new film "Metallica: Through the Never," but they'll also get to hear new metal material from the foursome should they pick up the movie when it comes out on home video.

Last night (Sept. 25) at Fantastic Fest in the Texas capitol, bassist Robert Trujillo, guitarist Kirk Hammett and the film's director Nimrod Antal took questions from the audience after screening the 3D flick, which combines a scripted feature-narrative with a concert documentary. Antal revealed that there are two additional cuts of the film, which will be available on the DVD/Blu-Ray and other formats of the release. He said one cut is just of the narrative portion to "Through the Never" -- which stars Dane DeHaan as a roadie for the band  -- and has "a completely original," "Goblin-esque" soundtrack made by Metallica and producer Greg Fidelman. The other version is just of the concert footage, with "three to four" bonus songs recorded during those live gigs in Vancouver and Edmonton.

Addtionally, Trujillo premiered his Metallica-centered short animated film "'Tallica Parking Lot" last night, which also featured new music from the metal pioneers. Its soundtrack had big, energetic beats as the animations panned through 2D and 3D views of the fans that pre-game at Metallica shows. The film was a collaboration with Titmouse Animation Studio and helped by animators like Mike Judge; characters from "South Park," "Beavis & Butthead," "Metalocalypse" and even the cartoon visages of rockers like Lemmy make cameos.

"'Tallica Parking Lot" and the three total versions of "Metallica: Through the Never" will be bundled together for home video, with release date TBA.

Judging from the technical aspects that went into the making "Through the Never," Antal and the band could've made even a few more films from their shoot. Concert footage for "Through the Never" was captured by 30 cameras at any one time Antal said, which was -- in his words -- "a f*cking nightmare." The stage was fraught with its own perils, and not just metal music wattage: some of the concert props to help tell the "Through the Never" story included Tesla coils, pyrotechnics, falling rocks, sparking light poles and jumbo video screens in the shape of coffins.

Performing was an "occupational hazard," Hammett said. "It's amazing we survived it." Death magnetic, indeed.

The band said they're planning on, at some point, taking that very epic stage concept on tour, though not mentioning when that would be. They're still catching up to the "now." Hammett said called the outcome of "Through the Never" and their collaboration with Antal as "unexpected." He said that he sees old songs like "Ride the Lightning" and "Creeping Death" in a new light, now that the tracks have been married to Antal's horror-apocalypse treatment.

"We would never have thought we'd be in this space three years ago," Hammett said.

"Metallica: Through the Never" heads to IMAX tomorrow (Sept. 27) and into additional theaters Oct. 4.

<p>Kings of Leon's &quot;Mechanical Bull&quot;</p>

Kings of Leon's "Mechanical Bull"

Album review: Kings of Leon's 'Mechanical Bull' suffers sameness and safety

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
Is there anything better than singles 'Wait for Me' and 'Supersoaker?'

 

The new album “Mechanical Bull” from Kings of Leon is sturdy, but hardly ever takes any chances. With the title such as it is, one would expect a more exciting ride, and yet the band keeps it safe and mid-tempo with this sixth full-length.
 
Songs like sweetly melodic “Wait for Me” and the badass bassline from “Family Tree” get lost in the shuffle of over-mastered middlers. Single “Supersoaker” proves to have staying power but good will is lost by song two, “Rock City,” which has about as much rock as its kindred Counting Crows’ “Hanginaround.”
 
“Comeback Story” has every opportunity to break out, too, had the band allowed itself to tear away from its four traditional instruments, and perhaps that’s part of the problem. This band of brothers (and a cousin) sound slick and comfortable and when one stretches out – like singer Caleb Followill playing with his higher register on “Tonight” and cheeky lyrics on "Temple," or when they bust out something to dance to on “Coming Back Again.” They should fight off the guitar lines and solos that mirror vocal lines exactly, or shoot for a more daring mix on vocals. Instead, it’s much of the same as before, with a couple of stragglers shooting for single status.

 

<p>Drake, &quot;Nothing Was the Same&quot;</p>

Drake, "Nothing Was the Same"

Album Review: Drake, 'Nothing Was the Same'

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
Why does Drake wear his chains around the house?

Listening to Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” in the context of the rapper/singer’s other albums is a far richer experience than taking it in alone. The Young Money star is continually earning his stripes after two acclaimed, chart-topping albums that made his money off similarly dark and hungry productions, emo lyrics and electrifying bluster. Drake’s a better rapper now, and his multiple personalities – each in orbit around the same, central “I’m famous and I’m lonely” hangups – are more keenly expressed, sometimes in shameless pop gems like “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and others like gnashing, bitchy “Own It.”

Drake’s combo with longtime producer Noah "40" Shebib has been a fruitful one. On “Nothing Was the Same,” the sequencing of these 16 songs show a mastery of facing Drake off with other versions of Drake, synth for synth, beat for beat. (Part of the problem is 16 full songs is a lot coming from Drake.)

Songs like “Worst Behavior,” a hating haters anthem, competes against stronger beats and rhymes from this album, though it offers up classic Drake-onian cognitive dissonance. “This ain't the son you raised who used to take the Acura / 5 a.m. then go and shoot Degrassi up on Morningside / For all the stuntin', I'll forever be immortalized” runs in direct contrast with the album’s first single “Started from the Bottom” plus “All Me” which has the former television child-actor bowing to the fantasy that he started from the most modest of means in his rise to rap fame.

There, that’s part of why Drake has become not just a successful name in hip-hop, but became an idea in hip-hop, or “Somewhere between psychotic and iconic” as he says in the second track. “I wear every single chain, even when I'm in the house” he raps in “Bottom,” like he even needs to convince himself sometimes of his making-of mythos when he’s alone in his jammies. Psychotic he’s not, but self-awareness can be its own mental curse.

His insecurities worn plainly on his sleeves, he’s proclaims his imperfections “on the low” in “Furthest Thing,” “…just like everyone I know.” Everyone he knows is imperfect, so at least all of you (the audience) can relate. He does the petty naming-of-ex-lovers again all over “Nothing Was the Same” including “Courtney from Hooters on Peachtree” in “From Time,” intentionally inflicting his exes and with the same spotlight that so alienates him. The slow-grinding trap of “305 to My City” has Drake sympathizing with his stripper, from one performer to another. Again, Drake is not as alone as he thinks.

For every “good girl” (“Hold On…”) and sexytime passer-by (“Come Thru”), there are women he rejects with the same toss-offs, like in “The Language.” “Come get your girl, she been here for three days and she way too attached to me,” he sing-raps over a melody that sounds like a horror film interstitial. “She just want to smoke and fuck / I said ‘Girl, that's all that we do’… it could all be so simple.” He demands conformity to his romantic longings, and when they’re fulfilled, he can’t even nut up to throw her out himself.

Women as a commodity is no new concept in hip-hop, but the boredom and loathing by which Drake casts off and puts on his ladies all plays into that whole “icon” status. I – the listener – may not like his “realness” IRL, but those fantastical flaws are interesting, especially when the music is oh-so-chilly, his delivery so moody, the humble-brags so ballsy up next to his most bombastic indulgences (see chorus-less “Tuscan Leather”). He and his bros can fill their Benzes with bad bitches but he’s still the guy who’s panting all over “Marvins Room”: emotional crookedness is an elegant selling point. Jay Z’s verse in lumpy “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2” is almost like a betrayal of that realness, what with all that joy Hov expels. Fun has no place next to stunner “Too Much” featuring melancholy Sampha, Drake waxing that being the best in the rap game means “No dinners, no holidays, no nothing.” Is Drake asking for pity? Is he asking for understanding? Hey, Drake, do you want some company?

Not all rap records invite these questions, and not many have the listener assenting to that latter question. That’s in part why “Nothing Was the Same” works, because by exposing his vulnerabilities, you’re invited in (while Kanye West’s "Yeezus" victory is in kicking you out).  The-Dream made a whole album this year of screaming out for pussy like Dennis Hopper in “Blue Velvet,” while Drake’s pinings are an exposure of self and worth, elements of a truly successful rapper and this mostly successful album.
 

<p>Brie Larson in &quot;Short Term 12&quot;</p>

Brie Larson in "Short Term 12"

Credit: Cinedigm

Interview: Brie Larson talks 'Short Term 12,' musical 'Basmati Blues' and letting go

What does the story of a foster care facility supervisor have to do with cheesy pasta?

Brie Larson's character Grace in "Short Term 12" certainly fits her name, but it's far from glamorous. She spends most of the movie in frumpy clothes and flat hair, dealing with bodily fluids, emotional violence and the repetitious difficulties of supervising at-risk youths at a foster care facility. As Grace deals with her own demons, she's works daily with the demons of the kids who land in her care, arriving from the hands of deadbeat dads, abusive mothers, mental health institutions and other unfortunate homes of circumstance.

But to present Grace's character in any other fashion than frustrating, redemptive and harshly unsexy would cause the movie to fail, and fail it does not. Larson's portrayal of her emotional role helped subtly open up topics of psychological care and child services in America, for instance, without bashing away the film's beautiful character portraits.

"Short Term 12" is just one of the many varied roles the 23-year-old actress has picked up; her stints lately have been in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Don Jon," her stop on NBC's "Community," 2012's "21 Jump Street" and the forthcoming musical film "Basmati Blues."

Larson and I spoke by phone last week, on the eve of the release of "Short Term 12," out in theaters this past Friday. Below is our abridged interview, on shadowing at a foster care facility, to tapping in (and out) emotionally as an actress, letting go with cheesy pasta and women's roles.
 

HitFix: After I watched this movie I felt like, hey, I'm gonna go sit in my car and cry for about 20 minutes, or that I wanted to talk to my friends for just as long about it. On your viewing of the final version of the film, what kind of emotions did you feel about it? Can you talk about knowing when to implement your emotions when you shoot? Let's just talk about feelings.
 
Brie Larson: I know! And unfortunately none of those are questions that I can really answer. I don't think those are things I am supposed to answer. I think an artist does not reveal his secrets, especially when it comes to the emotional dance of the film. Like, you would enjoy a magic show and then afterwards wait for a Q&A, and it doesn't work that way. That stuff is all part of some sort of weird process. Even if I tried to talk to you about it, I don't know if I would know how to. It's just a weird thing.
 
The movie, it's been incredible. It was such a wonderful process to make and felt extremely open and loving and empowering and exciting every day. And I felt totally respected and capable and just loved and it was a great team that we were working with. And I felt like by the time we were done shooting we could have done five more of them. 
 
It's strange and miraculous and also incredibly inspiring what this movie has brought out for so many different types of people. The most exciting part is the fact that it's not just for people that are familiar with this world or this facility, but it gets into a much bigger picture of human emotion and human connection and love. That's been really exciting. It has a transient feel to it that can hit you. It's so ecstatic, it can hit you from every angle if done right. It's the perfect recipe. It is just the best cake ever.
 
I'm sure people can't resist themselves to talk to you after a screening, especially with just kind of their understanding of such a realistic character as Grace is in this film. What have been some of the funny or odd things or touching things that people have said to you after seeing this film?
 
I think there have been two reactions that I find really interesting. There are some people who it's very - it becomes very important part of their experience to see me and the kids afterwards to know that we're okay. It's like they have such an intense connection with all of us by the end of the movie that they need that confirmation. There is another reaction that people have, which is that they think that it is either a documentary or that part of it is a documentary.
 
Especially when we've shown it internationally, there's some certain aspects of the film that are not obvious --- people that don't speak English don't [necessarily] fully understand or gonna know who I am, an actress. They're not gonna know any of us or our background. So it's interesting, the first time it played in Switzerland was the first international screening I went to. There were a lot of women who -- though they couldn't speak English very well -- we're trying to say to me, “That's you, that's you.” I thought they were trying to confirm that I was the person [playing Grace] in the movie, but in reality what they're trying to ask me is if I really am that person, if my name is Grace, if I worked at this facility. And I think that's…
 
That's intense.
 
Yeah. I think it's really awesome because I'm not Grace. I'm nothing like Grace. I don't have the experience that Grace has had, so I did my job.


In the movie, were there particular scenes or stories that resonated with you as a person in real life? Did your performance have any impression on it due to any feelings or personal experiences with some of the things that were happening in this movie?

 
I can't really answer that, but I will say that it's a lot for a human being to be the emotional vessel for somebody like Grace -- who is struggling but is also doing really exhausting act of trying to cover it up so that nobody knows what's going on. So in the film, you watch it for an hour, but in reality I was doing that for 12 hours a day for two weeks. So it takes such an emotional toll and I know for the greater good of the story I can't indulge in those emotions on camera but you want to just break out and go nuts, when you feel like you were about to crazy and then someone said, “Here's a baseball bat, go smash this car.” That was a testament I think to really great scheduling.
 
I definitely had the opportunity to let off that steam because I think it's really important for an actor to really understand the difference between what I'm emotionally going through -- which is still my body and my mind -- but to not take those on and to not bring my own past. Because otherwise people [would] need to watch my therapy sessions. I feel like that's a little selfish. That's not servicing the story, not necessarily servicing Grace. That'd be servicing myself and that's not what I want to do.
 
There's a lot of different character pieces and stories going on in this, and it all has to be kind of achieved within the two weeks that we see of Grace's life.  Do you feel like there is a woman's story here that you wish more people could see, for more people to be able to experience specifically because of it's woman's perspective?
 
Of course. Well, I could talk about and focus all day long about the female aspect of movie-making and how terribly underwritten most roles are. But I also think that you can ask a 23 old male about the roles that are acting right now and they would say that they're terribly underwritten.
 
But, yes, I think females are underwritten. I think that the business side of the industry believes that, in order to make money, we have to do things that are beautiful and that have colors that are catchy on a poster and are sexual, these things that tap into the needy side inside of our brain instead of mining these opportunities in order to exercise our brains a little bit. 
 
Give us the problems that are leaving us in our car for 20 minutes after the movie to think about because we don't even know what it is we're feeling but we're feeling something. I think that this film, yes, is definitely a very complicated journey for a female. But I also think that if you squint your eyes a little bit it could be a male very easily. 
 
I think the beautiful aspect of it is that these characters are actually not gender-specific to me when I look at the kids. I think that we're talking about… the human struggle of the planet. Those things are so incredibly important because how else are we going to learn and learn how to talk about things if we don't get the chance to observe it and get this weird almost voyeuristic view into it?
 
But I also feel like motherhood and raising children also played a part in how emotional this film is, and how it affected your role. Did you feel the same way?
 
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I shadowed at a facility and you spend time with kids that are actually in this facility and you just – my mind couldn't even really process upon first listening of these kids’s stories because they're so much, much crazier. So much crazier and more intense than anything that we've even seen in a movie. You couldn't, you just can't, you wouldn't believe the things that these kids have been through and can't believe that human beings -- at this point in 2013 -- that we're still capable of just negativity and ignorance. So that was certainly something that played into it.
 
I mean, I have fear that if I don't smile at the person in back of Trader Joe's that I'm gonna, like, ruin their day. But once you start to get into that more, and you realize just how interconnected we all are really are.
 
I like that the movie opens and ends with storytelling. [The audience] doesn't even have to say anything, you just have to listen, which I think is a really beautiful telling of a very real reality about childcare, federal and psychological treatment of children who are troubled. I was wondering if there is any specific instances or ideas in the ways that this film was shot that you, as a filmmaker yourself, feel like you're gonna take it to your future projects?
 
The thing that has still stuck with me and has become a huge part of my daily practice -- and this is something that I didn't understand so clearly until I was shadowing at the facility -- was in watching this incredibly brave and strong woman who was working the same job as Grace, and had been doing it for 20 years or something. And she just instinctually knew exactly when to push forward, when to let off the gas with these kids and was just dealing with so much emotion. I couldn't even believe it. And after a couple hours my jaw being open of how do you do this I asked her, "How do you do this?" And she said, "You let go." 
 
When you're there and you're on it and you're working, you focus on that and you put everything into it and you fight and you do the best you can. But then when your time is up, you go home and you don't keep fighting anymore. You decompress, you let go, you forgive yourself for the mistakes that had happened during that day. And for me it was having cheesy pasta and playing video games or watching “SNL” or whatever.
 
You got to close the laptop lid.
 
Exactly. You can't keep all the tabs open and all of your applications running, you have to pare it down. So that became a huge part of the practice and I think really saved myself in the end from personally spiraling due to the material that I was dealing with everyday. 
 
You've done some wonderful movies and television projects lately that you seem to have some flexibility to move between TV, indies, theater, bigger movies. Do you give special considerations to the mediums in which you're working? Do you think of TV as acting in one way and indie a different way, or if it really does all depend on the script? 
 
Well, the script is incredibly important. However, it's also a lot of different factors. Much like if you really get into how any plant grows it's a miracle that anything happens because it takes so many miniscule and many different things in order for a blossom to happen. But it's the script and it's also the team and how the project is going to be executed is a huge part of it. If somebody said, “We want to paint a 60-foot canvas painting in a 4 foot room,” you'd know right away that that's gonna be a struggle. It's almost mathematical on that end of it. And it just takes conversation and asking for the things that you need.
 
So the more time you spend doing it the more you know what your personal terms and conditions are and what you need in order to do a good job. And if you're working with people that want to do a good job then none of that stuff is difficult then.
 
I'd say there's more of a difference between a play and movie to TV than there is between TV and movies. But there's something involved in the repetition of things that require something different from me in order to sign onto a script. Like a play would need to be something that I could consistently find new discoveries in that I wanted to do because I'm not just going to sign on to do the same performance every night for six months. And a film has to be something that there's a reason why we're capturing it on film and the way that that's going to be shot and the way that the days are going to be structured and the space that I've given in order to do it I need to do exist. 
 
Tell me about your next projects, then?
 
The next project that I just completed takes place in India and I play a scientist who creates a genetically modified rice with her father, played by Scott Bakula, and Donald Sutherland is our boss and he sends me to India to sell this genetically modified rice to the rural farmer's in India. And I think I'm doing a service but in the end I realize that what works great in a test tube does not do so great when it comes to lives and the planet. And there's a little love story and there's some action and the music.
 
So that’s "Basmati Blues." You’re going to be using your musical talents in that one, right?
 
Yeah. Because it's a musical, so I sing and dance and play guitar and do all the things.
 
And have you improved as a musician over that process?
 
I just practice. I've been playing guitar since I was 12 so I mean I was a little rusty but you just practice. I didn't have a lot of background in dancing, but I didn't decide to do a musical because I wanted the world to see what a great singer and dancer I was. I did it because there is an important message about human existence that involves being able to step away from all of the heady stuff and learning to sing and dance along the way. And I want to give the feelings of spontaneity and freedom. It's not about doing specific pop and lock routines; it's more of the incredible ability that these bodies have that we should use 'em while we got 'em.

 

<p>The Killers</p>

The Killers

Listen: The Killers' new 'Night' song is very obviously produced by M83

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Band's greatest hits album due in November: one of two new songs

The Killers and M83 got together, and their song together, "Shot at the Night," sounds precisely what you'd think an M83-Killers combo would sound like.

A little space-rock meets John Hughes closing credits jam meets Brandon Flowers' fatalistic longings in "Night," which is one of two new songs that grace "Direct Hits," the Killers' newly announced greatest hits album now due in November. "Direct Hits" includes tunes like "Mr Brightside," "Human," "Smile Like You Mean It" and "Miss Atomic Bomb," songs from the rock-pop band's four studio sets.

The other previously unreleased song on "Direct Hits" is "Just Another Girl," a collaboration with producer Stuart Price, who helmed the Killers' "Day & Age" (2008). The Deluxe version of "Hits" will include a Calvin Harris remix of "When You Were Young," the demo of "Brightside" and "Battle Born's" "Be Still." A fan deluxe version (oh, we're playing this little game...) will have the deluxe version of the album plus a DVD of a documentary on the band and five 10" vinyl records of the songs off of "Direct Hits." A fan deluxe supernova includes a hug from Flowers. I made that last one up.

"Direct Hits" is out on Nov. 11, aka Lady Gaga "ARTPOP" Day.

Check-in at the breakdown circa 3:00 and blast off. Seems like a much more short-term appropriation of Anthony Gonzalez' talents than that "Oblivion" soundtrack...

Here is the tracklist for "Direct Hits":

1.   Mr Brightside
2.   Somebody Told Me
3.   Smile Like You Mean It
4.   All These Things That I’ve Done
5.   When You Were Young
6.   Read My Mind
7.   For Reasons Unknown
8.   Human
9.   Spaceman
10. A Dustland Fairytale
11. Runaways
12. Miss Atomic Bomb
13. The Way It Was
14. Shot At The Night
15.  Just Another Girl

Deluxe Version Also Includes...

16. Mr. Brightside (Original Demo)
17. When You Were Young (Calvin Harris Remix)
18. Be Still

**Plus a never-before-seen Killers Documentary DVD**

<p>Daft Punk</p>

Daft Punk

Daft Punk kindly requests you 'Lose Yourself to Dance' in new music video

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Pharrell offers you his shirt

Come, ye, to the great altar of dance. Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Chic's Nile Rodgers hold their liturgy to funk and disco in the new music video for "Lose Yourself to Dance," the new single off of "Random Access Memories." They found a collection of followers who dance as rag-tag and fevered (and, sometimes, as badly) as you do for their worship. The eras of fashion co-mingle. Rumps look the same shaking now as they did in the days of yore.

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