Michael Shannon, Conan O'Brien and more go bananas in new Jeff Tweedy video

Michael Shannon, Conan O'Brien and more go bananas in new Jeff Tweedy video

John Hodgeman, Mavis Staples, Steve Albini, Chance the Rapper and more cameo

In a alternate universe, bands sign to labels with overlords who enlist artistic services to line their own pockets. Dystopia! Tyranny!

Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer -- who go by the name Tweedy for new album "Sukierae" -- made a decidedly big talent video for their song "Low Key." Comedian and "Parks & Rec" actor Nick Offerman directed stars like John Hodgeman, Michael Shannon, Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter, Tweedy collaborator Mavis Staples, Chicagoans Steve Albini, Chance the Rapper and more.

The record company Neverland warps with a muzak version of the Tweedy-penned song, which then gives way to a Wes Andersonian odyssey of selling the vinyl version of "Sukierae" door-to-door in the Tweedy hometown.

Some observations:

1. Why can't we all get paid in bags of money.

2. Think the "Get Happy" workshop is pointing out the finer merits of Pharrell's "Happy?" Happiness is in you, Tweedys.

3. Steve Albini probably doesn't want your record because Steve Albini has probably heard all he ever needs to hear.

4. Catscatscats

5. Given this satire and Conor Oberst's vision of record labels in the future, I'll take Conor's. Interesting history there, with Oberst's home label Nonesuch and Wilco...

5a. And I'd take Ryan Adams' label dystopia over either.

6. I don't think the phrase "You will be allowed to live for one more cycle" is a mistake. One more album cycle. Wilco started their own dBpm label three years ago (with distro via Anti-), wonder how they're feeling about THAT.

Read Full Post
Best Albums Of 2014 So Far: Fall Edition

Best Albums Of 2014 So Far: Fall Edition

Catching up with Miranda Lambert, Aphex Twin, Shellac, FKA Twigs and more

The first time Team HitFix checked in with our favorite albums this year, we were extolling sets from St. Vincent, Beck, Kelis, The War on Drugs, Future and future-islands" class="autolink">Future Islands (not related) around April.

For the halfway mark of 2014, Melinda Newman shared some of the efforts topping her charts, like country star Miranda Lambert, rising country star Sturgill Simpson, "Stay With Me" saddie Sam Smith, new folkers First Aid Kit and veteran singer Rosanne Cash.

How did we get through three-quarters of the year so far? As we anticipate (or simply cross our fingers) for new albums from acts like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Adele and Frank Oceans to rear up by the end of 2014, there's been some awesome new additions to our running list.

Click through our gallery below, for our descriptions of great 2014 albums from Aphex Twin, Shellac, Alvvays and FKA Twigs, Sylvan Esso, Neil Young and Freddie Gibbs & Madlib.

Read Full Post
Bangin' behind the wheel: Keith Urban's NSFW 'Somewhere In My Car' music video

Bangin' behind the wheel: Keith Urban's NSFW 'Somewhere In My Car' music video

Wet white shirts, steamy windows and, like, ART, man

I literally laughed out loud watching Keith Urban's part-porny "Somewhere in my Car" music video.

No, it's not the Scorpions guitar solo.

No, it's not the laughable strip tease on three separate occasions, or the wet white t-shirt.

No, it's not that topless make-out scene and the hair stroke like she's in the freaking shower.

It's the fire. FIRE IN THE POURING RAIN, LIKE TOTALLY LIKE A METHAPHOR! Like his lead character's loins, ha!

I'm all for pop songs for sexy times. This particular song isn't about the loss of a lady love because she had a really nice personality. This song is about memories of banging in a car. And if you couldn't tell that's what the song was about, here is some corny footage of two very  models Jehane Paris and Rodrigo Calazans (but a particularly undressed Paris) getting busy in a car. Acting debuts, the both of 'em!

Don't be fooled, though, this music video isn't about the One That Got Away. It's about coming thisclose to maybe seeing a beautiful woman's nipples. (You can tell it's real country, though, 'cuz she's wearing a pair of cut-offs.)

"Somewhere in My Car" is off of Urban's latest album "Fuse."

Read Full Post
The 7 most unrealistic things about Hilary Duff's new music video for 'All About You'

The 7 most unrealistic things about Hilary Duff's new music video for 'All About You'

Product placement, country dance moves, face-petting and the L.A. River

Hilary Duff's new music video for her banjo-plunking pop single "All About You" is an adorable L.A. adventure. But it is almost as though she's challenging you, to not go there with her.

Here are some observations about this suspension of disbelief.

1. Its ratio of hot hotties to middling locales and color palettes is pretty off the charts. Hilary Duff would probably not eat at that diner, that is not where Hilary Duff would host dance rehearsal, and the L.A. River is not exactly a prime host for a gaggle of models. That dude would not be selling those records at that record shop (maybe at Urban Outffitters, though).

2. Hilary Duff does not need to cyber stalk, especially not utilizing the advanced features of [REDACTED PRODUCT PLACEMENT]. Hilary Duff just knows. She's always known. And that dude would have noticed Hilary Duff before you can say "Tinder."

3. Face petting. A lot of it. Why all the face petting.

4. Overalls and flannels may be back, but they are not this much back. You might as well have worn Saran wrap and hoodies to rehearsal, because your ass would sweat either way. I see nary a sweat, only JBF hair.

5. The impact of these fashion choices, plus a modified line dance, plus cowboy booties makes this song as country as Madonna's grillz makes her a thug.

6. Oh please with that car.

7. Four girls begin walking down a long tunnel together toward the L.A. River. Determine their velocity, by using variables of heel height, the caliber of bum pee and fecal odors, exponentially combined by every notch at which the temperature sits above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The last answer you should get in your calculations is "jaunty." That's just math, people.

Read Full Post
<p>Lana Del Rey</p>

Lana Del Rey

Who's gonna save the music industry: PornHub or Urban Outfitters?

No really: Porn site launches label, outfitter vinyl sales soar

Sure, 2014 may be on track to be the worst year in SoundScan's history for music sales, but there might be some bright spots in some very unsuspecting corners: PornHub and Urban Outfitters.

Today, the pornography site announced that it was starting its own label, in a report from Billboard. And yesterday, the clothing and home goods retailer claimed to be "the world's number one vinyl seller," according to Buzzfeed.

(Pictured: Lana Del Rey, whose most recent record "UltraViolence" can be bought now via Urban Outfitters as an "exclusive edition" on blue and lavender vinyl with special album art.)

As for the former, PornHub Records has launched, and coincides with a Song Search Contest to find a "PornHub Anthem." The winner won't necessarily be signed to the label, but is guaranteed to be have chosen from a panel (chock full of who we assume will be very distinguished guests) and the winning music video to be seen by at least 500,000 viewers, with $5,000 to be pocketed.

Keep in mind, PornHub averages about 40 million pageviews a day. How's that day job of yours. Good.

PornHub has hosted premieres of music video content like electronic producer FaltyDL's "Some Jazz Sh*t" video, Coolio's aptly named "Take It To The Hub" and Xiu Xiu's "Black D*ck."

"We're looking for acts that aren't necessarily porn-focused," said PornHub vice president Corey Price of their label model. "We're an ad-based network looking for content that appeals to our demographic. Mature lyrics for an adult audience; no boy bands or teen-pop, for instance."

As for Urban Outfitters' demo, there takes a little wordsmithing to make their case, but according to business reporter Sapne Maheshwari, this is what chief administrating officer Calvin Hollinger said during a meeting with analysts yesterday: "Music is very, very important to the Urban customer… in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller.”

Instead of UO owning its own inventory, it offers wares through about 100 vendors who are already in the marketplace instead. So it's really connecting those businesses to the buyers. 

As for either really saving the music industry? Not really happening. Vinyl records sales are still a drop in the hat compared to digital and CD albums (like, the difference of a hundred million) and PornHub's music appeal will really all depend on how they release and promote their, um, output.

But, hey, this is what they mean when they say music is a "lifestyle."

Read Full Post
<p>Asha Sing</p>

Asha Sing

Credit: Nebil Moo

Exclusive Premiere: Asha Sing's party pop 'Satellite' video

Summer's not over yet

You may have picked up on Asha Sing's beat last summer with her infectious "Mercy." And this summer is hardly over, according to her new music video for "Satellite."

Today, HitFix exclusively premieres the vid from the Miami-based artist, below. Again, Sing actively incorporates her Desi roots with a handful of Holi powder around her pool party.

"Satellite was really fun for me to make because it was the first time I got to take more of a directors role. We specifically created a story where I got to show my personality and more of my acting chops," Sing said. "The best part was that a lot of my best friends and family were in the video. We were cracking up the entire shoot trying to finish."

This fall, the former Shakira backup dancer sets off on her Be Unique Tour in South Florida to middle and high schools, to share her story "of choosing an education first and how she set out to break the barrier between Indian and American pop music, blending them together and ridding it of stereotypes."

The single "Satellite" was released in August.

Read Full Post
Kendrick Lamar: 'I love myself' in new single 'i'
Credit: AP Photo

Kendrick Lamar: 'I love myself' in new single 'i'

Trippy production with a heavy Isley Brothers sample

Kendrick Lamar goes back in time in a couple of ways for his much-anticpated new single "i."

It's the first solo release from the rapper since "good kid, m.A.A.d city" came along and blew minds two years ago (and about eights months since he was robbed of armfuls of Grammys).

The intro sounds like it was ripped from the Civil Rights era in the late '60s, with an announcer hyping a speech from "Brother Kendrick Lamar."

"He's not a rapper, he's a writer! He's a lover!" he says. "If you read in between the lines, we’ll learn to love one another. You can't do that without lovin' yourself..." Record scratch.

Then a guitar-tittering Isley Brothers sample, from "That Lady," kicks in, teleporting the Compton writer star right into 1973. The Rahki-produced and Ali-mixed song keeps it light and fun from then on out, with Lamar keeping the positive vibe flowing.

"Dreams are reality’s peace / Blow steam in the face of the beast / The sky can fall down / The wind can cry down / The strong in me / I still smile," he rhymes over the hooks. "I've been through a whole lot / Trials and tribulations but I know God/ Satan want to put me in a bow tie/pray that the holy water don’t go dry."

Keep an ear out for the blaring of car horns, shooting you in the city, but then goofily off-setting them with keyboards ad-libs straight outta the play room.

It's a refreshingly, self-loving song, a swagger without put-downs or diamonds.

Lamar has maintained that his new album will be out this year. This is a good sign of things to come.

Read Full Post
12 most important seconds of Pitbull's new 'Fireball' music video

12 most important seconds of Pitbull's new 'Fireball' music video


Pitbull has released the David Rousseau-directed music video to his "Fireball" single featuring John Ryan, which dances us into the night at a club into which we'd never be invited. Listen for the nod to Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," were this nod be a great seismic shift causing the Earth to lurch and bodies fold upon themselves.

Here are the most important seconds of this music video:

0:14: In a demonstartion of impressive restraint, it is at this second that Pitbull executes the second of only two Pitbull Giggles.

0:34: Guitar face LOL

0:47: I would literally pay money to hear Pitbull distinguish the term "conquering" from "cumming," in person, aloud.

1:08: Dad dance

1:44: This is the part where I thought, this party actually looks fun. Then I can do the big reveal on my latest moves.

2:17: Butt scan, a scan of butt.

2:19: Your poker face sucks, dude.

2:34: This is what I do whenever I enter a room.

2:47: "The Mask" At 20: An Homage

2:59: "I'm going to steal your drink and pee in it," she whispered.

3:37: Slight breach of etiquette in the ladies' room, but at least she wasn't peeing.

And then Bruce Wayne's parents were shot, in the rain, in a dark alleyway.

Read Full Post
Gwar got a new singer, and it's a woman named Vulvatron

Gwar got a new singer, and it's a woman named Vulvatron

Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters has a good Dave Brockie story

After frontman and founder Oderus Urungus (aka Dave Brockie) of Gwar died earlier this year, many wondered what the future of the gross-out metal band would be. The band has always had a rotating door, but there would need to be a gap filled for another vocalist.

Well, we have at least a partial answer. Gwar got a lady singer. And her name is Vulvatron. According to a profile from Wondering Sound, she made her debut during Riot Fest in Chicago over the weekend, and she is a sight to see.

I feel, in this case, we have all won, and for several reasons:

1. Her "massive (prosthetic) breasts occasionally shoot geysers of blood," making her "a monster instead of a princess."

2. She's purple! Cool!

3. She is not the first female member of Gwar, but is the group's first major player, co-leading on vocals with Blothar (aka Mike Bishop, aka Beefcake the Mighty).

4. She's already getting the hang of Twitter, the guts-spewing, fire-inacting, cum-and-blood-chugging, guitar-wielding, speaker-blowing social media medium of choice.

RIB, Brockie. Long live Vulvatron.

And in case you didn't know, hero human Dave Grohl is a fan, and has a good story about Gwar and Brockie, below (NSFW). This was delivered during the Foo Fighters' ultra-small show at The National in Virginia last night (Sept. 17).

Read Full Post
Review: Chris Brown's new album 'X' rarely makes its marks

Review: Chris Brown's new album 'X' rarely makes its marks

On ego and art

Chris Brown is an artist whose public persona is nearly impossible to separate from his art.

He's an obviously gifted singer, and frequently an even better dancer. His pout and his swagger, when he's performing, is all part of the act. And the act can often be the art. He's also been repeatedly arrested, charged and sentenced for assault; he publicly brawls with other artists; he's proven a hostile and defensive in television appearances and on social media. That recent Billboard interview was insufferable. He can be vile about women, boastful about commercial success and his own materialism.

His success is dependent on inspired live performances, a hit single and the support of his label and guest artists on his records. This need has worked its way into his art, onto his new album "X," though not always in the most explicit, lyrical terms.

"X" was an album that took a year-and-a-half to make, and publicly went through spits and starts. It's biggest rev really began with the success of "Loyal" feat. Tyga and Lil Wayne, a runaway hip-hop smash with a hugely catchy vibe and ugly, misogynistic lyrics that sprinkles drug use on top like the Weeknd showed up for the weekend. It's defensive as hell, too, which makes fans "loyal" to Brown defensive on his behalf. He doesn't even need to answer to its blatant, demeaning themes.

Except that he does anyway.

"If you're only as good as the company you keep / Then I'mma blame you for what they say about me," he warns in the first lines of the titular, opening dance-inspired track. It's a noisy and soaring offering, co-produced by Brown and Diplo. Then, cynically: "I can make you a believer if I turn the nonsense down."

The "company" he keeps on this album, in addition to Diplo? Chart-toppers like Usher, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, Jhene Aiko and producer Danja. (Nicki Minaj wastes away on "Love More" from the deluxe bonus version, the same collection of excess tracks where Brown's terrible "Fine China" exists to be burned by a thousand fires.)

Some of these singers, rappers and beat-makers are contemporaries any artist would kill to keep in their cadre. Stylistically, Brown's riding their sonics. This does not make for a cohesive album.

"Songs on 12 Play" is an obvious homage to Kellz, plugging "Ignition" though inviting Songz to guest on vocals. R. Kelly shows up instead on messy pussy ode "Drown In It" which is just as explicit as you imagine. Perfectly innocuous "New Flame" reverses it's simple structure to cater to an Usher cameo and, worse, a dorky Rick Ross verse, promising to do you ladies "right."

Let's pause. I don't think for a single second the cameos from troubled artists like R. Kelly (for his chronicled history of sexual assault of young women), Rick Ross (who has difficulty grasping what sexual assault even is) and Akon (whose rep was partially staked on a fake criminal history) on an album of troubled artist Chris Brown is coincidence. I also think that guest spots from artists like Grande, Aiko, Brandy and Lil Wayne were from artists who wanted or could use the exposure: Grande and Brown were in the lab before "Problem" was even Grande's great career solution. Brandy's rebuilding the Brandy brand, as is loyal Wayne. Aiko is building off her breakout year.

This all returns to that initial assertion, that "guilt/innocence by association" I think its in moments like these that Brown forces an intersection of public face -- ego -- and art.

Perhaps that's why there's "Loyal," and its reheated machismo on "Stereotype." That's why there's the slobbery sex anthems and fluffy suite of "Body Shots" and "Drunk Texting." "X" is 17 songs long, including a throwaway "interlude" ("101"), performed in a lot of different styles and hardly a single one of them focus on the "personal" Brown, about forgiveness or debt, prison or rehab, girlfriends or exes, or growth.

Brown and his company think it's time you forget the ego: he wants a hit, whether descriptive, debaucherous or offensive. As long as it stays impersonal.

Reeling "Autumn Leaves" and "Do Better" do alright; "X" really is a wind-up toy that will get you ready for a game better than this. "Time for Love" and "Add Me In" are also highlights, with some vocal takes that actually sound inspired.

Overall, though, a prioritization of style over substance may explain why "X" just feels like R&B spit-balling, sounding like "now," not "for always," and zero fun at all. To quote another lyric from "X," "I swear to God I'm moving on": Brown breezily flitting between villainous provocateur to lover-man to pimp to The Good Guy -- the "moving on" -- is maybe what's holding him back.

Read Full Post