<p>Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake in &quot;Inside Llewyn Davis&quot;</p>

Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake in "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Listen to all of the 'Inside Llewyn Davis' soundtrack: Can it stand up to 'O Brother...?'

Does it have a 'Man of Constant Sorrow?'

Weeks out from theatrical release on Dec. 6, the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" has launched with the subtle noise of its soundtrack.

NPR is streaming the 14-song set in its entirety; making up half the songs are traditional folk tunes, and all featuring a diverse contributors, from the movie's principals Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake, to the vocals of Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons), producer T Bone Burnett and the Punch Brothers.

The connection to the Coens' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is obvious. Music drives both stories, and the songs stem from traditional origins. Acoustic instrumentation dominate both. And this one could possibly strike a chord with listeners like that 2000 set.

"OBWAT" was a sleeper hit on the charts, taking a whole year to reach No. 1 on The Billboard 200 -- an astounding feat for an album, let alone one cut with mostly bluegrass and country music from penned mostly out of the Great Depression. It aided the careers of those like Alison Krauss and mainstays like the Stanley Brothers, in shades of morose, mystical and jubilant; it's gone on to sell about 4.5 millions copies and yielded a re-release with an additional album of songs.

Timberlake, Mumford, the Punch Brothers' Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge and Gabe Witcher made the rounds this weekend with a stunning take on old tune "The Auld Triangle" by English-Irish poet Brendan Behan. In its language and it's close-to-the-mouth recording, it certainly hearkens the feelings of experiencing "O Brother" as a soundscape rather than as a mere movie.

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<p>Arcade Fire&nbsp;</p>

Arcade Fire 

Credit: Nastylittleman.com

Review: Arcade Fire goes good and long for new 'Reflektor'

HitFix
A-
Readers
A+
The young-art-student vibe gets a big dose of disco

Arcade Fire is still preaching, it's just from a more brightly lit mount. It's intentional to say that the Montreal-based band has allowed itself to make much for colorful, dance-embracing songs on new album "Reflektor," in that they've shown so much restraint to keep their personalities closely tied to their comfortable rock sound on their previous three sets.

On last album "The Suburbs," its standout "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" succeeded in its lively retro sound, combining Regine Chassagne and Win Butler's strengths as vocalists and manic, holy messengers. On "Reflektor" -- both the first single and the album on the whole -- they took some of the same neon colors (no, not a Neon Bible) and flashing lights and applied it liberally, like an energy... and let LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy produce some, and David Bowie sing some.

Below is a track-by-track look at what makes "Reflektor" a solid, long and cerebral set, shy of the strings that was a signifier of the band before and bursting with a rejuvenated (if not downright young-artist) vibe of their future.

 
Opener "Reflektor" is such a bold statement to reform listeners' expectations of this album, it also just happens to sound like commerce. That super low bass, the piano tinkling like it did for "Neighborhoods #2 (Lies)," the “reflective age” in Regine Chassagne’s French lilting over the disco... it's instantly loveable, as well as a sign post pointing toward the rest of this long haul. 
 
We Exist” bears the Bowie influence in bassy gravitas plus the meandering space-age instrumental tail (and maybe the Thin White Duke’s own backup vocals?). The left-right faders give this late-night groover a third dimension and mid-tempo elegance.
 
The band truly stretches out here, marching through a dancehall and leaving the chamber pop outside. Win Butler’s whinny has echo and reverb for days. The sample-sounding horns try to tear through marimba and electric guitar loops, fading out into the sounds of a market or carnivale…
 
… which is what “Here Comes the Night Time” turns into. Sub-bass and rara-flavorings don’t drown out what is ultimately kind of a lamentation of wrong-headed foreigners and missionaries, a story Butler and his band have visited before, most strongly on “Neon Bible.” It plays into the longer love letter to Haiti that “Reflektor” is, holding an air of knowing and accusation (and mild pretension) that never makes their use of ethnic musics a neutral proposition.
 
 I find myself looking forward to the 2:30 mark, where in the post-chorus, an upright piano bleats like a slot machine meeting a bar-floor vaudeville show.
 
Normal Person”: “Do you like rock ‘n’ roll music? I don’t know if I do” Butler sneers into his mic, which – were it to have an odor – would be beer and sarcasm. I immediately think of the garbled ramblings that open “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and this is among the first of many times I return to thinking about the White Album when I go over this set. And like that pop cut, the guitar lick here will either wither your soul or you’ll fall in love.
 
At the end, he waves thank you to an invisible crowd in a tiny club it seems, a fantasy for anybody who’s familiar with the expanse and influence of the sextet these days. (AF themselves, though, have tried to set up many a small rock club show in the run-up to promoting this album.)
 
Already Know”: Since the Smiths are never getting back together, there’s always this.
 
Joan of Arc” sounds like song that’s been incubated and nurtured, with lots of fine-tuned details, like the maxed-out gain on the opening vocals, the Gary Glitter ‘floor invitation amplified with Moog, the incantations in the backup vocals. It’s a treat by itself, and an excellent mid-point demarcation of this lofty album.
 
The band spookily hums back into “Here Comes The Night Time II,” strings whimpering and warning that this “feels like it never ends.” The lack of drums is very present in a drum-heavy album such as this, a quiet set-up to more noise to come.
 
And “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” is that noise, as the mythical Greek nymph plays a passive role in this dream-like dystopia. The story is less important that the atmosphere, the claustrophobia of stacked synths bursting into three-part harmonies and a tinge of hope. 
 
But, really, this is all just a waiting period for “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus),” another song with James Murphy’s fingerprints all over it. They let up on any restraint to dance, the falsetto vocals soulfully responding to a turntable-worthy beat, using its title on repeat in both a threatening and promising fashion. Chassagne’s aggressive presence really lightens the mix up, too, making “Orpheus” really sticky but not at all messy.
 
Porno”: Taken as title-only, is sort of trolling. Here, Butler blames “little boys with their porno” for the hurt his subject’s endured. It’s that judgmental tone again. The offending specter is defined only by the lush keys and the rapping tappings of a rhythm section as Butler again sounds eagerly disappointed in something.
 
Afterlife” is such a crowd-pleaser, a combo of older material and this newer, disco-balling era. In the wake of first single “Reflektor,” you think nothing here can compare, but “Afterlife” nips at its heels, gloriously reveling in baritone sax.
 
Supersymmetry” sprawls -- instrumentally and in length, going for 11+ minutes. Congas tap, voices “la la la,” high notes flutter, the bass brrrrs, the ocean roars, babies are born, leaves change color, you see yourself when you're old and the universe is revealed in its utter worth. Sound exaggerated? That’s all this song is, and it’s bliss before the gentle “Revolution No. 9.”

 

<p>Eminem and Rihanna</p>

Eminem and Rihanna

Credit: Shady Records / AP Photo

Listen to Eminem's 'Monster' new song with Rihanna

Can this single conjure the same charting magic of 'Love the Way You Lie?"

Eminem and Rihanna have conjured "The Monster" together on a new single, which feels neither monsterous nor -- as Marshall Mather contends -- crazy.

But that doesn't make it forgettable. The repeating chorus is pretty catchy, trying to play in the same sonic game as Em and Rihanna's mega-hit "Love the Way You Lie," which dealt with similar personality extremes. Fans have heard the rapper waxing on his Jekyll and Hyde halves before, but here he's claiming to be "friends" with his uglier, "monster" self, shooting shady at detractors who think he's "crazy." Why? "'Well that's not fair."

A few seconds later on the electronic-backed track: "I'm think I'm getting so huge I need a shrink... / going cuckoo and kooky as Kool Keith." So we'll just hang with cuckoo?

This "crazy" title follows another, the first "Marshall Mathers LP 2" single "Berzerk," which had a lot more fun than this. "Monster" has a better shot at regular top 40 airplay with Rihanna's continuing star power, even with lackluster lyrics. These singles are bundled with other recent releases "Survival" and "Rap God" on the new album, which is due Nov. 5.

<p>Katy Perry and Lady Gaga</p>

Katy Perry and Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photos

Music showdown: The hit singles of Lady Gaga vs. Katy Perry

Best wedding themes, best retro power-pop, best first top 40 hits...

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry have more in common than you might think. 

Both solo female pop stars scored their first Top 40 hits in April of 2008. Since then, they’ve each issued three albums with Perry’s “Prism” out tomorrow and Gaga’s “ARTPOP” on the way, scoring multiple No. 1 and top 10 hits in their wake. They’ve been dominant forces in the Grammys pop races year after year, each with distinctive fashions and style-driven dances, from meat dresses to lollipop bras, from candy-colored wigs to claws (or paws, as it were).
 
Perry, who is about to turn 29, has found success in combining her big pipes with power-pop anthems and beach-bound summer songs. At 27, Lady Gaga has found her audience using overt sexuality and left-of-center, artistic performances with big, dark dance-pop sounds.
 
There’s no need to pit any one artist against each other with malice. Some musicians court beef, and others are just trying to do their own thing. For two women who have publicly shown each other support in their forthcoming endeavors, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry certainly don't see the need for fans to "choose" only one current pop icon. Though, it’s in our nature to see who comes out on top of the charts, who takes home the most or the biggest awards, who among the stars radiates the most. And Perry and Gaga – intended or not – have been competitors in the marketplace for about five years now, as thriving touring artists, recording artists, performers, personalities, activists and hit-makers.
 
With each preparing their new albums and with, still, long careers ahead of them, we’ve decided to take a fun look at the loose themes running through Katy Perry and Lady Gaga’s singles. As a lover of pop music, I think there’s obviously room for them both (haters, I ban thee). Meanwhile, vote for your favorite song in each category below: which crucial Lady and Katy songs make your final favorites tally?

Once you're done with that, go have fun with another recent HitFix feature: the movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Sylvester Stallone!

Read our review of Katy Perry's "Prism" here.

Exclusive Song of the Day: Masha's acoustic 'Ugly'

Exclusive Song of the Day: Masha's acoustic 'Ugly'

Taylor Swift's producer Nathan Chapman brings rock EP to life

Masha's new 4-song EP "Stupid, Stupid Dreams" packs a dark-tinged rock 'n' roll punch and raw emotion. In HitFix's exclusive premiere of Masha's acoustic performance of set opener "Ugly," however, those vulnerabilities and top talents are laid even more bare in an impressive open-air performance.

This Song of the Day selection is brought to you a day away from the release of "Stupid, Stupid Dreams," co-produced by Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift) and songwriter/producer Claude Kelly (Britney Spears, Bruno Mars).

Masha's seen further success as a performer after her cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are" landed over top of a "Witches of East End" TV promo this fall season.

Check out the clip below, and get ready for "Stupid, Stupid Dreams." Let us know if you get some classic Alanis vibes, too.

Listen to Lady Gaga's R&B-inflected new single 'Do What U Want' with R. Kelly

Listen to Lady Gaga's R&B-inflected new single 'Do What U Want' with R. Kelly

HitFix
C+
Readers
F
Lady Gaga heads into new genre frontiers with sorta-sexy-time jam

Since thongs are having a moment now, we should let you know what's up with Lady Gaga's for "Do What U Want." On the cover to the newly unveiled single, the pop star's derriere, long hair and colorful lingerie are part of her new iteration, a turn at club R&B featuring R. Kelly.

Kicking off with some traditional ad-libbing over what could be the "Drive" soundtrack, Mother Monster tries to combine her signature defiance into a certain pop radio formula. "You can't have my heart," check, "You can't stop my voice / 'cause you don't own my life," OK, "... but do what you want with my body."

It's a schlock shock to hear lines like these, and, "I would fall apart if you break my heart / so just take my body and don't stop the party," not because of its expression of fear or trepidation, but because this is the same artist who brought us the Disco Stick: where is the joy in this sexual summons? Why is it so plain? Where is the half-insane art preambles, since she actually seems a little sad?

And why is she growling?

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<p>Conan O'Brien and Langhorne Slim</p>

Conan O'Brien and Langhorne Slim

Credit: TBS

Video: Conan O'Brien crashed a Langhorne Slim show and sang some Elvis

Late-night comedian showed the country-rock band some love with two songs

LOS ANGELES - Fans of Langhorne Slim & The Law may have seen some pretty wild shows from the singer-songwriter, but few can compare to Conan O'Brien crashing the party.

The late-night comedian hosted Slim and his merry men on his show "Conan" last year, and further showed his love and appreciation of the band at the Troubadour last night (Oct. 16) by taking the stage and performing on two songs.

O'Brien and Langhorne Slim first covered Elvis Presley's Sun Records rendition of classic "Blue Moon of Kentucky," the former warning, "Yeah, the comedian's gonna sing…"

The whole country-rock crew came out for Slim's own "Found My Heart" from the 2012 album "The Way We Move."

"Now we're gonna play a track that I've listened to 10,000 times," O'Brien said, then continuing on to bang out the tune on acoustic guitar. The two hugged after the mid-set interruption.

Watch the two songs from the Troubadour show last night in the video below, plus check out the band's performance on "Conan" last year, during which O'Brien also played "Found My Heart." O'Brien recorded "Blue Moon of Kentucky" at a June 2010 session at Jack White's Third Man Records HQ in Nashville, and that's below, too.

Langhorne Slim & The Law are on tour through the end of the month. Slim has spent time on a number of indie labels, but found his most recent home with Ramseur (The Avett Brothers) last year for "The Way We Move," his latest.

<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Win 2 tickets to a Kanye West concert! Enter our giveaway contest

Yeezy kicks off his 'Yeezus' tour this week: Five runners-up take home a poster

Kanye West kicks off his "Yeezus" tour this week, and HitFix is here to help you and a friend get into the concert.

We're giving away TWO Kanye West show tickets, in a market of the grand prize winner's choosing. Five runners-up will score a Yeezus concert tour poster, featured below.

There are two chances to enter:

1. Retweet the following embedded Tweet and Follow @HitFix

2. For a second, bonus entry, share the embedded Facebook Post and Like HitFix on Facebook

 
Travel and accommodation are not included for the winning ticket. Any venue age restrictions apply. Entrants must live in the U.S., and their Twitter accounts cannot be set on private (otherwise, we can't tell what and if you Tweet). Contest ends Oct. 18, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST.
 
Kendrick Lamar is on tap to open all dates, though a re-reunited A Tribe Called Quest and Pusha T are on for select shows.

"Yeezus" is West's latest album, which arrived at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 charts and was led by single "Black Skinhead." Check out all of the Kanye West 2013 tour dates below. For more tour info, head to Kanye West's website.

Yeezus tour poster

10/19/13:    Seattle, WA    KeyArena
10/20/13:    Vancouver, B.C.    Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena 
10/22/13:    San Jose, CA    SAP Center
10/23/13:    Oakland, CA    Oracle Arena 
10/25/13:    Las Vegas, NV    MGM Grand Garden Arena 
10/26/13:    Los Angeles, CA        STAPLES Center 
10/28/13:    Los Angeles, CA        STAPLES Center 
11/01/13:    Anaheim, CA    Honda Center
11/03/13:    Denver, CO    Pepsi Center 
11/05/13:    Minneapolis, MN        Target Center 
11/07/13:    Chicago, IL    United Center 
11/08/13:    Columbus, OH    Nationwide Arena 
11/09/13:    Chicago, IL    United Center 
11/10/13:    Detroit, MI    Palace of Auburn Hills
11/12/13:    Toronto, Ont.    Air Canada Centre 
11/13/13:    Toronto, Ont.    Air Canada Centre 
11/14/13:    Montreal, Que.    Bell Centre 
11/16/13:    Philadelphia, PA        Wells Fargo Center 
11/17/13:    Boston, MA    TD Garden 
11/19/13:    Brooklyn, NY    Barclays Center 
11/20/13:    Brooklyn, NY    Barclays Center 
11/21/13:    Washington, DC        Verizon Center 
11/23/13:    New York, NY    Madison Square Garden 
11/24/13:    New York, NY    Madison Square Garden 
11/29/13:    Miami, FL    AmericanAirlines Arena 
11/30/13     Tampa, FL    Tampa Bay Times Forum 
12/01/13:    Atlanta, GA    Philips Arena 
12/05/13:    New Orleans, LA        New Orleans Arena 
12/06/13:    Dallas, TX    American Airlines Center
12/07/13:    Houston, TX    Toyota Center

<p>Forever Fest founders Sarah Pitre and Brandy Fons</p>

Forever Fest founders Sarah Pitre and Brandy Fons

Credit: Annie Ray

Forever Fest: Girlie films and culture event launches in Austin

Tickets now on sale for festival curated for fangirls: Read the HitFix Q&A

When Forever Fest founders Sarah Pitre and Brandy Fons first told me about their event, I was hard-pressed to think of another festival like it. Programmed by women and celebrating girlie pop culture, the weekend-long Alamo Drafthouse affair's demo seems like an after-thought at so many other popular film, book and culture festivals.

"Empire Records," young adult literature, "Dirty Dancing," "Sixteen Candles," cute cat videos and Danceoke (that's karaoke for dancing... look out "Single Ladies") are among the front-and-center features of fangirl-centric festival, which runs Nov. 1-3. Like the Drafthouse's program for Fantastic Fest, Forever Fest is catered to the fan.

Organizers and founders Pitre (a lead programmer for the Drafthouse and host of Girlie Nights) and Fons (of Fons PR, of which the Drafthouse is a client) have already launched their Kickstarter to fund "the ultimate slumber party," set at the Alamo's Ritz location and the Intercontinental in the capital's downtown. The hope is that attendees invite their girl friends (and guy friends, too), as a weekend out to safely be as girlie as little or as much as they want.

But like anything branded for females, there comes an almost political level of what qualifies as "girlie" or "for women." "Rom-com," "girlie" and "chick flick" carry heavy weight, as gendered terms and with some needlessly negative connotations. The organizers have remained resolutely light when it comes to their event, that FF acts not as a statement but a celebration. Below the video, check out what the organizers have to say about reclaiming "girlie," who and what the fest is for and why there aren't more Forever Fests out there. 

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<p>Eminem's &quot;Rap God&quot;</p>

Eminem's "Rap God"

Listen: Eminem's new song 'Rap God' plus the 'MMLP2' tracklist featuring Rihanna

Is Eminem answering Kanye West and Jay Z's 'No Church' in kind with this god business?

"Why be a king when you could be a god?" Eminem asks at the end of six minutes of blazing fast-rap in new song "Rap God."

"What's a king to a god?" West asked in "No Church in the Wild," which has a killer hook and a loping verse trade-off.

They're both rhetorical question that touches on Kanye West's self-deification this year with "Yeezus" and his superstar collabo with Jay Z in Watch the Throne. So just what does Yeezy and Yeezus have to do with Eminem and "Rap God?"

Eminem's spent about 14 as hip-hop royalty, so it's curious he's only just now feeling those purple robes as a guilt god member. Using "lyrical acrobatic stunts," a renewed and self-aware double entredre of the term "faggot," a love letter to the rappers that made him and then hearkening his own song "We Made You," Marshall Mathers here is putting the leg in "legacy" so he has something to stand on when it comes to his place in rap heaven. While the maxi pad jokes remain unending -- seriously, and a Bill Clinton jab? -- his skills here are pristine and entertaining, even when he's poking fun at himself and rapping on hip-hop/pop tensions. After his flimsy hook, he goes: "I know the way to get [haters] motivated, I make elevating music / You make elevator music / 'Oh, he’s too mainstream,' well, that’s what they doing getting jealous, they confuse it / It’s not hip-hop, it’s pop, cause I found a hella way to fuse it / With rock, shock rap with Doc." It's like one big, glorious inside joke.

So what's the difference between a rap king and a rap god? Maybe it's someone who can make those jokes, and pull it off. "What's a rap god to a god?" may be the next question, hopefully answered in kind in the next Watch the Throne effort...

... or later on in Eminem's next album "Marshall Mathers LP 2," due on Nov. 5. Over the weekend Eminem also revealed the tracklist to "MMLP2," which features guest appearances from Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, fun.'s Nate Ruess and Sklar Grey. There's also a song on it called "Asshole," two recently revealed songs "Berzerk" and "Survival" and (you guessed it!) a skit. Check out the full tracklist below "Rap God."

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