<p>David Bowie</p>

David Bowie

James Murphy remixed David Bowie's 'Love Is Lost': You're welcome

He lives for chopped applause

Chopping and screwing a track of applause is nothing new -- and James Murphy re-titles his remix to David Bowie's "Lost Is Lost" as such. The former LCD Soundsystem frontman tips his hat to composer Steve Reich and his "Clapping Music" in this dark dance redux.

The result of the "Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy For The DFA" is something spirited and menacing, with a wry smile as you put your hands together. Bowie's lamentations reside in caverns of reverb next to rhythmic sythesizers, the clapping ultimately dying out after a dramatic chorus and then 5 more minutes of music.

Murphy and Bowie spent some time in the lab together as they both worked on Arcade Fire's "Reflektor," at least; knowing Bowie's affinity for the band, he may show up on more than just one song on the double-album. Murphy signed on to produce much of the Montreal band's new album. Now when is Regine going to sing on a Murphy song, with Bowie directing and acting in the video, hrm?

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<p>Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Robert Rodriguez</p>

Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Robert Rodriguez

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Alexa Vega and Danny Trejo talk 'Machete Kills' and Latino heros

Former 'Spy Kid' Vega explains what it takes to be a Robert Rodriguez babe

AUSTIN - No matter how you say the name -- and in "Machete Kills," it's said a lot -- Danny Trejo's role of Machete in Robert Rodriguez' movies makes a very distinct impression.

In an interview with HitFix during the promotion of "Kills" at Fantastic Fest, Trejo, co-star Alexa Vega and Rodriguez talked about the image and place in modern cinema Machete holds. Audiences "identify" with the ex-Federale, unstoppable hero because "he's not flying, not wearing tights. He's just a guy," Trejo said. He said he looks like a guy you ask "if you need help moving."

But Trejo's portrayal is also one of the few roles that puts an older Latino in the lead protagonist seat. "I think it's important to have another one of those," Rodriguez said of making the sequel, "whether people wanted it or not."

"In my neigborhood [growing up], when we used to see a hero, it was like, 'Damn... he's pretty.' Not all guys look like that," Trejo said. "I mean... I'm not pretty."

Vega -- who helped lead Rodriguez' successful "Spy Kids" movies -- comforted her co-star, though her character KillJoy in the film is among the cast of Rodriguez' "babes," a stand-in for prettiness (even when its villainous, too).

To be a babe in a pulpy Rodriguez film, according to Vega, "takes serious..."

"Cajones!" Trejo chimed in.

"Attitude," Vega concluded, saying it took a good amount of confidence and comfort with herself to walk onto the "Machete Kills" set with assless chaps and metal bras. She was also comforted that, for the women in Rodriguez' films, "you know it's gonna come out looking great."

Trejo sees a great amount of strength in all of Rodriguez' characters, including the babes. "There's nobody weak. Doesn't matter what role they have, it's a strong persona. It's not stereotypical."

Coming from working with Rodriguez as a young girl in "Spy Kids," Vega said "it took a lot of convincing" to land this role as a sexy, 25-year-old brothel-occupying assassin. "That outfit helped me pull it off."

Watch the complete interview above. "Machete Kills" hits theaters wide on Friday (Oct. 11).

 

<p>The Lumineers</p>

The Lumineers

Watch: The Lumineers' gorgeous animated video for 'Submarines'

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Folk-rockers go deep-sea diving

The Lumineers' "Ho Hey" put them on the map, but their newest single "Submarines" puts them under water.

Check out the acoustic-rockers' music video for the track, the third radio-pushed song from their self-titled album. Directed by longtime band collaborator Nicholas Sutton Bell, it's a fable-tastic journey under the sea. Keep your eyes peeled for the octopus, who is my favorite.

The Lumineers are on tour in the 'States through the end of the month, then head overseas to Europe in November, then head the other way overseas (Australia, Asia) in early 2014.

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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'

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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
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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
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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.