<p>Grimes</p>

Grimes

Grimes takes aim at sexism in music in open Tumblr post

'i dont want to be infantilized because i refuse to be sexualized'

In a Tumblr post titled "I don’t want to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living," Grimes is letting sexist music "industry" members, press, fans and others know that she knows when you're being sexist, rockist or biased, and to cut it the hell out.

The 4AD-signed singer saw great critical acclaim last year for her album "Visions" (and is an Immaculate Noise 2012 fave, and is fresh off of being one of HitFix's favorite performers at Coachella this month). But it appears that the "Visions" album cycle is "over," as she wrote last night, and  misogynistic comments to and at her are intolerable.

"I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if i did this by accident and i’m gonna flounder without them. or as if the fact that I’m a woman makes me incapable of using technology," she wrote in the post. "i dont want to be infantilized because i refuse to be sexualized," she said in another line.

The list is fairly specific, on the types of comments or afflictions she's had in the past year, and perhaps refers to a point this winter when she erased her Tumblr altogether. "i dont want my words to be taken out of context," she said early on. In January February, she wrote about her fondnesses of Beyonce and Mariah Carey, as a successful female and performers. She also posted her favorite songs from 2012, for which she's got apparent grief.

"I'm sorry, but I think it's f*cking incredible that a Korean language song is the most popular thing on the planet. That's so good for humanity. PSY wrote and produced "Gangnam Style" himself and directed the video HIMSELF... I dont think it's so terrible that he's been recognized for this. It also doesn't make him evil. His art is creating a generation of kids that will grow up seeing Asian culture as being as valid as Western culture which they currently don't," she wrote then. "Racism isn't over. Sexism isn't over. The only way things actually effect social change is by hitting the audience that perpetuates these ideas. Therefore, when a deserving artist blows up its good for everybody."

In a Tumblr post directly after the initial post last night, Grimes assured listeners:

a) meeting fans is actually incredibly rewarding for me so im gonna keep doing that and if u see me on the street its like, totally fine to say hi :) 

b) i am still making music - but im gonna start working on a new album instead continuing to tour off visions...

c) ALSO - i wrote what i wrote below not to complain or make anyone sad, but because i feel like if its possible to not accept stuff i hate and live a comfortable life then i want to do it  :)  in a broader sense, ideally stereotyping of any kind is something that can eventually be overcome or at least minimized.  the fact that the response to this has been almost entirely positive is amazing and really nice and yeah.

I think that anybody who has spent time and/or their livelihood and/or their own money in creative industries will see the bias Grimes is referring to. "Popular" as inferior status... women having success by "mistake"... looks trumping opinion on output... the need to box the activism of artists as "irrelevant"... Grimes, as a young recording and touring pop artist has seen this first hand since she released "Visions" last January, and even before. You don't even need to like "Visions" to understand the validity of this venting/letter/condemnation.

May she keep this post alive and well and undeleted. She is done touring for the moment and has started work on a new album.

Read the full posts here.

Review: Phoenix's new album 'Bankrupt!'

Review: Phoenix's new album 'Bankrupt!'

HitFix
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The after-party to hits-rich 'Wolfgang Amadeus'

The singles on Phoenix’s new album “Bankrupt!” aren’t there like they were on breakout “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” but that doesn’t make this new album inferior to the previous. In fact, the French dance-rockers have a much deeper and dimensional coherence to sound than ever before, making this effort seem much more complete as an album, and not just a vehicle for hits.

Opener and lead single “Entertainment” is better on repeat listens, and introduces the tonal melodies and washy, sarcastic voice of the other nine tracks.  The song titles “S.O.S. in Bel Air,” “Drakkar Noir,” “Trying to Be Cool” and “Bourgeouis” contrast with the punctuated “Bankrupt!” with an air of good fun, insinuating a superficiality in it glimmering mix of high synths and cheesy, slinky New Wave nods. The siren keys and low drones of “Chloroform” are less a warning than signals a snooty satire on bedroom-eyed R&B as “Oblique City” is a taunting workout with bleating synths reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends,” another disillusioned riff on fame. (It's not that, lyrically, they're saying much in-depth, but thematically it's a rich riff.)
 
Thomas Mars’ vocals remain as note-bendingly imperfect, like when he trots out flourishes of falsetto on “Cool” and epic standout “The Real Thing.” He stands back through the thoroughly experimental title track; it’s on this seven-minute meander we hear the quartet paint with a broader brush, letting the song build up instead of jumping right in on beat one. Surely, Glassnote would have been sweating were tracks like it the bulk of “Bankrupt!”, but then they counter with easy (if unremarkable) songs like “Don’t.” “Bankrupt!” is at times a challenge, and sometimes a breeze, and that should be enough to satisfy fans still around for the “Wolfgang Amadeus” after-party.

 

Watch David Guetta's bizarre 'Play Hard' music video with Akon and Ne-Yo

Watch David Guetta's bizarre 'Play Hard' music video with Akon and Ne-Yo

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Unibrows, impossible boots, dance-offs and the rodeo: This.

Here's what I'll tell you: I'd much rather watch videos like David Guetta, Ne-Yo and Akon's bizzaro "Play Hard" than a thousand others that feature girls in bikinis gyrating on a motorcylce and featured artists standing around trying to figure out what to do with their hands.

In this music video, there's a loose theme of blue-collar living in a primarily Latino population, and then there's spasms of camera work, dance segments, a rodeo, unibrows, twerking, impossible boots, a beauty pageant and toy cars. I can't explain much beyond "surreal," like Quentin Dupieux was given the car keys and told "Drive... there's a pile of stock characters in the back." Guetta, Ne-Yo and Akon (hilariously) all show up at different points, with Guetta giddily clapping at the end.

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Listen to the new Daft Punk song 'Get Lucky,' which is awesome

Listen to the new Daft Punk song 'Get Lucky,' which is awesome

HitFix
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Readers
A
Arriving ahead of 'Random Access Memories'

The recently posted video interviews with Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" collaborators have pointed to a humanism in the machines. "Get Lucky," the first single to arrive from Daft Punk's album encapsulates that idea. And it is awesome.

Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers' funky, pristine guitar line is as much the heartbeat as the disco-clap of the beat. Pharrell's sweet voice has a little desperation and love in the pre-chorus, batting above average than any song that's far more explicit in what constitutes "getting lucky." I don't find his vocals extraordinary, but I do find it slipping slinkily into this mix. The voice box tone intermingling with the similar synths playfully makes the programmed elements seem interchangeable with its most organic. And vice versa. Good times, and welcome back.

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<p>Luke James</p>

Luke James

Credit: Def Jam

Luke James opening for Beyonce in Europe -- wait, who's Luke James, again?

'I Want You' and 'Make Love to Me': WE GET THE IDEA

Rejoice! Luke James will be opening for Beyonce during the European leg of her Mrs. Carter tour!

Wait! Who is Luke James!? And why are we yelling!?

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Listen: Black Sabbath releases expectantly bleak new song 'God Is Dead?'

Listen: Black Sabbath releases expectantly bleak new song 'God Is Dead?'

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Song arrives from heavy band's first album in 35 years

It's been a heavy week. So get heavy.

Black Sabbath have about nine minutes of heavy in their brand new song "God Is Dead?" which is as dark as a song called "God Is Dead?" should sound.

And speaking of things that should sound a certain way, this is actually pretty decent. For anyone's whose body sort of tenses up whenever Ozzy's opened his mouth recently, this is a good competent (and comped) take, and producer Rick Rubin didn't end up ironing out all the imperfections, either. That watery, churning doom metal ache is there, three of the four original members are there (with Rage's Brad Wilk filling Bill Ward's shoes), and there's a series of guitar riffs I don't hate.

And it's first a question, "is God dead?", then a statement "God is dead" and ends with its ultimate title. Deep, man. The annoying "I HEART RADIO" promo will only serve to keep your mind from HELL.

"God Is Dead?" is the first song to arrive from Sabbath's new reunion record, lucky number "13," out on June 11. It's their first as a band in 35 years. They're going to make some spot tour stops in the U.S., dates below the clip.

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M83 plus the soundtrack to 'Oblivion' don't quite add up

M83 plus the soundtrack to 'Oblivion' don't quite add up

Anthony Gonzalez should try, try again, though

I came out of "Oblivion" thoroughly entertained, though I think the film had a lot of flaws. It's the magical in-between of not flat-out disliking the movie, but feeling like my general values in plot and character were compromised for the sake of indulging in something lavishly beautiful. I wanted a plot, or a core, and it ended up being a film that felt only vaguely human and incredibly staged.

That's might also be the way I'd describe how I felt about Anthony Gonzalez and Joe Trapanese's score for "Oblivion," with partial credit going to Gonzalez' performing name M83. The estimated budget for "Oblivion" was $120 million, so you'd expect a musical backing just as big. But big doesn't have to mean bludgeoning, even if it's a clobbering in mystical, iPod-white, bleating drums and slick, metered electronica.

This is not to say M83's trademark is nuance and the movie didn't any room for any. I'm partial to Gonzalez' ability to heighten the mundane. I think Trapanese's work with Daft Punk on Joseph Kosinski's other recent sci-fi powerhouse "Tron Legacy" actually took that dance duo's strengths and made them into something specifically Hollywood, and in that case I liked it. And "Oblivion" had many opportunities to have a cool-headed, surgical moments with their thoughts, like when Tom Cruise's Jack gazed out at the Earth's altered landscape beside a potted plant, or when Andrea Riseborough's Victoria indulges in romantic, pool-bound foreplay, or when Jack prepares to meet his enemy.

In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Gonzalez revealed that the end-result was "frustrating," becoming a cooks-and-kitchen problem.

"They needed something bigger, more orchestral; it was hard for me to be told that my music was too indie for the film. I was pissed most of the time, but this is how it works. It's like, 'Take it or leave it.' And I took it," Gonzalez told the site.

The scale of the film, it seems, interfered with what M83 naturally does, which made it a little curious why Universal would tap him in the first place (the reach of M83's "Midnight City" makes this less curious: youth vote). Like Daft Punk, he hadn't extensive experience with arranging orchestras. The finished product didn't sound refreshingly updated on his sound, but more like a mash of Hans Zimmer's "Inception," "Tron" and even Don Davis' "Matrix" scores, films themselves that add to "Oblivion's" problems with redundancy. Maybe not a problem for an over-the-top script and exponentially outstanding visual effects, except that I hear no personality from Gonzalez and Trapanese combined.

Clint Mansell found this balance of organic orchestral scale and electronic sensuality with "Pi" and, ahem, "Moon." Air worked their wares perfectly with "Virgin Suicides," and Chemical Brothers in terrifically buoyant "Hanna." Thing is, these were made for a fraction of a $120 million budgets.

"I'm stressed out because I know people are going to hate the soundtrack so much because it's different," he continued. (Yeah, but different from what?) "People are going to expect a new album from M83, and that's not the case. But, I'm also super proud of it because Joe Trapanese and I worked so hard on it to make everybody happy at the studio."

And that's the hitch: as M83, he plays for himself, he plays for his fans. For $120 million budget movie, his audience is the studio. Or at least that's how it sounds, when you take all the damn reverb off and turn the choir down and give the horns section a break.

Gonzalez will get another shot, and play with scale again: he's scoring a small French film for his older brother next. Hopefully that will suit him better.

Listen to De La Soul's new song 'Get Away,' a comeback homage to Wu-Tang

Listen to De La Soul's new song 'Get Away,' a comeback homage to Wu-Tang

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Wu meets weak MCs for a villainous re-entry

Irony included, De La Soul sampled Wu-Tang Clan's "Intro" to reintroduce themselves to the masses on new song "Get Away." As previously reported, it's the first time since 2004 that Kelvin Mercer (aka Posdnuos), David "Dave" Jolicoeur (aka Trugoy) and Vincent "Maseo" Mason all showed up in the same place at the same time to making an album, marking this tune a bonafide turn at a comeback.

The legendary hip-hop trio get dark on this “Get Away (feat. the Spirit of the Wu),” a good-will return to music-making in an uncharacteristic villainous tone. As the crew's DJ says, it takes square aim at today's watered-down MCs.

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Listen: Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross feature on DJ Khaled's 'No New Friends'

Listen: Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross feature on DJ Khaled's 'No New Friends'

HitFix
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Second Drizzy song in less than 24 hours

Muse these titles: "No New Friends." "Suffering From Success." It's the Young Money (and MMG) love-in, sponsored by Drake's fixation on success and sadness.

"No New Friends" is a new track from Drizzy, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and DJ Khaled, off of the latter's forthcoming "Suffering From Success." In it, the rappers extol their "day one" pals for helping them up to their current acclaim. Originally a "Started from the Bottom" remix, it's most prominent feature is Drake reporting on the fact these guys have no capacity for "fake" friends.

Drake quoth his own "Started from the Bottom" in his starting verse, despite the fact that song's still no good (and still makes no sense); but the chorus to this one's much easier to stomach, and Weezy even manages one slick pun ("They throw dirt on my name, well that's why they still dig me." Oh haha, OK dad).

Notably, this is Drake's second song in 24 hours, arriving around the same time his "Girls Love Beyonce," a lonely little number about looking for love... and disrespect of women?

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Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 'Mosquito'
Credit: Interscope

Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 'Mosquito'

HitFix
B
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Band's first album in four years puts you on a train, sends you to mars and wears you out

Karen O has a history of the most daring fashions when she takes the stage with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s hard to say if they’re costumes, or part of a larger persona, or if it’s simply what she wore to the grocery right before sound check. But what she wears she doesn’t merely don, she takes up and owns.

That’s what, metaphorically, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ latest effort “Mosquito” is like: to reduce a fully fleshy piece of performance art down to a pair of funny trousers and heart-halting stage banter would be to miss the point. Sonically, there’s a common string there, tensions between damage and invincibility, shaman-esque to inappropriate, blustering to succinct, a coherent complexity aided by longtime producers David Sitek and Nick Launay.
 
Like in “Subway”: In a moment, Karen O expresses a melancholy that resonates with anybody who’s ever heard the retreating clack of the J/M/Z train line in their own 3 a.m. local-time manner. Instrumentally, the reverb and keys are uplifting, letting the listener on and sends the car to space. “Despair” has a tingling rhythm section that tap out anxieties and guitars that pan around expectantly. “Don’t despair,” O sings in her mouthy response to the desperate melodies. “You’ve always been there / you ’re there through my wasted years… there’s nothing to fear.”
 
The title track has the band repeatedly promising to “suck your blood” and the singer role-playing as the mosquito, literally “bzzzzing” in the post-chorus and making this song, on paper, seem incredibly stupid (like, ahem, the album art). But, again, it’s about wearing it, and wearing it well: Nick Zinner let’s his six-string out on a little adventure, congas bleat in the background and all of a sudden you’re wearing wings too, oh godd*mn it. Similarly, “Area 52” – the YYYs version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” but with, like, aliens -- demands some listener participation as the laser sounds, alarms, tribal drums, feedback and vocal warping send you on the trip or you stay stuck on Earth.
 
There are a few inclusions here that break up the band’s habits, good and bad. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy produced “Buried Alive,” which also features the only guest spot on the album from Dr. Octagon: the rapper harms the consistency, sadly, though his verse is great and in-and-out before you have time to object (yeah yeah… no). There’s another other-ness to the gospel choir on standout single “Sacrilege,” adding a few thousand extra kilowatts to a band that seemingly generates its own energy. Intimate love song “Wedding Song,” the closer, is a stunning but surprising reminder that there’s actual human behind walking hyperbole Karen O, which may send you running in slow-motion for the Kleenex… or to “Fever to Tell.”
 
You go where they go, wear what they wear, smoke what they smoke: that’s the requirements to get as funky and dark as “Mosquito” gets, which may be a bit too much to ask listeners who are looking for the simple joys of “Maps” or straight-forward garage-punk that made up the bulk hits of “It’s Blitz!”.  Still, for most fans, “Mosquito” will have buzz long after the chart debut, the summer fest shows and the four years of anticipation. Put it on and wear it out.