<p>How to Destroy Angels</p>

How to Destroy Angels

Review: Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels' EP 'An Omen'

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Can this hybrid of talent amount to much on its second go?
With the release of their first self-titled EP and now with “An Omen,” How To Destroy Angels have proven to be a much leaner, cleaner-sounding crew than Trent Reznor’s other band. In conjunction with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and Mariqueen Maandig, Reznor tries to configure the drones and squirrely, processed matter around calculated acoustic rhythms and electronic melodies, as the Nine Inch Nails frontman trades vocal spaces with Maandig when he’s not outright absent. he band is at its best at combining its talents on the sixth of six tunes, “Speaking in Tongues,” a journey-is-the-destination ellipsis of noise and rising melodies.
 
But at its worst, “An Omen” is dispassionate and utterly unextraordinary, and it’s this for at least half the tunes. Reznor and Ross’ work on “The Social Network,” for instance, had similar minimalist strains, but at least didn’t lack in emotionality; the formula here is off, sometimes lost in drab lyricism. On “Keep It Together” Maandig and Reznor sing “I can’t keep it together” in staggered time like a broken round, because – get it? – they can’t seem to keep it together. “The Loop Closes” sings “the beginning is the end / keeps coming around again” over and over again because, again, get it?
 
“Ice Age” is more like a workshop tune, and unproven model, where the band appears to be recreating the band Califone inside of ProTools with Maandig’s practiced, calm voice wandering off in another sonic direction. That track, like the slow-building “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” has all the trappings of an interesting hybrid of tone and talent. However, it doesn’t amount to much.
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<p>Ludacris in &quot;Rest of My Life&quot;</p>

Ludacris in "Rest of My Life"

Watch: Ludacris, Usher and David Guetta's 'Rest of My Life' aspires to inspire

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Yoga and a smoky road

The video for Ludacris' "Rest of My Life" featuring David Guetta and Usher is like one of those inspirational posters: it's a lot of monumental "moments" framed in motivational speech, but not without commerce. That is, look for the product placements inside this general message of carpe diem.

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Sigur Ros reveal new music video, new EP and North American tour dates

Sigur Ros reveal new music video, new EP and North American tour dates

Icelandic band has big plans for its 'Valtari' film expierminet

Sigur Ros have spent the better part of the last year revealing short films corresponding to each of the track off of their latest album "Valtari." As if something so ambitious cannot stand on its own, the Icelandic band is screening the 17 films on all seven continents -- including Antarctica -- and going on tour in North America and releasing an additional new EP of three songs.

They put their own ambition to ambitious shame.

The latest short film to be released from the album-film experiment is a movement-centered piece set to "Ekki Múkk”, “Valtari,” “Rembihnútur,” and “Varúð," featuring only a pair of dancers conversant in contortion, calling and responding through motion like a very intense mating call. Visually stunning, director Christian Larson's piece a great release after the pure tension of the tracks.

The screenings of it and other officially commissioned and fan-made videos for the "Valtari Mystery Film Experiment" will occur during the second week of December in some unorthodox venues like “hardware stores, hairdresser salons, and beyond," in dozens of cities worldwide based in Portugal to South Africa to Oklahoma to Japan. 

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<p>&quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2&quot; soundtrack</p>

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" soundtrack

Credit: Atlantic/Chop Shop

Album Review: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' soundtrack

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From Green Day to Feist to Nikki Reed, everybody's bumming out

Are you completely heartbroken that “The Twilight Saga’s” theatrical run is almost over? The soundtrack to “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” understands. The 14-track set will hand you crumpled fistfuls of tissues when it, itself, is not wearily sobbing in its jammies. 

The soundtracks to the series haven’t always been the sunniest, but as Bella and Edward wage their final battles and burrow into their vampiric fates, they’ll have the help of piano-led ballad duets like that from co-star Nikki Reed and ex-“American Idol” contestant and husband Paul McDonald. James Vincent McMorrow fits into the funeral using the Bon Iver mold, a placeholder Bon Iver himself shaped in the “New Moon” tracklist. Broadway’s “Spider-Man” star Reeve Carney more closely channels his upcoming film role as Jeff Buckley for his original song “New For You.” From upstart Iko to sullen Green Day, everybody’s tenderly shuffling through string sections or bummer BPMs.
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<p>From Soundgarden's &quot;Been Away Too Long&quot;</p>

From Soundgarden's "Been Away Too Long"

Watch: Soundgarden's chilling 'Been Away Too Long'; announces 2013 tour dates

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Clip right in line with 'King Animal' cover art

For Soundgarden fans, the rock band has, indeed, "Been Away Too Long." Thankfully, the group has unleashed an uneasy music video for that track to ease their mind.

The impressive clip is almost entirely in slow-motion, with a mental patient making her way through a ward that's between "Session 9" and "Shutter Island." The wintry setting also hosts German shepherds and gas-masked military guards and she flees through a maze of snow and skulls. It's actually pretty awesome, her attempt to escape and the shattering finale. The creepy director-genius Josh Graham helmed; the art director has also worked with Neurosis, so that makes some sense.

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<p>The Weeknd in &quot;The Zone&quot;</p>

The Weeknd in "The Zone"

Watch: Drake and the Weeknd's 'The Zone' is a haunted House of Balloons

Hand-in-hand with other miseries 'Wicked Girl' and 'Rolling Stone'

The Weeknd's first mixtape "House of Balloons" has its name incorporated into the set of "The Zone," the tracks that features the singer's collaboration with Canadian kinsman Drake. I take the Zone, then, to mean that House of Balloons is closer to a haunted house of ex-girlfriends, sad and echoing of the horrors of empty sex. And "The Zone" itself is its soundtrack.

In the clip for recently released "Wicked Games," a beautiful girl hangs around -- again -- in lingerie, appearing as an apparition or a memory, just as the teenaged-dreamy one does in "The Zone." The same could be said of austere "Rolling Stone." They all seem to represent different women, or the "experience" of each woman, as if sex and love were happening to the Weeknd, not as a relationship or a participatory event in which he plays a part. It seems very isolating, which goes hand-in-hand with that haunted sound.

He and Drake, then, make natural partners. You've seen the cover of "Take Care," right?

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<p>Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar pose for a Tweet pic back in July</p>

Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar pose for a Tweet pic back in July

Lady Gaga leaks her Kendrick Lamar collaboration on 'B*tch Don't Kill My Vibe'

'Partynausous' still M.I.A.

It was clear by the end of the summer that Lady Gaga and rapper Kendrick Lamar were gonna be friends. However, their collaborations in the studio on his stunning "good kid m.A.A.d. city" have never surfaced, until now.

Gaga has "leaked" her own unreleased contribution on his song "B*tch Don't Kill My Vibe," a track that ultimately landed on the set but with Lamar himself speak-singing the hook. Her version makes the chorus a much more feminine and purposefully hooky feel, with the subject matter folling right in line with the Gaga we knwo and love: "I am a sinner who's probably gonna sin again / Lord forgive me, Lord forgive me... I got my drink, I got my music / I would share it but today I'm yelling / Bitch don't kill my vibe."

It sounds like a singer trying to "vibe" like a an R&B singer when they're not used to doing so, which seems a bit affected. But this is Gaga we're talking about, as affectation is the signature on all songs. Plus, it could be given a better mix, a little too pointy.

Gaga reportedly worked on another song with Lamar, the unreleased "Partynausous," but that may be supressed in part maybe because Gaga hadn't time to finish a take she was happy with, or because her vocals may not have been treated to taste, or both. According to a post to a post on her website last month, there were some power factors in play:

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<p>Ke$ha in &quot;Die Young&quot;</p>

Ke$ha in "Die Young"

Watch: Ke$ha is the leader of a sex compound in 'Die Young'

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Britney should be in there somewhere...

Ke$ha channels a number of pop divas in her music video for "Die Young," but none so closely as "Slave 4 U"-era Britney Spears. Sex and death have always been bedfellows, but the arcing, aching, sumptuous, dirty eventualities of a video like this seem to be nodding at that youthful peak era, where something so ridiculously indulgent and over-the-top proved to be the norm and nasty.

However, the chasm between the fun-bop of the song and the So Serious nature of the debauched clip that can't quite bridge. Ke$ha's mug flashes in tasteful black-and-white, then in early-'90s neon and in the leathery sepia tones of her semi-religious desert sex compound (a girl can dream); she's carried in as a idolatrous prop (a la Gaga), contorting in tribal furs (Shakira), introducing anarchy to a place of religious worship (Madonna) in a sea of triagles (Geometry 101). All together, this video and the Ke$ha brand hasn't a clue what it is, beyond blipping animal rule into a big pile of gropers till the world ends...

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<p>That's heart, giving the finger</p>

That's heart, giving the finger

Watch: Green Day's 'Stray Heart' warns the womanizer

Stream the band's entire album

We already exclaimed the positives to acts like Green Day releasing their new sets -- including forthcoming "¡Dos!" -- on vinyl. In the music video for single "Stray Heart," though, not even the gift of a record can help solve one womanizer's stray heart problem.

In the silly vid, a man's most powerful organ has departed from it's holding cavity (his chest, guttermind) and has gone around to the bars and strip clubs where it frequently serves others beyond his true love. This, in a world where he is surrounded by nothing but attractive women. The lost and devestated man goes on a hunt for his own heart, finding it has ultimately returned to its regular coop.

Maybe she just didn't have a record player?

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<p>Kid Cudi</p>

Kid Cudi

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Kid Cudi and King Chip need to smoke in 'Just What I Am'

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Lead single from Cudder's third rap album

"Just What I Am" is the lead single from Kid Cudi's new hip-hop album. And just what is Kid Cudi about?

"F*ck yes, I'm so odd... I need to smoke," he raps, with co-partier King Chip on the track. From there, it's all red solo cups, pretty firls and puffs, as the guest rapper (formerly Chip tha Ripper) rolls regular smoke-blowing and Cudi brings something a little more real.

Any way you toke it, it's an easy song to listen to, and a good sample of what might be off of "Indicud," which follows Cudder's rap-rock record WZRD. The new set will be out some time in 2013 via Universal/G.O.O.D. Kanye's imprint also feature Cudi on a some "Cruel Summer" tracks as it was released last month.

Kid Cudi's last rap album was 2010's "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager."

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