"Dreams and Disasters" is an appropriate kick-off to this new set from Owl City, as it's a high-energy, hyper-melodic dance number, like fireworks without the fuse. Or, rather, a car on fire: this mysterious little narrative has a foot heavy on the gas pedal, a sensation that has Young exclaiming "I want to feel alive forever after."
"The Midsummer Station" is out next week on Aug. 21 via Republic Records, and boasts current single "Good Time," a co-lead with "Call Me Maybe" summer jam star Carly Rae Jepsen.
2 Chainz and Nicki Minaj in "I Love Dem Strippers"
It's not a stretch to say that 2 Chainz "I Love Dem Strippers" featuring Nicki Minaj doesn't sound like anything new. The video looks exactly like you think it would, with the Atlanta rhymer buttressed by butts and dollar bills raining from this hands. The hook is just the song title repeated over and over with Chainz bumpy slow flow oozing with the usual boasts.
The big question for MInaj: will she work the pole or is she asserting her breadwinner status on the couch with the rest of the dude bros? Because that's what this is: Dude-broage. Minaj -- whose rhymes come off way hotter -- opts to uptake the traditional male role in rap: rappers are paid to rap, and they use that money to pay women to take off their clothes. Grass is green, sky is blue.
It's too hot anyway, right? Cool down with this silky, chilly start to your weekend: Feist's "Anti-Hero" music video.
The Canadian songwriter is cloaked in shadows and gripping the lines on wallpaper for her "sappy songs about what went wrong."
The simple black and white clip was helmed by Martin de Thurah, whose work previously with Leslie Feist exposed an acumen for the melacholy. "The Bad in Each Other" broke my heart in 12 different ways. In "Anti-Hero," they together kind of show off what a broken heart does when its listlessly broken.
Of this new clip, de Thurah told Nowness “I had thought about making something very simple, complex and emotional with Leslie alone. I found the song very intimate, and wanted the video to reflect that.”
Muse is getting messy. Their Olympic theme song "Survival" was a repurposed Queen imitation, forced into a puffy, bloated lyrical mold about personal glory.
"What can you do?" Muse frontman Matt Bellamy told NPR when they asked him about the widespread criticism of the song. "I can't imagine what we could have done right for the Olympics."
Well, maybe not the Olympics, but Muse could've done right by their fans by finding a solid song to follow it up. Instead, we get "Unsustainable," which was their nod at EDM, a la deadmau5 and Skrillex.
The first third of the track is choral and symphonic cinema, a blip of a revelation they may have developed during the new "Dark Knight" movie. Then there's a melody-less dubstep diversion, before Hans Zimmer and wom-wommm-wommm-brrrrr combine together like children singing in a round.
Robert Lopuski "got the call" from Kanye West and Jay-Z to shoot behind-the-scenes footage of the pair as they recorded "Watch the Throne" over 2010 and 2011. The result is an 11-minute "documentary" of the "making-of."
"I had to drop everything to fly out to Sydney. I didn’t have any equipment with me. So I asked Kanye’s team if it was cool to put in a rental order– like, could you guys get some stuff down there for me? I wrote up a list: I need a camera, a mic, a stand, the simple abc’s, and they said don’t worry, we got it," Lopuski told Paradigm. "A few days later, I show up and none of it is there. So I went on a crazy four-hour tear around Sydney, finding whatever pieces of equipment I could get my hands on."
Yeah. And it kinda shows. The result is very low-lit, and it's got bad sound, and very little is revealed about the actual "creative process" of the "Throne." There's a good scene of Jay-Z running over his rhymes for "Why I Love You," and I'll never fight a scene of Beyonce in jeans walking slowly around a lawn looking out the sea. But otherwise, it's a pretty restricted "look" at two of hip-hops biggest names ever.
I would say to the handlers that there were certain things that I needed to do: turn on lights, get slightly better access, possibly stage a better setup photographically.
They said ‘no, we can’t do that.’ Could I sit down? Could I put lavs on them? I know you guys are recording the album, but could I record their conversations? ‘No, you can’t do that.’ Can I set mics up in the room to record the room? ‘No.’ Do you think while I’m here, I can do sit-down interviews with them…maybe get something that I can at least use audio wise? ‘No. They don’t feel like doing interviews,’" Lopuski said. "The job was challenging professionally because you’re thrust immediately into the inner circle yet not allowed to capture the inner workings properly."
Watching it is challenging too. Russell Crowe makes a cameo and drinks the Kings' wine, because he's mentioned in Kanye's lyrics.
Lopuski knows this crew in part because he worked on visual effects for "Cadillac Records," in which Beyonce starred.
And of course, there's still the novelty of that mouse head, which deadmau5 dons as he's behind the decks.
What 2012 is amounting to is deadmau5's most publicity-heavy year, so as he prepares to release his new album in short order, all eyes may be on that sales tally to see if hype and heckling amount to "any press is good press." It doesn't hurt that this year has been hyped as the biggest year yet for EDM, as artists like Skrillex and David Guetta enter more fully into the national conversation about pop music.
It starts with the album's title: "> album title goes here <" will be out on Sept. 25 via Ultra. And who knows if the label fought him on the cheeky name. Perhaps, considering the "singles" nature of so many electronica albums, he really couldn't have been bothered to come up with one.
Regardless the tracklist has is own creative bout with capitals, and with deliciously tempting tracklist titles like "Fn Pig" and "Failbait," plus and out-and-out co-credit with producer Wolfgang Gartner on "Channel 42." deadmau5 has already released the official song "Professional Griefers" featuring My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way; other guests include Imogen Heap, Chris James and Cypress Hill.
The music video to "Professional Griefers" will be out this month. Many rough mixes and instrumentals to the songs below are previewed on deadmau5's Soundcloud page.
deadmau5's last "studio" set -- "4x4=12" -- made it to No. 47 on the Billboard 200 and to No. 2 on Electronic Albums.
Here is the tracklist to "> album title goes here <":
deadmau5 & Wolfgang Gartner - Channel 42
The Veldt (featuring Chris James)
Professional Griefers (featuring Gerard Way)
There might be coffee
Take care of the proper paperwork
Failbait (featuring Cypress Hill)
Telemiscommunications (featuring Imogen Heap)
Lying heavy in your lover's arms. Four-on-the-floor kick drum. Multi-part harmonies. Rolling banjo and vocal break-down.
Mumford & Sons songs may be predictable, but they are distinctly reliable. "I Will Wait" is the first official recording to arrive from the British roots-based group's forthcoming album "Babel," and it undeniably Mumfordian. And it will tickle the band's fans to death.
Marcus Mumford's lyrics contain a romanticism and fatalism that's become rarer in the current rock mainstream, which made the successes of "The Cave" and "Little Lion Man" all the more surprising when they hit. He's got a handle on the body's strongest muscle -- the heart, gutter-minds: for all the songs on "Sigh No More," nearly all of them have the word "heart" in it. And if it's not "heart," it's "hand." And if it's not either of those, it's "arm." Sometimes it's any two. Look it up.
Tom Waits' "Hell Broke Luce" is terrifying (and one of the songwriter's greatest achievements)
Tom Waits doesn't use the term "f*ck" lightly.
In fact, in the more than 250 released studio recordings from the songwriter, you'll find nary a mention, with exception to "Hell Broke Luce," from Waits' recent "Bad As Me."
It's unsettling to hear him say the word with emphasis -- and twice! -- but then again, "Luce" is an unsettling track. For this military cadence, Waits adoptive persona is a sour band of soldiers, lobbing dark humor and complaints from the frontline, as young kids would reflect on the "good homes" they left behind before they enlisted.
With the mention of Kevlar, meth, Humvees and suicide bombs, Waits effectively pairs the familiar "left right left" marching chant with vernacular and specific terrors of today's wars in the Middle East. And yet, the lost limbs, scorched skin, body bags and general laid waste are depressingly evergreen. With a "boom" he makes his thesis, that the horrors overseas follow soldiers home to America.
"Well I was over here, America, to vote / I left my arm in my coat / My mom she died and never wrote," he chants. Take the title of the song, with Luce as a character: "Now I’m home / and I’m blind / And I’m broke / What is next?"
"Hell Broke Luce" is a terrifying song. It's supposed to be, and it's also one of Waits' greatest achievements, new or not. It's a painful and political anti-war song for and within the fighting ranks, for after the war is "finished."
Willem Dafoe plays boss to "Game of Thrones" actress Carice van Houten (Melisandre!), who plays a willowy and heavy-hearted secretary. But, rather than death by fire, Dafoe only has some brief narration with van Houten before he meets his end in a bloody fashion.
In fact, the clip turns into a whole revolt by secretaries, hinting at lust and revenge through a mass action. Is it commentary on the working class? An extreme play on secretarial, deep longings? A spin on stereotype? A feminsit motion? Whatever it is, I'll remember that final scene in the square for a while to come: the cameo by performance artist and Antony collaborator Marina Abramovi? will stop your heart on its own. Her appearance is reminiscent of the cover shot for Antony and the Johnsons' "Crying Light," of butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno.
It's a curious example, too, of integrating an actual script into a song featuring singing. Dafoe and van Houten have only a scant few lines, appearing mostly in the songwriting gaps, but it works. And bums me out.
"Cut the World" is off of Antony Hegarty and his band's live album of the same name, itself a previously unreleased, erm, cut from the melancholy songwriter's catalog. It arrives on virtual and real shelves tomorrow.
In order to celebrate Blur's big birthday, Immaculate Noise is two sets of Blur's entire discography -- all seven catalog albums on 2-disc special edition remastered CDs, and all seven albums on special edition vinyl. Two different prize packs, y'all.
Each to the two different prizes include "Leisure" (1991), "Modern Life Is Rubbish" (1993), "Parklife" (1994), "The Great Escape" (1995), "Blur" (1997), "13" (1999) and "Think Tank" (2003), plus a Blur poster.
1. Follow me, Katie Hasty, @KatieAPrincess on Twitter
2. Follow HitFix @HitFix on Twitter
3. Tweet @KatieAPrincess, @HitFix and the hashtag #BlurCatalogGiveaway and specify if you want CD or vinyl or either format somewhere in the Tweet.
That's it. The Tweet doesn't have to be entertaining or funny or include your favorite Blur tune or something even more obscure than what is described above. But extra fun certainly can't hurt your chances (or your Twitter feed).
You must Tweet your entry by 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday, Aug. 8. Winners are selected at random.
Don't say HitFix never did anything for you. All we do is love you. And Damon Albarn.