<p>Christina Aguilera in &quot;Your Body&quot;</p>

Christina Aguilera in "Your Body"

Credit: RCA

Watch: Christina Aguilera's trashy 'Your Body' vid will blow... your mind

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Snooki meets 'I Love Lucy' vibe

If Christina Aguilera's freaky sex were a criminal, it'd be a serial killer. That's the point of "Your Body," which is equal parts "I Love Lucy" slapstick, Snooki and Beyonce's trailer park pin-up "Party" vid.

The colorful clip is automatically filed under "farce" with its initial warning, that no men were harmed in the making of this video. It's funny, 'cause men are sort of like animals, right? Anyway, it's nasty from the top, with Aguilera writhing in her campiest Strawberry fashions in the promise of a "killer week," trolling the bars with her lip gloss-dripping mug and gel tips, preying on stubble-sexy bro-dudes for playtime in cars, mens' bathrooms and cheap motels. And then she murders them, with an explosion of pink smoke and glitter or gratuitous splashes of blue semen-paint, strategically dripping from her mouth.

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<p>Aimee Mann</p>

Aimee Mann

Credit: Sheryl Nields

HitFix Interview: Aimee Mann on new album, Patton Oswalt and bummer songs

Will that boxing musical ever get made?

Even after nine albums, Aimee Mann seems to always find a way to keep things fresh. She’s roared through concept albums, Christmas songs and soundtrack work; her last two albums “@#%&*! Smilers” and last week’s drop of “Charmer” have been decidedly pop-driven efforts, this new one with even more sonic layers and even a James Mercer duet.

But that’s not the end of Mann’s penchant for collaboration on "Charmer. She had Laura Linney star in the music video for the title track. Jon Hamm, Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster and others showed up for the clip to “Labrador,” directed by Tom Scharpling and is a shot-for-shot remake of Mann’s former band Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry.”
 
The latter is especially representative of Mann’s all-in sensibility, whether it’s putting herself out there as a nihilist in “The Big Lebowski,” as a boxer and sport enthusiast, as a one-time-only standup comedian (“It was terrifying.”), or as an actress in Kickstarter-funded film “Pleased to Meet Me.” Musically, she’s put both feet in ‘70s- and ’80s-inspired power pop for the set.
 
Below, we talk about “Charmer” and her various relationships to film, comedy and songs about suicide.
 
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<p>Band of Horses</p>

Band of Horses

Credit: Columbia

HitFix interview: Band of Horses talks 'Mirage Rock,' Railroad Revival and Pearl Jam

Bill Reynolds can't hang like Willie Nelson hangs

Band of Horses will contend that the move from an indie to the major label system definitely works in some artists’ favor. It did for them. Since moving on from esteemed Sub Pop to a partnered drop with Fat Possum and Columbia, now squarely on Columbia, the rock troupe has seen a lot more sales action even without a big radio presence. Just this week, they earned their second-best charting and sales tally for new “Mirage Rock,” landing at No. 13 yesterday. 

Bassist Bill Reynolds, who’s been with the band for five years, admits that the move wasn’t popular with everybody, and he’d heard the horror stories.
 
“It could have easily become a sh*tty situation. But creatively we were allowed to do what we wanted,” he said in our recent interview. “We have longer arms, to get our releases into other countries… The assumption with major labels is that they’re gonna try and knock a homerun at every opportunity, which means everyone assumes you’re working too hard.”
 
The secret, he said, is working with the right team, so think in terms of being in a rock ‘n’ roll band as a company “a lot of employers and employees. I got friends who are like, ‘Can you come play at my cousin’s event?’ But we have all these employees who depend on this for their living. Even though I’m the one who gets to be on stage, there’s so many people involved.”
 
Over the years of headlining tours and supporting slots, Reynolds said he learned the most from playing out with Pearl Jam, for precisely those reasons above. Referring to the Seattle band’s operations as “a well-oiled machine,” he said from day one, “each one of them would take us under their wings. And they were just so humble, it’s amazing to see musicians of their caliber to be humble. We’ve been on tours where there’s [the band] yelling and screaming at everyone. I thought, with [Pearl Jam], this is how you maintain that long. They’ve had a really long career. That would the dream.”
 
Band of Horses, fronted by Ben Bridwell, is combining with another crew of unique musicians, on the second incarnation of the Railroad Revival train tour. Last year, it was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show travelling on the tracks together. This year, it’s BoH with Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson and actor/musician John C. Reilly and Friends.
 
“Hell yeah, I’d love it if Willie Nelson was to rub off on me, it’d be awesome,just being in the presence of someone like him. I also hear Jamey Johnson likes to jam a lot. That dude’s a badass ,” Reynolds enthused. “The train… one of the cars is a recording studio. So we can all meet up in there when we want. As for Willie, I’ve been to his house before. He hangs out a lot later than I do. I can’t hang like that dude does. He operates on his own time.”
 
On the heels of last week’s release of “Mirage Rock,” Band of Horses just released their six-song “iTunes Festival” live EP yesterday. Check it out here.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/itunes-festival-london-2012/id564894821

 

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<p>From Grizzly Bear's &quot;Yet Again&quot;</p>

From Grizzly Bear's "Yet Again"

Watch: Grizzly Bear's 'Yet Again' is the crisis of a figure skater

Creator's Project sends us through the ice

I'd never be that age again.

Grizzly Bear have debuted their new music video for "Yet Again," one of my favorites from their new album "Shields." In it, a teenaged girl who is a struggling figure skater is put through perilous trials of loneliness, drowning, fear and exhaustion, only to get up in the morning and try to put the skates back on again. It ends with an unexpected blast of emotion, amidst flying sports medals, pages from a tabloid mag and other girlish high school debris.

The New York-based troupe walks that line of noise and easy-listening when it comes to their brand of rock; as I said in my review of "Yet Again," it's the best example of how they flex their pop muscles when they've got a few guitars in the background just dying to make a cacophony. The clip's dark visuals now reflect that aesthetic, of something cold and challenging bubbling just below the four-part harmonies.

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<p>Kylie Minogue's &quot;Flower&quot; cover</p>

Kylie Minogue's "Flower" cover

Kylie Minogue: In awesome 'Holy Motors' and awful 'Flower'

How will the singer and actress' 'Abbey Road Sessions' turn out?

I'm still processing the film "Holy Motors," which rolled into Fantastic Fest this week. What's taking me next to no time in dismissing is the music video for the song "Flower." What they both have in common is Kylie Minogue.

"Holy Motors" is a dream-like cinematic history lesson and funeral, through the lens of director Leos Carax who unveils his own personality through actor Denis Lavant. Lavant is led through a series of "appointments," movie scenes in which he must act: he plays a killer, a father, a monster, an executive, a woman, a man who's dying... among these, he's also lead love interest, during a break from his appointments with a lost lover, Ms. Minogue. She, of course, is also playing yet another character, one who breaks into song like in a movie musical.

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<p>Ke$ha's &quot;Die Young&quot; cover</p>

Ke$ha's "Die Young" cover

Credit: RCA

Watch: Ke$ha unleashes lyric video for new single 'Die Young'

Dancing 'til you die?

For her new single "Die Young," Ke$ha taps back into the speak-singing power that launched her first big hit "Tik Tok," but some of the hungover trash-talking specificity of that old track is missing here.

The singer and songwriter now has both feet into the dance-pop tropes, as she hits the dance floor, ode-ing your heartbeat; however, I do applaud the superiority of verse 2, particularly the rhyming scheme "Young hunks, taking shots / Stripping down to dirty socks." 'Cause you know that ish actually happened at some point in Ke$ha's time on this earth -- if not every day -- and Lord knows the term "hunk" is vastly underused into today's common vernacular.

The late-night cable access vibe of the lyric video released today doesn't do much about "That magic in your pants," but there's some ghostly shots of der Ke$ha riding the subway with her raccoon eyes and penchant for trouble, with a hint of Tokyo futurism. The violent colors indicate another endeavor into the '80s neon fever-dream that dominated her stylistically aggressive "Cannibal."

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<p>Joe Swanberg at the Fantastic Fest debates</p>

Joe Swanberg at the Fantastic Fest debates

Credit: Katie Hasty

Fantastic Fest Debates: Behind the scenes of film fest blood sport

Watch a fight: Are Tim League's Drafthouse bouts courting personal beefs?

“Looks like somebody wasn’t in on the joke.”

These are words a colleague said after the Fantastic Fest Debates this weekend, about an hour after critic Devin Faraci’s clock was cleaned by filmmaker Joe Swanberg.
 
The Debates event followed the same format this year as it has for the four previous: a verbal debate, followed by a physical fight in a boxing ring. There's an announcer and entrance music. The Badass Digest mainstay and the mumblecore director exchanged some academic barbs and name-calling on the very subject of mumblecore, and then they fit boxing gloves on their hands, put in mouth guards and tried to beat the piss out of each other.
 
I can see why the Debates may be taken as a joke on their face. For one, the night’s six combatants’ outfits largely looked like they were homemade with Sharpies, bought at a thrift store or purchased from a Halloween pop-up shop. “Rocky” and "Karate kid" jokes abounded, as did cinematic self-referentials fueled by the granular genre knowledge of a few hundred Fantastic Fans. WWE sumptuousness pairs with the non-athleticism of such a nerd gathering in a multitude of naturally hilarious ways.
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Fantastic Fest photos: 'Miami Connection's Dragon Sound reunion, karaoke, costumes

Fantastic Fest photos: 'Miami Connection's Dragon Sound reunion, karaoke, costumes

The sound of a band with only two songs

AUSTIN -- Not very many people have seen "Miami Connection," but it basically represents why people come to Fantastic Fest every year. The B-movie -- picked up by Drafthouse films for a 25th anniversary re-release -- is a clunky, hilarious and surprisingly moving film by the end. In it is an inexplicably successful band Dragon Sound, led by the film's writer, director and lead actor Y.K. Kim. This band plays only two songs, and they both are melodically alike, and one is called "Against the Ninja." This gives you some idea what you're up, er, against: the looks, feels and sounds of 1987, through the film filter of a man and his martial arts.

"Miami Connection" didn't exactly blossom in its own time, but was heralded by audiences here at the 2012 festival, an appreciation completed by Dragon Sound's electric drum-laden reunion, complete with a fist-pumping "TAE KWON DO!" chant and a little help from the Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest staff. And, yes, those t-shirts are on sale.

Other weekend highlights included a Monsters' Ball costume contest, seeded in Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie!" premiere earlier in the evening on Thursday.

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<p>How to Destroy Angels</p>

How to Destroy Angels

Trent Reznor's How To Destroy Angels releasing new EP

Collaboration with wife has a label home at Columbia

Happy holidays! How about some honey-voiced industrial music?

Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels -- his group with wife and vocalist Mariqueen Maandig, longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and art director Rob Sheridan -- is preparing another EP release, titled "An Omen." It will be the first drop through their new label home on Columbia.

Wait, Columbia?

Trent Reznor's name has been among the closest-associated with "new indie" or "digital economy" or the good old-fashioned "DIY." Since his snipey break with Interscope during his Nine Inch Nails days, Reznor's been a vocal proponent of operating outside of the traditional major label system. He's sold his recordings -- including his Academy Award-winning compositions for "The Social Network" -- through his own social networks and partnerships and got to keep the royalties in-house (his own house).

Nipping it in the bud, he offered this short response via Facebook:

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<p>Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in &quot;The Perks of Being a Wallflower&quot;</p>

Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ soundtrack: Good taste as love letter

Stephen Chbosky's own screen adaptation moves beyond teen romance

 

Youth commands that all must endure a Smiths phase. If it was not you yourself who, at one point, attended the church of Morrissey, then at least a family member or someone close to you did. Stephen Chbosky, author of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” recognizes this post-1982 rite and fully integrated in to his own screen adaptation, with the story’s principals fledgling through high school and exchanging mixtapes in the meanwhile.
 
Starring Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson as an island on the island of “misfit toys” in the early ‘90s, “Wallflower” is an achingly real peer back into the awkward and frequently painful growth of those years.  Lerman’s mentally troubled lead Charlie’s most poignant moments revolved around the passage of holidays (every school kid looks forward to the breaks), and by his major musical moments. His first standout is “Asleep,” by the Smiths. It’s fitting, as the viewer gets to know Charlie. It’s also a bummer.
 
Other standouts are Charlie’s first feeling of “infinite,” during David Bowie’s “Heroes.” He hits the dance floor for the first time when the two-person clique of Watson’s Sam and her misanthropic stepbrother Patrick (Miller) peel themselves from the wall: “Finally, they’re playing good music,” Patrick says over the start of “Come on Eileen.” Charlie makes his first cassette for Sam, which includes Nick Drake. It’s first spin at a party is then rejected by Sam’s lame love interest Craig (“I don’t write poetry… poetry writes me”) in favor of hit “Bust a Move” by Young MC, which appropriately sports the line “A chick walks by you wish you could sex her / But you're standing on the wall like you was Poindexter.”
 
Behind the songlist of “Perks” is Alexandra Patsavas, who – aside from tracking all your favorite DVR’ed dramas – is no stranger to soundtracking teenaged drama: that is, the “Twilight Saga.” All of it. The screen material aside, she’s succeeded in commissioning new tracks from bands that have since busted wide open.
 
Here, on “Perks,” Patsavas revisits an era with which she’s deeply familiar, and spins it as a teen would see it. There’s the tensions between The Ultimate Slow Dance (Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”) and the jagged grunge of all-female L7’s “Pretend That We’re Dead.” Sam has a personal epiphany describing the moment she heard a Cocteau Twins song while Charlie slips into a 900 ft. Jesus track as he’s stoned off his gourd.
 
Essential to plot, too, is the prominence of “Rocky Horror Picture Show LIVE,” the a little circus of loving, tight-knit freaks that grew loud and strong in the post-Reagan years. Charlie’s debut in the show itself was reminiscent of the “Under Pressure” scene from “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” another movie with a spin on teen mental illness.
 
What struck me most about the music from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is that it presents good taste as a love letter. In those tough teenaged years of self-discovery, the formation of refined and personal tastes is almost essential to survival. Just as John Cusack’s Rob in “High Fidelity” exposed girls he liked to his Top 5s, so does each distinct  misfit toy in “Wallflower.” Mae Whitman’s character Mary Elizabeth wants to highten Charlie’s knowledge base with “Billie Holiday and foreign films.” Charlie’s teacher (Paul Rudd) is his fount of indispensible literature. Despite its perceived un-coolness, Charlie rocks a fitted suit to class. And to express love to one another, Charlie and Sam exchange mixtapes, in the hope of turning each other onto something new or simply to endear.
 
It’s smart that during one of Charlie’s mental “breaks,” there’s only silence. For theater-goers, it will be just as jolting, as we spend our days filling up with Top 5s, instant queues, Smiths songs and other love letters.

 

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