<p>Cover art for &quot;Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!&quot;</p>

Cover art for "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!"

Credit: Constellation

Godspeed You! Black Emperor releasing first album in 10 years

And it's out in two weeks

Lift your skinny fists, Godspeed fans. The Montreal-based sonic boom of a band will be dropping their first album in more than 10 years, with only a two-week wait.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor last released "Yanqui U.X.O." in November 2002, and it was only one of four studio sets the rockers have dropped. Now, "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!" is due on Oct. 16 in the U.S., with the promise of the "dark" sound matter that made the band pop, whether live or through headphones.

"The future looks dark indeed, but on the evidence of this new recording, Godspeed appears wholly committed to staring it down, channeling it, and fighting for some rays of sound (and flickers of light) that feel hopeful and true," reads a statement in the release.

The songs were formed out of seeds from before their 2003 hiatus; they fleshed them out starting after they reformed in 2010 for select live shows. What exactly that sounds like may be their artful blend of drone, repetition, LOUDquietLOUD, pulsing intergalactic guitar coitus, but the release went more out of its way to explain why the band isn't investing in the whole three-month album promotional cycle.

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<p>Miguel's &quot;Kaleidoscope Dream&quot; </p>

Miguel's "Kaleidoscope Dream"

Credit: RCA

Album Review: Miguel's 'Kaleidoscope Dream'

HitFix
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Readers
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Colorful R&B album is a runaway success

While you’re losing it over that Frank Ocean album, another set this year can scratch that itch, and perhaps more efficiently.

Miguel’s “Kaleidescope Dream” is a relevant, saucy R&B adventure that incorporates rock, funk, electronica, soul and pop not out of novelty, but guardless necessity. The 25-year-old’s second album has more pronounced arrangements, and a unique combination of producers like Jerry Wonda, Pop & Oak and even Miguel Pimentel himself, on growing hit “Adorn.” Salaam Remi -- whose fingerprints sunk into retro grooves of similarly-minded old souls like Adele and Amy Winehouse -- helmed the lush title track and searing single-in-the-making “How Many Drinks?”.
 
As with that title, and “Pussy Is Mine” and “Do You…”, Miguel isn’t making capital-S Serious R&B music on every song, and even defaults to genre chestnuts like rhyming “pants” with “dance,” bless his heart. But then he’ll hit you with surprisingly delicious refrains like on sizzling “Arch & Point,” between the bars of 808s and distorted guitars: “Arch your back and point your toes.” “Where’s the Fun in Forever” freshens up the classic request to celebrate good times, with the bass going on a cardio workout while the drum lines are just chugging away at 70 mph on a flat, straight highway. Alicia Keys is along for the ride.
 
All the while is Miguel’s versatile vocals, recorded close to the mic and under control. Stars like Usher and Trey Songz make their erotic declarations in their loudest voice possible, like, “DROP YOUR PANTIES, NOW WE SEX,” but Miguel weaves his way around negative space and washy beats in his lust, like on Prince-ly “Use Me.” “Don’t Look Back” borrows lyric lines from the Zombies’ “Time of the Season” and “Kaleidoscope Dream” utilizes the beat from Eminem’s immensely popular “My Name Is,” and in neither case of borrowing is it obnoxious.
 
“Is there a God? / Is he watching? … But if not / what are we doing?” he sings on tasteful closer “Candles in the Sun,” signaling the end of an album that’s a little more heightened and a little less desperate than top 40 fashions. Every song feels special and tight, whether he’s singing on heaven or bedroom realms. And speaking of bedrooms, do not sleep on this album. You may want to sleep with it.

 

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<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

HitFix
B
Readers
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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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