<p>Nicki MInaj's crazy eyes in &quot;Va Va Voom&quot;</p>

Nicki MInaj's crazy eyes in "Va Va Voom"

Watch: Nicki MInaj's 'Va Va Voom' video is a fairytale with no sound magic

HitFix
C+
Readers
A+
Next single from 'Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up' takes from the sugar bowl

As evident on the original release of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," Nicki Minaj can't help but to oscillate between trash-talking raps and pure, saccharine pop music for her singles, her sides and, apparently, her personalities. For the upcoming "Re-Up" of "Roman," the bonus tracks have been taking turns batting, starting with heady and bratty "The Boys" featuring Cassie, and now with this new cavity "Va Va Voom."

Of course, Minaj can't help but to play the villain sometime in this fairytale-driven narrative, but for the most part is the Queens-bred artist mugging in a variety of false lashes, with her penchant bright colors swimming all around her. I literally laughed out loud when when a dastardly Robin Hood darkens her doorway as she bakes sweets in a cottage (not making this up) and as she idles alongside a unicorn in a creek (still not making this up).

Read Full Post
<p>M83 at Austin City Limits</p>

M83 at Austin City Limits

Credit: Katie Hasty

Watch: Hope set for liftoff in M83's 'Steve McQueen' video

Contest-winning clip is full of wonder

M83's video for "Steve McQueen" deals with a lot of the same themes the lyrics to the song do: there's something hopeful and mysterious springing forth from us, at times, when the secret unlocking of our greatest desires feel, for once, within reach.

The clip thusly features a kid, a wrangler of magic around some unknown plot involving his toy animals and an unorthodox use of the garden sprinkler. It's colorful and unknowable, with animations from Spike Jonze collabo Sylvain Derosne, under the direction of Derosne and Balthazar Auxietre.

It came about as part of a video contest (in partnership with Genero.tv), with the directors describing their depiction of the “power of childhood, an eagerness for life, and the kind of paradoxical energy you have when you grow up.”

I'm confused by it, but I like it.

"Steve McQueen" is the next single from M83's "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" from last year. It will be out with multiple remixes starting on Nov. 27. M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez is also releasing a 12" for Record Store Day's Black Friday edition, with four remixes of that track, on Nov. 23.

<p>.fun in &quot;Carry On&quot;</p>

.fun in "Carry On"

Credit: Fueled By Ramen

Watch: fun.'s drinky 'Carry On' video arrives as band announces tour dates

Further proof that fun. love musicals

The band fun.'s "Carry On" always sounded like a drinking, transitional song from a musical. In their music video for the track, the band took the cue.

The three-piece pop-rockers take to the New York city twilight and to its pubs for shots and grinning shenanigans for the track, which is the third single from "Some Nights" (after solar eclipse "We Are Young" and the title track). The musical vibe is only helped by Nate Ruess' incessant suspender urges and everybody's textbook definition of "boyish charm." Where's the conflict for the second act?

The clip arrives in time for fun.'s tour dates announcement. The headlining stint starts Jan. 23 and runs through Feb. 16 and is a continuation of the group's fall/winter trek, many dates to which are already sold out. Tickets for the new shows -- excluding big 'uns like Radio City Music Hall -- go on sale on Oct. 26.

Read Full Post
<p>Local Natives</p>

Local Natives

Credit: Bryan Sheffield

Listen: Local Natives' 'Breakers' precedes new full-length album

Indie rockers produce part of 'Hummingbird' with The National's Aaron Dessner

Local Natives will soon be at a locality near you. The band has completed a new effort, titled "Hummingbird," out on Jan. 29, and have dropped new song "Breakers" in celebration. It's a little like Fleet Foxes raiding all of Dirty Projectors guitar processors, which is not at all a bad thing.

"Hummingbird" was recorded in Los Angeles, Montreal and Brooklyn. In the case of the latter, the quartet hit up The National's Aaron Dessner to produce, out of his Ditmas Park, Brooklyn studio. And of the former, the band actually outfitted their own new recording space in Silverlake.

Read Full Post
<p>RZA&nbsp;in &quot;The Man With the Iron Fists&quot;</p>

RZA in "The Man With the Iron Fists"

Interview: RZA talks Wu-Tang reunion, 'lonely' road for 'Man With the Iron Fists'

Soundtrack firsts and Kanye West's contribution

Only a few days away from the soundtrack release to his film “The Man With the Iron Fists,” RZA admits that -- for the most part -- he got what he wanted, even if the film itself took about seven years to come to fruition.

The tracklisting to "Iron Fists" includes contributions from Kanye West, the Black Keys and RZA’s original family, the Wu-Tang Clan with standouts from Ghostface Killah and Method Man. And like just like in his film, RZA’s all over it.
 
When it came to picking and choosing artists for the soundtrack, “I got who I wanted on there,” he told me in a recent interview. RZA said West made himself available early on, and he asked the Black Keys to conjure something they originally cooked up together during the making of collaborations experiment “Blakroc.” Corinne Bailey Rae is “one of my favorite singers and she got a chance to see [the film] at 70% done. She and her sister said they loved it as women, and when she let me know that women would love it as well, I thought ‘This is great.’”
Read Full Post
<p>Quinton Aaron and Julia Stone in &quot;Justine&quot;</p>

Quinton Aaron and Julia Stone in "Justine"

Credit: Nettwerk

Exclusive: Watch 'The Blind Side's' Quinton Aaron fall in love in Julia Stone's 'Justine'

Film footballer is a total softie in unconventional love scene

"I wanted give the viewer an opportunity to experience something different to the normal images of lovers in video clips."

That's music video director Jessie Hill on her clip for Julia Stone's "Justine." In it, two, lovers flounce around the beaches of California, eating snacks, snipping drinks and kissing on the boardwalk. What makes the view into this love story somewhat unconventional is the contrast between the singer-songwriter and her beloved -- played by "The Blind Side" lead Quinton Aaron.

”I set out to make a video that depicted a heartfelt romance in a distant time...a love story in its purist state," Hill said in a statement to HitFix. "My casting agent suggested Quinton and I immediately contacted him to have a coffee. The contrast of Julia being so tiny and Quinton being a larger character was something I wanted to explore visually."

Read Full Post
<p>From &quot;Ich R U&quot;</p>

From "Ich R U"

Song Of The Day: Boys Noize's 'Ich R U' music video is robot vs. nature

Clip is the first from 'Out of the Black'

We are becoming our computers. Our information becomes us. And nature will destroy us in retort.

That's what I'll take away from the partially animated music video to Boys Noize's "Ich R U," which I've now watched no fewer than 13 times. It's culled from the electronica act's third album "Out of the Black," which was released on Tuesday (Oct. 16).

The track is the more "put-together" of theirs, but that doesn't mean its not reflective of the whole set. It bangs and bruises with the rest.

Read Full Post
<p>Nicki Minaj and Cassie are like ooooo</p>

Nicki Minaj and Cassie are like ooooo

Watch: Nicki Minaj and Cassie bring loud sounds and colors to 'The Boys' video

The single hits back at hip-hop dudes: what does the clip bring to the table?

Nicki Minaj has never looked better in a video than she does in "The Boys." Cassie, who is stunning, bares most of her, ehm, assets for the clip. The girls strut besides and inside of cars, immobile for the sake of the traditional girls-with-cars trope in hip-hop videos.

The "The Boys" of hip-hop, much of Minaj's new video will ring familiar, albeit in furious colors of magenta, aggressive greens, volcanic reds and the rapper's favorite color pink -- conveniently coordinated with their bikinis. Barbie and her hook-singing guest literally stop traffic with their look, and where else would they be headed but the salon? The leading ladies also flirt with each other throughout, Minaj even simulating going down on her comely friend.

On its face (pun intended), "The Boys" pretty much follows all the rules for a proper male gaze. Except for the part where Minaj sets a barber shop on fire, killing its inhabitants.

If you don't listen closely to the lyrics (which is somewhat impossible to do, considering the crystal-clearness of that refrain), this track takes solid aim at the boys of hip-hop, how they expect their "love" to be hand-delivered as a commodity: "They want to touch it, taste it, see it, pet it, bone it, own it." Here, Cassie and Minaj even put a bow on it.

Minaj's "revenge" to that notion is carried out in her sentencing, letting loose of her flame-thrower. She and its creators also try to mix up the genders, by putting Cassie in a suit without a shirt on underneath, for instance, or Nicki rocking denim in a princess-styled two-piece. Minaj's attack on the barber shop actually seems methodical, pre-planned, less as an actual violent act and more of a warning, that if this is how "the boys" carry on, they're gonna get burned. 

Unfortunately, though, the glossiness of this package will override any social commentary it actually brings to the table. As is evident already through Minaj's Twitter response and retweets, fans are arriving on the other side, naturally, responding "OMG bikini " and the ilk. It's disappointing, after how punk, rude and awesome the single was when it first dropped. Minaj is giving it to "the boys"... by giving them what they want, with only a whiff of danger.

But, hey, at least it's still better than "Starships."

"The Boys" is the new single off of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, The Re-Up," a confusingly titled repackaging of confoundingly titled "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," due on Nov. 19.

<p>The Weeknd's friend</p>

The Weeknd's friend

Watch: The Weeknd brings his pain in 'Wicked Games' video

Off of the R&B singer's 'Trilogy,' a collection of mixtapes

Good tune, so-so lyrics.

The Weeknd is preparing the commercial release of "Trilogy," a collection of his three (you guessed right!) mixtapes all in one spot, with added tunes. "Wicked Games" is the next video to premiere from the set, and the Weeknd's Abel Tesfaye couldn't be more excited. See, it's funny, 'cause he couldn't look more bored in the black-and-white clip, as he gets a lapdance from a shadow, and a peep show from a model.

"You bring your body, baby, I can bring you fame," he sings, skipping the whole "charm" schtick. "Let me motherf*ckin' love you."

Read Full Post
<p>Godspeed You Black Emperor's &quot;Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!&quot;</p>

Godspeed You Black Emperor's "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!"

Credit: Constellation

Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor's 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!'

HitFix
A-
Readers
C+
Listen to the album -- the post-rock band's first in 10 years -- in its entirety

Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s new album “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!”  -- for fans in waiting for 10 years – succeeds not in its tightness, but where the bolts are loose and their joints feel flung everywhere. Given the space of five minutes or 20, they fill up the moments with large and small matter, for the listener to apply their own context and analysis as the band grinds, heavy-lidded, through the noise-making they love.

For an instrumental group whose lineup is not complete without a film projectionist, they leave their story-telling generously open to interpretation. The new mystery machine begins with an urgent sound sample, of a man’s voice describing a someone “with his arms outstretched,” over and over again as the emergency gets clouded by guitars. First, it sounds of gulls, then washes of bleating, repeating scales, quarter tone gray matter, and then parting of the clouds into a drum march straight from the Occupy movement (car horns and all). And that’s just the first song.
 
And to looking too deeply for ultimate political or timely thesis is almost contrary to the clamor. The group’s drones of “Their Helicopters Sing” sounds like a Celtic orchestra warming up, the entropy of molecules seeking order, bellowing voices made mechanical, or simply a resting heart-rate exercise to get the to their next 20-minute workout. There isn’t the benefit (or distraction of lyrics), but the element of storytelling is still there in the dozens of electric instruments and their operating conductors. Why would they keep a glockenspiel in the studio anyway, if not to tell the whole story? Or the literal breath exhaling at end of exhaustively titled “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable?” The Recording Gods even bless the room noise blaring toward the end of 20-minute highlight “We Drift Like Worried Fire,” perhaps only for the reason that it just sounds good there, allelujah.
 
It’s good to know there’s intentionality underneath all of that abstraction and chaos. That way, the infinite becomes immediate, even if you don’t know what the hell it all means.
 
Listen to the whole album below.