<p>Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover</p>

Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover

Watch: Childish Gambino's 'Fire Fly' vid is a sci-fi adventure

Donald Glover: now with more lens flare

One could say that the now-canceled TV show "Firefly" was simply ahead of its time. Childish Gambino's track "Fire Fly" makes a similar argument for why it's taking the rapper so long to be appreciated among peers.

The music video for the song is a little combination of both. The narrative features an underdog that very much looks like Donald Glover, put on the trail to intergalactic travel. But a more traditional action plot unravels, there's conflict, and dude even gets to kiss The Girl. Queue the lens flare.

"I used to get called 'Oreo' and 'faggot' / I used to get more laughs when I got laughed at / Oh you got a mixtape? That's fantastic," he raps. "It's hard to make Hov the footsteps you followin' / Especially when your n*ggas look like Carlton... No live shows, cause I can't find sponsors / For the only black kid at a Sufjan concert... Now I'm firefly like a burning kite / And you'sa fake f*ck like a Fleshlight."

Perhaps a "Revenge of the Nerds" plotline would be more befitting, but space travel also fulfills that "Living well..." adage.

"Firefly" is off of Gambino's "Camp," out last year, and he has a new mixtape "Royalty" out now, too. The actor/rapper's show "Community" is making buzz at the TCAs today, especially after NBC said its seeking broader comedies than it. Read all about it on HitFix.

Read Full Post
<p>Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City

Credit: VEVO

Watch: Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen combine for a squeaky-clean 'Good Time'

Single will appear on both artists' forthoming albums

Sonically and thematically, Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time" occupies the space between Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." and Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)." And it's accompanying music video is as predictably squeaky clean as fans have come to expect from Owl City mastermind Adam Young.

It's all Slurpees, fishin' poles and daisy chains for Young's band of marauding Hollister models and from "Call Me Maybe" star Jepsen's flower children's children. I need a toothbrush and a rare steak after all that sugar.

Read Full Post
<p>2 Chainz</p>

2 Chainz

Listen: Kanye West and 2 Chainz want a big booty girl for their 'Birthday Song'

HitFix
D
Readers
A+
Gross, guys.

Fresh off the announcement that Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label compilation has a due date, and that 2 Chainz is still not an official associate of the label, Ye and the Atlanta rapper have dropped "Birthday Song."

No, it's not the "Birthday Song" you know and love: "All I want for my birthday is a big booty girl."

I'm not even going to pretend I can look past the literal twist on "pay for play" exchange of sex acts for one's birthday, even when Rihanna says it. That, combined with lazy, entitled opening verse from 2 Chainz, the gender classicism and the abhorrent repeated "You in first place," means this won't sit well for some.

But if you don't like it, don't bring your drama to the table, West warns you "actresses."

For the record, ladies, a sweater is a perfectly nice gift (hell, so is a "coupe"). If your man -- famous rapper or not -- tells you to "do better" and insinuates you grab a friend to bring her into the bed for some crew-love, you can certainly inform him nary a birthday will be happy again until that sainted day when he's buried next to "two bitches."

Read Full Post
<p>Bat For Lashes, &quot;The Haunted Man&quot;</p>

Bat For Lashes, "The Haunted Man"

Credit: Capitol/EMI

Song Of The Day: Bat For Lashes is back with theatrical single 'Laura'

Should it be called 'Florence' or 'Mandy' instead?

Mercury Prize-nominated songwriter Bat For Lashes is back, and out the gate, she's... solemn.

"Laura" -- the first track from forthcoming album "The Haunted Man" -- has a music video featuring a haunted man and an interpretive dance honoring the song's namesake. The nervous, slow waltz showcases BfL's ringing voice, which would sound just marvelous in a velvet red curtained room.

But I also can't shake what it reminds me of: "Ooo Laura, you're more than a superstar" is eerily reminiscent of Barry Manilow's "Mandy" (or if you prefer The Simpsons version, "Margie / You came and found me a turkey"). The video is gorgeously shot, so any unintended Laura-Mandy-Margie similarities are forgiven.

"The Haunted Man" has a fantastic, NSFW album cover shot by nudes specialist Ryan McGinley, and will be out Oct. 23 via EMI.

Read Full Post
<p>Snoop Lion's &quot;La La La&quot; cover</p>

Snoop Lion's "La La La" cover

Credit: Vice

Listen: Snoop Dogg combines with Major Lazer for reggae effort Snoop Lion

HitFix
B+
Readers
B+
'La La La' is la-la-lovely

There have been only a few instances lately where I felt inclined to turn up a Snoop Dogg tune. His new track, "La La La" under the Snoop Lion moniker, is one of them.

The West Coast rapper combined forces with "executive producers" Major Lazer and churned out this reggae-drenched weirdo. Diplo and Ariel Rechtshaid engineered the thing to sound like a legitimate island diamond, rather than a thin attempt to branch out into a traditionally un-Snoop genre.

But it doesn't take long to get from point A to point B, considering the weed-loving rhymer's affinity for reggae's greenest trope. It's what brought he and Willie Nelson together for a country ode "Roll Me Up" back this spring.

That cover art, though? Sad comedy.

Read Full Post
<p>Rita Ora</p>

Rita Ora

Credit: Roc Nation

Listen: Rita Ora, Roc Nation's new hope, drops rock-heavy 'Roc the Life'

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
'ORA' delivery imminent: do you hear a superstar?

Rita Ora's "How We Do (Party)" made HitFix's top 25 2012 Summer Jams list. Will her new tune "Roc the Life" make it into the fall?

The title is a nod to her label home, Jay-Z's Roc Nation, which obviously hopes to attract a pop crossover crowd combining the rock influence with R&B vocal appeal. I can't help but to compare the refrain to "Roc the Life" to Nicki Minaj's "Moment 4 Life," but then again, Roc Nation/Def Jam is always interested giving Cash Money a run for it's, well, money. What's unique about this flirtation with top 40 is the live drum and guitar sounds, which operate outside of the pure, drop-the-bass dance tyranny that seems to have a stranglehold on most other solo female pop musicians on radio right now.

In other words, Pink should have put this one out instead of her wounded-animal single "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)."

"Roc the Life" is the newest single from the 21-year-old singer's cleverly titled "Ora," due Aug. 27. Do you hear gold?

Read Full Post
<p>Kanye West performs &quot;New God Flow&quot; at the BET Awards in July</p>

Kanye West performs "New God Flow" at the BET Awards in July

Credit: AP Photo

Kanye and Co. confirm September arrival of G.O.O.D. Music's 'Cruel Summer'

2 Chainz clarifies label position; Kanye still on media moratorium

With "Mercy" and "New God Flow" permanently added to this summer's spinlist, Kanye West and the rest of his G.O.O.D. Music crew are ready to proceed with the larger album. "Cruel Summer" will be out officially on Sept. 4, featuring verses and music from West, John Legend, Common, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Big Sean, Q-Tip, Mr. Hudson, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi, D’Banj, Hit-Boy and 2 Chainz.

The latter artist -- who has been the featured rapper of the year, it seems -- is not officially signed to Ye's label, though he clarifies in an interview with Complex magazine that he and the esteemed Watch the Throne rhymer are still sussing out a deal.

"I’m not officially signed, paperwork-wise, to G.O.O.D. Music. But I have a great rapport with ’Ye. He called me before 'Watch the Throne' came out," the Atlanta-bred rapper said. "I’ve talked to ’Ye 1,000 times about trying to make this situation work for the both of us, so it won’t feel like anyone is getting used or anything... I came from a situation with [Disturbing tha Peace], being under [Ludacris], where I got a phobia. Sometimes when an artist signs another artist, they’re so worried about themselves. And with ’Ye, he helps everybody."

Yeezy is keeping his word on press blackout, considering his bumpy past with interviews, Twitter, public appearances, and basically everything else that doesn't involve him rapping. But a press release touted the successful run of his "Cruel Summer" video concept, a seven-screen experience that bowed at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It was conceptually built around the album, so if there is a live tour run of G.O.O.D. Music, perhaps fans will get a eyeful as well as an earful.

Read Full Post
Listen: Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre combine for less-than-regal '3 Kings'
Credit: Def Jam

Listen: Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre combine for less-than-regal '3 Kings'

Opportunistic wasted opportunity

A title like "3 Kings" with a combo Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre certainly sounds ambitious. But if this was to be a royal coalition, they should have called in some reinforcements -- or at least for a livelier beat.

Dr. Dre spends his spin on hocking his now-famous headphones instead of delivering of some intrepid new rhymes. Nobody expects "Detox" anymore. But for those rare verses he throws down the pipe, he should rest on laurels that consist more than weed, his headphone company and the Compton memories from a decade before.

Rick Ross takes his turn shilling -- lest we forget -- the Maybach Music name, the name that survives despite the fact that actual Maybach vehicles will be discontinued after 2013, making service a struggle. And speaking of servicing, Ross concedes he may not be a billionaire yet, but proposes, still "come and suck a d*ck for a millionaire," a come-hither as comical as when a similar sentiment was expressed in "The Big Lebowski."

It's kind of refreshing, then, when Jay-Z steps up to bat, not because he knocks his verse out, but he trips and laughs at himself in a real free style, even to check that the tape's still rolling after a boast about getting grills and shopping at TJ Maxx.

Read Full Post
<p>Pulp's Jarvis Cocker</p>

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker

Ahoy: Coachella sets sail with cruises featuring Pulp, Girl Talk, James Murphy

Goldenvoice expands music festival reach with two December trips

Coachella turned heads last year when its organizers announced there would be two identical music festival weekends in Indio, Calif. Now Goldenvoice has expanded Coachella's reach, with two Coachella-branded cruises, also with the same lineups.

Pulp, Hot Chip, Girl Talk, Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Simian Mobile Disco, Cloud Nothings, !!!, Warpaint, El-P, Killer Mike, Black Lips, Grimes, DJ Z-Trip, The Gaslamp Killer and more acts TBA are on the bill for late this year.

S.S. Coachella will be on the 2,800-cap Celebrity Silhouette, "a 1,000-foot, 122,000-ton ship," with the first trip leaving from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to the Bahamas Dec. 16 for three days. The second also leaves from Fort Lauderdale, and sailing to Jamaica for a four-day excursion on Dec. 19.  

“It even has a half-acre of grass,” Goldenvoice prez Paul Tollett told the New York Times. “It wouldn’t be Coachella without grass.”

Coachella can apparently be whatever it wants to be at this point, grass or not.

Read Full Post
<p>Ben Gibbard</p>

Ben Gibbard

Credit: AP Photo

Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard releasing debut solo album

'Former Lives' drops in October

It was process that nearly took a decade, but in October, Ben Gibbard's first solo effort will be "fully realized." According to a press release, the Death Cab for Cutie frontman's "Former Lives" will drop on Oct. 16 via indie Barsuk.

"The 12 tracks were written over the course of eight years," but the compositions apparently didn't hit their stride until Gibbard moved from Seattle to Los Angeles, which he did about halfway through 2008.

The release didn't describe precisely what inspiration the move made on the recordings, which were crafted at Earlimart's Aaron Espinoza's studio. However, Gibbard may have a lot of history to rehash on this set.

First, it's curious that the set will drop via Barsuk, the earliest home for DCFC's output. The rock band has been on Atlantic since 2004, and the major saw an increasing success with each release, particularly from Death Cab's last two albums "Narrow Stairs" (2008) and last year's "Codes and Keys." Gibbard's collaboration with DNTEL in The Postal Service was also a surprising hit, and that album "Give Up" was through Sub Pop.

Gibbard also had a very public romance and subsequent divorce from actress/singer Zooey Deschanel, who one could argue was the muse behind "Codes and Keys," their sunniest set yet.

The songwriter also teamed with Son Volt's Jay Farrar for the soundtrack to "One Fast Move or I'm Gone," a documentary that told the story of Jack Kerouac's "Big Sur." The 2009 project was a personal one for Gibbard, who penned the tracks with the energy he culled from the novel.

What this makes me think is that we can expect a low-key and personal affair out of "Former Lives," a title that has a major whiff of nostalgia and some melancholy. Do you hope this is Gibbard's break-up album? Does it signal a departure from the DCFC band format?

Gibbard will be touring behind the effort for a limited number of dates, TBA.

Read Full Post