<p>Cat Power's &quot;Sun&quot;</p>

Cat Power's "Sun"

Credit: Matador

Review: Cat Power's 'Sun'

HitFix
B
Readers
A+
Transition from basement records to patio pop complete

Gone are the days of Cat Power's personal anxieties and “small” records. Chan Marshall has moved on from those with exuberant “The Greatest” as the nail in that particular coffin, and now with “Sun,” she waxes on larger-scale woes over skittering beats, weighty electronic arrangements that make it obvious this album is beloved in its songwriter’s eyes.

Opener “Cherokee” is the biggest and best indicator of this inside-out reflection, banging out whopper lyrics like “[I] never knew pain like this, when everything dies” but then maturing into musings on the American education system through a veil of pop-trip-hop (remember trip-hop?). Standout “Manhattan” tip-toes on the same three notes as Marshall remembers her earliest troubadour days, when she played decimated cafes, lived in sh*tboxes and the New York political atmosphere was not yet pock-marked by neo-patriotism, but by classicism and the struggle for “authenticity.”

And that’s been one of Marshall’s strength, all along, is that originality and realism, to have her foggy voice transition between bedroom bastard music to boppy, aggressive patio pop. Even on tracks like boozy “3, 6, 9” – which irritatingly repeats the same refrain 10+ times to little philosophical effect – Marshall’s narrative is still captivating enough to bear with.

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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Listen: Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen on preview of 'Beautiful' single

Also: Biebs' manager Scooter Braun signs the 'Gangnam Style' guy

The prince of every pre-teen girls' dreams combines with the pop princess of summer jams: Justin Bieber's Schoolboy Records signee Carly Rae Jepsen will have her label boss on "Beautiful," a new Jason Mraz-style jam from her next solo effort "Kiss."

A minute-and-a-half snippet of "Beautiful has been "leaked" to varying degrees ahead of "Kiss'" Sept. 18 drop date, and it features shared vocals from the pop stars.

Biebs, in the track, extols the virtues of friendship and modesty: that his beauty is beautiful because "you don't know how beautiful you are."

Considering the girth of El Bieberino's fame, don't pass this buy as a top 40 radio single contender. The full-length song will likely drop in the coming days.

The title was laid bare as Jepsen Tweeted the "track list" for her album, which resembles the word-art doodlings of a freshman in Algebra II class. Jepsen is 26 years old.

Anyway, Bieber's own "Believe" is still in in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, and Jepsen's hit "Call Me Maybe" is still in the top 5 of the Hot 100. Both are in heavy rotation and out to help the climb.

Speaking of climb, as the video to "Gangnam Style" by South Korean artist Psy leaps past the 100 million view mark on YouTube, Bieber's manager Scooter Braun has decided nothing good and pure and perfect can last and has actually signed the rapper/vocalist for an American deal. I insinuate "ruin" because it's less fun when a crazy conflagration like that LMFAO-loving song and viral video have the Bieber name attached to it. If Schoolboy, Interscope and their ilk try to recreate the organic, crowd-built success of YouTube hits like "Gangnam," it's going carry a phony air. That horse trot is jumping the shark.

Anyway, here it is for 102 millionth time, for those who haven't checked it. My favorite part is when he's screaming over the yoga girl's ass.

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<p>David Byrne and St. Vincent in &quot;Who&quot;</p>

David Byrne and St. Vincent in "Who"

Watch: David Byrne and St. Vincent bust a move in mysterious 'Who'

Martin de Thurah strikes again

Martin de Thurah's work with Feist already had me boo-hooing (and singing praises), and now he has me scratching my head.

The Danish director tackled St. Vincent and David Byrne's first collaborative single "Who," which has the legendary Talking Heads frontman showing his latest compadre how to bust a move in the streets.

After he hits her with his car.

Or was she already in the road?

The "fault" lies with the listener, who toils with the song's question "Who is this man?" as Byrne shimmies in his jacket and Annie Clark makes for a beautiful victim/victimizer.

"Who" is off of Byrne and St. Vincent's collaborative full-length album "Love This Giant," which promises many of the little angles and big instrumentation as this song. It's out on Sept. 11.

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Black Keys get intimate in 'Little Black Submarines' video

Black Keys get intimate in 'Little Black Submarines' video

HitFix
A-
Readers
A
Concert clip was filmed at Nashville's Springwater Supper Club

The Black Keys are popular enough to headline arenas now, but core members Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney know that their crunchy blues rock is best appreciated in a too-hot, too-crowded dive bar. 

The duo's latest video, for the single "Little Black Submarines," attempts to capture that sort of live rawness.

Nashville's tiny Springwater Supper Club is the setting for the blistering song, with a few dozen onlookers witnessing the performance by one of the best live acts in the current rock landscape.

Watch the video here:



Originally slated to be a video combining live footage with a narrative, the Keys instead opted for a simple, straightforward performance video. For the live portion, a small number of local fans were allowed into the tiny bar, and the scheduled performance of one song eventually grew into an impromptu complete set.

"We all just sort of kind of mutually agreed that it should probably just be the performance and not any of the other extra stuff," Auerbach told told Rolling Stone. “Luckily we had live footage so we turned it into a live video. We just sort of said 'You know, it was fun kind of performing here at a small club with the fans. Why don't we just have it be that?'"

It also gives some screen time to the Black Keys' expanded live lineup. 

What do you think of the video? Grade it at the top of the story.
 

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<p>No Doubt's Gwen Stefani at the Teen Choice Awards</p>
<br />

No Doubt's Gwen Stefani at the Teen Choice Awards


Credit: AP Photo

Listen: No Doubt's title track from 'Push and Shove' a little stronger

How does it compare to 'Settle Down?'

I'll admit it. I couldn't listen to the entirety of "Settle Down," No Doubt's first new single from their comeback album "Push and Shove." I endured it pieces, sort of like I would one of those "Underworld" movies: bits at a time, then relax and check out something that doesn't feel like an assault on the senses.

The title track from No Doubt's album arrived today via Ryan Seacrest's show, and hits much closer to the hit mark. Despite a Jamaican rap that seemed forced into the mix, it's got the patented Gwen Stefani whine-sing that excited fans in the first place. The chorus is gummy and it's well-produced on the whole with Diplo behind the decks. Feeling the cool Shakira-bop beat to carry it.

On the other hand, No Doubt member Tony Kanal called "Push and Shove" their "Bohemian Rhapsody." That statement makes no sense and should be stricken from history.

"Push and Shove" the album is due on Sept. 25.

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<p>Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine</p>

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine

Listen: Calvin Harris and Florence Welch combine again for 'Sweet Nothing'

Singer puts on her dance pants

Calvin Harris has a bevy of guest vocalists lined up for his next full-length effort and singles, and Florence Welch is among them.

The Florence + The Machine singer has teamed back up with the dance producer for a new banger, "Sweet Nothing." The track premiered today on BBC's Radio 1 -- hence the radio rip. "I'm living on such sweet nothing," she explains in a big, descending, '90s style refrain, repeated as the fours hit the floor.

Welch's huge voice has met its beat match, and though she doesn't have that traditional diva vibe when it comes to the groove, it is extremely catchy. Love, meet desparation.

Harris and Welch previously worked together on a remix of "Spectrum," which certain

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<p>&quot;The Man With The Iron Fists&quot;</p>

"The Man With The Iron Fists"

RZA's 'Man with the Iron Fists' boasts new tracks from Kanye West, Black Keys, Wu-Tang

Rapper's directorial debut has an all-star tracklist plus Russell Crowe

Anybody who knows the Wu-Tang Clan knows the connections with kung fu and martial arts films. RZA has taken his love of the artform to the next level and is directing and starring in his fighting movie, "The Man With The Iron Fists," co-written by Eli Roth, as a Quentin Tarantino presentation.

And with a guy who has that has so many music world connections, one would expect a spectacular backing soundtrack. And it looks like RZA's delivering. Not only is collaborating with the Black Keys on a new track "The Baddest Man Alive," but he's looped in fresh tracks from other artists like Kanye West, Wu-Tang and Wu-Tang cohorts like Ghostface Killah, rap steady Talib Kweli, soul troupe the Revelations with Tre Williams and more.

West has been busy with his own label's September release, G.O.O.D. Music's "Cruel Summer," but had time to pump out something called "White Dress." Another G.O.O.D.-y Pusha T combines with Raekwon to cook "Tick Tock, and Method Man, Freddie Gibbs & StreetLife released their funky contribution "Built For This" over the weekend. Check that out below: it contains stills and concept art for the film to whet your whistle.

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<p>Flight of the Conchords</p>

Flight of the Conchords

Watch: Flight of the Conchords reunite for awesome fundraising 'Feel Inside'

Kids explain, comedy-music duo articulates in song

Take that, "Heal the World."

Flight of the Conchords have been off the radar for some time, after splitting after their second seasons and albums dropped in the U.S. and then quietly reuniting this year for tours in Australia and their native New Zealand. But now Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement have finally dropped some new music on an international scale, for a good cause. The formerly fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo from New Zealand wrote and released a track "Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That)" as a charity single for Cure Kids, as part of a comedy event.

In a video that clocks over eight minutes, the Conchords interview various children on what it is to be sick, and how to raise (or steal from robbers) money. They took excepts of those conversations and turned them into song, bringing in NZ friends like Dave Dobbyn, Brooke Fraser, Boh Runga and Sam Scott to sing some bars. The thing predictably but delightfully devolves into child-like vernacular and terrifying rhyming schemes, with an a capella break-down at the end, a rap verse and plenty of McKenzie and Clement emoting.

The song was performed live on TV in that country over the weekend, helping to garner $1.3 million to benefit medical research for illnesses that harm children in New Zealand. The "Feel Inside" single can also be bought, with proceeds going to Cure Kids.

Bret McKenzie was busy last year working on and promoting his score for "The Muppets." Flight of the Conchords have also said their own movie is in the works.

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<p>Nicki MInaj in &quot;I Am Your Leader&quot;: Leaders bathe however they want</p>

Nicki MInaj in "I Am Your Leader": Leaders bathe however they want

2 new Nicki Minaj videos: 'I Am Your Leader' with Rick Ross, B.o.B.'s 'Out of My Mind'

You can tell she's in charge 'cause she's got a little hat

Nicki Minaj is making it Pink Friday today as she drops two different music videos with three other artists: "I Am Your Leader" with Rick Ross and Cam'Ron and B.o.B.'s "Out of My Mind."

"I Am Your Leader" is off of actual "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," Minaj's sophomore set and a rap from the Roman side of the coin. Dropping two verses, she talks nasty mean threats to "check bad b*tches" from her seat on rap's throne. And by throne, she means from a bathtub as she rocks thigh-high platforms; or from the middle of a pink and green funhouse floor, empty with exception to a zebra-print rug. As she's flanked by her two featured artists Cam'ron and Rick Ross, Minaj rocks what I'd describe as stipper-biker wear and she does a quick dance in a dictator's hat.

See, that's how you can tell she's you're leader: she's got a little hat.

If you get enough flesh from Nicki, there's plenty more skin to go around from Bawse's front, as he drops the jog suit and goes bare-chested in his golden dining room (styling courtesy of Party City?). Minaj's big refrain on this track is for hos and haters to "suck a big d*ck," and Ross generally runs with the theme after he's done dropping car names and the ilk. "So where the fuck is her manners, she gives brain while I Tweet," he boasts. How rude, right? "DM in the BM, you cm, you buckin', you love it / motherf*ckers on my d*ck, suck it."

Cam'ron also wants to talk about his watches, and then half the verse with an excruciating hit-em-quit-em toss off. It's a fine rhyme, but all eyes still on Nicki, who can steal the video show without even trying. And here: she's trying. The green hair and the blow-out certainly have a part in this stage play, but it's also a swing from the pop tracks she's been pimping all summer, starting with "Starships." Now she's back to the rap side of "Roman Reloaded" and simultaneously working her own sexuality as she asserts power over minions by suggesting they suck a big d*ck. There was no way this one wouldn't be eye-popping, if no other body part was already popping or sulking.

And if "I Am Your Leader" is too subtle for you, try on B.o.B.'s "Out of My Mind" -- a list of reasons why B.o.B. insists he's out of his mind, which doesn't sound like a person who is out of their mind at all. The clip is a good excuse to bust out the nuthouse porn, with leather face muzlzes, old-timey wheelchairs, straightjackets and sexy nurse outfits.

Let's be fair: all the women starring in this video, Minaj included, are playing out a sexy-time role. So perhaps B.o.B. is out of his mind because he's convinced he's getting laid and it just. never. happens.

Minaj turns on the booty pyrotechnics underneath her doctor's coat and does a lapdance for the mentally disturbed. I imagine Lady Gaga was just "watching" from the sidelines.

How do these Minaj offerings fare?

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<p>The Joy Formidable</p>
<br />

The Joy Formidable


Song Of The Day: Joy Formidable back with explosive 'Wolf's Law'

Wait for it... wait for it...

Joy Formidable has one of those band names that fits its sound perfectly, like dogs that look like their owners.

So here's a wolf. Or "Wolf's Law." The music video is made of the stuff that's the core of those Inspiration Posters, all in black and white, while Ritzy Bryan's Welch vowels saturate her powerful voice and drapes all over this quiet-LOUD piece. They give a piano a good ride and then let the earth rise up and nearly implode. I half expected the "2001" star-child fetus to appear in the end.

"The band really wanted the film to translate the idea of a re-awakening and rebirth. We worked together to select a series of stills and moving imagery that showed the Real and the truth of nature. Through rhythmical editing we created a real symbiosis of imagery and music to evoke the powerful kinetic energy of life in all forms," said the video's director Cat Botibol.

"Wolf's Law" is the title track off the band's new album, due in 2013. The sophomore set is the follow-up to Joy Formidable's awesome 2011 album "The Big Roar."

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