<p>Smashing Pumpkins</p>

Smashing Pumpkins

Credit: EMI

Interview: Billy Corgan talks new Smashing Pumpkins, rock radio, Radiohead and reality TV

Frontman chats about Jessica Simpson, M83, Amanda Palmer, Radiohead, Nicki Minaj... and 'Oceania'

As Billy Corgan said in our recent interview, Smashing Pumpkins are never, ever going to be an “Oldies act.” This week, it was laid bare that at least 54,000 album buyers know that the rock troupe is still alive and releasing new material, with the latest set “Oceania.” Radio continues to serve as a good reminder of the Pumpkins’ past.

Those sales put the Pumpkins at the No. 4 slot on the sales chart this week, but not without Corgan going on an all-out media blitz in the weeks leading up to the full-length release. The 13-song set was the result of a new distro deal with EMI, the major label that was also busily re-releasing the Pumpkins’ “Gish” and “Siamese Dream,” and today announced the reissue of the Pumpkins' 1994 "odds and orphans" album "Pisces Iscariot" (due July 17). The act’s lineup was new, too, as was this eclectic album’s role: “Oceania” was conceived as an album-in-an-album, in the middle of what Corgan intends to be a 44-song suite, “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.”
 
Below is an abridged version of our talk, which covered everything from his ex-girlfriend Jessica Simpson to his Chicago-based independent professional wrestling company Resistance Pro to his favorite new artists (M83) to why he loves radio. Hey, he even likes Radiohead and is pitching a reality TV show. Billy Corgan is refreshingly game to talk about it all.
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<p>Cover for Pink's &quot;Blow Me (One Last Kiss)&quot;</p>
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Cover for Pink's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)"


Credit: RCA

Listen: Pink is angry and a little shrill on new single 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)'

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UPDATED: She's had a... bad day

"I've had a sh*t day..." No kidding, Pink. The pop singer kisses off an ex- with "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" in this newly "leaked" and curse-laden single.

I honestly can't wait to hear the clean radio version of this song, because it's rounding out to be as sailor-mouthed as a Nicki Minaj BET Awards performance. "I think you’re full of sh*t, my head is spinning so blow me one last kiss,” she sings in the weirdly warpy, shrill chorus. She complains of the fighting and her old lover's "whiskey d*ck" issue in a know-what-I'm-saying-ladies? moment.

It's got the guitar march and tempo similar to that of Modest Mouse's "Float On," but the bile takes on a Queen vibe for the refrain. And I'm confused. I generally love Pink, as a rule, but the hook doesn't have me convinced this time.

Pink announced "Blow Me" and her new as-yet-untitled album in the middle of last month, pegging the single's arrival to be around July 9. Looks like waiting a week was a little too long, though no official Tweet or website post has gone out announcing the early arrival. So maybe it is a leak, if anyone cares.

UPDATE: Pink has now officially sent out the stream, and it will be up for sale starting tomorrow via iTunes, July 3. Cover updated. The People obviously hate waiting.

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<p>Monica sings during the BET Awards' Whitney Houston tribute</p>
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Monica sings during the BET Awards' Whitney Houston tribute


Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Whitney Houston gets tribute from Mariah Carey, Brandy, mom at BET Awards

Cissy Houston was like whoa

There was a high probability of showers (of tears) during the 2012 BET Awards, during the tribute for Whitney Houston. And the late singer got 'em, with presentations and performances from a round-up of Mariah Carey, Brandy, Monica, Chaka Khan and Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston.

Carey stepped out in a surprise appearance at the ceremony, recounting how she and Houston were rumored to be in a "rivalry" throughout their career. Carey kept it classy, speaking of the last time they lunched together. And then came the crying. Monica Brown -- aka Monica -- and her previously so-called rival Brandy then came out, the former taking on gospel-drenched "I Love the Lord" and the latter killing it on "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

Then everybody went, "Oh, yeah, Gary Houston."

And then there was Cissy Houston. Houston's mother, who was influential and essential to Whitney's rise, development and cadence in fame, has maintained a strong presence in the media since Houston's passing in February. Since that time, Cissy announced she was releasing new gospel tunes (four of them, in May) and that she was writing a memoir about Whitney's "true story," That book will arrive next February, undoubtedly close to Whitney's death-date.

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<p>Kanye West and Jay-Z at the BET Awards</p>

Kanye West and Jay-Z at the BET Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Watch: Kanye West debuts 'New God Flow' rhymes during BET Awards

Jay-Z pulls a Kanye West on Kanye West's acceptance speech

The BET Awards broadcast went on for three-and-a-half hours, but a good 20 minutes of it seemed to be -- as is often the case with Kanye West appearances -- the Kanye West Show. In during the Show, West debuted some much-anticipated new material.

In an effort to amp up his forthcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation, Weezy took the stage with 2Chainz, Big Sean and Pusha T at first to help tackle "Mercy" and "Too Cold." But then at the end, West went rogue into a capella mode for a big verse from forthcoming "New God Flow."

Even after delivering the line about Kim Kardashian from "Too Cold" -- with Kardashian in the house -- West is feeling even more name-droppy.

"Went from most hated to the new God flow / I guess that’s a feeling only me and Lebron know / I’m living 3 dreams, Biggie Smalls, Dr. Kings, Rodney Kings / 'cause we can’t get along, no resolution / Till we drown all these haters, rest in peace to Whitney Houston," Kanye rhymed. "Welcome to Sunday service if you feel you Sunday service / I got green in my eyes, follow this Erick Sermon / Did Moses not part the water with the cane / Did Noah make the arc when I made it rain / Did Yeezy not get signed by Hov and Dame / And went to Jacob’s and made the new Jesus Chains / In Jesus name, let the choir say / I’m on fire, aight, that’s what Richard Pryor say."

No clue what the full beat sounds like, but Pusha T will also be featured on the track, according to Ye's website.

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<p>Divine Fits</p>

Divine Fits

Song Of The Day: Divine Fits is 'Nice,' combining Spoon with Wolf Parade

Supergroup puts Britt Daniel, Dan Boekner and New Bomb Turks' Sam Brown

I wasn't sure how I felt about the first offering from the Divine Fits -- the trio-combo of Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade) and Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) -- but now I think their forthcoming full-length might be rather nice.

"Would That Not Be Nice" definitely scratches the Spoon itch, after the new-wavey minor discotheque of initial offering "My Love Is Real." That latter tune will be up for purchase as a single on July 31 with exclusive non-album B-side "I Was Born In A Laundromat." My Love Is... Clean?

The new, as-yet-untitled album from Divine Fits was produced by Nick Launay (Public Image Ltd., Killing Joke, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and will be dropped "later this year" via Merge.

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<p>Skrillex</p>

Skrillex

Skrillex and M83 contributing new music to 'Spring Breakers' and 'Oblivion'

Prominent electronica artists lending a hand to two very different films

Two prominent dance-electronica musicians -- Skrillex and M83 -- have been tapped to contribute new music to two very different films.

The former, Grammy Award-winning artist will be dropping the bass all over "Spring Breakers," the James Franco-starring film from the director of "Kids," Harmony Korine. In an interview with Pitchfork, "Spring Breakers" music supervisor Randall Poster revealed that he and Korine rang up Skrillex after checking out some good, old-fashioned YouTube clips.

"I had heard of Skrillex, but I wasn't watching it that closely. And Harmony, who I've worked with forever, sent me a link to some Skrillex YouTubes, and I saw one had 54 million hits -- I thought he had somehow figured out a way to manipulate the numbers. And then it dawns on you: There are kids that are never going to buy a record," Poster said in the biggest "duh" ever. "They're just going to play songs on YouTube."

Poster recently helmed the music for Wes Anderson's "Moorise Kingdom" as well.

"Spring Breakers," due in 2013, co-stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Harmony's wife Rachel Korine as the inexplicably hot quartet in the film, as "four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work." The flick is in post-production, and we assume Skrillex won't just be hitting "play" on some of his B-sides.

Meanwhile, the man behind my No. 1 favorite song from 2011, M83, will be scoring the entirety of "Oblivion," the next sci-fi adventure from Joseph Kosinski. The "Tron: Legacy" director told the Playlist he'd been thinking of working with the Anthony Gonzalez-fronted act since even before that reboot.

"I was listening to his music back in 2005 when I first wrote ['Oblivion'], so he was part of this from the very beginning in my mind, kind of creatively. And about two years ago, when I started putting together a shortlist of people I'd love to talk to for this project, I sat down with him and we talked about it," he said. "The story has a small cast of characters, it was designed as kind of a character-driven story, but at the same time it takes place in a vast world. So I need a score that is both emotional, but at the same time can feel big and have a lot of space in it. And his music has that."

"Oblivion's" cast of characters includes Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Melissa Leo. Its synopsis:

Jack Harper (Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack’s mission is nearly complete. Living and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.

It's due into theaters on April 26, 2013.

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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: AP Photo

Kanye West, Rick Ross and DJ Khaled team for 'I Wish You Would'

New track produced by Hit Boy

DJ Khaled has teamed with his famous friends Kanye West and Rick Ross for the brand new "I Wish You Would." 

The repetitive, bass-heavy track has plenty of both rappers, and too many hooks to even count.  Khaled collaborated on the track with white hot producer Hit Boy, who helmed West and Jay-Z's "N*ggas in Paris," but it lacks that song's irresistible quirkiness and joie de vivre.

Listen here:



Kanye kicks things off by doing a dirty, autotuned nursery rhyme, before declaring that "every year gonna our year/every year gonna be my year." Lots of threats follow -- hence the title. It's noticeably darker in tone than Khaled and West's other recent team-up, "Way Too Cold"  (formerly known as "Theraflu"), which had a similar reliance on synths. At one point in the new song, West even says, "We believe in God, but do God believe in us?" This is Kanye in serious mode

Ross comes off even harder than usual (or maybe just trying to sound even harder than usual), but his verse is mostly forgettable.

Khaled also recently created "Take it To the Head" with Drake, Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown. Ross recently collaborated with Nas on "Accident Murderers" as well.

The song is scheduled to appear on Khaled's "Kiss the Ring," which drops August 21.

What do you think of the new track?

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<p>Future of the Left</p>

Future of the Left

Interview: Future Of The Left talk ‘Common Sense’ and the most annoying fans

How does Andy Falkous feel about Denzel Washington and Mclusky song requests?

Earlier this month, Future of the Left released their new album “The Plot Against Common Sense.” You could say, in a way, the band encourages some nonsense, anyway. FotL’s live shows are rowdy, most banter-heavy social events (and yes, they’re more like an event than a traditional concert), a hard rock free-fall through song titles like “Robocop 4 – F*ck Off Robocop” and “adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood.” The Welsh group boasts new members Jimmy Watkins and Julia Ruzicka to round out this eclectic new mix of tunes on ”Common Sense,” which has inspired an increase in dancing at these shows.

Their audience has broadened, too. According to frontman/songwriter and founder of FotL’s former bedrock band Mclusky, they’ve gotten more press opportunities out of this Xtra Mile Recordings deal than they did with their last label, 4AD. They just finished a U.S. tour and plan on returning later this year.
 
Below is an abridged chat I had with the very enteraining Falkous, on his business perspective on label deals, annoying fans, his old songs with Mclusky and film.
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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Lady Gaga performs brand new song 'Princess Die' live

Sad song about suicide? Read all the lyrics

Lady Gaga performed a brand new song "Princess Die" for her Melbourne audience this week, and she seemed pretty aware that the tune would head straight to YouTube today.

In her intro, she warned that the song may or may not be on her next new album -- the title which will be announced in September -- and that it's sad, solo tone shouldn't be a reflection on its overall sound. "Princess Die," however, reflects Mother Monster's most "deep and personal thoughts I've ever had."

She emphasized that it was spelled "D-I-E," not "Di," the nickname for England's late Princess Diana, who perished in a car crash in 1997. However, some lines from the song mirror Diana details, particularly with the last verse about paparazzi, the limo and her rich boyfriend. However, the piano-led track points more toward a suicide, or someone who is considering suicide, which may have some folks up in arms.

If Gaga decides to keep this thing slow, it will probably be her darkest song yet. A very odd choice for a roll-out of new material, but OK: she needs that dimension anyway, to get her more intimate with her fans. But let's hope she also has a dance single up her sleeve by time she finally decides to announce some U.S. tour dates.

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<p>The founding Avett Brothers</p>

The founding Avett Brothers

Credit: Universal Republic

Listen: The Avett Brothers unveil new 'Carpenter' album with song 'Live and Die'

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Folky quintet's first since 2009's 'I and Love and You'

The Avett Brothers are returning with their first album since 2009's "I and Love and You," with "The Carpenter" out on Sept. 11 this year.

The set has been preceded by the first single "Live and Die," which is available for streaming via NPR as of today. The tune goes up for purchase on July 9; it's a style familiar to fans of the band, which has steadily stepped away from rockabilly elements and bluegrass toward more middle-of-the-road, pleasant, folk-inspired pop tunes with their penchant harmonies. This one starts out with a trotting banjo and ends with a chorus that can only be dislodged from your mind with a crowbar.

Listen to "Live and Die" here.

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