Miranda Lambert's ACM Award win for 'Automatic' was really very gracious
Credit: AP Photo

Miranda Lambert's ACM Award win for 'Automatic' was really very gracious

Miranda Lambert's "Automatic" won Song of the Year at the Academy Of Country Music Awards, and as soon as she took the stage, the Texas-bred singer passed off the mic to one of her co-songwriters, Natalie Hemby.

That in itself was a sweet move, considering the scale of the stadium (nearly 70,000 people in attendance) and the prime time spot on CBS. Then Hemby made her speech, bringing attention to the strength of the all-female team behind the track (penned also by Nicolle Galyon).

"I hope I can be your Dean Dillon. Because you're my George Strait," Gamby said to smiling Lambert."

"Automatic" was Grammy-nominated earlier this year, for Best Country Solo Performance and for Best Country Song. It's one item on a very short list of Song Of The Year winners at the ACMs that are by women and performed by women ("Wide Open Spaces" by Dixie Chicks is also there).


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MGMT's Will Berman talks firsts with score for Tribeca pick 'Jackrabbit'

MGMT's Will Berman talks firsts with score for Tribeca pick 'Jackrabbit'

Exclusive premiere of two tunes from the sparse electronic soundtrack

Will Berman calls his current situation "an exciting time and place."

The drummer and writer has spent a better part of the past decade on tour and making music with MGMT, but he's stepping out as a film composer for the first time with his score to "Jackrabbit," which gets its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday.

"After touring for seven years straight and not being able to polish skills in any other area, it's great to finally spread out and figure out something else that I can do," Berman told me this week. "It was such a pleasure to make music for a film, and I'm blown away people's response to it... it was a real lucky combination of factors."

For six months, Berman collaborated with director Carleton Ranney's on coming up with the best versions of the sci-fi flick's "sparse," spacious sounds. To go along with the dystopic themes of having to deal with a societal technology "reset" phenomena, Berman opted to perform his score on only an Arturia MicroBrute analog synth and one other keyboard.

"It's about these people kind of struggling with these kind of limited forms of technology, set in the future where all the computer data in the world has been seemingly wiped out," he explains about the "obsolete tech" world Ranney built.

As you can hear in the two impressive exclusive tracks below, "I kept the tone dark... very low and rumbling."

Since MGMT released its 2013 self-titled album and finished up tour in support, Berman has also been at work on other side projects, like the score for short film "Noonday Demon" by Soojin Chang, producing an LP for Buenos Aires-based group Delta Venus, and making music with band Kuroma (whose most recent album was produced by MGMT cohort Ben Goldwasser).

"We've been taking a little break I guess. We've been at it for years at this point. There's more to come.," Berman said of MGMT, though he didn't want to speak for founders Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden on when there'd be a new album from the psych-pop group.

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Of course Brandon Flowers covers INXS like a champ

Of course Brandon Flowers covers INXS like a champ

The Killers frontman previews three new songs from solo album at tiny gig

LOS ANGELES - The Killers' Brandon Flowers is stepping out solo once again this spring, and last night at the Troubador in L.A. he gave a quick preview of three new songs and the sounds fans can expect out of "The Desired Effect," out May 19.

Flowers also further revealed his love for a major influence -- INXS -- as he launched into a cover of the Aussie band's "Don't Change."

"One of the things most profound about INXS is this song we're about to cover, it has such a strong identity," Flowers said, also mentioning that INXS was the subject of the first band poster he ever bought. "['Don't Change'] is on their first record, and they seemed to really know who they were. You don't really hear that a lot anymore."

Flowers' fresh tunes "Dreams Come True," Peter Gabrielian "Still Want You" and glittery single "Can't Deny My Love" have a bright, Super Bowl-sized dance effect and, like on his first solo outing "Flamingo," have more love-lorn Las Vegas tales with a Human League dance sheen.

The singer mostly played with a six-piece backing, through brought out a pair of horn players for a handful of the 16-song setlist.

Check out a couple of Flowers' huge new tracks below.

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Song Of The Day: Vomitface, 'Never Make It'

Song Of The Day: Vomitface, 'Never Make It'

"Never Make It" is on Vomitface's EP "Another Bad Year," out on May 12 through Boxing Clever Records.

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Jennifer Hudson singing her cheeseburger drive-thru order is The Greatest

Jennifer Hudson singing her cheeseburger drive-thru order is The Greatest

There is great comfort in life knowing that Jennifer Hudson sings into her water bottle like a microphone, just like you do.

The recently crowned "The Late Late Show" host James Corden took the Grammy and Oscar winner on a Carpool Karaoke drive, and the two took detours to Hudson's Hollywood Star, and to a drive-thru fast food joint.

Listen to the most beautiful version of a burger order ever.

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Song Of The Day: Melody Gardot, 'Preacherman'

Song Of The Day: Melody Gardot, 'Preacherman'

Melody Gardot's "Preacherman" is featured on her next album "Currency of Man," out on June 2 via Verve/Decca.

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'Ex Machina' and 'Lost River's' Male Dances Of Domination

'Ex Machina' and 'Lost River's' Male Dances Of Domination

Pee-Wee Herman, Ben Mendelsohn, John Travolta and Oscar Isaac have a thing in common

"In answer to your question, you bet she can f*ck."

In this phrase alone, Oscar Isaac's character Nathan reveals more about himself than his beautiful new A.I. Ava in "Ex Machina."

Alex Garland's directorial debut is less about the future of females, "Ex Machina" is actually more a portrait of creators and human men, who fancy themselves as exceptional men if not gods.

Nathan -- a billionaire CEO of a tech company -- is intimidating, athletic, confident, self-congratulatingly brilliant. He sports a heftily landscaped beard, lives in his own manicured version of Eden-esque wilderness where his top secret mission is to create a version of an A.I. where "she" is indistinguishable from a human. Nathan's version of "her" is beautiful, small, gentle and cunning.

But of all the wide and small definitions of what makes a female human a female, Nathan chose not to tout "her" ability to (for instance) reproduce, but -- in his selection of terminology -- her ability to f*ck.

As the title infers, the question of whom the "deus" in the enduring phrase "deus ex machina" -- god from the machine -- is the film's (ahem) beating heart.  Nathan struts opposite of Domnhall Gleeson's other Biblically monikered "pal" Caleb, whose own masculinity is rendered nominal under the watchful eye of his tech-obsessed host.

Nathan and Caleb intellectually wrestle with perfecting Ava, the robot. As they do, they reveal themselves to be more human: flawed, creative, habitual, selfish, personal, paranoid, persuasive, desperate, sexual, self-aware. Both "man" up. Nathan's punctuation mark on his macho'isms reach nadir in a magnificent scene with he and actress Sonoya Mizuno, as they disco in-sync to Oliver Cheatham's "Get Down Saturday Night."

Here's the While We're Young x Ex Machina dance-off you didn't know you needed.

Posted by A24 on Thursday, April 16, 2015


It's not unlike something you'd see in a "Saturday Night Fever." Nathan boogies not just to assert what makes he and his dance partner the most human, but the most dominant of the two, of he and Caleb.

The point of Nathan's dance is not to allure, but to intimidate, to assert a superior, god-like status. And to be fair, it is divine.

Ben Mendelsohn has his own snake-in-the-garden dance he reserved for Ryan Gosling's "Lost River," as his character Dave shakes a tail feather at/toward/for Billy (Christina Hendricks) during forbidding Glass Candy song "Shell Game," as she's helpless and immobilized to either retort or deny his hypnotic hips.

To Dave, it fits a pattern of domination, over a woman who has repeatedly rejected his sexual advances. His dance is not a seduction but an extension of subjection. Dave is a gigantic scumball, and a lousy though unbridled dancer.

Who are gods within the realms of "Ex Machina" and "Lost River" are the men who dare to dance.

From Pee-Wee Herman to West Side Story, the Male Dance Of Dominance has a place in our cultural and cinamatic history. Turn up the volume and see if you can step up.

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'Mad Men' meet their 'Game of Thrones' match: Cersei, Betty, Tyrion, Roger, more

'Mad Men' meet their 'Game of Thrones' match: Cersei, Betty, Tyrion, Roger, more

And just who plays Joffrey on the AMC period drama?

Like many true, noble Americans, I'll watch "Mad Men" to (inevitably) bitter end, and eagerly await the start of Season 5 of "Game of Thrones."

And just as I'm sure you have, I've noticed a little character mirroring.

Send a raven, because sometimes these cherished and frequently crazy roles are a little too close, and we forget: Cersei never lived in the '70s. Roger Sterling would have made a terrible knight.

In the gallery below, Alan Sepinwall and I break down which roles have close similarities between the two shows.

And this is not to say Don Draper is so singular, but we had a tough time with him: who is the chief Sad Mad Man's closest counterpart on the HBO show?

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Amy Poehler, Will Forte turn poetry into slam dunk during Lynch Foundation show
Credit: Andy Barron, AP Photo

Amy Poehler, Will Forte turn poetry into slam dunk during Lynch Foundation show

David Lynch Foundation's tribute to Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' brought the poetry

LOS ANGELES - Last night musicians and comedians gathered at the Ace Hotel to honor the 60th anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's groundbreaking poem "Howl," in the form of a benefit concert thrown by the David Lynch Foundation. The non-profit centers on spreading the word about the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

Sounds like a laugh riot, right? Actually, everyone fared pretty well...

"David Lynch... the man who made me afraid of hallways."
Musician Kevin Drew, as an introduction

"Live abortions! Raise your hand if you've had an abortion... or you can just slap me five when you leave."
Amy Poehler

"I love rap music but I despise poetry."
Chris Parnell, prior to rapping "The Ballad of the Skeletons" with Amy Poehler

"This should go for two or three hours. Let's round it up to six... Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness. You have to if you wanna see Nic Cage."
Actor Michael Kenneth Williams, humorously hyping the appearance of Nic Cave.

Immaculate Noise favorite Peaches performing Ginsberg's "Birdbrain," enabling her to scream it frequently

"I'm a comedian, unless it doesn't go well, then I'm a poet."
Comedian John Mulaney

"'I am waiting / for them to prove / that God is really American.'"
Famed composer Van Dyke Parks, reciting the line that got the most audience rise from Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem "I Am Waiting"

"This is not intermission. It is the halftime. There are two rules. You have to stay seated. Two, you have to listen to the music... actually it's pre-halftime. Didn't have anything more planned."
Actor Will Forte

A man wearing in a buffalo head
dancing with his hips to "The Vomit Express" by Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, as performed by Devendra Banhart

"'The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely...'"
"That's nice."

Forte, ad-libbing along to Fred Armison's performance of Allen Ginsberg's "A Supermarket in California"

"'F*cked in the *ss'... 'endless balls'... 'cock'... 'assh*le.'"
Chloe Webb and Hal Willner performing a brilliant version of "Howl," the response of the crowd erupting in laughter at the mention of genitals. Never gets old.

Other fine moments:

+ HitFix favorite Nick Cave (not Cage) playing "The Mercy Seat" solo, "Love Letter" with The Section Quartet, and "The Ship Song" with Beth Orton
+ Courtney Love singing "Sugar Sugar" with its original songwriter, Andy Kim, and Broken Social Scene member and solo artist Kevin Drew
+ Tim Robbins playing Warren Zevon's "Don't Let Us Get Sick" on guitar
+ Sam Amidon. Just, like, all of Sam Amidon.
+ Lucinda Williams singing "Unsuffer Me" and letting the house band break it down

And, no, David Lynch did not make an appearance, so no "Twin Peaks" update yet.

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Exclusive Song Of The Day: Harvard Of The South's 'Miracle' music video

Exclusive Song Of The Day: Harvard Of The South's 'Miracle' music video

Get out your markers, paper pads and rubber stamp collection

With an EP name like "Miracle," Harvard Of The South are really setting a high bar for themselves.

Their brand of roots-tinged, Elbow-style pop-rock hits more subtly than a good ol'-fashioned  supernatural activity, and that's due to the expertise of the songmakers. Harvard Of The South consists of rock veterans Steve Schlitz (of Longwave) and Blue October brothers Jeremy and Justin Furstenfeld, plus bassist Matt Noveskey.

Today HitFix exclusive reveals the lyric/music video to the title track "Miracle," which Jeremy calls a "special" tune.

"This is a special one to us... I think it showed us we were on the right track, and we should continue this 'Experiment.' I remember during the process of this song, I was playing a straight beat. S The video we made for this video caught me by surprise. Steve's friend, Bill, put this together for us using his own ideas and imagination of the song. Its very childlike, and takes me back to wanting to have the imagination of a child again."

Here are Harvard Of The South's tour dates:

4/8: Flagstaff, AZ @ Orpheum Theater
4/9: San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
4/10: Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
4/11: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
4/13: Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
4/16: Vancouver, BC @ Venue
4/17: Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
4/18: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
4/19: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
5/6: Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
5/7: Niagara Falls, NY @ Rapids Theatre
5/8: Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
5/9: Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
5/10: Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
5/13: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
5/14: Little Rock, AR @ Juanita's Cantina
5/16: Austin, TX @ Stubb's

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