Category Archives: Music

Sia & Maddie Ziegler team up again for new single “The Greatest”

Sia, Aussie vocalist whose wigs never go out of style, is back with a brand new single and she’s enlisted dancer Maddie Ziegler to star in another one of her wild music videos.

The new song is titled “The Greatest” and the music video opens with a hashtag stating “We Are Your Children.” It’s not made clear if this is the name of Sia’s next album, or if it merely refers to the many youthful sprites featured in the video. In typical Sia fashion, she is not present in the clip; Ziegler shines by dominating the zany choreography. The song, as expected, is another Sia smash that’ll have your grooving along in no time. The music and the choreography sync like magic–Sia and Ziegler are truly an artistic match made in heaven.

Sia’s latest, “The Greatest,” can be purchased on iTunes, streamed on Spotify, the works. Note that the single includes a verse from Kendrick Lamar, while the music video leaves that out.

Following the one-two punch that was 2014’s 1000 Forms of Fear and this year’s This Is Acting, I cannot wait to see what Sia has coming soon. With one of the industry’s most utterly unique voices and undeniably catchy sounds, Sia’s next moves are hotly anticipated. I’m still high off This Is Acting, and now this! READ MORE Sia & Maddie Ziegler team up again for new single “The Greatest”

Kanye West & Bon Iver reunite on eclectic track from Francis and the Lights

Francis and the Lights just released my pick for song of the summer. Never heard of ’em? Neither had I, until last night, when Kanye West tweeted out a link to the music video embedded above, claiming it, “My favorite song this year.” The track, titled “Friends,” is intrinsically pop, with a calm buildup that climaxes into a groovy medley with kaleidoscopic sounds and wavy echoes. The minimalist music video, expertly directed by Jake Schreier in a single shot, is the perfect compliment to the song. Francis Farewell Starlite–the musician behind the Lights–and his erratic dance moves are prominently featured here. Kanye makes an appearance as does Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. The video culminates in cool synchronized dance choreography that effortlessly draws you into the fun they’re having. The combined power of Kanye, Justin, and Francis’ electronic coos is nothing short of hypnotizing! If you are a fan of Vernon’s ethereal touch on West’s Twisted Fantasy tracks “Monster” and “Lost in the World,” then Francis’ “Friends” will surely soothe the soul.

If you’re like me and feel compelled to explore Francis and the Lights’ discography, let me help you with that. From 2007-2013, Francis released four EPs and they’re all available on iTunes. In addition, he scored the sci-fi drama Robot & Frank, which happens to be directed by the music video’s helmer Schreier. Francis recently posted a new song called “Thank You” on SoundCloud, and he’s currently on tour with Bon Iver. And if “Friends” sounds like something you’ve heard before, you’re not alone; Francis sampled the song in a track he produced for Chance the Rapper, “Summer Friends.”

Now excuse me as I plug in my headphones and get lifted by this summer surprise, on repeat indefinitely. Stream it on Spotify and download it on iTunes. READ MORE Kanye West & Bon Iver reunite on eclectic track from Francis and the Lights

Experimental band Xiu Xiu resurrects ‘Twin Peaks’ score with poise

If you ever tuned into David Lynch’s cult mystery drama Twin Peaks, then you are well aware of composer Angelo Badalamenti’s instantly iconic score. Every episode of the short-lived show kicked off with scenic views of the not-everything-is-as-it-seems town, including shots of The Packard Saw Mill and The Great Northern Hotel. Elevating these gorgeous shots to greater heights? Badalamenti’s score, which happened to mesh perfectly with Lynch’s overall vision for the show; the sounds and songs of Twin Peaks were grandiose, eerie, edgy, disturbed even. It’s been confirmed that Badalamenti is teaming up with Lynch again for the now-in-production third season of Twin Peaks, coming to Showtime sometime next year. For now, though, there’s this. READ MORE Experimental band Xiu Xiu resurrects ‘Twin Peaks’ score with poise

Star Wars Day: Emojis tell ‘The Force Awakens’, and J.J. Abrams & Lin Manuel Miranda perform the new Cantina song

Today is May 4th and you know what that means: it’s Star Wars Day! To celebrate the annual occasion, Disney dropped this incredibly adorable version of The Force Awakens…as told by emoji! In under four minutes, the cute clip breaks down the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, hitting most of the major beats of the film. Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, Han Solo, and the rest of your characters pop up throughout in emoji form, and the animation makes fun use of GIFs, apps, and recognizable iDevices. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!

Now, those of you who picked up a copy of John Williams’ score from The Force Awakens likely scratched your head and went, Huh, where’s the new Cantina song? Well, here it is now! In honor of Star Wars Day, Lucasfilm is finally making “Jabba Flow” available to stream and purchase. The track is written and performed by director J.J. Abrams and Hamilton creator and star Lin Manuel Miranda. Watch them perform it live, for the first time ever, in a video recorded earlier today; it’s embedded below. READ MORE Star Wars Day: Emojis tell ‘The Force Awakens’, and J.J. Abrams & Lin Manuel Miranda perform the new Cantina song

Kanye finally gives in, drops ‘The Life of Pablo’ on all major streaming services

Despite his efforts to lock down his new album exclusively on Tidal, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo is finally available to stream across the other major services including Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. Whether or not this decision was made by Kanye or his record label Def Jam may forever remain a mystery. Whatever went down behind the scenes, though, ultimately doesn’t matter; fans of Kanye’s music who simply wouldn’t succumb to subscribing to Tidal just to listen to TLOP (myself included) now have many options to hear the new music. Previously Kanye had also said that TLOP would never be put up for sale. Though a physical copy of the album still remains nonexistent, ‘Ye is selling it as a digital download on his website for $20, for those of you who prefer to own music as opposed to streaming it.

If you follow Kanye on Twitter, then you’re well aware about the “living breathing changing creative expression” that is The Life of Pablo. Since the album’s February release, ‘Ye’s been going back into the studio to update many of TLOP‘s tracks including “Wolves” which now features Sia and Vic Mensa again. At the very end of March, Def Jam told The New York Times that “a newly updated, remixed and remastered version” would be uploaded on the aforementioned streaming services. The label went on to say that “In the months to come, Kanye will release new updates, new versions and new iterations of the album.” So, if you want to capture TLOP as it plays now, it’d be wise to download the digital copy for keeps.

Now that my TLOP boycotting phase is over (that extended exclusivity window was wack!), excuse me while I plug in my headphones and bump ‘Ye’s latest collection.

Flight of the Conchords announces summer tour featuring new material

Your favorite folk comedy duo is going on the road again! Bret MacKenzie and Jemaine Clement, the two halves that make the whole band Flight of the Conchords, are kicking off their first U.S. tour since co-headlining 2014’s “Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Tour.” The name of the tour, fittingly, is “Flight of the Conchords Sing Flight of the Conchords” and it will make 28 stops this summer. It begins in Cleveland, OH on June 11 and wraps in Los Angeles, CA on July 27. In between it will hit up major cities including Philadelphia, Chicago, San Fransisco, San Diego, New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, Boston, and New York City. Jump after the break to see all tour dates and locations, and click here to point your browser to ticket landing pages. Tix go on sale this Friday, March 4 at 10am.

According to a press release, Bret and Jemaine will showcase brand new material on the summer tour. Longtime fans are well aware that new FOTC songs are rarities ever since the band’s HBO sitcom ended after two memorably fun seasons. The Grammy-winning duo referenced a U.S. tour this past summer and shared their enthusiasm about bringing their music back to the stage. “I really don’t like the studio part of music. I more enjoy playing live and letting others take care of the recording,” said Clement.

Set to electric mandolin–Flight of the Conchords are coming to town! READ MORE Flight of the Conchords announces summer tour featuring new material

Inside The 1975’s album release NYC pop-up shop

Rising British band The 1975 released their second studio album today, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. A mouthful, I know; apparently that’s something frontman Matthew Healy said to an ex-girlfriend. Anyway, to celebrate their new LP, The 1975 hosted a pop-up shop in New York City and I was there to take in all the excitement surrounding the anticipated release. READ MORE Inside The 1975’s album release NYC pop-up shop

Kendrick Lamar steals the show at performance-heavy Grammys

The 58th Annual Grammys were all about the performances last night, and for the most part, they did not disappoint. Among the many beautiful duets, it’s hard to point a finger at which one was best. Early on we got Andra Day and Ellie Goulding belting out “Rise Up” and “Love Me Like You Do” and later breakout artists Tori Kelly and James Bay showed off their magical harmonies with their hit songs “Hollow” and “Let It Go.” Sandwiched in-between there was an impromptu performance shared by a cappella group Pentatonix and the iconic Stevie Wonder. The awards ceremony also showcased a stripped down version of “In the Night” by The Weeknd, the one and only Adele (whose technical issues couldn’t take away from her remarkable rendition of “All I Ask”), Brittany Howard’s pipes with her soulful band Alabama Shakes, and Lady Gaga–assisted by Chic’s guitarist Nile Rodgers–wowed the crowd with a colorful tribute to the late, great David Bowie. The ultimate showstopper, though, was Kendrick Lamar who eloquently rapped his way through his To Pimp A Butterfly hits “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright.” The theatrically poignant performance started with Kendrick in prison chains and ended with a freestyle that touched on the “modern slavery” plaguing African American communities in our nation today. It truly was one for the ages and I think we can all say in unison that Kendrick Lamar is the voice of hip hop for our generation.

Kendrick is among the big winners of the night; he took home a Grammy for Best Rap Album (To Pimp a Butterfly). Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars claimed Record of the Year with “Uptown Funk,” Taylor Swift’s 1989 was crowned Album of the Year, and Ed Sheeran’s popular ballad “Thinking Out Loud” was named Song of the Year. Meghan Trainor (somehow) ended up beating out James Bay, Sam Hunt, Tori Kelly, and Courtney Barnett for Best New Artist.

Head over to Grammys.com to view the full list of winners.

Kanye West finally releases new album, but it’s a Tidal-exclusive (for now)

At last, Kanye West has dropped his seventh studio album, now officially titled The Life of Pablo. Originally, it went by So Help Me God, and then it turned into Swish, and then Waves. Moving on! The album was first previewed to the public at Madison Square Garden last week where ‘Ye hosted a massive gathering to also show off his Yeezy Season 3 fashion line. The plan was to drop TLOP on Friday, Feb. 12, but due to production delays, he ended up formally announcing its availability following his two live performances on SNL. Interestingly, the album does not include previously released tracks such as “Only One,” “FourFiveSeconds,” and “All Day.” Of the 18 total tracks, fans will instantly recognize these four: “Real Friends,” “Wolves,” “No More Parties in LA,” and “Facts.” Production and vocals on the final versions of these songs, mind you, were tweaked from their original incarnations, so you might want to hold onto both versions in your collection. Eye the album’s questionable artwork after the break.

And now for some sour news for Kanye fans all over. On SNL, West told fans to head to Tidal to stream The Life of Pablo. News came out that the album would be a Tidal-exclusive during its initial launch period of about a week or so. Turns out that window will go on indefinitely. The meddling rapper has been ranting on Twitter lately, and a tweet that stuck many fans (myself included) right in heart reads, “My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.” This very well may be a marketing ploy to get his fanbase to sign up for Tidal subscriptions, and TLOP may still be on track for a regular major release across the other music streaming services. But this stings. If Kanye indeed has this power over his label, he is doing a massive disservice to his fans who don’t subscribe to Tidal and instead rely on iTunes/Amazon/Google or even the collection of physical copies of CDs. As a longtime fan and supporter of West’s contributions to music and the rap scene, I am incredibly displeased with all of this. Not cool.

Among his many recent Twitter rants, Kanye is pleading Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other wealthy individuals to give him money so he can live out his creative dreams. Hey Kanye: If you released your new album on more than one platform you’d make yourself some more money! According to TorrentFreak, “an estimated 500,000 people” have illegally downloaded a copy of TLOP on torrent sites like BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay. Of course, illegal sharing and downloading of albums, movies, etc. is a normal occurrence these days, but I think it’s safe to say that ‘Ye could have curbed this astronomical number by selling his album on the industry’s most popular platforms like iTunes. Here’s to hoping he comes to his senses, or his label strong-arms him into sharing his latest work (which has been receiving solid reviews) with the rest of us.

Update (2/17): Kanye’s uploaded the album’s credits on his website; big talents like Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Rihanna, and The Weeknd can be spotted. Unfortunately, there’s no update on TLOP extending its reach beyond Tidal. For now, make due with Stephen Colbert’s scathing review of the rapper’s recent tweetstorm. READ MORE Kanye West finally releases new album, but it’s a Tidal-exclusive (for now)

Zero gravity stars in OK Go’s latest music video marvel

OK Go – Upside Down & Inside Out

Hello, Dear Ones. Please enjoy our new video for "Upside Down & Inside Out". A million thanks to S7 Airlines. #GravitysJustAHabit

Posted by OK Go on Thursday, February 11, 2016

 
Ready? Set? OK Go is back with its latest gold-star achievement in music video making. The band is still promoting Hungry Ghosts, its fourth studio album released in 2014, with a very special music video for the album’s opening track “Upside Down & Inside Out.” The seemingly innocuous line “Gravity’s just a habit” played a major role in influencing the band’s decision to shoot its next music video in zero gravity, the first of its kind.

The video was shot inside an airplane provided by Russia’s S7 Airlines that flies parabolic maneuvers to provide brief periods of weightlessness. This is where zero g comes into play. And in typical OK Go fashion, the band remained hellbent on shooting the video in one continuous shot. In this particular case, however, that simply wasn’t possible but frontman Damian Kulash and company used movie magic (read: a little bit of fancy editing) to string together the moments of non-weightlessness. It’s explained in an informative post at the band’s site:

The longest period of weightlessness that it is possible to achieve in these circumstances is about 27 seconds, and after each period of weightlessness, it takes about five minutes for the plane to recover and prepare for then next round. Because we wanted the video to be a single, uninterrupted routine, we shot continuously over the course of 8 consecutive weightless periods, which took about 45 minutes, total. We paused our actions, and the music, during the non-weightless periods, and then cut out these sections and smoothed over each transition with a morph.

From the floating laptops to the exploding pinatas, exploding briefcases full of bouncy balls, and exploding balloons filled with paint, there’s a breathtaking level of color and vibrancy to be had here. The expertly time choreography by the band and the wonderfully acrobatic airline stewardesses adds to the jaw-dropping nature of the mesmerizing clip.

Taking advantage of zero gravity is the latest accomplishment in a string of groundbreaking efforts concocted by alt-rock group. Click here to browse OK Go’s other music video marvels featuring perfect coordination of motorized scooters and drones and a Rube Goldbergian contraption for the ages.

Update (2/12): Boy have I got a fun behind-the-scenes video for you. Stereogum‘s released a special inside look at the making of the grand finale sequence of OK Go’s music video. Nicknamed “The Thunderdome,” said balloon splatting sequence took eight attempts to get right, and this clip goes through the band’s motions of eventually getting it right. Witnessing the many failed attempts is just as entertaining as watching the music video itself! God bless the poor soul who had to clean and reset the plane cabin after each take. Press pray after the break. READ MORE Zero gravity stars in OK Go’s latest music video marvel

Coldplay films colorful music videos to match new album ‘A Head Full of Dreams’

Coldplay is back with its seventh and possibly final album for awhile, that is, according to frontman Chris Martin. If this is it for the foreseeable future, they sure are going out with a bang. The record, A Head Full of Dreams, is a solid effort from the alt-rock/pop British band. It has its quiet moments (“Everglow” and “Kaleidoscope”) as well as those anthemic tunes fans have become accustomed to over the years (“A Head Full of Dreams,” “Hymn for the Weekend” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”). All in all, it’s a decidedly uplifting and inspiring take, especially coming off last year’s mildly melancholic Ghost Stories.

Shortly after releasing the album into the wild just last month, Martin and co. started to drop eclectic music videos for the singles. They started with a mesmerizing music video for “Adventure of a Lifetime” which features CGI versions of the band members dancing around as apes. They teamed up with director Mat Whitecross and actor/motion capture expert Andy Serkis (Lord of the RingsPlanet of the Apes) to magically animate themselves using the latest tech in 3D motion capture. It took six months to make!

The second music video to release was the one for “Birds.” The band travelled to Salvation Mountain to record the trippy, kaleidoscopic clip directed by Marcus Haney.

Following lead single “Adventure of a Lifetime” is the official second single off the album, “Hymn for the Weekend.” Coldplay shot the video for it on location in Mumbai, India with director Ben Mor. Beyoncè, whose vocals are featured on the track, plays a beautiful movie star and Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor makes a cameo as the band runs around the streets of Mumbai exploding with color and radiance.

“Hymn for the Weekend” is embedded above. You’ll find music videos for “Birds” and “Adventure of a Lifetime” after the break. There’s also a fun behind-the-scenes look at Coldplay making the CGI video with Whitecross and Serkis.

One more thing. This summer Coldplay’s going on tour! Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 5 at 10am local time. Check out the full list of nation-wide stops below the fold. Oh, and don’t forget they’ll be jamming out during Super Bowl 50’s halftime show next Sunday! READ MORE Coldplay films colorful music videos to match new album ‘A Head Full of Dreams’

Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard are adorable in viral lip sync cover of “Africa”

Actors and real-life couple Kristen Bell (Frozen) and Dax Shepard (Parenthood) made it their goal to “rage hard and honor Toto properly” before having kids. So they travelled to Africa and filmed themselves singing along to Toto’s hit song “Africa” among the native animals. This is what true love looks like. That’s it. Enjoy. READ MORE Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard are adorable in viral lip sync cover of “Africa”