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”→
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.”
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 Rings, Planet 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.
Coldplay has emerged from the studio with a major announcement. Their seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams, drops December 4. Not only that, the ubiquitous British band has released the lead single, “Adventure of a Lifetime,” and it previews the fun-loving, positive ball of energy nature that frontman Chris Martin promises the album will deliver. “We just wanted to make this big, colorful, joyful thing called A Head Full of Dreams,” he told SiriusXM this week. You can listen to new track after the break, and stream it on Spotify and download it on iTunes.
A Head Full Of Dreams consists of 11 tracks (12 if you include the hidden track “X Marks the Spot”) and it will feature a handful of special guests including Beyoncé, Noel Gallagher (of Oasis), Tove Lo, and Merry Clayton. Norwegian duo Stargate and frequent Coldplay collaborator Rik Simpson helped produce the new album which was recorded on both sides of the pond in Malibu and London. Though the band didn’t tour their last release, Ghost Stories, Martin and company promise an exciting world tour is in the works for this latest release.
For Coldplay fans, album #7 may be the last collection of new material from the band for awhile. Last year, Martin let slip to then-BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe that A Head Full of Dreams may very well be Coldplay’s final hurrah. “It’s our seventh thing, and the way we look at it, it’s like the last Harry Potter book or something like that,” he said. “Not to say that there might not be another thing one day, but this is the completion of something.” Sounds to me like they might take an extended hiatus between 7 and 8, rather than dismantling the band for good. Especially if you listen to Martin’s more recent radio interview, it’s apparent that all the bandmates are in a good place and are very grateful for having lasted this long together. I’d be shocked if this was the end, that’s all I’m saying.
It’s been a minute since Kid Cudi shared new music with his cult following. It happened back in early March when he dropped the Ratatat-sampled “love.,” a track that was left on the cutting room floor during the making of his third studio album Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon.
Late last night, Cudder made his comeback by releasing the first official single off Speedin’ Bullet to Heaven, his next album. “Confused” is produced by Cudi and features guitar and bass instruments played by the artist. “Who am I? / Who are we? / Confused, truth is what I choose / Heal I never do,” he croons on top of a grungy beat.
What makes Cudi such a refreshingly unique player in the hip-hop community is that he’s bold enough to reinvent himself on a whim. The third and final installment in his Man on the Moon trilogy is still in the works, and in the meantime he’s been experimenting with a more rock-n-roll vibe, plucking his guitar and traversing in and out genres. It’s hard to call him a rapper these days–Cudi simply cannot be cornered into a single definition. Whether or not you enjoy the deviating paths he’s taken to get here, you’d be remiss not to applaud his resilience to be different.
In a series of tweets from early July, Cudi expressed that “This album is 100% the purest form of my artistic self” and “I’ve ripped my heart out and carved it into tiny pieces of musical madness.” He confirmed that “There are no synths or electronic sounds” on Speedin’ Bullet to Heaven and that it will “consist of all guitar and bass played by myself.” Though the album’s release date has yet to be solidified, Cudi said that it was “98% finished” on the 4th of July. Stay tuned!
Disclosure and Sam Smith are back with their second major collaboration. The followup to “Latch” is “Omen” and it features the rising crooner on top of moody Lawrence brothers beat. “Omen” is the second single off Disclosure’s imminent sophomore effort, Caracal. The steamy music video, featuring Smith in a Mexico City club, is the second of a four-part series directed by Ryan Hope. Last month, when Disclosure dropped “Holding On,” part one of the series, they laid out Caracal‘s initial rollout via Twitter:
“We wanted to create something very different with our music videos this time around…something unique that would connect all the songs from the album and the videos in a special way. This is the first of a series of four amazing videos directed by Ryan Hope that come together to create a short film… ‘CARACAL.’ As each music video comes out… The plot unfolds. Hope you enjoy!”
If you’re interested in following the trials and tribulations of Mariela, a rebel caught up in a heavily surveilled dystopian future, watch the video for “Holding On” first (featuring vocals from Gregory Porter) and then mash play on “Omen.” The synth-pop house duo will likely release the final two installments prior to Caracal‘s launch on September 25. Preorder Caracal today, and stream “Omen” on Spotify.
What do you think of the new Disclosure x Sam Smith collab? Think it’ll take over the radio waves like “Latch” did last year? When Disclosure released that Settle single in 2012, it took about two years for it to explode onto scene in the US. At the time, Smith hadn’t even released his solo debut In the Lonely Hour. Now, Disclosure is more of household name here in the States, and Smith has piled on the accolades since his first album dropped. In summation, “Omen” is destined to reach the top of the charts.
Abel Tesfaye has come a long way since his free mixtape days. The underground artist, who first exploded onto the scene under stage name The Weeknd with freebies House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence in 2011, is no longer a musical phantom. After repackaging the three tapes into the polished Trilogy release, Tesfaye dropped his debut studio album Kiss Landin 2013. “You will continue to get what you fell in love with, and I will continue to give you what you ask for,” he told his fans in a note that released alongside Trilogy. Kiss Land did not disappoint as it maintained the same stripped down, intimate essence that captivated fans in the beginning.
What came next for the now 25 year-old Canadian crooner? Standalone track “Often” came out of nowhere last summer tinged with Tesfaye’s signature sensuality. And then his sound went mainstream when pop star Ariana Grande invited him to guest on her hit track “Love Me Harder;” The Weeknd co-wrote the ubiquitous track. Now riding the mainstream waves, he appropriately stuck his stylistic R&B brand on the theatrical adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey by releasing the movie soundtrack’s single “Earned It.” That track helped said soundtrack reach the number three spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Today, Tesfaye isn’t resting on his laurels. In fact, he’s currently in the studio readying his second studio album. The long-awaited followup to KissLand doesn’t have a name or release date confirmed yet, but if you’re one to trust Wikipedia, it’s titled Chapter III and it’s set for release later this year. What’s solid is the lead single off said record: The Weeknd dropped “The Hills” on Wednesday, a characteristically moody track that he debuted live this spring at Coachella and SXSW.
The track, which originally went by the name “Mood Music,” is now available to purchase on iTunes and comes accompanied by an enthralling music video. In it, Tesfaye emerges from a bad car wreck, bloodied and disoriented. “I only love it when you touch me, not feel me / When I’m f*cked up, that’s the real me.” Those lyrics continue to peel back layers in order to shed light on his inner demons. The visuals mesmerize, too; after the car explodes into a fireball, Tesfaye stumbles upon an eerie mansion where he ends up in a creepy cliffhanger leaving fans salivating for more. Watch it all go down after the break.
As for Ye’s third single off So Help Me God, it’s called “All Day” and he debuted it live at the BRIT Awards last week. Today, he released a studio version on iTunes; preview it above. If you’ve been missing Ye going hard, “All Day” is the answer to your prayers. The rapper spits lyrics on top of an infectious beat, and he’s assisted by Trinidadian-born alt-hip-hop artist Theophilus London, Canadian rising rapper Allan Kingdom, and yes, Sir Paul McCartney rounds the track out with some whistling. Rolling Stone reports McCartney’s contribution, and they astutely speculate that the whistling was actually plucked from a song the Beatle shared in 1969.
Lastly, scroll up to eyeball the stylistic album artwork for So Help Me God. Four lower-case m’s connect to form a diamond shape. Redditors say it’s representative of a 13th century monastic symbol for the Virgin Mary, but I don’t buy it until Kanye says otherwise.
When can we expect the album to drop in full? West recently sat down with Power 105.1 and he claimed that it’s 80% complete. And even when it is ready, a hard release date will not be announced. Following in the footsteps of Queen Bey and Drake, Ye plans on surprising his fans by dropping his next studio album without any notice.
If you consider yourself to be a major Kanye fan, or if you’re simply interesting in exploring the controversial rapper’s mind, I highly recommend you listen to the aforementioned interview in full, here. In it, he discusses everything from his award show interruptions to his design aspirations. When asked to describe his upcoming album, he said this: “My last album [Yeezus] was a protest of music…This album is about embracing the music and embracing joy and being of joy and being of service to the people. I just hope people like it and enjoy it.”
After years of struggle, Kanye West is finally realizing his vision to create a fashion clothing line. It’s true; the rapper’s released sneakers and other footwear in the past. Way before his deal with Nike to produce the Air Yeezys, West teased a conceptual clothing line dubbed Pastelle but nothing ever really came of it. All we got was this cryptic website that still exists today, idle. Now his dream of creating and promoting and selling high-end apparel comes to fruition thanks to a new partnership with Adidas.
The Adidas line is called Yeezy Season 1 and the first tangible product to come out of the project is a new sneaker, the Yeezy Boost. Picture above, the new-generation Yeezy released this past Saturday in a grey-toned color way. The shoe is constructed with high quality full suede with a dynamic strap that wraps across a perforated vamp. West is rolling out his latest creation slowly–only 3,000 were made available over the weekend and in a forward-thinking move, he worked with Adidas to develop a reservation app. Instead of having sneakerheads lineup and fight over the footwear in the cold streets of NYC, a simple app allowed interested parties to reserve the shoe in their desired size. Missed out on that? The Yeezy Boost will see a second major retailer push on Feb. 28 at Adidas flagship stores, among other select, undisclosed locations. If waiting in line isn’t your style, your only other option at this point is eBay; the sneaker, which normally sells for $350, is offered on the auction site for upwards of $3,000. And if that doesn’t stimulate your senses, don’t fret–West has publicly stated that everyone who wants a Yeezy Boost will have the opportunity to buy one…eventually.
Get a closer look at the Yeezy Boost at Adidas’ dedicated portal. Want to sneak a peek at Yeezy Season 1? Jump after the break to watch models work the runway wearing Kanye’s concepts. It’s certainly an eclectic swing. West describes YS1 as “as the world’s first solutions-based clothing line that cherishes universality and timelessness.” Skip to 8:28 to hear a brand new track that debuted at the New York Fashion Week event; it’s called “Wolves” and it features an auto-tuned West, Chi-town up-and-comer Vic Mensa, and Sia. READ MORE Kanye West collaborates with Adidas on new fashion line, outs Yeezy Boost & new music→
It’s fitting just how personal the music video is for Kanye West’s “Only One.” When the Paul McCartney-assisted track dropped earlier this month, West spoke out about how the “stream-of-consciousness riff” came to him; the lyrics are a spiritual message from ‘Ye’s late mother Donda West to his daughter North West (Nori for short). The rapper enlisted film directer Spike Jonze (Her, Where the Wild Things Are) to helm the music video, and it plays very much like a father-daughter home video; it’s adorable and it’s touching. Watch it here.
Here’s your first taste of Death Cab for Cutie minus Chris Walla. The founding band member amicably parted ways with DCFC over the summer, and so this brand new single offers up the alt-rock band in a new light. No doubt, “Black Sun” still sounds like classic DCFC; frontman and lead singer Ben Gibbard remains the soulful face of the band. Fans will have to wait for nuanced differences to surface once their eighth studio album comes out; Rick Costey (a Muse, Franz Ferdinand, and Kimbra collaborator) replaced Walla as lead producer on it. Kintsugi, the followup to 2011’s Codes and Keys, drops March 31. Bassist Nick Harmer described the inspiration behind the album’s unique title to Rolling Stone: “It’s a Japanese style of art where they take fractured, broken ceramics and put them back together with very obvious, real gold. It’s making the repair of an object a visual part of its history. That resonated with us as a philosophy, and it connected to a lot of what we were going through, both professionally and personally.”
As a longtime Death Cab fan, it’s certainly sad to see Walla go after being a part of the band for 17 years, but it gives DCFC an opportunity to move forward in new directions and I’m glad that Gibbard and co. are taking it in stride. “This is an opportunity for the band to become something it could only become by losing a founding member,” Gibbard says. “It’s our goal to make records that rank amongst the best work we’ve ever done.”
When Kanye West dropped “Only One,” an emotional track featuring keyboard improvisation by The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, we knew this was just the beginning. In fact, a press release at the time stated, “[The track] will be the first publicly available recording from what has become a prolific musical collaboration between these two legendary artists.” In a surprise move, however, the next West/McCartney collab comes out of Rihanna’s camp, not West’s. Today the Barbadian singer released a fresh song called “FourFiveSeconds” and interestingly none of the three artists are labeled as being featured guests. iTunes merely reads “Rihanna and Kanye West and Paul McCartney.” Whether the song lands on RiRi’s followup to Unapologetic or gets tagged with “Only One” on West upcoming seventh studio album is anybody’s guess. For now, preview and download the track at iTunes. It’s soft and acoustic, with Rihanna adding a bit of a country flair with her vocals. She harmonizes with West, who again leaves rapping behind here and sings with auto-tune assistance. McCartney strums a cool guitar all the while.