Music

The 6 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Lykke Li, Lana Del Rey

As much as I secretly love the Pharrell-Johnny Marr-Hans Zimmer salute to Celine Dion, otherwise known as their Amazing Spider-Man 2 song, there’s better stuff for your ears this week. Some options: … Read More

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The Future of Music Festivals: 5 Experts on Drugs, Young People, and an Overcrowded Landscape

Music festivals. How could an innocuous phrase that essentially boils down to “a collection of concerts” inspire such polarizing opinions in music fans? Much of what differentiates festival culture from show-going culture has little to do with the music itself. Live music remains one of the few communal experiences in our digitally-minded world. What the rise of national music festivals has shown us is that we have different views about what constitutes ideal conditions for a shared musical experience. It’s a “duh” kind of statement, but go to a festival — any festival — and watch it play out. These differences are never more apparent than when you shove people of all different ages and lifestyles into a fenced-in park for three days of extreme heat and $6 bottled water. … Read More

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Why Is Prince Getting Back Into Bed With Warner Brothers?

Hell must be freezing over, and the sun will probably rise in the west tomorrow, because this morning brought news of the single most unlikely thing in the world (or the music industry, at least): Prince has re-signed with Warner Bros. I say “re-signed” because, remember, Warner is the same company that so infuriated His Purpleness in the 1990s that he took to scrawling “SLAVE” on his face when he appeared in public, and pioneered the legally adventurous move of changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol in an attempt to extricate himself from his record contract. This fact seems to have been largely overlooked by everyone reporting the news of his new deal this morning. Clearly, Prince’s ways are inscrutable at best, but seriously, what’s going on here? … Read More

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“My Girls Rock Chanel and Smoke Mad Marijuana”: A Girl-Stoner 4/20 Playlist

Friends, the holiday weekend is upon us. By that I mean Easter, sure, but also 4/20 — a silly, unnecessary occasion that tends to attract and evoke the very stupidest, most cliché elements of stoner culture. But hey, it’s also a great excuse to make a playlist. In this case, inspired by both The Cut’s excellent lady-tokers-on-film supercut and the appallingly poor representation of women on these types of lists, it’s a collection of stoner anthems and weed shout-outs by female artists (and female-fronted bands). Because in these post-Broad City times, none of us should ever have to hear Bob Dylan bleat “Everybody must get stoned” again. … Read More

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Record Store Day’s Oddest Releases: the Good, the Bad, and the Huh?

Record Store Day will be upon us this Saturday (April 19), and with it we await the glorious multitudes of limited-edition exclusive releases that’ll be sure to leave people in a blissful music-coma for days following. Serious vinyl fans likely read various publications’ guides to

These trax seem as good a place to start… Read More

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Lykke Li Performs ‘Gunshot’ Live

Lykke Li’s voice works just as well live as it does with large scale production of her albums — recall her… Read More

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Keeping Up with the Carters: Ranking Beyoncé and Jay Z’s Collaborations

Yesterday, Page Six reported that Beyoncé and Jay Z will be bringing their Mr. and Mrs. Carter Tour to arenas this summer. The LA Times followed up the report last night, citing its own inside sources, which claim that the tour will run from June to August. Reps from both Carters have neither confirmed nor denied. So it’s likely there’s at least a little something in the way of a live show brewing between music’s most famous couple. … Read More

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‘Time Is Illmatic’: Why Nas’ Classic Album Is More Relevant Than Ever

There’s a moment in One9 and Erik Parker’s excellent documentary Time is Illmatic, which opened the Tribeca Film Festival last night, that sticks in the memory. Nas and his brother Jabari are discussing a photo that was taken in 1994, not long before the album release. It was snapped outside the building in the Queensbridge projects where the brothers grew up, and eventually appeared in the CD booklet. It captures a moment when friends and foes alike united behind a local boy who’d made them proud. There are maybe 20 people in the photo, some in their late teens, some little more than boys. Jabari points at face after face: “He’s doing life. He’s doing 20 years. He got shot. He just got out after doing a long time.” Nas is silent, although his eyes betray his horror. Eventually, he sighs, and speaks to the camera. “That’s fucked up.” … Read More

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Sky Ferreira’s “I Blame Myself” Video Subverts the Gender Dynamics of Gang Culture

Look at the image above. One of these things is not like the other. Some may say it’s another example of a pop star “accessorizing with black people,” but hold on a second, there’s something redeeming here. In her new video for “I Blame Myself,” Sky Ferreira plays with gender dynamics in gang culture, a context in which her punky pop has likely never been considered. The juxtaposition, as it turns out, speaks to a larger message about power and vulnerability. … Read More

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Flavorwire Feature: EMA Finds a Future in the Void

It’s the first show of EMA’s new album tour, at Union Pool in Brooklyn, and things are going wrong. Her collaborator Leif Shackelford has been having trouble with his equipment all night, and about halfway through “Milkman,” something seems to fail completely. Shackelford bolts offstage, leaving three bewildered bandmates staring at where he’s supposed to be. They finish the song anyway, and Erika M. Anderson — she of the EMA acronym — gently admonishes Shackelford when he reappears. He explains what’s gone wrong, and then smiles: “C’mon, you had more fun finishing that song than anything else you’ve done tonight.” She chuckles ruefully. Speaking into the mic to make sure the whole place can hear her, she replies: “It’s true. I like it when things are all fucked up.” … Read More

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