Can Calvin Harris Avoid Overexposure?

With global warming, political unrest, and a cratered international economy serving as the shaky pillars of today’s world, we need pop music now more than ever. As hopeless headlines continue to paint dark horizons for us, pop is one of the few lights to shine through and inspire whimsy. Even the harshest skeptic has no choice but to relent and give into the genre. So we present Pop For Skeptics, a regular Flavorwire column committed to curating and commenting on the best ear candy from the US and around the world.

Everybody in the entire world loves Calvin Harris. It’s inarguable. To deny it is to deny the fact that “We Found Love” is now a three-word shorthand that evokes pulsating dance beats and Rihanna’s Amazonian wailing; to deny it would be to deny the ubiquity of one of the most successful pop songs in the 21st century. But with this ubiquity comes a price. In the run-up to the October 30th release of this third studio album, 18 Months, Harris faces a big ol’ fork in the road. He has been raking in collaborators by the handful, including Florence + the Machine, Ne-Yo, Ellie Goulding, and, of course Rihanna. This is the kind of creative promiscuity that invites speculation as to whether Harris will go the way of other quick-to-peak DJ-producers before him, or if he’ll find a way back to the niche where he became a darling in the first place. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. It has been announced that Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Melissa McCarthy will be among the presenters at this year’s Golden Globe Awards, which airs this Sunday night at 8pm on NBC. So, there you go, that’s three celebrities who aren’t afraid to be in the same room with the evening’s host, Ricky Gervais.… Read More

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10 Unexpectedly Awesome Foreign Musical Genres

“World music” is a ridiculous label for any number of reasons, but perhaps the most pernicious is its us-and-them implication — the idea there’s our music and there’s their music, and never the twain shall meet. In fact, music is a constantly flowing and evolving thing, and the ever-increasing flow of Western culture to the rest of the world — and vice versa — has made for some fascinating musical hybrids, as well as some entirely new sounds. Some of these are well-known, but others have languished in relative obscurity over the years. So here are some of our favorite unexpectedly awesome genres from around the world, past and present. … Read More

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A Dummy’s Guide to 8-Bit Music Past and Present

One of the more enjoyable things we came across on the internet this morning was this 8-bit remix of the Game of Thrones theme, and it got us thinking about how 8-bit music and culture has slowly threatened to work its way into the mainstream over the last few years. In a way, it makes sense — the generation who grew up with Commodore 64s and NESes are in their 30s now, and very much a target market for retro chic. Systems like the C64 and NES were amongst the first genuinely affordable home computers, and they had rudimentary sound hardware that could create simple and distinctive sounds. Musicians soon started to explore how these sounds could be used, and in the years since, 8-bit music has grown to encompass everything from the world of chiptune — which faithfully uses vintage hardware to create new music — to a selection of artists who take 8-bit influences and work them into hybrid sounds. So here’s an exploration of 8-bit sounds past and present. … Read More

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Isn’t It Time for Diplo and the Music Press to Lay Off MIA Already?

Just when it looked like the ongoing storm over MIA’s MAYA might finally have died down, along comes Diplo to stir it all up again. Lynn Hirschberg’s infamous hatchet job for the New York Times did MIA’s image a great deal of harm, but not because of the truffle fries controversy – if anything, the most damaging quotes came from her ex-collaborator and ex-boyfriend, who dismissed her “whole terrorism gimmick.” He’s expanded on his views this week in an interview with WWD, where he suggests that she “glamorize[d] terrorism” with the album – despite his entreaties not to do so – and that “when it comes to die-hard, facts-on-the-ground politics, she’s at zero. She’s nothing.” … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. The 2011 Oscar nominations are in, with The King’s Speech dominating the pack with 12 nods. The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on February 27th. [via THR]

2. According to Diplo, Beyonce and Sleigh Bells guitarist Derek Miller have been in the studio together working on new material, but it’s… Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we wished that we had a job that required more pretty pencils. We celebrated the sartorial greatness that is Forever 21. We listened to Lil’ Kim diss Nicki Monaj in a track entitled “Black Friday.” We made a mental note to DVR Bob’s Burgers,… Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Ninja Tune XX

It’s been two decades since Matt Black and Jon More, aka Coldcut, founded iconic UK label Ninja Tune, and they’re celebrating with one of the most drool-worthy box sets ever.

Including six CDs, six 7-inches, two posters, and a hardcover edition of the retrospective book Ninja Tune: 20 Years Of Beats & Pieces, the Ninja Tune XX box is a collector’s dream. The set features new tracks and remixes from Roots Manuva, Amon Tobin, Diplo, Gold Panda, Kid Koala, Mr. Scruff, the Orb, and a host of others, alongside classic tracks from throughout the label’s history. … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: The Creators Project

Focusing on new technology, the Creators Project is an online and real-world hub for groundbreaking work from some of the best visual, multimedia, and musical artists of the digital age.

Founded by Vice and Intel, the Project pairs an increasingly intriguing web archive of work by the likes of Spike Jonze, Diplo, Romain Gavras, Danny Perez, Mark Ronson, Phoenix, and James Powderly with a series of immersive music and art events taking place in major metropolises throughout 2010. Next up is Seoul on August 28, followed by Beijing on September 17. … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Favela on Blast

Super-producer Diplo’s Favela on Blast film explores the vibrant music culture of funk carioca, which has been emanating for two decades from the poorest streets of Rio de Janeiro.

The DJ and Mad Decent founder traveled to Rio with Brazilian filmmaker Leandro HBL to capture the MCs, DJs, and dancers in action, bumping and grinding their way to euphoria. Electronic ’80s funk combines with bossa nova, samba, and other traditional Brazilian influences to create an impossibly bombastic sound, with songs like “Wanna Fuck?” appealing to the primal nature of desire — often leading to massive street parties that threaten to shift the power to the people of the favelas. … Read More

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