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Florence Welch at Governors Ball in New York this past weekend. (Andrew Boyle for Flavorwire)

Florence + the Machine’s ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ and the Frustrations of Tasteful Pop

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In a recent interview with BBC Radio personality Zane Lowe, Florence Welch explained that her new producer set some ground rules when it came to making her third album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, released last week. As part of an effort to introduce space and earthiness to Florence + the Machine’s “maximalist” aesthetic, Markus Dravs placed a pint glass that said, “Water to drink from, not write about” in the recording studio. In addition to banning Welch from singing about ponderous bodies of water, he stripped back the layers and layers of sweeping instrumentals in an attempt to highlight her songwriting. Welch’s initial reaction: “Where’s the crescendo and the fanfare?”
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great sophomore albums

25 of the Best Sophomore Albums Ever Made

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You know how it goes: a band or a musician puts out a stellar first album, receives heaps of praise and success, and then goes back to the recording studio and turns out a second album. What a bummer, it’s not as good. But is this trend a real thing, or just a myth fueled by how disappointed we, as listeners and critics, can be when artists’ albums don’t live up to our expectations? What follows shows that plenty of great artists were able to avoid the sophomore slump — and, in some cases, turned out the best album of their careers.… Read More

Photo Gallery: The Mud, Rain, and Music of Governors Ball 2013

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After one day of torrential rain, two days of ankle-deep mud, and countless ruined shoes, the third and largest incarnation of New York’s Governors Ball Music Festival wrapped up last night with a headline set from Kanye West. Although West did treat the audience to some brand new Yeezus tracks — and also let everyone know know the album is coming out sooner rather than later because he “doesn’t give a fuck” about album sales — his set was mostly a compilation of crowd-pleasing hits and surprisingly cheesy visuals. Compared to Friday’s shortened sets and canceled headliners, however, the majority of the Governors Ball went smoothly, with the exception of a retooled main stage schedule that pushed up acts like Japandroids and Cut Copy, and some sound issues that led Animal Collective to flat-out leave the stage on Saturday night. Standout performances included a show from embattled Harlem MC Azealia Banks and a visually stunning set from The xx, along with the much-hyped return of Guns ‘n’ Roses. Flavorwire’s ace photographer Andrew Boyle was there to capture all the action, so click through for a look at some of the dozens of acts that took to the festival’s four stages this weekend — minus the mud.
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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

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1. In case you missed it, Animal Collective went on Conan last night to promote their new album Centipede Hz, playing “Today’s Supernatural” behind set pieces that looked like weird glowing teeth. Watch a clip of the performance

The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

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1. The rather excellent looking new Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom, will kick off this year’s Cannes Film Festival on May 16th before opening in the US on May 25th. Can you believe that this will be the auteur’s first time screening one of his films there? [via Vulture]

2. Apparently Britney Spears… Read More