Last week saw the debut of a match made in glamorous indie-rock heaven: Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto’s all-new limited-edition collection for MAC Cosmetics. Featuring striking colors and shades with names like “Beth or Glory,” “Booyah!” and “Vagabondage,” the line has everything you need to bring out your own inner rock star.
To celebrate its official debut, we asked Ditto to curate a mixtape that embodies the vibe of the collaboration, and what she came back with is a stirring mix of dance-floor hits and old-school jams, running from Mama Cass to Missy Elliot and from the Rolling Stones to the Fresh Prince. Check out the full track list after the jump, and then click through to rock out while you get your glam on.
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Welcome to another edition of our regular Monday stream-a-thon, wherein we hunt down the best and/or most notable records streaming for free over the Internet. This week, there’s the arrival of the new Abba-inspired Gossip album (but wait, it’s better than that description might suggest). There’s also a new record from Flavorpill faves Cornershop, a surprisingly deep and interesting new album from Simian Mobile Disco, reflective melancholia from Mount Eerie and Cold Specks, and a proper stream for the Garbage album. Click through and listen to your heart’s content!
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Most pop songs are about love — falling in it, basking in its glow, getting sick of it, mourning its death, searching anew for it. Considering how much of our emotional energy is devoted to those things, this makes some sense. But what about feelings that have nothing to do with romance? How can those of us who prefer to treat our psychological excesses with music — rather than, say, talk therapy or medication — revel in nostalgia or beat an acute case of anxiety? We’ve made our prescriptions after the jump; be sure to take two, call us in the morning, and tell us what mood-music pairings you’d add in the comments.
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It’s been nearly three years since we’ve heard new music from Gossip. In the time since their Rick Rubin-produced 2009 major-label debut, Music for Men, Beth Ditto’s continued her ascent from underground sensation to mainstream celebrity, modeling for Jean Paul Gaultier and releasing a self-titled solo EP last spring. But now, the boundary-pushing band is back with “Perfect World,” the debut single off a forthcoming album of the same name, which is slated for May release.
So, what does the new song tell us about the record? Although it’s got a catchy, dance floor-ready beat, Ditto’s generally electrifying voice seems disappointingly tame and edge-less — Gossip have always been good for contagious pop hooks, but they used to back them up with punk and gospel flourishes that set their sound apart. In collaborating with British bubblegum producers Xenomania, have they lost what once made them so exciting? Listen to “Perefct World” after the jump and let us know what you think.
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Former LA Times pop critic Ann Powers came storming out of the gate yesterday with the first post for her new gig at NPR Music. Titled “It’s the Summer of Selling Out, and It Feels Fine,” her piece uses last weekend’s Coachella festival and the current crop of American Idol frontrunners to argue that 2011 is shaping up to be a good year “for all kinds of fans who like their music to feel free while it still aims for the center of the culture’s attention.” Part of Powers’s point is that “selling out” and making great music don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Although we have immense respect for the underground, we think Powers makes an important point. The tale of a talented but naïve band signing their lives away to a major label and then collapsing under the pressure to sell product is a common narrative, but it’s also far from the only outcome. After the jump, we list ten bands that ditched the indies for the majors, licensed their music to commercials, and went pop — and were better off for it, artistically.
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Now that we’ve had a while to process Lady Gaga’s new single, “Born This Way,” we have to admit we don’t love it. Because hey, we liked “Express Yourself” 20 years ago when Madonna did it. It won’t stop us from adoring Gaga and supporting the song’s message. But when Elton John starts calling it “the new gay anthem,” worthy of replacing the immortal “I Will Survive,” we’ve got to put our foot down. For one thing, there are plenty of much better new, queer anthems out there. Our list of ten strong candidates, all of which have come out in the 21st century, are after the jump.
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And now to address a little rumor. As we tweeted yesterday, our friends over at BlackBook think that Jay-Z is making an appearance at tonight’s big Diesel party at Webster Hall before he headlines All Points West tomorrow night. (For those you playing along at home, Jay-Z took over for the Beastie Boys following their tour cancellation.) As far as we knew, The Roots, Passion Pit, Noisettes, The Clipse, and Cobra Starship were the only acts on the bill.
We emailed our friends at Cornerstone (who are promoting the event) about the exciting rumor, and they told us this: “There are a few big special guests but I don’t have any more info than that.” When we pressed further, asking if anyone not on the set list would be performing tonight we were told that there would be unannounced artists.
So it’s not totally outside of the realm of possibility. But just for the sake of arguing, we’re going to debunk (most of) Foster’s… Read More
The only real advantage to the internet hype cycle is that today’s annoyance is tomorrow’s afterthought. Still, we’re particularly put off this week by the prevalence of unnecessary controversy tethered to iconic imagery. OK, so maybe we’re hypocrites for perpetuating the cycle, but can we put them away already? After the jump, the four images (and accompanying non-controversies) sending our gossip meters into annoyance… Read More
In an ironic turn of events, we recently stalked — er, caught up with — the creator of new NYC-based celeb-sighting site omgicu, Hugh Dornbush. Sort of like a full-time Gawker Stalker, after joining omgicu, you report your sightings on the fly, via text message. Likewise, the site will text you about sightings of celebs you want updates on.
Flavorpill: You call omgicu “participatory celebrity gossip,” where anyone can determine who’s worth knowing about. What’s wrong with good old US Weekly?
Hugh Dornbush: Celebrity gossip readers are still given the same stale news about the same stale people. We’ve seen how disruptive services such as Blogger, Netflix, or YouTube allow different types of mass media to be broken up and consumed by niche audiences in a more individualized fashion. But gossip is still controlled by a handful of tastemakers who determine who and what is newsworthy, and then they feed it to people. We can empower the consumers of celebrity gossip and culture to become the creators of it. We can say: I just saw someone who I think is remarkable for one reason or another, and here’s what they’re up to right now.
FP: Besides users sending texts to the site, if someone tells omgicu about a celebrity, you send another text about it immediately. That’s like a stalker’s wet dream. Aren’t you worried about a celebrity getting… bombarded by fans?
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Because we can’t all escape from our desks to enjoy 72-degree weather and international contemporary art, Flavorpill’s resident guru Paul Laster will be bringing you daily bold-face name littered updates and photos from Art Basel Miami all week. If you missed yesterday’s first installment, read it now.
VIEW THE IMAGE GALLERY OF HIS EXPLOITS HERE
The art world scoop from Day Two after the jump…
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