The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Kendrick Lamar on Race in America, Speedy Ortiz’s Feminist Anthem

This week was a tough one. A few established names dropped songs — Drake surprised us today with a whole album, Florence dropped a kind of confusing thing, and Hot Chip announced an album — but not all of them were quite up to snuff with what we’ve got here, which, to be honest, is also a bunch of stuff from established names. So, what we’re saying is: there was a lot of good music this week!

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25 Alternative Summer Anthems

As classic an earworm as Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” is, one cannot subsist on it alone all season long. “Boys of Summer” has lost its charm by the end of June. And with all due respect, The Beach Boys’ view of the summertime — cute girls, cars, surfing — is pretty narrow. But that’s not to say songs about the summer — and by extension, sunny days, the beach, and all that accompanies them — are all clichés. From “White Light/White Heat” to “1979,” here are 25 “alternative” summer songs that still get the job… Read More

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20 Years of Weezer’s ‘Blue Album': 11 Musicians Dissect It Track By Track

Back in the spring of ’94, just a month after Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Weezer released its self-titled debut, affectionately dubbed the Blue Album . What Blue offered was a new spin on the alternative music trend that had dominated the airwaves; the major label signing of a group of scraggly nerds with Gene Simmons dreams, Gene Wilder awkwardness, and Gene Kelly kitsch was proof enough of the trend’s mainstream tipping point. To celebrate the Blue Album‘s 20th anniversary this week, Flavorwire asked 11 musicians to commemorate it with an all-star track-by-track. Some — like Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino — are Weezer pals and collaborators, while the bulk of the bands represented here — like Wavves, Dashboard Confessional, Saves the Day, Ash, and Aaron Freeman (aka, Gene Ween) — have toured with Weezer through the years and/or performed aboard the annual Weezer Cruise. Others — like Laura Stevenson, The So So Glos, Potty Mouth, Dead Stars, and even EDM trio Cash Cash — are mere Cuomosexuals, showing that Weezer’s influence can be found in many corners of the music… Read More

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Stop Singing About Drugs: A Bored, Exasperated Plea to 21st-Century Musicians

We had some gentle fun at Wavves’ expense yesterday, but even we have to admit that his new album, Afraid of Heights, is a whole lot better than his earlier work, mainly because he’s actually bothered to write songs this time around. Still, we do have one gripe about the album, namely the fact that it took us no time at all to tick the weed reference off our bingo card — it takes precisely one minute and 14 seconds for Nathan Williams to sing “first we gotta get high.” Yes, people, this may shock you, but Williams is really rather fond of smoking marijuana. Good for him, but really, isn’t it long past time that bands stopped singing about drugs? It’s so… boring. … Read More

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Exclusive: Play Flavorwire’s Wavves Bingo

Over the last few months, we’ve gone a little bingo crazy here at Flavorwire — we’ve settled down to tick off key moments in Girls, dealt with the (unfortunately vomit-heavy) pitfalls of New Year’s Eve, and kept track of the relatives on Thanksgiving. Now we’re extending the concept to another area that begs for some bingo action: song lyrics! We’re starting with Afraid of Heights, the new album by Wavves, because, frankly, ticking off every time he mentions weed is pretty much the most enjoyable thing we can envisage doing with it (although, in fairness, it’s way better than his previous work). Anyway, we listened through the whole thing, and we’re pretty sure we scored a pretty comprehensive bingo. Bam. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. “Dull Tool,” a new Fiona Apple song that will be featured on the soundtrack for Judd Apatow’s upcoming comedy This Is 40, has leaked online. Give it a listen here. (On a related note, if you missed the heartbreaking handwritten letter Apple posted yesterday that explains why she’s canceling her upcoming South… Read More

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10 of the Most Unnecessary Side Projects in Music History

Things about which we are tired of hearing include: Wavves. As such, we greeted the news that Nathan Williams has a bitchin’ new side project with his bro with stony indifference — frankly, the last thing anyone needs to hear at this point is Wavves and his brother making a hip-hop record under the adolescent-tastic name Sweet Valley. (You’ll never guess, but he’s done an interview with VICE about it, in which he answers the hard-hitting question “Are you bored with rock ‘n’ roll?” with a deeply heartfelt “Yeah, I suppose so. At times.”) Still, it’s not the most gratuitously unnecessary side project in music history… Not compared to the ones after the jump. … Read More

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10 Albums You Need to Hear in August

The last couple of weeks have been a pretty dire time for album releases, but happily, there’s respite to be had in August — there’s a fair selection of worthwhile records due out over the next four weeks, and as ever, we’ve pored over the release schedules to bring you our selection of the 10 best, along with a quick roundup of other notable upcoming releases. There’s an eclectic selection to be found after the jump: everything from cerebral piano-led ambience to neo-dreampop and the return of Ariel Pink — and at least one genuine album of the year contender. (Spoiler alert: SWANS.) Let us know in the comments section what’s on your shopping list for August. … Read More

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The 10 Best 21st-Century Stoner Anthems

As stoners around the country are no doubt only too aware, it’s 4/20 today, which means it’s time to smoke yourself into a coma in solidarity with fellow ganja-lovers around the world. For the last couple of years we’ve amused ourselves composing 4/20 mixtapes to soundtrack your smoking efforts, but this year we thought we’d do something different. We came across High Times“Best 25 Pot Songs of All Time” recently, and we couldn’t help but notice they were all from before the turn of the millennium — mostly from the ’60s, predictably enough. We don’t buy stoner conservatism any more than any other sort of conservatism, so we thought we’d put together a list of 21st-century stoner anthems. Did we miss anything? Let us know before you descend into oblivion. … Read More

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Wavves to Score MTV Hipster Show ‘I Just Want My Pants Back’

Wavves’ Nathan Williams is totally down with big-business brand integration. Remember when he and girlfriend Best Coast recorded a duet for exclusive release on Target’s Christmas compilation? And how about his “Post Acid” video, created for Mountain Dew? Well, now Williams is lending his cred (such as it is, at this… Read More

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