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  • Posted 8/29/15 at 12:11 PM
  • Music

Apple Tries to Block Tidal's Stream of Drake's Charity Performance, Fails

Drake closed out Lil Wayne's Lil WeezyAna Festival last night, which, as the portmanteau in the name implies, took place in New Orleans. It was a charity concert to benefit kids affected by Hurricane Katrina, and the whole concert was streamed via Tidal. But when Drake took the stage, rotten Apple intervened and the video went dead, following the company's threat of a $20 million lawsuit if Drake's two-song performance streamed on Tidal's rival music service. As Page Six reports, lawyers were called in because Drake has an exclusive deal with Apple Music said to be worth up to $19 million. Drake ultimately prevailed, however, and you can now stream his performance below, or watch the whole concert via Mr. World Premiere.

The Weeknd Overreaches for Pop Grandeur on Beauty Behind the Madness

In his new video for “Tell Your Friends,” Abel Tesfaye — better known as the Weeknd — buries a man alive against a desert horizon at dusk. As he finishes the job and strides through the desolate landscape in step with the song’s slurry, slow-motion pace (“Tell Your Friends” sounds, somehow, like if “Benny and the Jets” were a Drake song), the camera looks up at him from his feet, like he’s a larger-than-life antihero in a John Ford movie. At some point, another person approaches; Tesfaye draws his gun without effort and shoots them down. The video offers no narrative explanation as to why he does this — I guess we’re supposed to assume that he’s the kind of guy who’d shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die. “This ain’t the right time for you to fall in love with me,” Tesfaye will warn with a bluesy swagger a little later in this record, The Beauty Behind the Madness, but by then we’ve gotten the message: This guy is bad news, baby. It wouldn’t be any clearer if he were wearing a black hat.


Patti Smith Celebrates Electric Lady’s 45th Birthday by Playing Horses, Spitting on Her Celeb-Heavy Crowd

Patti Smith is 68, and she gives negative fucks what you think. As it should be. On Wednesday night, punk’s poet laureate tore into the mic and spat on multiple audience members, including me and Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough, while playing her 1975 debut, Horses, from front to back. She recorded the classic album 40 years ago at Electric Lady Studios, the recording palace Jimi Hendrix opened exactly 45 years ago, just one month before his death. Watching Smith and three-quarters of her original band, including guitarist Lenny Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, blaze through Horses live wasn’t a one-off experience; Smith has already been touring the globe doing just that, and will be coming back to New York’s Beacon Theatre on November 10 for a similar show. (She'll also be touring with her new book, M Train, a collection of essays about her travels.) But there was something about being surrounded by Electric Lady's ghosts that seemed to energize the singer.


The Knocks and Glee’s Alex Newell Slay the Dance Floor in Their ‘Collect My Love’ Video

Hot off a remix from Fetty Wap, New York City club-pop duo the Knocks keep the momentum going with a video for their disco gem (and previous Song of the Week pick) "Collect My Love." The song and video are anchored by the charisma of Alex Newell, best remembered for playing Glee's first transgender character, Unique. With its setting at famed party spot China Chalet and its cameos from rising drag stars Aquaria and Daphne Sumtimez, the Austin Peters–directed video gives a rapturous glimpse into Downtown Manhattan's underground club culture.

"He did a great job capturing the energy of Alex's performance and the energy of our favorite part of New York City," DJ B-Roc says of Peters. Newell especially delivers a showstopping turn as the Chalet's dance queen, putting his sky-high vocal range center stage — while wearing a flower crown and sequins, natch. Consider this your Friday night slay-spiration.

Here’s Justin Bieber’s Very Skateboard-y, Tropical-Sounding ‘What Do You Mean’

The music video for Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean" surfaced earlier than planned Thursday night — and what a treat it is. The song sounds like what would happen if you took Steve Aoki's alarm clock to a tropical beach resort. (In other words, electro-catchy as hell.) And although the accompanying video doesn't really go with the lyrics, it's fun to watch — like the visual artists who do Disclosure's stuff had at a Tony Hawk video game featuring Ryan Sheckler, Chelsea Castro, and the Biebs as the only playable characters. Sorry, no Bam Margera, but how badly have you wanted to see Justin Bieber do a nollie flip? Doesn't matter! He does one here, with 50 percent clothes and 100 percent bad-itude. Enjoy:

  • Posted 8/27/15 at 4:22 PM
  • Music

Adele’s Next Album Will Reportedly Be Released This November

There is no album more anticipated than Adele's follow-up to 2011's diamond-certified 21. And, according to Billboard, the wait is nearly over: The magazine reports that she plans to release her third album this November. Their information comes straight from her label, XL Records, which had previously denied rumors that Adele would put out an album last year. The singer, however, was thought to have teased a new project, tentatively titled 25, on Twitter last May. As expected, details are scarce, but Billboard confirms that Danger Mouse, Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, and Tobias Jesso Jr. have each contributed to the album — though it remains to be seen what'll make the finished product. We're personally holding out for an Adele–Stevie Nicks duet.

  • Posted 8/27/15 at 3:46 PM
  • Movies

Rock the Kasbah Trailer: Bill Murray Rocks the Something Something

In Barry Levinson's Rock the Kasbah, Bill Murray plays a cantankerous, on-the-outs record producer who insists he's still got it. (He doesn't.) It's sort of a play on his 1970s SNL character Jerry Aldini. Murray accidentally becomes a talent scout for Afghanistan's version of American Idol and goes on one of those wacky trips during which he experiences zany antics and eventually an epiphany. The movie also features Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, and Bruce Willis. No word yet if the shareef don't like it.


  • Posted 8/27/15 at 12:06 PM
  • Music

Stream the Black Keys Front Man’s New Album

Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach has a new band, the Arcs, and their debut album is streaming now via NPR. The Arcs' debut album is called Yours, Dreamily, and it has a more loosey-goosey psychedelic feel to it than the Keys' blues-rock. Auerbach has said of the album, “I wanted everything to flow [and] be cohesive. A lot of the songs bleed one into the other, a lot like the Grateful Dead — my favorite records that they did. So I’ve got a lot of connected songs. It’s basically everything I love about music all wrapped up into one record — that’s all!” The Arcs also consist of Truth and Soul Records founder Leon Michels, Black Keys touring bassist Richard Swift, Menahan Street Band member Homer Steinweiss, Amy Winehouse collaborator Nick Movshon, guitarist Kenny Vaughan, and an all-female mariachi band called Mariachi Flor de Toloache. Yours, Dreamily comes out on September 4.

  • Posted 8/27/15 at 11:23 AM
  • Music

Destroyer’s New Video for ‘Times Square’ Is Trippy Stop-Motion Bliss

"Times Square," the latest single from Destroyer's upcoming album Poison Season, has a trippy new stop-motion video. It  feels like hitting a bowl with Wallace and Gromit. As singer-songwriter Dan Bejar croons to the screen, small, pot-smoking creatures made of moss, a chewing-gum monster, and a human brain with googly eyes dance laconically. Despite the song's title, New York's iconic hub of tourists and taxis barely appears in the video. The playful opening guitar recalls the Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," but the mix of sultry-sad saxophones, jangly pianos, and Bejar's singular voice is completely Destroyer. "The writing on the wall / Isn't writing at all / Just forces of nature / In love with the weather station."

This Fall, Will Grimes Make a Break for Honest-to-God Pop Stardom?

For about a month in 2011, the then-little-known Montreal-based producer-singer Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, barely left her apartment. She blacked out the windows and spent a string of sleepless (and allegedly Adderall-fueled) nights recording music alone on the standard-issue Apple software GarageBand — making propulsive beats, crafting hypnotic keyboard loops, and layering her airy falsetto into dense harmonies. As she’s described it since, she entered a kind of self-imposed fugue state. “[After nine days] you have no stimulation,” she told The Guardian, “so your subconscious starts filling in the blanks … I started to feel like I was channeling spirits.” The resulting album was pretty, spooky, personal, and a little hallucinatory. Fittingly, she called it Visions.


  • Posted 8/27/15 at 4:30 AM
  • R.i.p.

Tobias Strebel, Botched Star and Justin Bieber Look-alike, Has Been Found Dead

Tobias Strebel (a.k.a. Toby Sheldon), the reality-TV star and aspiring singer who spent scads of money to look as much like a young Justin Bieber as possible, has been found dead, according to multiple reports. He was 35. Missing since August 18, Strebel was found in L.A. on August 21 in a Motel 6, with medications in the room, according to ABC7. An autopsy has been conducted, but an official cause of death has not yet been released. In 2014, Strebel appeared on My Strange Addiction as a self-proclaimed Justin Bieber look-alike. He had said that after the pop star's ascent to worldwide stardom, he had spent upward of $100,000 on plastic surgeries to achieve a similar, if not identical, look. "What brought me to Bieber was the whole package: the full cheeks, the full temples, the bright, open eyes, the full, luscious lips, and spatial framing … [he’s] just extraordinarily beautiful," he said on the show Botched, according to Us Weekly. After his initial TV appearance, Strebel gained notoriety for his unique physical goals, allowing him to appear on other shows such as Bethenny and The Doctors. Strebel remarked once that he had been a musician before Bieber was even 4 years old; like his idol, he wished to be a professional singer himself.

  • Posted 8/27/15 at 3:29 AM
  • Friends

T. Swift Asked Lisa Kudrow to Come and Sing ‘Smelly Cat’ Because She Wanted Her Fans to Achieve Pop-Culture Nirvana

Wow, T. Swift sure does have a lot of celebrity friends willing to do fun stuff with her onstage. At this point, she's not-so-subtly making a solid run at becoming the Jimmy Fallon of concert tours. First, here are a few looks at this magical, highly spiritual "Smelly Cat" moment:

Chief Keef Has Named His New Son After His Record Label

Earlier this week, Chief Keef let us all know he had a new baby boy to share with the world: Sno, a.k.a. the White Sosa (this name works on a lot of levels; also, congratulations, Chief). DNAinfo Chicago reports that the baby's full name is officially Sno FilmOn Dot Com Cozart — pointing out that the middle name is a clear reference to the artist's record label and label's web address. Celebs have been running with odd baby names for years, but this is pretty next-level — pretty nothing-is-sacred-anymore. A spokesperson for Keef, 20, confirmed with DNAinfo that the reason behind the name is to promote an upcoming album: "Chief Keef and his newest baby mama have agreed to name the newborn Sno FilmOn Dot Com Cozart in order to promote the release of Sosa's double album Bang 3 with FilmOn Music and MondoTunes on September 18." It should be noted that if you read the middle name to Siri, yes, you will in fact be directed to Sno is reportedly Keef's fifth child, but likely his first living, breathing album promotion. (Sno — just in case you're not into it.)

Alessia Cara Continues to Fill the Void Lorde Left With Two Great New Jams [Updated]

After charming the world (and Drake) with her anti-party confessional "Here," Alessia Cara will release her first EP, Four Pink Walls, later this week. She phoned into Zane Lowe's Beats 1 Radio show today to premiere two of those songs, "Seventeen," and "Outlaws." If "Here" was a Song of Summer for the wallflowers, "Seventeen" is a fall banger for the back-to-school pep rally. The song takes nearly all its cues from Lorde's "Team," with its swirling synths and punchy drums, though its lyrics hit closer to the childhood reminiscing on "Tennis Court." "I wish I could freeze the time at 17," Cara sings, her bubbly optimism weighted with regret over taking her youth for granted. "Outlaws" isn't quite the hit "Seventeen" will likely become, but it's a better showcase of the vintage cadences in her voice — "old doo-wop-y," as she calls it — that she awed us with in her stripped-down version of "Here" for Vulture last month. If there's one to watch for the rest of 2015, as she preps her debut album, it's Alessia Cara.

A$AP Rocky Imagines a Pretty Rough Future for Himself in ‘Everyday’ Video

A$AP Rocky knows that being a self-proclaimed "jiggy nigga" is a difficult image to keep up, so for his "Everyday" video, things fall apart as he gets older. We're talking middle-aged-Elvis bad. (Not that that stops the hordes of beautiful women from flocking to his mansion, of course.) This "Hip-Hop Hollywood" story has everything: suicide, plastic surgery, pill-popping, levitation, and ... Rod Stewart. Miguel and Mark Ronson also make cameos. If any of this happens to come true, A$AP's already got the makings of a pretty entertaining biopic.

  • Posted 8/26/15 at 12:00 PM

Keith Richards on Crosseyed Heart, His First Solo Album in 23 Years

Unlike many solo efforts from longtime members of a band, Keith Richards’s upcoming Crosseyed Heart — his first non–Rolling Stones album in 23 years — wasn’t intended as a platform for the elegantly grizzled guitarist to do much experimenting. “The most unique thing about it,” Richards, 71, says wryly, “is that there was no deadline for me to make it.” 


  • Posted 8/26/15 at 10:30 AM

Which One Direction Member Has the Most Solo Potential? A Ranking

For all its perks, being in a long-running boy band these days must also be a bit annoying. Not only is your every move as a group seen as a step towards certain death, but your individual worth is constantly being reassessed based on the likelihood that you'll go on to further success as a solo artist, regardless of how much interest you've actually expressed in being one. With former pop-group members like Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé setting that bar for success so high, it can seem like you're being set up to fail before you even start. I mean, Google "Chris Kirkpatrick 2015."

Though they’ve couched rumors of a full-blown breakup as a well-earned hiatus in 2016, One Direction — particularly following Zayn’s departure —  now live and die in this solo-career arms race. But the thing is, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, and Zayn Malik were placed into a band specifically because X Factor judges didn't think they were promising enough individually to move forward as solo artists. One Direction's appeal has always been rooted in its members' ability to bring out each other's best qualities and compensate for one another's weak spots as performers, and they're all better off for having worked together: stronger vocalists, certainly, and better entertainers all around. This isn't a situation where one of them was severely hindered by being part of the group; none of them would exist, culturally speaking, without the group.

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What Our Critics Are Really Looking Forward to This Fall

The films David Edelstein can’t wait to see.

Oct. 9
Peter Sarsgaard as Stanley Milgram, the Yale researcher who ordered test subjects to deliver shocks to a stranger, their semi-blind obedience suggesting the worst in human nature — as depicted by indie stalwart Michael Almereyda (Hamlet).

Our Brand Is Crisis
Oct. 30
David Gordon Green directs a fictionalized version of one of the most penetrating docs of the aughts, Rachel Boynton’s tragicomedy of a South American election warped by newfangled Yankee image manipulation.

Nov. 6
Saoirse Ronan as an Irish immigrant in what’s rumored to be an emotionally transporting portrait of a time and place — the Brooklyn of the ’50s.


St. Vincent and Beck Joined Taylor Swift Onstage Last Night Because Pop Music in 2015 Is Wonderfully Weird

Continuing her cavalcade of famous guest-performers, Taylor Swift brought out Kanye's friend Beck and art-pop god St. Vincent to perform Beck's "Dreams" last night. Out of the melancholic, introspective Morning Phase, Beck was ready to dance and have fun again. St. Vincent, glittering like a dream, ripped into a guitar solo while fireworks erupted around her, as should always be the case. T. Swift, Beck, St. Vincent: sounds almost like a superhero trio, something you might see on a Saturday-morning cartoon block. Someone should make this happen.

Star Wars, Daft Punk Combine in Intense, Lightsaber-Filled Musical Tribute

Infectious Designer has taken the musical stylings of Daft Punk and mashed them up with the sci-fi badassery of Star Wars. In other words, this hypnotizing music video shows what it would be like if Vader and Fett were evil A&R guys who were really into electronic music.


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