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  • Posted 8/17/17 at 5:23 PM

Brand New’s First Album in Eight Years, Science Fiction, Is Out Right Now (Yes, Right Now!)

Brand New recently launched the preorder for their fifth studio album. Well, twist! That album, called Science Fiction, was just surprise-released today, out on their own label. It’s the band’s first full studio release since 2009, so make space for the Brand New fans in your life today so they can properly melt down over this surprise. Science Fiction is available digitally now, and physical copies will reportedly be shipping in October.

  • Posted 8/17/17 at 3:10 PM

How High Fashion Won Over Rap

Fashion has always been essential to hip-hop culture. Though the youthful black and brown New Yorkers who developed rap in the ‘70s and ‘80s weren’t well-off financially, their purchase of clothes was every bit as important to them as the priceless words they fashioned. Tight budgets failed to inhibit the growth of a dashing sense of style: Thrown back on their own resources, kids and young adults in the Bronx, Queens, Harlem, Brooklyn, and Staten Island competed relentlessly to see who could dress most distinctively. Within the space of a decade, a sartorial code no less intricate and elegant than the luxury houses of Paris had evolved to the scale where, allied with street poetry, it could make its presence known and commercially viable on a national stage. Just as Run-D.M.C.’s 1986 triple-platinum album Raising Hell confirmed to a skeptical music industry that rap was both potentially profitable and far more than a fad, its standout third track “My Adidas” at once pioneered the use of rap as a fashion advertisement and paved the way for the first endorsement deal between rap and clothing designers. Adidas sneakers were already the footwear of choice for Run, D.M.C., and Jam Master Jay, but after the song’s success, Adidas would be paying them to wear new sneakers, not the other way around.

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6 Best New Songs of the Week

Every week Vulture highlights the best new music. If the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year’s best music

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Indie Band Plays Trump Card for Publicity, Gets Horribly Burned

Have you heard of the Domestics? No? They’re an alt-rock band from Portland, Oregon, signed to a small label named Tender Loving Empire (TLE for short). It being hard to stand out from all the other indie bands in America, the Domestics, TLE, and their managers at Silver Morning Management just hit on an ingenious strategy to publicize the band’s upcoming album Little Darkness. As Paste reports, cassette tapes labeled “Trump/Comey Recordings” were mailed to various music business honchos; the return addresses were for the Ku Klux Klan, Westboro Baptist Church, and Infowars, the right-wing conspiracy-mongering site run by Alex Jones. Various other little clues in the package were meant to lead people to discover that, in fact, the whole thing was a gonzo promotional stunt for their upcoming album.

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Hear ‘Friends,’ the New Song From Your Bestie Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber wasn’t content to just have the Definitive Song of the Summer — he’s back with a brand-new solo song, “Friends.” The single was made in conjunction with producer BloodPop, also known as Michael Tucker and, formerly, Blood Diamonds. In addition to co-writing “Sorry,” among other songs from Bieber’s Purpose, the producer worked most recently on songs from Haim’s Something to Tell You and co-wrote extensively on Lady Gaga’s Joanne. As Billboard points out, Biebs could potentially knock himself (or, more specifically, his “Despacito” remix) off the top of the Hot 100 just as it’s closing in on chart history. Are you immediately in love with “Friends,” or do you just want to, you know?

  • Posted 8/17/17 at 11:00 AM

Band on the Run

Adam Granduciel is flying down the highway in a rented Jeep Cherokee, A/C blasting to mask the 95-degree heat of Philadelphia in mid-July. The radio’s on, too, tuned to a similarly feverish chatter of news about dirty tricks and high crimes, but Granduciel isn’t paying attention. His band, the War on Drugs, is a month away from the release of its next album, and he’s keenly aware of the stakes. “I always feel like everything I do is my one shot,” the 38-year-old songwriter says. “If I have one song that’s shitty, then people are going to give up on the band.”

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  • Posted 8/16/17 at 5:53 PM

Spotify Bans White-Supremacist Bands

Music, like culture in general, is something humans naturally produce, and those human beings dedicated to denying the humanity of other human beings are no exception. White supremacists play musical instruments; sometimes, they form bands; sometimes, those bands record albums. And you can hear those albums over Spotify the same way you could an album whose lyrics didn’t promote genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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  • Posted 8/16/17 at 5:08 PM

Bonnie Tyler Will Sing ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ During the Total Eclipse on a Cruise Ship, Bringing the Universe in Perfect Alignment

For those who don’t believe that things in the universe can align quite so perfectly, Bonnie Tyler has just the thing to convince you otherwise: The famed Welsh singer is set to perform “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” evergreen cruise-ship song, live on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, on August 21 — day of the exceedingly rare total solar eclipse. “It’s going to be so exciting,” Tyler told Time. “It doesn’t happen very often, does it?” (It does not.) The singer teased other details: Her five-minute-plus song has been halved to match the eclipse’s two-minute-40-second running time, and she’ll be performing with the pop-rock band DNCE. (Also, she revealed she owns a boat: “I go with the flow, darling. I’m not worried about things like [seasickness].”) If by some remarkable fortune you’re one of the thousands boarding this particular Oasis of the Seas cruise, set to depart from Orlando on August 20, please accept our congratulations on being present for the sight of Bonnie Tyler actually singing beneath an eclipse, now knowing for sure that the best of all the years have not yet gone by. Because really: This is as good as it gets.

LCD Soundsystem Release First Video From New Album, for Their Groovy New Song ‘Tonite’

LCD Soundsystem have made good on their promise, releasing another impressive track from their new post-retirement album, American Dream, out next month, only this one comes with a video. And good news: You can definitely groove to it. The new song, “Tonite,” follows “American Dream” and “Call the Police,” and was first unveiled during the band’s live five-night stand at Brooklyn Steel back in April. (The band have also implied it’s closer to the album’s overall “tone” than the other pair of singles.) It’s been seven years since LCD Soundsystem released an album, and the band’s bumpy ride in the time since has kept observers skeptical as to whether their new record would really see the light of day in 2017. But we now have three released singles, official cover artwork (feel as you may about it), and even a revealing profile of synth master Gavin Russom, who recently came out as trans. Judging by what’s been teased so far, fans should be pretty satisfied.

Lady Gaga Will Reportedly Testify in Dr. Luke’s Defamation Case Against Kesha

Lady Gaga is reportedly set to testify in Dr. Luke’s ongoing defamation case against Kesha. The producer’s legal team subpoenaed Lady Gaga in July for deposition regarding a series of texts Kesha sent her in 2013, in which the “Praying” singer reportedly describes how Dr. Luke allegedly drugged and raped her. Gaga initially responded to the subpoena with a “heavily-redacted, four page spreadsheet of” the text exchange, but now the singer has signed a deal to “appear for a deposition pursuant to [Luke’s] subpoena in this action, during the month of September,” according to “Page Six.”

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  • Posted 8/16/17 at 8:54 AM

Manchester Arena Will Reopen Next Month With Benefit Concert Headlined By Noel Gallagher

Four months after a terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena left 22 people dead, the venue is set to reopen next month. Manchester Arena will be back for business on September 9 starting with a benefit concert headlined by hometown fave Noel Gallagher, whose Oasis song “Don’t Look Back in Anger” became an anthem for the city following the attack. (His brother, Liam, put on a local benefit of his own in the wake of the attack, and later berated Noel for not performing with him at Grande’s benefit show.) Noel will perform with his High Flying Birds band and will be joined by British bands the Courteeners and Blossoms, poet Tony Walsh (who did a reading of his poem “This Is the Place” at the vigil), and none other than the Rick Astley, with more guests to be announced. The show is titled We Are Manchester and all proceeds will go toward building a permanent memorial to the victims of the attack. On Tuesday, it was announced that the families of the victims will each receive $324,000 from the money raised by Grande’s benefit concert.

Your Guide to All of the Bands in Twin Peaks

While Angelo Badalamenti’s iconic Twin Peaks compositions have, quite sadly, not been as prevalent as we would’ve liked on Showtime’s revived series so far (opening theme notwithstanding), there seems to be a repeated musical pattern emerging over the course of Peaks’ installments: Live bands have appeared in almost all of the episodes at the old Roadhouse in the quirky Northwestern town, mostly providing the closing credits with a dreamy, retro melodic mood à la Lynch’s original chanteuse, Julee Cruise. Vulture will be keeping a running tally of the performances every week. Put on some headphones and enjoy ’em.

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  • Posted 8/15/17 at 1:41 PM

Drake’s Insane Streak of Chart Dominance Is Over

Drake has had one amazing run, all told: Since debuting on the Hot 100 with his breakout hit “Best I Ever Had” on May 23, 2009, the Toronto artist has had at least one song on the charts every single week. Until now: As Chart Data reports, this week will break his streak. For the first time in 430 (!) weeks there won’t be a single Drake song in sight on Billboard’s central chart. Drake has always had tremendous range in terms of music, but whether it’s street-claiming thumpers, romantic crooners as clinging and sweet as caramel, dazed and confused catalogues of career success, Meek Mill diss tracks, or deft collaborations with Jamaica and Nigeria’s leading lights, not one is to be found.

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Pinch Yourself: Brand New Is Finally Releasing Their New Album on ‘Very Limited’ Vinyl in October

Nearly a year ago Brand New informed fans that their unicorn of a fifth album would have to be delayed until it fit the band’s standards. Well, it appears the day where it passes all inspection has finally come: Brand New have all but announced that their first album in eight years, since 2009’s Daisy, is out in October. In a mysterious tweet, the band linked to a preorder of a project simply titled “fifth album” for sale in “very limited” vinyl — so limited that it’s already sold out — that will start shipping in October through their own label. They’ve also announced a series of shows with “special guests,” beginning in September. Vulture has reached out to Brand New’s reps for clarification on the album, but in the meantime, you do the math.

  • Posted 8/15/17 at 11:36 AM
  • Cursing

St. Vincent Effing Loves the F Word and All It Represents

Earlier this summer, St. Vincent dropped her first single in two years titled “New York,” a song in which she mourns the loss of “the only motherfucker in the city who can handle me.” Going on the podcast Song Exploder, the singer-songwriter broke down the track, detailing her writing process, her love for New York, and just how much she loves to say fuck: “I get a lot of pleasure from saying ‘fuck.’ I love that word. It’s so satisfying.”

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Riz Ahmed Delivered a Sobering Spoken Work Performance on the Tonight Show in Response to Charlottesville

Last night, Jimmy Fallon publicly shamed Donald Trump in his opening monologue for Trump’s initial non-response to the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend that left one woman dead. But after acknowledging the Tonight Show’s general political indifference, he handed the mic over to someone with a better track record of being vocal about his views: Riz Ahmed. The actor, rapper, and activist took center stage at Fallon’s request to perform an a cappella version of a spoken-word piece called “Sour Times,” which Ahmed says he wrote ten years ago “hoping it would become irrelevant,” only to experience the opposite. He described performing the piece now, with the room completely dark, as his “attempt to work out where all this extremism is coming from” — in it, he traces the long, mired history of terrorism and its changing face. “I’m losing my religion to tomorrow’s headlines, but it’s fine,” the bitter rap poignantly ends.

John Oliver Enlists Weird Al Yankovic to Appeal to North Korea’s Love of Accordions with Polka Song ‘Please Don’t Nuke Us, North Korea’

On yesterday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver eviscerated Trump for refusing to condemn the heinous actions of white supremacists and Nazis that left one dead and 19 injured in Charlottesville, Virginia. While Trump’s “on many sides” statement is one example of his repeated failure to publicly disavow white supremacists, his recent “fire and fury” threat aimed at North Korea might have the most immediate impact on the country. In another segment on his show, Oliver likens Trump’s improvised warning to the prospect of Wayne Brady at a funeral: “Now is not a good time to improvise.” Oliver not only explained Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons as a means of self-preservation, he appealed to North Korea’s quite real love for the accordion by enlisting Weird Al Yankovic to sing “Please Don’t Nuke Us, North Korea” with a full polka band. While most of the song pleads the case that most Americans aren’t so bad and “probably couldn’t find your country on a map,” Weird Al also makes this salient point: “Why in the world would you kill Tom Hanks? ’Cause nobody doesn’t like Tom Hanks.”

  • Posted 8/14/17 at 1:42 PM

Kelsea Ballerini Is Already Country Music’s Biggest Star

For several years now, the country-radio format has been notoriously stingy toward new female acts seeking airplay. Only one woman who’s arrived on the scene this decade has been able to establish a pattern of radio success, and that’s 23-year-old Kelsea Ballerini. She got her most significant exposure beyond the country world when a Best New Artist Grammy nomination earned her a performance on this past February’s awards telecast alongside Danish pop-rockers Lukas Graham. “I wasn’t only trying not to mess up for people that did know me,” Ballerini says of the pressure she felt, “but it was also my first introduction for people that didn’t.”

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Willie Nelson Says He’s Okay After Ending Salt Lake City Concert Early Due to Breathing Problems

The words “Willie Nelson hospitalized” are enough to send chills down any fan’s spine, but according to the country singer’s own tweet, he is fine, ambulatory, and ready to play another concert, though hopefully one located closer to sea level. Late Sunday night, reports came in that the 84-year-old performer had been forced to cut short his concert at Salt Lake City’s USANA Amphitheatre due to problems with his breathing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer was subsequently taken to a hospital. Fortunately, Nelson now says it was just a case of altitude sickness. And if he’s well enough to tweet, why, that’s good enough for us. “This is Willie I am sorry to have to cut the SLC show short tonight The altitude got to me,” the singer posted from his official Twitter account. “I am feeling better now & headed for lower ground.” So if you want to spend your entire Monday crying and listen to “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” do it, because that’s just how you spend every Monday. Willie Nelson is doing just fine.

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  • Posted 8/11/17 at 8:45 PM

Denver Judge Throws Out Former DJ David Mueller’s Lawsuit Against Taylor Swift

One day after Taylor Swift gave her now widely circulated testimony in her own sexual-assault trial, the presiding judge in the Denver courtroom has tossed out the case that instigated this entire legal battle in the first place, according to the Associated Press. After dismissing the jury, U.S. District Judge William Martinez deliberated on whether or not Mueller’s team had presented sufficient evidence for their claim that Swift herself was responsible for him losing his job as a radio host, and determined the evidence was insufficient. The decision follows the fourth day in court, during which time Swift’s former bodyguard testified that he did see Mueller groping the singer in the manner she described, an act that Mueller denies. And even though the suit against Swift specifically is out, Mueller has filed the same claims against her mom, Andrea, and her radio representative, Frank Bell. Those remain in place.

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