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Revisiting the 15 Greatest Amy Winehouse Performances on YouTube

There’s a brief turning point in Amy, the stirring new Amy Winehouse documentary that came out this weekend, where we momentarily forget the embattled singer's fate. She's been off drugs for months, living in St. Lucia and starting to look and sound like her pre-fame self. We hear her leave cheerful voice mails to producer Salaam Remi, letting him know how elated she is to be healthy enough to get back in the studio after an extended hiatus. Amazingly, you almost start to believe she'll be fine. The illusion fades fast as soon as those closest to her — namely her father, Mitch, and manager, Raye Cosbert — talk her into doing a small comeback tour in Europe to convince all her naysayers that we haven't seen the last of her.

Amy wasn’t ready. One of her best friends makes a desperate attempt to hide her passport so she can't leave the country. Instead, her family and management check her into rehab — this time she couldn't say, "No, no, no" — to wean her off booze long enough to survive a tour. That's when it becomes clear that Amy has lost the will to fight: She's completely dead-eyed, now doubting her own progress. And so she relapses — hard. During the final performance seen in the film, at 2011’s Belgrade Festival in Serbia, she gives up on herself. In painful footage, we see her barely lucid, refusing to sing, and unable to go on with the show despite her band's reassurance. Like everyone else in Amy's life, they can't help her, and she's ultimately booed off the stage. The European tour is later canceled, and Amy dies of alcohol poisoning a month later, at 27.

While there's no way to discuss Winehouse's legacy without touching on her tragic end, we'd all be better served to spend our time remembering how incredible of a performer she was at the peak of her powers. To that end, we parsed through YouTube and dug up some of her greatest live performances. Her window was brief, but at its best it was beautiful.

If you didn't know better, you'd think you were listening to one of your grandmother's favorite old records. »

What If Demi Lovato Fell on Purpose?

Demi Lovato fell on Sunday. She was having a pool party in L.A. for fans hosted by 102.7 KISS-FM, and she fell. Everyone had a good laugh about it afterward, including Lovato, who tweeted the below video to much fanfare. Which raises the question: Did she fall on purpose? In a post–Jennifer Lawrence Hollywood, are young celebs trained to fall and react humbly to falling? What better way to promote her new single, "Cool for the Summer," which came out on July 1, than a viral, "cool" "Summer" fall? It did work. America loves a klutz. Judge for yourself below. See you next fall.

  • Posted 7/6/15 at 1:46 AM
  • Albums

Kid Cudi’s Next Album Will Be the ‘Purest Form’ of His Artistic Self

Rapper and (Comedy Bang! Bang! co-star) Kid Cudi had new, hyped-up info about one of his upcoming albums over the Fourth of July weekend, so he took to Twitter to grab everybody's attention. The first of two albums in the works, Speedin' Bullet to Heaven, is almost entirely self-produced, as well as 98 percent done, according to the artist. "I produced every record myself," Cudi wrote. "This album is the 100% ... purest form of my artistic self." Last month, Cudi had promised "massive info" to come on his new record, adding that faces would be melting and rewards would be issued in the form of magical music candy. Sounded gnarly. Well, mission basically accomplished. We're just waiting for these tunes.

Check out his tweets here: »

Dave Grohl Did More Awesome Stuff While Having a Broken Leg

Trying to keep up with Dave Grohl is exhausting. The guy makes most people half his age look lazy. Even with a broken leg, the dude just keeps going, like a tattooed Energizer Bunny with pure rock and roll coursing through his veins. To kick off the Foo Fighters’ North American tour, Grohl, his leg swaddled in an awesome purple cast, played from a custom-made, light-machine-equipped throne. You can watch a fan-recorded video of the concert below and feel bad about how you're just sitting in a regular chair watching a guy with a broken leg rock out. Keep on keeping on, King Grohl.

  • Posted 7/5/15 at 2:15 PM
  • Music

Philly Mayor Michael Nutter Performs ‘Rapper’s Delight’ With the Roots

At last night’s July Jam in Philadelphia, the city’s super-cool mayor Michael Nutter, who used to be a DJ before entering politics, performed Sugar Hill Gang’s iconic “Rapper’s Delight” with gusto and poise. He was joined by the Roots. Of course, he ended the performance with a mike-drop, just in case you forgot who the coolest mayor was.

  • Posted 7/5/15 at 12:53 PM
  • Music

Blood Orange’s New Song Is the First Great Piece of Art About Charleston

While it conjures up feelings of deep-seated sorrow and Sisyphean hopelessness, Dev Hynes’s new 11-minute masterpiece “Do You See My Skin Through the Flames?” is less a protest song, à la Prince, than a self-vivisection. He's deconstructing himself, figuring out who he is in the wake of the Charleston shooting. The way it deals with tragedy and pain is achingly of-the-moment, yet that pain feels, sadly, timeless. Released under Hynes's Blood Orange moniker, the song is a pensive meditation on his feelings during this time of sustained anxiety. He eschews anger, a staple of the protest song, and instead sounds exhausted at having to explain this "depression" again. The vocals echo with the fleeting quality of a dream:

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Lil Wayne Drops New Mixtape on Tidal

Tidal's quest for streaming dominance has been making headway lately. A few days ago, Prince announced that he was removing his music from all of the streaming services, save Tidal, which left a lot of fans teary-eyed and angry (though depriving someone of "When Doves Cry" is cruel and unusual). Now Lil Wayne has dropped a new mixtape, The Free Weezy Album (FWA), exclusively on Tidal, which you can listen to here.

  • Posted 7/3/15 at 10:45 AM
  • Omg

Harry Styles Dishes Details on Zayn Malik

One Direction, a very popular boy band that has sold a lot of records and whose posters adorn the walls of so many teenage girls, lost one of its key members, Zayn Malik, earlier this year. Fans were devastated, and theories and rumors on his return have circulated since. How’s the band doing without Zayn? Harry Styles, talking to Entertainment Weekly, has some updates:

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Eminem and Gwen Stefani Did a Song Together, So You Should Probably Give It a Whirl

In weird pairings you thought you didn't need: Eminem and Gwen Stefani on Thursday hopped into a time machine set for the early aughts to whip up a new single, "Kings Never Die." The Southpaw song is as poppy as it is rappy — why, yes, that is Em sing-rapping! It almost has a Gym Class Heroes, or even Fall Out Boy, feel to it, thanks to the guitar-heavy spitting. (Who knows, maybe Em is thinking about forming a band?) The track also does a very, very good job of kvetching about the internet and sounding grumpy, all while making it clear Gwen and Em are still musical kings. It's a good time, but it's a weird, nostalgic good time. Aside from the interesting sound, it's fairly classic Em: lyrical intensity; complex, staccato rhymes; and a syncopated but unrelenting flow. (King alert, king alert.) The rapper has been heavily involved with Southpaw's soundtrack, which comes out July 24. The movie's out the same day.

Press play: »

  • Posted 7/3/15 at 12:55 AM
  • Ouchies

Meghan Trainor Has Had to Postpone Her First Two Tour Shows Because of a Vocal-Cord Hemorrhage

A vocal-cord hemorrhage has forced Meghan Trainor to postpone at least two of her MTrain Tour concerts until further notice. The singer announced the disheartening news via social media late Thursday, noting that she's seeing doctors in New York and currently unable to make noise. "I want to cry but can't cuz it will hurt more," she told her fans, via iPhone, in an Instagram video. "I'm sorry megatronz I will make it up to you I promise." Trainor had a kick-off show coming up in Atlantic City (July 3), as well as one in Connecticut (July 4), but her doctors have told her she needs "complete vocal rest until they are healed." As People points out, the young musician has had similar trouble before: She was forced to rest for roughly two months last year while recording All About That Bass because of polyps on her vocal cords. Let's hope this will be a speedier recovery.

Read her note announcing the news here: »

You Might Have Lost the Revolutionary War, England, But Chins Up: There’s a New Libertines Video!

Anthems for Doomed Youth, which comes out in September, will be the Libertines first album since 2004. "Gunga Din" is the first single. Happy Independence Day, England!

  • Posted 7/2/15 at 2:57 PM
  • Gifs

All the GIFs You Need From Rihanna’s ‘B*tch Better Have My Money’ Video [NSFW]

Rihanna celebrated America's birthday by dropping her "Bitch Better Have My Money" music video last night, and it instantly became the front-runner for "Most GIF-able Music Video of 2015." It's everything "Bad Blood" should have been: A seven-minute spectacle of cartoonish violence, lavish production values, and absurd celebrity cameos. The plot follows the lyrics to a T, but the real fun comes from the ever-increasing insanity of the individual moments, all of which become only more fun when you loop them over and over again. Here they are, in perfect meme-ready form. (Nipples figure quite prominently, so this post is NSFW.)

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Your La Monte Young Listening Guide

Experimental music still constitutes only a speck of music sales, streams, and performances, but it’s never been bigger or easier to find. You can choose between a five-CD Steve Reich boxed set or a ten-CD Steve Reich boxed set. Maybe you’d prefer a dozen discs of Pauline Oliveros. Even less-celebrated experimentalists, such as Laurie Spiegel, are not only being reissued but well received. You’d have to be a pretty minor Minimalist not to have even one record in print. Either that or a genius, pioneering control-freak who spends years preparing each release, like La Monte Young, featured in this week's issue of New York

A near-mint copy of Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano sold on eBay last month for more than $400. (I have a vinyl copy. Offer $350 and it’s yours.) He hasn’t released many records, and the ones he has released are out of print. If you want to hear his music, you’ll need to put on your wading boots. Even then it might be difficult because Young doesn’t hesitate to file DMCA takedown notices, forcing music to be removed from websites. By the time you click on these links, some might already be gone.

Unfortunately, we could find no performance of Composition 1960 #2, which instructs the performer to “build a fire in front of the audience." »

  • Posted 7/2/15 at 8:05 AM
  • Music

Minimalist Composer La Monte Young on His Life and Immeasurable Influence

La Monte Young has a different relationship to time from the rest of us. His music goes on for a long time — that’s objectively true, and it feels even longer if, like many people, you find it boring. He’s credited as the vastly influential father of minimalism because when he was 22, in 1958, he wrote the first piece that held notes for a long period, suspended in air to allow examination and contemplation. His best-known work, The Well-Tuned Piano, is a solo performance that has grown in length from three and a half hours to five to, last time he played it, nearly six and a half. (It would have been longer, but he rushed a few parts.) When he was young, Young shocked Karlheinz Stockhausen by strolling in two hours late for the intimidating composer’s morning composition class in Darmstadt, Germany. For some time, Young lived on a weekly cycle of five 33.6-hour days. Lately, he stays awake for 24 hours, and then rests for 24.

“I’m too famous.” »

Robin Thicke’s First ‘Blurred Lines’ Comments: ‘I Would Never Steal’

Robin Thicke has been mostly off the grid because of ongoing "Blurred Lines" litigation. In a recent interview with the New York Times, however, the musician broke his silence and finally commented publicly on his and Pharrell's position in the ordeal. "I know the difference between inspiration and theft. I’m constantly inspired, but I would never steal," he said, referencing his legal team's appeal. "And neither would Pharrell." If the verdict holds up, Thicke says he's worried the decision will have a negative ripple effect throughout the music industry — one debilitating to contemporary creativity. The musician also went on in the interview to discuss the importance of spending time with his son, tidbits off his new album (Morning Sun), and what he thinks about some of the other legal cases floating around.

Here are some choice nugs: »

Rihanna's Very NSFW ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ Music Video

Nipples, guns, and weed! Oh my! The official music video for "BBHMM" does not disappoint. Rihanna joined forces with Megaforce to direct this veritable movie of a seven-minute music video, with cinematic fierceness (look, there's Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen!) and wonderful weirdness à la Beyoncé and Lady Gaga's "Telephone." Unlike most movies released these days, however, it maintains an alarming amount of surprise(s) and blows its trailer out of the water. RiRi takes all the lyrics in her song very literally, and puts everything onscreen — bad gal indeed. (Warning: If you couldn't tell from the first sentence, it's NSFW.)

Prince Had an Interesting Day With Music

When you're Prince you can kind of get away with doing whatever you want. Today the Purple One wanted an interesting news day, so he surprise-released a song about making women scream, called "HARDROCKLOVER," which, as some have noted, is kind of "sexy." But let's be clear: Its sexiness is also counterbalanced by its very high, slightly terrifying Yoko Ono effect. Still great, though. Very Prince, very hard-rock-lover-y. After premiering the song via SoundCloud earlier today, Prince then decided to remove a vast majority of his discography from all streaming platforms — except Tidal. "Prince's publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog," reads a note on Prince's Spotify page, according to Pitchfork. "We have cooperated with the request and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible." (Small silver lining: Purple Rain is "still streaming semi-randomly on Pandora," according to A.V. Club.) Wednesdays, right?

Listen to his new song here: »

Here’s What Happens When You Let Siri Be the DJ on Apple Music

Apple Music has arrived, and one of the flashiest features offered by the new streaming service is its integration with Siri, Apple's intelligent personal assistant. During the WWDC Apple Music presentation last month, Eddy Cue ordered Siri to “play the song from Selma.” It took her a minute, but eventually, she caught the correct command and played “Glory” by Common and John Legend. Not bad, but what else can Siri do with Apple Music? Vulture decided to put her skills to the test by asking her 21 music-related questions of varying degrees of difficulty. Below are her responses, including artist, song, and album titles where applicable. A few takeaways: Siri is not a fan of Weezer, doesn't understand the word thong, and thinks she has better taste than you do.

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You Can Stream Spotify-Hater Thom Yorke’s Catalogue on Apple Muisc

Back in 2013, long before Taylor Swift declared war on Spotify, Thom Yorke pulled all of his non-Radiohead work (including Atoms for Peace) off the streaming site. "Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid," he explained in a tweet. He later poetically referred to music-streaming "gatekeepers" like Spotify as "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse." He warned, "What happens next is the important part." What happened next, as we now know, was even more streaming platforms like Tidal and Apple Music adding their names to the already-crowded industry. But while Yorke was unfazed by Tidal, it seems Apple Music is another story. When Apple's new music venture went live on Tuesday, it included albums from Thom Yorke's solo catalogue as well as Radiohead's In Rainbows, Stereogum discovered. Right now on his artist page, you'll find 2006's The Eraser and 2014's BitTorrent-released Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, along with Atoms for Peace's Amok.

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Watch the Beginning of Disclosure’s Weird Sci-Fi Short Film

To promote their forthcoming album Caracal, Disclosure has approved the creation of a (very) chameleonic sci-fi project: The beginning (shown in this Ryan Hope–helmed video here for "Holding On," featuring Gregory Porter) looks like Orphan Black met Insidious at a club and then had a baby. As the song progresses, that feel morphs into something kind of X-Men-y and then something else maybe a little RoboCop-y.

"We wanted to create something very different with our music videos this time around, something unique that would connect all the songs from the album and the videos in a special way," the duo wrote on Twitter. They went on to explain that this clip is actually the first in a series of four vignettes (the others will be available here). When considered together, the quartet of clips will form a short film with the same name as the group's new record. Think of it as a four-day Advent calendar, if you want. Caracal, the album, drops September 25. Until then, get to know Mariela and her weird world:

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