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Damon Albarn Sounds Sad On Blur's Moody New Song

Three singles from Blur’s comeback LP The Magic Whip have already dropped, and they're all pretty great. Collectively, “Lonesome Street,” “There Are Too Many of Us,” and “Go Out” channel the infectious yet wounded post-Brit-pop punch of Blur’s later, American-influenced albums. But the moody new single “My Terracotta Heart” has a decidedly darker sound. Continuing the slinky-sad sound Damon Albarn first experimented with on Gorillaz’ 2005 modern classic Demon Days (it even has the electronic blips and droning percussion), “My Terracotta Heart” sounds like the album art looks: a nocturnal, neon-steeped ice cream cone, as cool as it is chilly. The Magic Whip comes out April 27.

  • Posted 4/17/15 at 4:59 PM

Tidal CEO to Be Replaced

Andy Chen, the CEO of Tidal’s parent group Aspiro, acquired by Jay Z in February, is being replaced. The interim successor is former CEO Peter Tonstad, who has been with the company since 2010. In a statement, Tonstad says:

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Kars4Kids Is on Television. The End Is Nigh.

The 1-877-Kars-4-Kids ad is legendary, but only because America hates it.

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Brand New Keep Torturing Us, Playing New Songs Without Info About a New Album

Well, now Brand New are just teasing us. After emerging this week with a new song after years of nothing, the band have unveiled yet another new song in the most Brand New way possible. At a concert in L.A. last night, the band handed out lyrics to a song called "Sealed to Me," which — you guessed it! — happened to be for a new song they debuted during the show's encore performance. It's not nearly as ferocious as "Mene," (think more along the lines of "Tautou"), but it's enough to continue to build excitement about the band's return. So, what gives? Does all this new music and tour indicate a new album is on the way? The band hasn't made any announcements yet, and a publicist tells Vulture there's no new information about an album at the moment. On the new song, Jesse Lacey asks, "How you feeling?" Right about now, we're gonna have to go with confused (but hopeful!).

There Isn’t Nearly Enough Blue Ivy in Jay Z’s ‘Glory’ Video

With Jay Z's Tidal a few weeks old — and already under heavy fire from his music peers — it's about time the man running the show released some exclusive content of his own. Today he's put out the video for "Glory" — no, not the Common and John Legend song from Selma, but the song he released in 2012, just after the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy. But, sadly, although her adorable little baby coos are heard on the track, she's nowhere to be seen in the video (which features footage from the rehearsals for his 2012 Carnegie Hall shows). We do, however, see Jay Z be a total dad and show off what looks like baby pics of Blue on his phone to Alica Keys and Nas. What a family man!

Rihanna’s New Song Should Be America’s Next National Anthem

"'The Star-Spangled Banner' could totally use an update" are the words I imagine went through Rihanna's head when she first heard her new song, "American Oxygen" — because that's exactly what it sounds like. Rihanna debuted the sobering ode to the American dream at a performance during March Madness in Indiana (where she also slammed the state's proposed anti-gay legislation) on Saturday. And a day later, the track was made available to stream on Tidal. But just in case the song doesn't wind up replacing our national anthem, it'd also make for the perfect Empire theme song. "We sweat for a nickel and a dime / Turn it into an empire" — obviously, Cookie would approve.

In Case You Missed It: Christina Aguilera Was on Nashville Last Night

In case you missed it, Christina Aguilera showed up on Nashville last night. She looked a lot like herself, sang a lot like herself, and played singer "Jade St. John" — a pop star just dying to make a country album. Good luck, Jade! 

Have You Taken Google’s Virtual, Interactive Abbey Road Studios Tour?

Google's "Inside Abbey Road" takes web surfers on a virtual tour of the legendary studios — so virtual that you can maneuver around rooms and zoom in on and read about wall fixtures and instruments. Yep, it's educational and fun, like an annotated Google Street View. Take a gander and learn about everything from the studios' history to why its chairs have to be red.

Here Are the Best Answers From Kendrick Lamar’s Brief, Impromptu Twitter Q&A — Plus a Verse

Kendrick Lamar's not the most interactive force on Twitter, but on Wednesday he went out of his comfort zone. Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony Tiffith convinced Lamar to hop on Twitter for a brief, impromptu Q&A. For less than an hour, Lamar answered a handful of fans' questions on topics including his favorite rapper, his inspiration for To Pimp a Butterfly, and his thoughts on Lil Wayne. Thanks, Tiffith. More of this please.

Earl Sweatshirt? Yup. »

‘Uptown Funk’ Is No Longer No. 1, and Furious 7 Is to Blame

You had a solid 14-week run, “Uptown Funk,” but your reign at No. 1 has come to an end, thanks to the corniest (but also most heartwarming!) song of 2015. As predicted — but not necessarily hoped for — “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, which was featured on the Furious 7 soundtrack, has, er, accelerated to the top of the charts from No. 10 to No. 1 this week as a result of crazy box-office numbers and Vin Diesel’s pitch-perfect version during the MTV Movie Awards.

Things could have been worse: Had Mark Ronson’s collab with Bruno Mars remained at No. 1 for just two more weeks, it would have unseated “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men as the song holding the record for the most consecutive weeks at the top of the charts. As “One Sweet Day” is infinitely better than both “Uptown Funk” and “See You Again,” we, and the Lambily, are quite satisfied with the news.

Taylor Swift Wants You to Move to China and Buy a Hybrid — Don’t Ask Why: It’s Her Dream, Her ‘Wildest Dream’

You have to assume that celebrities agree to appear in random commercials that'll only air in China thinking that no one will ever get a hold of them elsewhere. Well, welcome to the internet, Taylor, where people find everything. We now know that Swift stars in not one but two Chinese commercials for Toyota's Camry Hybrid — how very ecofriendly of her! — set to her 1989 track "Wildest Dreams." And though we can't quite imagine that owning a car is that much of a wild dream for someone with Tay's millions, it's probably a lot of her Chinese fans' dream come true to have her perform the song with Chinese piano prodigy Li Yundi. (She's still no McConaughey, though.)

  • Posted 4/15/15 at 10:24 AM
  • Music

Steve Albini on Tidal and the Problem With ‘Little Streaming Fiefdoms’

Steve Albini would be a legendary figure in rock circles if all he'd done was produce Nirvana’s In Utero, the Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, and helmed the punk outfits Big Black and Shellac. But he also became a go-to industry gadfly after writing the still widely circulated 1993 music-business polemic “The Problem With Music.” His opinions since then haven't softened, at least in regard to streaming services, which was the subject of conversation when Vulture called him last week at his studio in Chicago to talk Tidal. “Historically, every time there’s been a new technological progression, there’s been a new convenience format [for listening to music],” he said. “So the question is, is it possible for something to be more convenient than streaming? And the answer is obviously yes.” He imagines a cheap app that autonomously searches for music from anywhere on the internet; streaming, like CDs and the 8-track tape, is just a temporary development in a long line of new technologies designed for convenience.

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Florence Welch Breaks Foot at Coachella, Is a Champ

After her show at Coachella this weekend, Florence Welch revealed via Facebook on Tuesday that she broke her foot when she leaped off the stage. It's unclear how bad the break is, but she gave fans a general idea by writing that it's essentially bad enough that Florence and the Machine's performances will have to be "stripped back" — but it's not bad enough to warrant canceled shows (tour dates here). "This album was so much about making something from what was broken, so lets see what we can do with this," she wrote in reference to the band's forthcoming album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which comes out at the beginning of June. What a champ.

Read her statement in full: »

10 Best New Songs of the Week

Every week, members of the Vulture staff highlight the best new music of 2015. We do not discriminate; as long as 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 2015 Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best new tunes.

Tunde Adebimpe featuring Sal P and Sinkane, “Speedline Miracle Masterpiece”
TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe recorded this song for The Alchemist and Oh No Present: Welcome to Los Santos, a compilation inspired by Grand Theft Auto V, which comes out on PC today. It’s a peculiar source of inspiration, but who cares, this song is the shit. It basically sounds like if TV on the Radio were tasked with making the Drive soundtrack, and in turn made the thing funky as hell. —Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)

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Soul Singer Percy Sledge Dies at 73

Singer Percy Sledge has died at the age of 73, the Associated Press reports. The soul singer, best known for "When a Man Loves a Woman," died of liver cancer at his home in Louisiana shortly after midnight on Tuesday. "When a Man Loves a Woman" was Sledge's debut single and his biggest hit, reaching No. 1 in 1966 and charting again in the late '80s. Covers by Bette Midler and Michael Bolton also topped the charts, but Sledge never received any of the song's publishing royalties, having given all songwriting credit to bassist Calvin Lewis and organ player Andrew Wright as thanks for helping him rework the song's lyrics. After the song became a hit, Sledge refused to fight for his share of the credit, but the experience left him with mixed emotions. "I felt like, if God fixed it in my mouth to give it to them, I won't change anything about it," he recalled later. "I'm satisfied with what I wrote, but I cut my kids out of so much ... I just wasn't thinking." Likely because of this, he had a robust touring schedule, averaging 100 concerts a year up until 2014. Sledge went on to have more Top 40 hits with "Warm and Tender Love," "It Tears Me Up," "Love Me Tender," and "Take Time to Know Her." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Report: Justin Bieber Put in Choke Hold, Exiled From Coachella

Drake's interesting set at Coachella was also pretty interesting behind the scenes. TMZ reports that Justin Bieber and his squad caused a kerfuffle at the music fest when they got stonewalled at the artist's entrance during the rapper's set. Biebs wanted to hang with Drake, but Coachella staffers said no because the area was at capacity. TMZ's sources claim Bieber pissed off employees there by relentlessly insisting he had been invited to the area by his fellow countryman. One security guard was so peeved he put Bieber in a choke hold, and probably called him Joffrey (okay, we're just guessing). Bieber's security reportedly tussled with Coachella's security — because nobody puts him in a choke hold but them — before the singer decided to wrangle his crew and leave. TMZ adds Bieber's team might take legal action against Coachella's security. 

Brand New Releases New Song: It Might Be Spring Outside, But It’s Still Winter in Our Hearts

Bet that's a headline you never thought you'd read in a million years. Finally, after six years of radio silence, Long Island emo gods Brand New are back with a new song that'll make your head explode. And it's not just that! They're playing Coachella, shipping out those lyric booklets fans (like me) paid $1 for all those years ago, and have a new site currently hosting (for a limited time) their new song "Mene" — which can only mean one thing: A new album is probably in the works! And while Jesse Lacey still isn't feeling a damn thing, we're an emotional wreck. Emo is back, baby!

  • Posted 4/13/15 at 11:16 AM
  • Music

Listening to Beyoncé With Avant-Garde Composer Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon is the latest in a long line of women electronic-music pioneers. Like Delia Derbyshire, Wendy Carlos, and Laurie Spiegel, she uses digital tools to create music that mines the way technology influences our perception of the world. She’s especially interested in the emotional impact of interpersonal relationships created online. To wit, her new record Platform, out May 19 on 4AD, includes a love song dedicated to a fictional NSA agent who’s spying on a paramour through the internet. “Talking about issues of the NSA can be dry and didactic,” she says. “So I’m using pop as a carrier signal to talk about a real issue.”

Traditionally speaking, this sort of heady, highly conceptual stuff doesn’t translate in the mainstream-pop world — the closest she can get is counting Björk and Thom Yorke as notable fans — but the “mainstream,” Herndon says, is a matter of context: “If you’re a noise bro, then I’m probably the most pop thing in the world. If you’re Ariana Grande, then I’m a total freak weirdo.” Vulture sat down with Herndon for a little listening session. We watched videos together on YouTube and asked her to dissect the songs that are blowing up the charts. She didn’t call anyone a "total freak weirdo," but she did have a thing or two to say about trap.

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Kanye Throws Surprise Concert, Jumps in Lake — Crowd Goes Wild

In case you haven't been keeping up with the Wests, Kimye is in Armenia. So Yeezus did the only logical thing possible and threw an impromptu concert for his fans near downtown Yerevan's Swan Lake. He then jumped in said lake, maybe thought about baptizing people (kidding, but it's unclear from the footage), and then maybe told his acolytes to start selling the water online. The point: People lost their minds because New Kanye is so much fun.

Tyler, the Creator Performs New Songs at Coachella

Tyler, the Creator performed a few new songs off of his upcoming album, Cherry Bomb, while rocking some sweet mustard-yellow shorts at Coachella. The hotly anticipated album features contributions from Kanye and Pharrell, who hopefully didn't steal any songs this time. Maybe Tyler, Kanye, and Pharrell will start a band of mononymous artists?

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