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Author: "Kate B"

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Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Whoyougonnacall, K-pop lovers? Gangnam Busters!

News flash: Halloween happened this week. And though we thought Jessica Simpson looked great as a vampy milkmaid, and Miley Cyrus was on the nose with her Nicki Minaj costume, our favorite thing to come out of this year’s Halloween had to be a mash-up of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and the theme from Ghostbusters. Coincidentally, we have the video . Enjoy. Continue reading ‘Discourse & Dischord’

The Sky Is Crying

Steady Skies

Steady Skies rides the line between the arena and the front porch. They’re musicians who dole out poppy hooks and plucky banjos in equal measure; a rock band that flirts with country. Start your introduction with “Remember When,” a driving melody pushed along by the deep ripple of bass, bright spears of guitars, and the slight country cadence of singer Tyler McCuen. That song’s mid-tempo musings give way to more apocalyptic imagery on the doleful “Church Bells.” “I hear church bells ringing in the city streets / Crowds of people falling on their knees,” McCuen sings over wailing guitars. If thinking about the end of the world is too much of a buzzkill, skip to “Waiting For.” There, existential anxieties—bursting dams and falling skies—are wrapped up in an ambling, country-spun melody. When in doubt, a spoonful of banjo can help the melancholy go down.

Slow Burn

Katie Ekin

Katie Ekin has always had a heart for music, but she didn’t always have the heart to play for an audience. Although she grew up watching her father perform in a band, it wasn’t until she was 15 that Ekin finally picked up the guitar. Since then, she hasn’t put it down much. To date, she’s got nearly 200 songs under her belt and no desire to slow down any time soon. Her indie folk pop is sparely arranged and lightly glazed. “Falling Out Of Your Arms” tells the story of slipping out of love through rippling guitars, soft percussion, and Ekin’s lilting, multi-tracked vocals. Minus the appearance of an improbable guitar solo in the middle, it’s a song meant for chilling out. With the holidays just around the corner, we recommend putting “Underneath the Christmas Tree” on rotation. Retro-styled in the same vein as “Santa Baby,” the track is sonic hot apple cider—sweet, warm, and something you’ll want seconds of.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Bruno Mars performs “Locked Out of Heaven” on SNL

Truth be told, we’ve never been big Bruno Mars fans. But after seeing him on SNL this past weekend, we may have to change our minds. With his awesome dancing band and his new bouncy single, “Locked Out Of Heaven,” Bruno delivered one of the show’s most memorable musical performances—sorry Lana Del Rey. See Bruno and his buds bop below. Continue reading ‘Discourse & Dischord’

Anthems of Awesomeness

The Yearbooks

The Byrds, the Zombies, Fountains of Wayne, OK GO … mop-topped power pop has a long history here in the U.S. and overseas. Its combination of hooks, guitars, swagger, and rhythm has proven to be an indelible attractor. So if you’re into power pop, it’s likely you’ll be into The Yearbooks. The Chicago-based band is made up of singer Sars Flannery, guitarists Eric Hehr and Bill Friel, bassist Drew Potenza, and drummer Adam James. Together, they crank out hooky rockers with karate chop guitar riffs and propulsive rhythms. Start your introduction with “She Did It With Her Eyes.” It’s angular, edgy, and jagged with airy vocals—part Strokes and part Death Cab For Cutie. “Season of Love,” with its staccato guitars, throbbing bass, and strutting drums, is the sound of being cool. Listen and learn.

Softly, Sweetly

Xoe Wise

There are innumerable artists out there, filled with talent, who are frittering away in obscurity because they don’t have exposure. This is not Xoe Wise’s story. The singer-songwriter was plucked from the teeming masses of Chicago artists by none other than Microsoft to perform at the company’s Illinois store opening. Things went so well there that the technology giant then funded Wise’s 25-date U.S. tour. It may not be a breakthrough, but it’s definitely a push in the right direction for someone who deserves the attention. Wise’s music provides the soundtrack for sleepyheaded romance and quiet reverie. The pitter-patter of percussion, yawing violins, soft piano, and Wise’s gauzy vocals combine for dulcet melodies like “Silent Rain” and “All You Gave.” She even weaves a little Auto-Tune in on “My Heart” as her voices tiptoes up the scales. Wise’s songs are sweet panaceas for life’s pricklier moments. Let’s face it, we can all use more of those.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Psy and Hugh Jackman go “Gangnam Style,” Wolverine-style

The claws came out, literally, when K-pop star Psy and Hugh Jackman met up on the set of The Wolverine in Australia. Watch the world’s hottest mutant go Gangnam style below.

fun. founds marriage equality organization

The guys in fun. have found the answer to their burning question, “What do I stand for?” Turns out, it’s marriage equality. The band is hoping to launch a nonprofit that supports gay marriage. Guitairst Jack Antonoff told Spinner that the fact that the band is made up of heterosexual makes their voices even more important. “Being part of a band of three straight men, we felt there was an inherent power in the fact that we aren’t gay, and yet we still care and we have a voice—there’s a responsibility there.” Listen to Antonoff stand for gay rights below.

The Bad

Snoop Dogg or Lion joins forces with Hot Pockets

While Jay-Z is busy endorsing President Obama, Snoop Dogg has thrown his weight behind something just as American: Hot Pockets. Honey Boo Boo must not have known this sponsorship was available when she announced her support for Obama. Watch the Lion formerly known as Dogg “pocket like it’s hot.”

Carly Rae Jepsen and Harvey Keitel perform “Call Me Maybe”

Hearing Carly Rae Jepsen sing lyrics like “ripped jeans, skin was showing” while looking at Harvey Keitel is, well, a little troubling. The actor joined the pop star onstage to perform “Call Me Maybe” for the autism benefit “A Night of Too Many Stars.” Watch this catastrophe unfold below.

The Ugly

One Direction and Wolfgang Van Halen’s son scrap

Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, was in Birmingham, England on tour with Tremonti when he ran into One Direction in a hotel. Words were exchanged—the kind that make you want to go to Twitter to complain. Which is exactly what Van Halen did. You can read all about it here.

Trapped in the Closet is back – Oh Sh**

R. Kelly is releasing more installments of his epically idiotic “Trapped In The Closet” chronicle, thanks to the little devils at IFC. According to the trailer, there will be plenty of moments that will cause you to spontaneously vociferate expletives. Watch below.


Shake, Rattle, and Roll Tape

Amazing things can happen in the bedroom. OK, get your mind out of the gutter; we’re talking about music. Specifically Shaky Voices, a one-man band out of Nashville, led by multi-instrumentalist Patrick Baker. Baker recorded most of his last album in his bedroom, using a Dell computer for a kick drum and a mic case for a snare. Whether or not you think pounding a computer repeatedly is a wise move, you can’t argue with the results. “Surely Thou Doth Jest” is a jaunty jig that shuffles along, cool and confident. Fingers plunk down on piano keys and shake tambourines as feet kick the Dell in time. It’s smart, eccentric post-punk/pop for resourceful slackers. Or, as Baker describes, “A lo-fi, late night jam session between Pavement and Pinkerton-era Weezer on a cheap, out-of-tune acoustic guitar that’s missing the ‘A’ string.” We couldn’t agree more.

Oh My Darling

Separately, Elora Taylor and Dee Filc are just two twenty-something ladies from Oakville, Ontario. Together, they become something even better, a folk duo called Tallulah Darling that plays stripped down, bare bones rock and country. Though the two cite influences like Miranda Lambert, Loretta Lynn, Dixie Chicks, and Toby Keith, you’ll find more street edge in tracks like “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.” There, a serpentine bass, buzzsaw guitar riffs, and cheeky lyrics are loosely combined for raw, unrefined rock. “Metal Heart,” on the other hand, is a more lackadaisical meditation on love, wrapped up in acoustic guitars and falsetto vocals. Finally, on “This Is Not A Joke,” those country roots are unearthed. With the wistful, confessional appeal of Taylor Swift, Mulligan delivers her simple request: “This is not a joke so please stop smiling.” Mute adoration, however, is permitted.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

The week of Hova

Jay-Z was a busy bee this week. Between rocking the Barclays Center with wife Beyoncé, dropping his new Live In Brooklyn EP, riding the subway with a sexy older woman, and hitting the studio with Pharrell and Frank Ocean, Hova must be exhausted. Let’s hope he takes a break this weekend, stays at home, and catches up on Season 2 of Downton Abbey. You can watch him and B.K. perform “Forever Young” below.

Pink gets interpretive for new video

Full disclosure: We’re kind of a fan of Pink. We like her steely exterior, her soft heart, and her hair. The music’s OK too. Our crush was reinforced this week when Pink released the video for “Try.” Turns out Lady Alecia is actually an incredible interpretive dancer. Watch her acrobatic performance below, that is, if you can tear your eyes away from her dance partner’s abs.

The Bad

Matt Berninger sings Pixies karaoke

If you think The National singer Matt Berninger is one cool cat behind the mic, this video may give you pause. Watch Berninger perform a somewhat slurry, somewhat atonal, and certainly drunk version of the Pixie’s “Here Comes Your Man.” See, you’re not the only one who’s bad at karaoke!

Nicki Minaj gets hypothetical death threat from Stevie Nicks

When Nicki Minaj blew her top at Mariah Carey last week on American Idol, it was Stevie Nicks, not Mimi, who responded with an aw-hell-no. “If I had been Mariah I would have walked over to Nicki and strangled her to death right there,” the singer told The Daily. Then, possibly realizing that backlash was nigh, Nicks recanted her statement. All we have to say is, thunder only happens when it’s raining. Think about it.


The Ugly

Andrew W.K. electrifies David Blaine with keyboard solo

Being the fun, party guy he is, David Blaine invited Andrew W.K. to send a million volts of electricity through his body via a gnarly keyboard solo. The stunt was part of Blaine’s “Electrified” performance at Pier 54 in NYC, wherein the magician withstood massive amounts of electrical shocks for three days and three nights. W.K. said the event was the “party-est thing I’ve ever done.” Now that’s a shocker.

Lady Gaga pulls a Bieber

In this case, “pulling a Bieber” means throwing up on stage—not outracing paparazzi, getting hit with a paternity suit, or making out with Selena Gomez. Gaga tossed her cookies during her performance of “Edge of Glory” in Barcelona. It’s got to be hard to puke and be sexy at the same time. If you want to see how it’s done, watch the clip below.




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