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Author: "Kate B"

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Discourse & Dischord

The Good

SNL celebrates 100 digital shorts

Andy Samberg and his cronies at Lonely Island hit a milestone this week with 100 digital shorts for Saturday Night Live. To celebrate they created this montage of hilarity starring Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and a shirtless John Hamm with a sax. Enjoy.

Jay-Z speaks out in support of gay marriage

Hot on the heels of President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, Jay-Z came out in support of gay rights. In an interview with CNN, Hova called the President’s stance “the right thing to do as a human being.” Huzzah! Watch the interview below.

The Bad

Donna Summer dies

Donna Summer, Queen of Disco, died this week after a long battle with cancer. The GRAMMY-winning singer worked hard for the money, delivered lasting hits like “Last Dance,” “Love To Love You Baby,” and “MacArthur Park” throughout the ’70s and ’80s. She was sixty-three at the time of her death. R.I.P

Kids reenact “Sabotage” in tribute to MCA

Even in the midst of loss, people find a way to let a little light in. Let’s minimize the sadness of losing great artists like Donna Summer and Adam Yauch by watching this awesome recreation of “Sabotage” by some pint-sized Beastie fans.

The Ugly

Chris Brown disses Rihanna, Russell Simmons steps up

So Rihanna unfollowed Chris Brown this week, and it may have something to do with these lyrics he contributed to a remix of Kanye West’s “Theraflu”: “Don’t fuck with my old bitch it’s like a bad fur / Every industry n**** had her / Trick or treat like a pumpkin just to smash her / Bitch is breaking codes, but I’m the password.” Russell Simmons came to RiRi’s defense in a blog post charmingly titled “Get Off Rihanna’s Dick!” Read it here.

Nancy Sinatra lashes out at stepmother

Time doesn’t heal every wound, just ask Nancy Sinatra. This week the singer lashed out at stepmother Barbara Sinatra on the fourteenth anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s death, claiming she was barred from her father’s deathbed. Watch out Barb, sounds like those boots were made for kicking ass, too.

Miscellany

Gettin’ Noisy in Boise

Niño Lobos

Not too long ago, Niño Lobos (translation: Wolf Boys) were just two guys, delivering tortillas by night and taking college courses by day. But then they decided to start a band. Now, like Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf, they’ve become something fierce. The Boise band’s youthful blend of hip hop and electro pop claws into your brain with hooks upon hooks. “Hey Girl” has got a fat funk bass line, stabs of reverb guitars and some serious girl problems. “She got me like Stiffler in ‘American Pie’ / Scratch me up like Wolverine.” But it’s “Taking Over Stereos” that could be and should be a monster hit. Part dance rock, part hip hop, the track is a free-flowing, adrenaline-fueled blowout. Over a compressed, percolating beat the duo name-checks anyone from Cypress Hill and Jonah Hill to Lupe Fiasco, Mr. T, Gorillaz, Run-DMC and more. If Niño Lobos keep dropping tracks like this one, some of those dudes will be name-checking them.

Rhythm & Cool

Brittany Campbell

You want untapped, gutsy, street cool? You go to Brooklyn. And if you’re lucky, you just might find an artist half as interesting as Brittany Campbell. The singer-songwriter/producer/guitarist cross-pollinates doo-wop, Motown, new wave and pop rock for a completely fresh and revelatory sound. Like Amy Winehouse, Debbie Harry and Santigold, Campbell’s an original. On “Call Me Baby,” vintage guitars strut against a beat while Campbell summons the soulful angst of a 1950s teen, singing “There’ll be no mercy now / Wherever you are is where I’ll be.” “Nerd,” with its handclaps, 8-bit synths and bouncing beat is instantly infectious even as the singer delivers dubious lines like, “Guess you haven’t heard / God, I’m such a nerd.” As if. “Goody Goody” is the track you’ll want to put on repeat. New wave synths, surf guitars and Campbell’s powerful voice make for a smart and sexy rocker with a vintage edge. Have mercy.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Tom Gabel from Against Me! becomes a woman

The same week that North Carolina approved an amendment banning gay marriage and President Barack Obama came out in support of gay marriage, singer Tom Gabel from the punk band Against Me! made his own bold announcement: “he” will become a “she.” And, in a sign of support for Gabel’s transgender journey, media outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Wikipedia, have already begun calling the singer “she.” So far be it from us to not follow suit. Gabel, who has suffered from gender dysphoria for years, will undergo hormone treatments and electrolysis. She will go by the name of Laura Jane Grace in her new life, and will remain married to her wife, Heather. Just try and stop ‘em, North Cackalack!

No Doubt releases sneak peak of new album

Are all your old No Doubt MP3s worn out from overuse? Fear not, a new album is on the way. This new webisode from No Doubt shows the band hard at work in the studio, recording their track “Push & Shove.” Check it out below, and curse Gwen Stefani for looking younger than ever.

The Bad

Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch dies

Very sad news this week. Founding Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, better known as MCA, passed away from cancer this week at the age of forty-seven. Anyone alive during the ‘80s knows the influence Yauch and his bandmates Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond had on bringing hip hop to the mainstream through hits like “Sabotage” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” Yauch was also known for his humanitarian efforts as well as the films he produced through his company, Oscilloscope Laboratories. Musicians from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to fun. paid tribute to Yauch in concerts over the weekend. Check out Coldplay’s version of “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” below.

John Hamm raps about Taxi

If we knew the cast of Taxi, we probably would be laughing at this. But, since we’re far too young and fresh-faced to ever have watched that show, all we can say is, “Keep your day job, Draper.”

The Ugly

M.I.A. designing beer label for Beck’s

The foolish folks at Beck’s Beer are letting M.I.A. design a new label for their brews. We all know how much the pop star loves sparking controversy. So what’ll it be? Photos of Sri Lankan atrocities? Her middle finger? At least we’ll be wearing beer goggles this time.

Things Kanye doesn’t like

Hot on the heels of his new single, “I Don’t Like,” Kanye West has announced an expanded list of things he can’t abide. It includes: cargo shorts, “big ass” striped scarves and unruly sideburns. Read the entire list here, so you don’t risk offending Yeezy next time you’re out and about.

Miscellany

Pumped Up Kicks

 

The Kicks

One normally doesn’t think of Lowe’s as an arbiter of music, but you gotta hand it to them—they nailed it when they placed The Kicks’ “Good Morning” in their “Fresh Cut Grass” spot. The sailing power ballad is catchy to the extreme, burrowing down into your brain and setting up camp. As great as that track is, it isn’t the only ace up the Nashville band’s sleeve. The Kicks straddle pop and Southern rock spheres, taking big hooks and roughing them up with a little grit. “Hawk Eyes” is a ballsy little rocker that slips into a garage rock groove, deft as Jet. But unlike the erstwhile Aussie band, The Kicks take their rock all over the place. The soulful “This Feeling” reads like vintage R&B, while “Sore Thumb” has an almost ‘80s attitude. Like Lowe’s, these guys never stop improving.

True Grit

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

Tyler Bryant was only eleven when he got the calling. It was in a music store where Roosevelt Twitty, a sixty-three-year-old bluesman, was playing. A decade later, Bryant’s come into his own as a blues musician. He’s got a song on Guitar Hero 5; a feature in the film Rock Prophecies alongside Santana, Beck and Slash; and serious hype from Vince Gill, who called Bryant a “future guitar god.” One listen to Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and you’ll realize the future is now. The band delivers sweaty and swaggering rock with plenty of blues gristle. From the droning, shivering “Say A Prayer” to the bruising guitars of “The House that Jack Built,” to the delta blues moan of “Kick the Habit,” Bryant and his comrades know how to give listeners a visceral thrashing. If you worship at the altar of whiskey-soaked, cigarette-singed, explosive blues rock, well, you just met your gods.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Justin Bieber premiers “Boyfriend” video

OK, so we know you’re not here to read words. In fact, you probably skipped this paragraph altogether and went straight for the video below. That’s cool. So maybe while you’re down there watching the Biebs grope and be groped, we’ll hang out up here and say whatever we want to say … or maybe we’ll go watch the video, too. #eatinfondue4ever

Annie Clark and Merrill Garbus keep it real

Noisey, Vice’s music channel, does this thing where they get two artists to interview each other. In this case, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark and tUnE-yArDs front woman Merrill Garbus sat down in an alley and talked about “ugly music,” playing the fiddle, working with David Byrne and uh, well … “lovemaking” of the “bum.” Watch below.

The Bad

Kris Allen busted for busking

American Idol winner Kris Allen thought it might be a good idea to tell his followers that he’d be busking on the Santa Monica pier, when ole Johnny Law had to show up and harsh his buzz. Watch the lamest cop in the world shut it down in the video below.

Kevin Jonas gets E! reality show

And so begins the downward spiral that plunges the Jonas Brothers into ruination. OK, maybe we’re being a little melodramatic. But reality shows do tend to be the stomping grounds of B and C-listers. This one, produced by Ryan Seacrest and called “Married to Jonas,” follows Kevin and his wife Danielle through their married life, and also shows all three brothers recording their next album. Will it be better than “Living Lohan”? We’ll have to wait and see now, won’t we?

The Ugly

The Wanted say crazy stuff

The men of The Wanted don’t seem to care what comes out of their mouth, which is refreshing in a way. Unless you’re Christina Aguilera. The British band had no kind words for The Voice judge, calling her a “b” and saying she was “nothing special” to look at. And there’s more where that came from. Read all their questionable quotes here.

Young Chop don’t like Kanye West

Young Chop was not happy when he heard Yeezy’s remix of “I Don’t Like,” a track he produced with sixteen-year-old rapper Chief Keef. Chop threatened to sue West for manipulating his track without permission, and adding to a beat that “was f—king hard by itself.” We’ve got both tracks below. Tell us which one you don’t like.

 

Miscellany

The Tempest


The Arts & Crafts Movement describes its music as being “noisy and ugly, tender and awkward.” And that’s true, but it’s also searching, discontented, romantic … and probably a million other things. The Philadelphia band is of the same ilk as Silversun Pickups—think of them as their tormented younger brothers. Their raucous post punk weaves from sinister to sensitive and back again. The wild rumpus begins with “War Chords,” where piercing guitars is answered by a counter offensive of rolling drums and bass. Singer James Alex’s reptilian voice is hard at times to decipher, but the message is clear: Watch your step. His warning carries over to the bracing “Punks of Privilege.” “We are anarchists, turning chords and truth into heroic hymns,” he sings, “You’ve been warned.” But don’t let that stop you.

Cheers

Champagne Morning

Champagne Morning seems to have it all figured out. The band, based in Kiev, spends part of their time creating euphoric indie pop, and when they’re not doing that, they drink champagne. It might explain the mix of revelry, chaos and camaraderie that permeates their music. Take, for example, “Miracle,” a psychedelic mash of jaunty piano, guitars and drums that bounce along, feckless and free. “Fly High” keeps the party going with a neo-soul/rock groove, blissed-out female backup singers and an American rapper by the name of Fanamonon who somehow ended up in the Ukraine just in time to spit some lyrics on the track. Even “Pain Plane,” which starts off as a moony solo number, bursts into a crescendo of joyful noise at the end. Like the best drunken nights, you can only brood for so long before your friends show up to shake you out of it.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Introducing the Barackness Monster

Jimmy Fallon wanted to slow jam the news, and thank goodness he had POTUS in attendance to help him. Does the Commander-in-Chief get nervous when he’s got to add some swagger to his speeches? Aw, PELL no! Watch below.

Black Lips bring Biggie Smalls back from the grave

Tupac wasn’t the only dead rapper to make a comeback at Coachella this year. The Notorious B.I.G. appeared during the Black Lips set, and it looks like it cost a lot less money for the band to conjure Biggie up than it did for Dr. Dre and his Tupac hologram. But watch the video below and judge for yourself.

The Bad

Rihanna talks that talk in new documentary

Rihanna has released a video on her YouTube channel that gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the tail end of her Loud Tour. And what it shows us is that RiRi loves a good prank, says the word “three” like “tree” when she’s home in Barbados and has some hard core fans. So much so that she has to lock herself in a clothing store to ward off a mob of admirers. Well, there are worse places to get locked up, right?

Kids warn Thom Yorke could steal your toothbrush

Kids say the darndest things, and never so much as when they’re forced to listen to Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” and share their thoughts. Turns out that NDUBZ is way better, Thom Yorke has no friends and eats only vegetables and if someone forgets your name, you should say, “Dude, come on. My name’s Erin.”

The Ugly

Jennifer Hudson testifies in family murder trial

This week Jennifer Hudson has been in a Chicago courtroom to testify against her ex brother-in-law, William Balfour, who is charged with killing Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew in 2008. When the prosecution showed photos of her slain nephew, Hudson and her sister stepped outside. If convicted, Balfour faces a mandatory life sentence.

Cher sells key to Australian city on eBay

If she could turn back time, Cher might not have sold her key to the Australian city of Adelaide—at least not on eBay where everyone could see. The city’s officials are “exceptionally disappointed” that the pop star would choose to part with the honor bestowed upon her in 1990. But at least the key is valued by someone—the top bid was for $81,000.

Miscellany

 

 


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