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Brooklyn sister-brother duo Paperwhite, aka Katie & Ben Marshall, offer an immensely approachable take on synthpop — so approachable that new single “Take Me Back” could be inserted into the soundtrack of most early ’90s teen movies and no one would be the wiser. The song brims with a confidence that belies its simple, self-explanatory subject matter. It’ll brighten your afternoon, so stream it below.

Kevin Morby is best known for his work with the Babies and Woods, but he’s been releasing more music under his own name recently, beginning with last year’s Harlem River. We’ve already heard “My Name” from his new 7″ and now here’s the flip side of that release. “We Did It All Wrong” is the kind of quiet, contemplative indie folk that Morby does best. Listen below.

Virgin Mobile Freefest has graced Baltimore’s Merriweather Post Pavilion for the past five years and has made a name for itself by booking a lot of indie’s biggest acts, but more importantly, it’s been notable because it’s done so while being completely free. The fest has been a part of the area even longer, having started back in 2006 (at which point you had to pay to get in). According to a statement issued by Virgin, the festival will not be returning this year. Instead, the company will be making a donation directly to local homeless shelter the Sasha Bruce RE*Generation House, rather than giving the proceeds to the charity after the event. “The Freefest was this fantastic product of a crossroads of [Virgin Group founder Richard] Branson and some very creative people at Virgin. The mixture got shaken up every year, and it always settled at the last possible moment for that year. That was part of the spontaneous magic that everyone could pick up on I think,” festival producer Seth Hurwitz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the pieces are not all there right now with Virgin. Whether they are again who knows. But the Freefest concept is fantastic and we are exploring options to continue it at Merriweather.” Read the full statement from Virgin below.

Earlier this year, Simian Mobile Disco announced their plans to strip their dance music to its rawest elements — their new album, Whorl, would be recorded live on modular synth … in the desert. They’ve already released the album’s first single, “Tangents,” and now you can hear the heady grooves of “Dervish,” a track that SMD have identified as being one of the only overtly dance-oriented tracks on the upcoming album. Check it out.

This past weekend brought the 2014 edition of the Newport Folk Festival. Headliners included Jenny Lewis, Jack White, Jeff Tweedy, and a very special appearance by Mavis Staples. We sent photographer Taylor Hill to capture the event, and you can find our gallery of performance photos and portraits above.

Last month, we heard “Hunger Of The Pine,” our first taste of new alt-J album This Is All Yours. Around the same time, alt-J drummer Thom Green discussed his appreciation of clipping.’s noise-rap experiments. Now, the two capitalization-averse artists have joined forces, with clipping. blowing the electronic atmospherics of “Hunger Of The Pine” out into an explosive stutter with moments of quiet beauty, crafting an eerie hook out of the “sleeplessly embracing” refrain (and leaving out the Miley). Listen below.

The eternal contrast between gradations of dark and light is one of life’s great dualities. That which seems permissible under the cover of darkness feels transgressive in the daylight, and as I discovered this past weekend, the hedonistic excesses of the night feel even more raw and exposed when bathed in the milky glow of a midnight sun.

Let me set the scene for you: I’m in Neskaupstaður, a remote town on the east side of Iceland that’s nestled by the looming specter of the Norðfjörður fjord and sports a robust population of 1,437. Every July, this sleepy hollow is overrun by scores of music fans hellbent on soaking up every last intoxicating drop of Eistnaflug, Iceland’s biggest (and only) multi-day metal fest. The organizers always pepper their broad lineup of homegrown Icelandic talent with a smattering of international guests, and 2014 featured appearances from At The Gates, Havok, Zatokrev … and last-minute additions Bölzer. Judging from the response the commanding Swiss duo got from the roaring crowd of diehards and drunkards who greeted their death metal machinations, whomever greenlighted that particular decision knew what they were doing.

Damon Albarn has long maintained a pastime of taunting his devoted fans (including our own Michael Nelson) by feeding them tantalizing news about new Blur music only to shelve it and release umpteen side projects instead. The latest instance of this phenomenon comes in a new interview. Albarn told NME that the long-rumored Blur comeback album, despite allegedly containing “some great songs,” will probably never come out because the band couldn’t finish it in one of Albarn’s preferred concentrated bursts. He goes so far as to say that the sessions weren’t productive because it was too hot outside! Here’s an excerpt: