About a month ago, UK dance duo Basement Jaxx shared the towering disco-house track “Never Say Never,” the third single from their upcoming album Junto. Today, it’s been given a spectacularly insane video thanks to writer/director Saman Kesh. In a world where 72% of humans have stopped dancing, Jaxx Industries sets out to “stimulate the world to dance again” by inventing and perfecting the Bluetooth-enabled, iTunes sync-able TW3RK-BOT, complete with self-lubricating, machine-washable Jaxx Buttocks. Pre-order yours today! You can watch the appropriately dramatic video below. (NSFW-ish, depending on how acceptable robot butts are. There are also a couple of human butts in there, so watch out.)
“Weird Al” Yankovic specializes in broad, silly one-joke songs, whether they’re parodies or not, and he’s been releasing videos for them for the entire past week. With his new album Mandatory Fun out, Yankovic has shared seven videos in the past week, and some of them, “Tacky” in particular, have been great. But on the eighth and final day of the campaign, he’s shared a video for his most layered and pointed song. “Mission Statement” is a Crosby, Stills & Nash pastiche, but the lyrics are made up entirely of buzzword-heavy boardroom corpo-speak. And so the song works on the idea that the change-the-world ideas that the singer-songwriters used to sing about now take the form of tech billionaires figuring out ways to pile up more money. Pretty depressing! The animated clip is mostly a lyric video, made up entirely out of cartoony whiteboard drawings, and you can watch it below via The Wall Street Journal, a media outlet that basically exists to bolster the kind of talk that Yankovic lampoons here.
Blake Mills is a frequent tourmate and collaborator with Fiona Apple, and Apple shows up on his new single along with another creative partner of hers, Jon Brion. The tune, from Mills’ upcoming Heigh Ho, is called “Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me,” and it’s an exceptionally pretty and expertly produced folk-rock tune about the fallout from a big mistake. Apple is relegated to background duties here, and Brion plays tiple, but both of them make their mark. Yet Mills is the star here, as he should be, providing a strong case that he’s more than just an ace sideman. It’s a lovely song, so listen below.
This past weekend, Pitchfork Festival went down in Chicago, and it included a great deal of excellent acts. We sent our photographer Max Herman to capture some behind-the-scenes portraits of artists around the festival. Above you’ll find photos of DIIV, Deafheaven, Giorgio Moroder, and more.
Kanye West is on the cover of GQ’s August issue. The Q&A is out in the world now, and it’s fantastic. He acknowledges that Drake has become the center of hip-hop but asserts that he could take it back if he wanted. He compares the second verse of “New Slaves” to Coming To America and Anchorman and quotes Step Brothers when explaining why he decided to get married. (Dude seriously loves Will Ferrell.) As usual, there’s great stuff about fashion and celebrity and marriage and fatherhood. But most importantly, there’s some information about Kanye’s next album, which he expects to release this fall:
Weezer debuted the new song “Back To The Shack” on the Weezer Cruise back in February. Many suspected that song would appear on the band’s forthcoming LP, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, and those suspicions have been confirmed. Today — in one of the few instances of Weezer not using their YouTube channel to dribble out details of the new album — the band announced “Back To The Shack” would serve as Everything Will Be Alright In The End’s lead single, and they premiered the studio version of the song on KROQ, followed by “radio stations throughout the country.” And now, you can spin it here.
Jack White has been getting pretty loose and freeform with his setlists recently, and he’s been trigger-happy with the covers. At one recent Dublin show, for instance, he covered Beck, the Stooges, and Kanye West. And during his headlining set at Louisville, Kentucky’s Forecastle Festival this past weekend, he tried out Jay Z’s “99 Problems,” segueing straight from the White Stripes’ noise-bomb “Icky Thump” into the iconic track. (By cover, I pretty much mean that he quoted the “99 Problems” chorus mid-solo.) White has recorded music with Jay in the recent past, but given that that music was scrapped, this may be the closest we’ll ever come to hear a Jack White/Jay Z collab. And, more impressively, near the end of that extended “Icky Thump,” White broke into Dick Dale’s 1962 surf-guitar classic “Misirlou,” which you probably know as the song from the Pulp Fiction opening credits. Watch a fan-made video below.
Today marks the release of FAMY’s Ava EP, another fine batch of glimmering folk-rock anthems from the WU LYF affiliates. The members of FAMY are all from West London, and they met in the South of France. But their music reminds me of Glasgow, where Frightened Rabbit and others practice epic indie-rock steeped in thick accents and mournful catharsis, and of Austin, where Okkervil River brought an expansive vision and auteur’s touch to singer-songwriter music, and of Manchester, where the Smiths matched mournful crooning with crisp guitar jangle. On Ava, they’ve compiled three fine new originals and, oddly enough, a cover of CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain.” It’s a quick, rewarding listen, so jump into it below.