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Lorde’s cancellation of Israel show sparks meeting request with its ambassador

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Lorde’s decision to cancel her performance in Israel has been suitably contentious.

Now Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand has requested to meet with the Grammy-winning singer following her decision to pull out of her Tel Aviv show in May.

In an open letter posted on Facebook Wednesday, ambassador Itzhak Gerberg called the decision “regrettable” and criticised the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for pressuring the singer into cancelling her show.

“Music is a wonderful language of tolerance and friendship, which brings people together,” the letter reads. “Your concert in Israel could have spread the message that solutions come from constructive engagement that leads to compromise and cooperation.” Read more…

More about Entertainment, Music, Israel, New Zealand, and Lorde

Cyborg strums ‘Star Wars’ theme song with bionic hand

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Jason Barnes has used robotic prosthetics before, but this is the first time he has been able to move each finger independently and even play the piano again. 

Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology developed the unique robotic arm using ultrasound sensors that allow amputees to control each prosthetic finger using muscles in their residual limbs. Read more…

More about Music, Piano, Star Wars, Research, and Real Time Video

Madonna brings back Photo Booth, covers ‘Toxic’ for Britney Spears’s birthday

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Saturday was singer and internationally renowned artist Britney Spears’s 36th birthday, and to celebrate, Madonna booted up her Photo Booth app (#tbt) and covered “Toxic.”

In an Instagram post, the icon explained that the cover was also her song for World AIDS Day, which was Friday. (She certainly did a better job raising awareness than the president.)

Watch the wonderful, thermal-y cover below.

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on

And yes, Britney liked the post.

More about Entertainment, Music, Madonna, Photo Booth, and Britney Spears

Feds want to take Martin Shkreli’s $2 million Wu-Tang album

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Feds want to seize everything around Martin Shkreli.

Prosecutors asked a Brooklyn court on Friday to force the incarcerated “pharma bro” to forfeit some of his most valuable possessions, including the $2 million single-copy Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the unreleased Lil Wayne album Tha Carter V, a Picasso, and an antique World War II Enigma machine.

Shkreli, who gained notoriety when he spiked the price of a life-saving AIDS drug as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was convicted in August of defrauding hedge fund investors in an incident unrelated to the pricing debacle. He’s currently in jail as he awaits a sentencing in which he could see up to 20 years in prison.     Read more…

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Taylor Swift seems to diss on Kanye West in ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ and Twitter’s loving it

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Squad, Taylor Swift’s reputation has landed, and it was never going to be without a few swipes.

The pop mogul’s highly anticipated sixth studio album has dropped, with one of the tracks generating a significant amount of buzz, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” 

It’s (look, probably) a big swipe at Swift’s big frenemy, Kanye West.

Co-written with producer pal Jack Antonoff, the track appears to make a few digs at the rapper, who Swift has had a complicated friendship with over the last few years, from the 2015 Grammys to the West’s “Famous” lyric, right up until that phone call. Read more…

More about Music, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Reputation, and Entertainment

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Listen to Linkin Park’s new song ‘Looking for an Answer’

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On Friday, Linkin Park played a star-studded show at the Hollywood Bowl, the band’s first since Chester Bennington’s death in July. 

At the concert, they debuted “Looking for an Answer,” a ballad written by band member Mike Shinoda shortly after Bennington’s death. Shinoda performed the song solo, accompanied only by piano. 

It’s sparse, lovely, and poignant — a must-listen for Linkin Park fans and, to be honest, everyone else. Read more…

More about Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, Culture, and Music

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Crunch Report | Hey Dillon Francis, iPhone X Is Now Available For Pre-Order

Today we’re hanging out with EDM artist Dillon Francis, Apple opens for iPhone X pre-orders and releases a sleeve for MacBooks, Walmart starts using robots in stores and Russia condemns Twitter for banning two of its media companies from advertising on the platform. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Yeah, so here's Lil Wayne's weird cover of the 'Friends' theme

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Feel free to file this in the “unlikeliest covers ever” folder.

Lil Wayne covered the Friends theme song, poking fun at the San Francisco 49ers’ poor start to the NFL season in a promotion for the league’s second week on Fox.

Well, as fans would know the 49ers did indeed go 0-2 with their loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, but the upshot is that we’ve got this utterly bizarre Lil Wayne cover to store in our minds forever.  Read more…

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How the heart-stopping music for blockbuster film trailers gets made

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In terms of box office takings, a trailer can make or break a movie.

On the one hand, it could go viral. It could be like the IT teaser trailer. That one’s had almost 31 million YouTube views at the time of writing, and it even set a record for the most online views in a single day.

If the trailer misses the mark, though — if it’s a bit drab or, even worse, it gets panned — it could significantly damage the hype around a movie’s release.

One man who’s well aware of this is 26-year-old Frederick Lloyd. Under the name Ursine Vulpine, he has composed music that’s featured in a huge number of blockbuster trailers: everything from Mad Max: Fury Road to the recent Professor Marston & The Wonder Women: Read more…

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HAIM's cover of Shania Twain's 'That Don't Impress Me Much' is seriously unreal

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The ’90s song you probably won’t admit you like — but secretly really, really do — got a cover from HAIM, and it’s out of this world.

Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much” was covered on Australian radio station triple j, but instead of extending the rambunctiousness of the 1997 hit, the three piece went for a stripped back version that is really, seriously, quite unexpected.

HAIM also covered Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” last month, so look, it’s probably not going to be the last cover of the Canadian country singer we’ll hear from the band.

Can we get “From This Moment On” next? Read more…

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Ed Sheeran cracks down on ticket scalpers to save his fans money

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Ed Sheeran may have found a way to redeem himself for his dud of a cameo in this week’s Game of Thrones.

The singer has cancelled 10,000 of the tickets to his forthcoming London shows next June to prevent ticket resale sites from turning them around at massively inflated prices.

Third-party dealers had reportedly been selling the affected tickets at prices of as much as eight times the face value, which was between £49 ($64) and £88 ($115). One pair of seats was even rumored to have been listed at a whopping £174,000 ($227,700).   Read more…

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Did Justin Trudeau just Google 'Canada music' to make his summer playlist?

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Justin Trudeau needs your help because he has absolutely no clue what music he should be listening to this summer.

On Saturday morning the Canadian Prime Minister dropped his hot seasonal Spotify playlist on Twitter, featuring some lovely artists like Drake, Shawn Mendes, k.d. lang, The Tragically Hip and holy smokes wait just a minute, these artists are all CANADIAN.

What am I listening to this summer? What should I be? Check out the PM Mix playlist on Spotify: https://t.co/HXZxCVeree pic.twitter.com/zvK7ZJuG99

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 15, 2017 Read more…

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Ozzy Osbourne's favorite metal albums

Rolling Stone magazine asked the Prince of Darkness to list his ten favorite metal albums. Here are five of Ozzy’s sure-shots:

AC/DC, ‘Highway to Hell’ (1979)

“I love Brian Johnson but to me my good friend, the late Bon Scott, was the best singer AC/DC ever had. This album was like an addiction to me.”

Guns N’ Roses, ‘Appetite for Destruction’ (1987)

“One of the greatest debut albums of all time. There’s not a weak song in the bunch. I never get tired of hearing it.”

Led Zeppelin, ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ (1971)

“I’ve always been a huge Led Zeppelin fan. All of their studio albums are classics but this is one of my all-time favorites.”

Metallica, ‘Master of Puppets’ (1986)

“I took Metallica on tour with me after the release of Master of Puppets. The album was a milestone for the band and for heavy metal.”

Motörhead, ‘Ace of Spades’ (1980)

“The album that put Motörhead over the top. The title track “Ace of Spades” is Motörhead’s “Paranoid.” It’s one of the great metal anthems and, to me, a band hasn’t made it until they have their own anthem. This is theirs.”

Ozzy Osbourne: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums (Rolling Stone)

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Youtube artist SamuraiGuitarist does music from Final Fantasy VII

I’ve been a huge fan of Steve Onotera, a Canadian Youtube vlogger and musician, since David posted his earlier video last year.

I decided to support him on Patreon, and as one of the perks of my support, I got to choose a song for him to do a version of. Of course, I chose Final Fantasy, specifically the Bombing Mission theme from Final Fantasy VII. Not only did he do an awesome bluegrass rendition for me, he presented it complete with in-game combat visuals!

Patreon has been a great way to support independent artists across a huge spectrum of genres, and a great way to discover and support musicians, authors, artists, and makers.

See more of SamuraiGuitarist’s work on Patreon, or his Youtube channel for more of his videos.

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Dom Flemons, late of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, plays music that makes me very happy

I was listening to the latest Judge John Hodgman podcast today (as I do every week!) which was performed live in Washington DC; as with every live show, there was a musical guest, and this guest was so completely awesome I made a note to post about him when I got home.
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11 obscenely optimistic songs for ukulele

Jeremy Messersmith writes, “I have a new record coming out on Friday and I’ve released it early as a songbook over at my website (free with an email). It’s called ’11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond.’ It has songs about kittens, unicorns, wealth redistribution, critical thinking, and the power of love. I wrote it to be an antidote to all the toxic news as of late; a musical unicorn chaser. I’m also embarking on a 50 show, Atlas Obscura inspired sing-along tour; all free and in scenic public spaces. I’ve compiled a collection of songs that fans have covered so far into a YouTube playlist over at my website. Thanks for considering!

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Of course Drake admits to drunk texting J-Lo on 'More Life'

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For a fleeting, exquisite moment in December, we all thought Drake and J-Lo might be dating or at least collaborating.

They cuddledThey selfied. They reminded us we are on this Earth for only a heartbeat; there is only loving and being loved. And yet, when Drake’s new “playlist” More Life appeared on Saturday, there was no new track featuring Ms. Lopez. How cruel.

She’s gone, but not forgotten. In the opening track “Free Smoke,” Drake raps that he sends J-Lo messages while under the influence. Apparently, she has declined to update him with her new digits. Read more…

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Steve Reich-ian iPhone ringtone composition

Seth Kranzler created “Steve Reich is calling,” a delightful composition for two iPhones that celebrates (and parodies) legendary minimalist composer Reich’s early phase music. This form of composition employs two or more identical phrases of music played at slightly different tempos so that they shift in and out of phase. Reich’s most famous phase music compositions are “Clapping Music” (1972), “Piano Phase” (1967), and the fantastic tape music pieces “Come Out” (1966) and “It’s Gonna Rain” (1965). Listen to the latter two below.

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Spotify reaches 50 million paying users

spotify black history month Thank you to our 50 million subscribers. #Spotify50 pic.twitter.com/eXkOV71bwu — Spotify (@Spotify) March 2, 2017 Spotify has reached a new milestone after it crossed 50 million paying users. The service is currently available in over 60 markets, with a total catalog of more than 30 million songs on off. The streaming firm clocked 40 million ‘Premium’ subscribers in… Read More

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SXSW threatens to narc musicians out to immigration authorities if they play unauthorized gigs

Evan Greer writes, “SXSW is one of the most popular music festivals in the US. It was just revealed that they are actively threatening bands from outside the US with “immediate deportation’ and immigration investigations if they perform at ‘unofficial’ events during the festival. At a time when immigrants are under attack, this policy is all the more chilling. Sign the petition to tell them to drop this practice.” SXSW has had this policy for years, apparently, but it still sucks.
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Lorde is back with a euphoric breakup song, 'Green Light'

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Lorde as a woman scorned is furious, yes, but thriving. 

After an appropriate dose of mystery, Lorde dropped her new single, “Green Light,” Thursday, the first off her album, Melodrama. 

In the video, she dances around town shaking her legendary head of hair. 

She left some clues in her native Auckland.  

auckland thank you so much for coming out last night.pic.twitter.com/2AYtggOpGc

— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017

i am so proud of this song. it’s very different, and kinda unexpected. it’s complex and funny and sad and joyous and it’ll make you DANCE

— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017 Read more…

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Waste away at Jimmy Buffet's new retirement community

Aging Jimmy Buffett fans, aka Parrotheads, take note! Latitude Margaritavile is a new senior housing community under construction in Daytona Beach, Florida. The facility is scheduled to open in the fall and promises to “reflect Margaritaville’s authentic, ‘no worries,’ tropical vibe.” Sounds lovely. I can just imagine my life there, “nibblin’ on sponge cake, watchin’ the sun bake.”

A Margaritaville-Themed Retirement Community is Coming to Florida(Mental Floss)

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Lou Reed's archives acquired by New York Public Library

On what would have been Lou Reed’s 75th birthday today, his widow Laurie Anderson announced that the New York Public Library has acquired the musician’s complete archives. To celebrate, the NYPL is hosting displays and events celebrating Reed’s life and work. Details here. Meanwhile, the good people at indie record label and publisher Anthology tweeted that they will work with the library and Reed’s representatives “to publish new works!” From the NYPL:

The Lou Reed Archive includes:

• Original manuscript, lyrics, poetry and handwritten tai-chi notes
• Photographs of Reed- including artist prints and inscriptions by the photographers
• Tour itineraries, agreements, road manager notes & paperwork
• 600+ hours of live recordings, demos, studio recordings and interviews
• Reed’s own extensive photography work
• Album, book, and tour artwork: mock-ups, proofs and match-prints
• Lou Reed album and concert posters, handbills, programs, and promotional items
• Lou Reed press for albums, tours, performances, books, and photography exhibits
• Fan mail
• Personal collections of books, LPs and 45s

The collection documents collaborations, friendships, and relationships with Delmore Schwartz, Andy Warhol, John Cale, Maureen Tucker, Sterling Morrison, Mick Rock, Robert Quine, Sylvia Ramos, Doc Pomus, Václav Havel, Hal Willner, John Zorn, Robert Wilson, Julian Schnabel, and Laurie Anderson.

More at the New York Times: “Lou Reed Archives Head to New York Public Library

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Wu Orleans 2: mashups of New Orleans music and Wu Tang rappers

dj BC writes, “In 2006 I mixed a bunch of New Orleans artists with Wu Tang rappers to make the record ‘Wu Orleans.’ 11 years later, here’s part two, with ten new songs. Free MP3 download of both albums here. A very limited run of vinyl with all 20 Wu Orleans songs on two records, and new art, is allegedly coming on record store day in April. Here’s the video for ‘Express Your Brain, Champ’ with Ghostface Killah, Nicky Da B (via Diplo), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and dj BC. Laissez les bon temps roulez!”

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Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma are beefing right now and dear god nobody was ready for all the shade

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Hope you’re hungry, because Nicki Minaj is serving up some prime, grade-A beef between her and fellow rapper Remy Ma, and we were all unprepared.

The internet went into collective freakout mode on Thursday night after rapper Gucci Mane released a new track, “Make Love,” featuring Nicki Minaj. 

On the track Nicki raps: 

Oooohhh, oh you the qu-e-e-the queen of this here?/

One platinum plaque, album flopped, bitch, where? (bitch, where?)…

You see, silly rabbit, to be the queen of rap/ 

You gotta sell records, you gotta get plaques.

Little background, here: Nicki Minaj has famously declared herself the Queen of Rap, on several occasions—including but not limited to her feature on Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” (“I’m the queen of rap, young Ariana run pop“) and her feature on Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone – Remix” (“Run this game for 5 years/ guess that’s why my feet hurt…Yes, I am an icon, that’s me on your t-shirt“). Read more…

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Kate Nash to Snapchat: 'Where's my paycheck?'

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Snapchat has been having some fun with music on the app. Last month, they helped Ed Sheeran debut 30-seconds of his new song “Shape Of You” via a lens, where users could don blue sunglasses and dance amid fictional disco lights. 

But not everyone is playing along. Kate Nash, an English singer-songwriter perhaps best known for the song “Foundations,” accused Snapchat of stealing the rights to that exact song. She broadcasted her accusation on Twitter Friday, posting a video of her using the lens:

Hi @Snapchat Do you pay ppl for the use of their work? Been off a record label now for 5 years. Is this legal? I should be paid PLS RETWEET pic.twitter.com/9qq9iKltFG

— Kate Nash (@katenash) February 17, 2017 Read more…

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Listen to a ten hour playlist of killer Moog music

In 1948, Robert Moog, age 14, was inspired by classical Theremin performer Clara Rockmore to build his own Theremin. Then in 1964 Moog designed a brand new kind of electronic instrument, a modular voltage-controlled synthesizer. That instrument and Moog’s work since transformed the sound of modern music forever. To hear how, dive into this fantastic 10-hour Moog playlist:

(The Guardian via Open Culture)

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Rogue Wave's new video for cover of Pete Townshend's “Let My Love Open the Door”

Today my friends in Rogue Wave released the video for their lovely cover of Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door.” The track is from their latest release “Cover Me,” a quite wonderful covers album that consists entirely of Rogue Wave going back to their 1980s musical roots, influences, and mix tape favorites. Songs include The Cure’s “In Between Days,” The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary,” The Church’s “Under the Milky Way,” The Romantics’ ‘Talking In Your Sleep,” and many more 80s MTV classics. “Cover Me” is available for digital download or colored vinyl — pink or splatter paint, natch.

The video for “Let My Love Open the Door” was directed and edited by Jim Granato with color effects by Truckee Lynch.

“The idea for this video has been circling around my brain since we finished tracking it,” Zach Rogue says. “A fantasy about what I could tell my younger self if I had the chance.”

Check out Rogue Wave tour dates here.

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Katy Perry's 'Chained to the Rhythm' is cotton candy political pop

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“Chained to the Rhythm” is a new kind of Katy Perry song, certainly.

“Are we tone deaf / Keep sweeping it under the mat / Thought we could do better than that / I hope we can,” Perry sings. “So comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble / So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble.”

Aside from the lyrics, the song’s video even features a very cute hamster, eating tiny versions of people food, because this is still the girl behind “Last Friday Night.”

Today a feminist got her wings. Thank you @gloriasteinem ❤👼🏼

A photo posted by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on Read more…

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David Axelrod, incredibly influential soul/jazz/rock composer and producer, RIP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j8pSu3U7WM

David Axelrod, whose 1960s and 1970s production and compositions melding jazz, soul, and rock had an indelible impact on contemporary hip-hop and R&B, has died at age 83. From Billboard:

Born in Los Angeles in 1933, Axelrod produced his first album in 1959 and went on to become a pioneer in combining jazz, rock and R&B in recorded music. He spent several years working for Capitol Records in production and A&R in the 1960s and went on to release more than a dozen of his own albums.

While a contemporary of, and somewhat analogous to, idiosyncratic composer/arrangers like Van Dyke Parks, Axelrod was much more influenced by jazz, as reflected in his orchestrations and his own compositions. He produced David McCallum’s Music: A Bit More of Me, the 1967 release featuring “The Edge,” a song that famously turned into the predominant sample in Dr. Dre’s 2000 hit “The Next Episode.” He also collaborated with the Electric Prunes on their bizarre 1968 album Mass in F# Minor, and when the group splintered in the middle of recording, he finished it with session musicians.

Just a few of the David Axelrod samples in hip-hop. He was easily one of the most brilliant composers of the last half century. pic.twitter.com/hSnlsPwWx4

— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) February 5, 2017

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Beyoncé's pregnancy photo destroyed Instagram record because of course it did

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Sorry, Selena Gomez, you no longer have the most-liked photo on Instagram. 

That honor now belongs to (who other than) Beyoncé, whose pregnancy announcement photo has more than 7,400,000 likes at the time of this writing. 

The photo, which has been online for just over half a day, also has more than 360,000 comments.

More about Instagram, Beyonce, Social Media, and Music

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Watch fans go nuts in theaters when Sunny Leone appears as 'Laila' in 'Raees'

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It is no secret that Sunny Leone is wildly popular in India. The adult entertainment star, by virtue of her second innings in Bollywood, is not only the most searched personality on Google India, but also a rage-driver offline. 

Sample this. Leone’s dance moves as Laila in the recently released film Raees, starring Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan, sent crowds into a tizzy at theaters across India. 

Twitter users have shared videos of live crowds breaking into jigs en masse as soon as Leone appears on the big screen. And an evidently amazed Leone has been retweeting them calling it “the greatest thing” she’s seen. Read more…

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10 original songs cut from 'La La Land' for who knows why

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Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s romantic musical La La Land is already off and running this award season.

After sweeping the Golden Globes (winning the most awards for one movie in the show’s history), the film shows no signs of slowing down come time for the Oscars. But it wasn’t always such a sure thing. The movie’s soundtrack is undoubtedly an all-time great, but the tracks that were cut tell a slightly different story.

After doing some research, we found 10 original songs that, for one reason or another, didn’t make the final cut of La La Land. Read more…

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Kid Koala's “Collapser” featuring Emilíana Torrini and chemical puppeteer Karina Bleau

Yesterday saw the release of Canadian artist, graphic novelist, and scratch DJ Kid Koala’s latest record, his fifth, Music to Draw To: Satellite. An ambient concept record, Music to Draw To: Satellite is about a pair of lovers separated by a one-way trip to Mars. Each track is like a sonic love letter, an expression of the loneliness of extended isolation, the wondrous, terrifying void of space, and missing those left behind. Seven of the tracks on the record feature vocals by Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini (known for, beyond her critically-acclaimed solo career, recording with Thievery Corporation, and singing “Golem’s Song” in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers).

I have been soothing my restless psyche for the past few days with heavy-rotation listening to “Collapser,” one of the first tracks released. This lost in space lullaby features the most wistful and dreamy vocals from Torrini on the record. For the video, Kid Koala teamed up with “chemical puppeteer” Karina Blea whose work is described as “an ultraviolet study of chemical theatrics under a microscope.” The slowly changing, minimalist liquid world of colored drips, languid swirls, and chemical reactions is a perfect compliment to the insistent rhythms of the music and Torrini’s melancholy vocals sweetly swimming over the top.

Kid Koala says that he was inspired to do this project by the go-to records he listens to whenever he’s drawing and working on his art. He wanted to create such a piece himself. He and his record company, Arts & Crafts Records, have even gone so far as to release a deluxe version of the CD which comes in an 80-page sketchbook so that you too can draw along to the music.

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