Album Review: BTS Expand Their Horizons on BTS World: Original Soundtrack

The Lowdown: What’s a boy band to do once they’ve basically conquered the world? Invent and uncover even more world, of course. That’s exactly what K-pop powerhouse BTS has done with their new mobile game, literally titled BTS World, which treats players to an inside look at the band’s rise to fame via a fictionalized narrative set in 2012. Its release was accompanied by a full-length soundtrack album, featuring new songs, high-profile collaborations, and themes designed for each of the seven members. Being a game soundtrack credited to various artists (on both the production and performance ends), you can’t quite approach it the same way you would any standard BTS album, which places it in a somewhat unique position relative to their body of work. Its built-in structure makes it a bit of an unsteady venture for active listening, but for its purposes of advancing a greater and more general BTS story, it does what it sets out to do and even offers some surprises as it’s doing it. (Buy: Tickets to Upcoming BTS Shows) The Good: The very structure of the soundtrack album leads to some built-in division, but the band leans into it. The first track and the only […]

Jamila Woods channels her inner Harry Potter in new “Baldwin” video: Watch

Chicago R&B artist Jamila Woods is back with a new music video for “Baldwin”. The song comes from her recent album, LEGACY! LEGACY!, which was released last month. The fantastical clip sees her create the wizarding world of Harry Potter for the black youth community in Chicago. “To outsiders, the school appears to be abandoned — one of the 50 public schools closed under Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s watch in 2013,” explained Woods in a press release. “However, for Black people in the neighborhood this space is a gem, an oasis of Black learning and radical education for young people. We shot part of the film documentary-style, to include young people’s perspectives on what they would want their dream school to be like.” Hence why the music video for “Baldwin” turns into a Hogwarts haven. In the video, directed by Vincent Martell, kids run their shopping carts into the side of a Chicago school and find themselves on the other side. There, they’re surrounded by magnificent feasts, hair care classes, magic education courses, and more. Part way through, kids give testimonies about the type of education they wish they could receive in real public schools. It’s the visual embodiment of one […]

Album Review: Titus Andronicus Hold Nothing Back on the Relentless An Obelisk

The Lowdown: New Jersey punk outfit Titus Andronicus catapulted to greater heights in the indie circuit following the release of 2010’s The Monitor, an album that received unanimous praise and made the “End of Year” lists of publications such as this one. The success of this LP, however, was as much a curse as it was a blessing. Every subsequent full-length, from 2012’s Local Business to last year’s A Productive Cough, failed to meet the lofty expectations that have been set by what many consider the band’s crowning achievement. This is not for lack of merit. Titus Andronicus have maintained an impressive batting average with each release and, as evidenced by their 2015 rock opera, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, have been far from creatively stagnant. Still, their heartland rock-infused punk style has been one of their core-defining characteristics, and with the production chops of Hüsker Dü co-founder Bob Mould, they tread that familiar ground on their sixth studio effort, An Obelisk. (Buy: Tickets to Upcoming Titus Andronicus Shows) The Good: While Titus Andronicus have been able to achieve grandiosity without the bombastic self-importance that lesser artists would gravitate towards, An Obelisk is easily their most digestible and contained album yet. […]

Charli XCX announces star-studded new album, plus massive tour

Charli XCX has announced her first album in five years. The almost self-titled Charli arrives September 13th through Atlantic Records and will be supported with an expansive tour. The futuristic pop star’s third full-length to date brings together a who’s who of prominent guests. Among them: Lizzo, Troye Sivan, HAIM, Big Freedia, Christine and the Queens, and Sky Ferreira. There are also collaborations with rapper CupcakKe, rising electro-pop artist Clairo, German pop singer Kim Petras, and Brooklyn producer Yaeji. (Read: The Most Anticipated Pop Albums of 2019) Of the 15 tracks on the Sucker follow-up, we’ve already heard “1999” featuring Sivan — one of our favorites of 2018 — and the Christine and Queens-assisted “Gone”. Additionally, the new album includes the previously released joint track with Lizzo, “Blame It on Your Love”. The single’s video, directed by Bradley & Pablo, is also expected to arrive today. According to a statement, Charli XCX worked with AR makeup artist Ines Alpha on the record’s artwork. The goal of the piece is to “dismantle classic beauty ideals.” Charli XCX recently teamed with BTS on “Dream Glow”. Charli Artwork: Charli Tracklist:01. Next Level Charli02. Gone feat. Christine and the Queens03. Cross You Out (feat. […]

Whitney announce new album, Forever Turned Around, share “Giving Up”: Stream

Whitney have announced their sophomore record, Forever Turned Around. The follow-up to their breakout debut, 2016’s Light Upon the Lake, is set for a August 30th release via Secretly Canadian. Featuring co-production from Brad Cook (Bon Iver) and Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado (Weyes Blood, Father John Misty), Forever Turned Around was largely recorded in Chicago. Whitney’s main duo, vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakecek, joined returning rhythm guitarist Ziyad Asrar in his basement studio for the sessions. Local artists including Lia Kohl and OHMME’s Macie Stewart also contributed to the album. (Read: Five Rising Chicago Acts You Need to Hear) A press release describes the album as being about all forms of partnership, with an emphasized focus on “the bonds between two best friends and creative partners and the joy and stress that comes with it.” While on the surface new single “Giving Up” sounds like a track about a slowly disintegrating romance, it could just as easily be interpreted as an ode to bandmates leaning on one another for support. “Though we started losing touch/ I’ve been hanging on because/ You’re the only one I love/ Even when you’re giving up,” go the lyrics. Take a listen to the new track below. [embedded […]

Zac Efron: Metallica’s James Hetfield “crushed” his role as a cop in Ted Bundy movie

James Hetfield in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, via Brian Douglas (COTA Films) The new movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile premieres on Netflix and in select movie theaters this Friday (May 3rd), and actor Zac Efron, who stars as serial killer Ted Bundy, has nothing but praise for Metallica frontman James Hetfield’s role in the film. Hetfield plays Officer Bob Hayward, the highway patrolman who arrested Bundy in 1975. While it may be his first dramatic acting role, Hetfield had previous experience working with the film’s director, Joe Berliner, who co-directed the infamous Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster. Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Efron was asked by the late-night host about working with the Metallica legend, and the actor immediately applauded at hearing Kimmel utter Hetfield’s name. “He comes on the set, and it’s one of the more pivotal moments,” began Efron. “It’s the moment that Ted actually got caught for the first time — he ran a stop sign. And James Hetfield plays the policeman that picks him up.” Efron continued, “And James Hetfield, to his credit, and absolutely nailed the part, he just crushed it. It’s like he’s been acting his own life. […]

Album Review: The Tallest Man on Earth Continues His Sonic Exploration on I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream.

The Lowdown: When Kristian Matsson, the Swedish singer-songwriter who performs under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth, laid an almost indiscernible banjo track over the guitar on the opener of 2010’s The Wild Hunt, it came as quite a shock given his solo folk purity. But since then, his production has steadily diversified — though always austerely — from the plugged-in sound of fan-favorite “The Dreamer” to (gasp!) a drum kit on his last full-length album in 2015, Dark Bird Is Home. His newest project, I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream. finds Mattson continuing this sonic exploration, playing with horns and pianos to create vast swathes of lonely folk music. (Buy: Tickets to Upcoming The Tallest Man on Earth Shows) The Good: Counterintuitively, the songs on I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream. are most successful when the glittery production is most reigned in. Take “Waiting for My Ghost”, where a gossamer harmonica warbles over reverberating acoustic guitar, or the title track, where Matsson utilizes space and silence to build toward an ascendant horn line that seems to lift you right out of the end of the album. But even when the production is most involved, it isn’t […]

The Killers perform “Land of the Free” live for the first time on Kimmel: Watch

Earlier this year, The Killers released a brand new single called “Land of the Free”. Packaged with a powerful music video directed by the Spike Lee, the song saw the band taking a strong political stance regarding the America’s commitment to freedom and diversity. On Monday night, Brandon Flowers & co. performed “Land of the Free” live for the first time on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which this week is filming in the group’s hometown of Las Vegas. The live debut began with Flowers sitting and singing alone at a piano, the stage behind dim. The frontman was then later joined by his bandmates, a youth choir, and dramatic lighting to fit the soaring single. (Read: 2018 Filmmaker of the Year: Spike Lee) Additionally, The Killers’ Kimmel set included “All These Things That I’ve Done”, from their 2004 record, Hot Fuss. Replay it all down below. [embedded content] [embedded content] The Killers will also serve as Kimmel’s musical guest on Tuesday, replacing James Taylor, who was forced to cancel last minute due to illness. In his honor, The Killers’ cover of Taylor’s 1968 classic “Carolina in My Mind” (originally recorded Monday evening) will be aired. Flowers and the rest of the band are scheduled to […]

Sharon Van Etten performs “Comeback Kid” on Fallon: Watch

The great Sharon Van Etten has been making the rounds in support of her tremendous new album, Remind Me Tomorrow. Since the album’s release back in January, she’s appeared on both Kimmel and Ellen, the latter performance proving particularly savage. She was back at it on Monday night with a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This time, she dazzled late-night audiences by performing the album standout, “Comeback Kid”. Catch the replay below. [embedded content] Van Etten is set to kick off a European tour later this week, and will then spend the summer playing festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. See hew updated tour schedule below, and grab tickets here. In other exciting news, Van Etten recently got engaged. Mazel tov! Sharon Van Etten 2019 Tour Dates:03/21 – Birmingham, UK @ The Mill03/22 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall03/23 – Dublin, IE @ Vicar Street03/24 – Glasgow, UK @ St. Luke’s03/26 – London, UK @ Roundhouse03/27 – Bristol, UK @ SWX03/29 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord03/30 – Brussels, BE @ Orangerie (at Botanique)04/01 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie04/02 – Koln, DE @ Luxor04/03 – Munich, DE @ […]

The Front Bottoms reimagine Kevin Devine’s “Just Stay” for new Devinyl Splits collaboration: Stream

Kevin Devine has announced the final addition to volume two of his Devinyl Splits Series. As a preview of the 7-inch split single, Devine has shared The Front Bottoms’ cover of his own “Just Stay”. The track comes from Devine’s 2006 LP, Put Your Ghost to Rest, and as frequent tourmates and collaborators — and close friends — The Front Bottoms are a perfect choice for the cover. Their take is searing and powerful from the start, standing in stark contrast to the original number, which opts for a simple acoustic guitar and crisp vocals. The two renditions remain consistent in their mournful tone, however, even though the avenues they use to get there are wholly different. (Read: Top 50 Cover Songs from Movies) Devine actually features on the track, while TFB serve as the accompaniment for his B-side cover of “Rhode Island” off the New Jersey folk-punk band’s 2011 self-titled debut LP. Take a listen to “Just Stay” below, and pre-order Devinyl Splits No. 12 before it’s released on March 29th via Bad Timing Records. [embedded content] For each Devinyl Split, the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter collaborates with another artist. For the second, six-part volume — which has been rolled out throughout 2018 and […]