Marc Hogan



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    Watch Django Django's Futuristic 'Hail Bop' Video

    Django Django's hybrid of '60s psych-pop harmonies, late-'70s post-punk abstraction, and 21st-century state-of-the-art production defies simple categorization. The Scottish group's self-titled debut album came out earlier this year in the U.K., but it will be available in the U.S. via iTunes on August 14 and physically via Ribbon Music on September 25. The new video for Django Django's "Hail Bop" helps explain the unique approach of this Beta Band-related crew (drummer/producer Dave MacLean's brother is the Betas' DJ/sampler John MacLean) better than any words could: Singer/guitarist Vinnie Neff can be seen pushing what might be the title astronomical object up a computer-generated staircase into an uncanny digital paradise.

  • Perfume Genius

    Perfume Genius Covers Madonna's Emotional 'Oh Father'

    By Madonna standards, "Oh Father" was a flop. From 1989's Like a Prayer, it was the Material Girl's first single not to reach the U.S. Top 10 since "Holiday" five years earlier, and its slightly theatrical verses certainly aren't as catchy as, say, "Express Yourself." Still, in its conflicted, lushly passionate treatment of paternal and, implicitly, religious conflict, the song taps deeply into some of Madonna's most crucial themes, with a deep melancholy that might appeal to fans of the Smiths or Kate Bush. The video, directed by no less than David Fincher, was also a heart-wrenching, movingly executed exploration of those same inner struggles. In other words, the song is a perfect choice for the raw-nerve singer and songwriter Mike Hadreas, a.k.a. Perfume Genius, who sang an abbreviated cover over halting keyboard in an impromptu performance for Drowned in Sound (via Under the Radar).

  • Boy George / Photo by Getty Images

    Hear Boy George's Twangy Take on Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games'

    Lana Del Rey's original viral video hit, "Video Games," has become what you might call a video game in its own right, spurring countless singers to hit the Web with their own alternate versions, whether bluesily instrumental, wispily lo-fi, or blippily electronic. Covering the Born to Die standout now: Boy George, whose twang-streaked, gruffly expressive rendition puts the song in a whole new territory. The video, directed by Boy George documentary maker Mike Nicholls, offers a sweetly uncynical reading of the song, with a lovey-dovey couple drawing in the sand, riding a merry go-round, and playing one of those arcade toy claw games that had Arrested Development's Buster so obsessed. It brings Del Rey's "Video Games" even closer to Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," and that's never a bad thing.

  • Ben Gibbard / Photo by Getty Images

    Hear Ben Gibbard's Playful Ode to Ex-Mariner Ichiro Suzuki

    Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio? Piazza, New York catcher, are you straight or are you gay? Go, go, go, go, Ichiro! OK, so as baseball songs go, Ben Gibbard's newly posted song for longtime Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki — who, in case you didn't know, just went where almost every high-priced star player not signed by the Boston Red Sox seems to end up eventually — is probably closer to Creedence Clearwater Revival great John Fogerty's silly "Centerfield." Written "a few years ago," according to the Death Cab for Cutie frontman, the jaunty, jangly, somewhat quaint-sounding tune may or may not be a preview of what to expect from Gibbard's forthcoming solo debut album, Former Lives (due October 16 on Barsuk; "Ichiro's Theme" is via 107.7 The End).

  • The Top 5 Things Wrong With Kreayshawn's 'Go Hard (La.La.La)'

    The Top 5 Things Wrong With Kreayshawn's 'Go Hard (La.La.La)'

    Kreayshawn's major-label debut, Something About Kreay, lands on August 14, or more than a year after the Oakland rapper's syrupy, ridiculously catchy "Gucci Gucci" became first a viral and then an actual hit. It's an indication of how quickly online pop culture's creative destruction works that since then we've seen viral videos and streaming audio from a host of rappers both more technically proficient than Kreay (Azealia Banks, Angel Haze, Riff Raff) and not exactly (Kitty Pryde). Not to mention rappers with more street cred (Chief Keef and the Chicago scene). What's a White Girl Mob member to do? On the basis of latest video selection "Go Hard (La.La.La)," the follow-up to the (frankly superior) 2 Chainz collaboration "Breakfast (Syrup)," the answer is, sadly, to start smacking of effort and follow generic radio electro-pop trends.

  • Leonard Cohen / Photo by Getty Images

    Leonard Cohen's 'Book of Longing' Prompts Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

    Leonard Cohen is a songwriting great. A true living legend. He also, like some of the Important Male Writers of his generation — Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, John Updike — writes about sexuality with a male-oriented frankness that must've felt radical and bohemian in a more puritanical era, but in hindsight doesn't necessarily look so different from the womanizing of the gray flannel suits on Mad Men. On the classic 1974 song "Chelsea Hotel #2," he sings about remembering a woman "giving me head on the unmade bed," and then concludes that "I don't even think of you that often" — a reflection that rings true, which is partly why it's powerful art, but not exactly something you should put on a mixtape for a female subordinate.

  • The Babies

    The Babies Ride Their Own Train on Noise-Pop 'Moonlight Mile'

    Songs about trains are a tradition that predates rock'n'roll and has somehow managed to outlast the stubborn popularity of the rock group Train. In the past couple of years, Kurt Vile asked us to climb aboard his "Freak Train," M83 christened a "Train to Pluton," and Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire rapped over El-P beats about "Pissin' Between Train Cars," to name just a few examples. Brooklyn band the Babies' contribution to the train-song discography, "Moonlight Mile," shares its title with a ballad from the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers, and its fuzzy, organ-streaked jangle could almost be of a similar vintage. But this is no ballad: It's a haunted, tenaciously uptempo gale of immaculately constructed garage-rock.

  • Christopher Owens / Photo by Ian Witlen

    Hear an Early Recording of Girls' 'Forgiveness'

    "And I can hear so much music / And I can feel everything now," Girls' Christopher Owens sings on "Forgiveness," from the San Francisco duo's 2011 album Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Owens, who revealed earlier this month he would be leaving the group for "personal" reasons, played the song with bassist-producer Chet "JR" White more than three years before its release in a session on New York City's WNYU. True Panther label boss Dean Bein has posted a recording of that early version of "Forgiveness" along with a heartfelt essay bidding farewell to Girls as we knew them. It's a stark, simple, almost shambling rendition, which makes the truth of its hopeful lyrics all the more poignant.

  • Bradford Cox / Photo by Getty Images

    Bradford Cox Writing 'Weird' Roots and Blues Deerhunter Songs

    Deerhunter's members have been touring separately with their solo projects this year, but outspoken — and ever-prolific — frontman Bradford Cox already has new material prepped for the band's next album. In a recent interview with MTV Hive, the Atlas Sound mastermind said his latest compositions for Deerhunter are rootsier and more lyric-heavy. And he said whether or not the songs make it onto the follow-up to 2010's Halcyon Digest, the band's recent hiatus shouldn't last much longer. "I've been writing a lot of songs for Deerhunter, but I don't know if they'll be used because they're so weird," Cox is quoted as saying. "I don't use any effects pedals or reverb or anything like that. I use a lot of roots sounds but they're kind of like field recordings and they're more like songs. There are a lot of lyrics and an American narrative.

  • Snoop Lion / Photo by Getty Images

    Snoop Dogg Goes Reggae: Hear Snoop Lion's Major Lazer Team-Up 'La La La'

    In March, omnipresent DJ-slash-producer Diplo revealed he had been working on a reggae album with none other than Snoop Dogg. Over the weekend, Snoop announced that the record — which he'll be putting out under the rasta-ready name Snoop Lion — will be titled Reincarnated and is on the way via Vice. Snoop also posted his first song as a Lion, "La La La," which features an executive producer credit from Diplo's Major Lazer project. There's also a simple but effective video of the song being played on vinyl. "sendin the positive vibes all around!!! jahh!!! rastafari!!!" said Snoop on Twitter. Snoop Lion's SoundCloud page even lists the artist's location as Kingston, Jamaica. "La La La" is squarely in keeping with that conceit, with Snoop singing — yes, singing — amid loping guitars, tropical keyboards, and an atmosphere thick with smoke.

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