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Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1278

DEADMAU5: Goes through an airport x-ray. But where are his ears?

ROMEO BECKHAM: Yes, the spawn of Posh and Becks. For Burberry.

HURTS: "Miracle".

CHRIS COLFER: On being typecast.

For previous Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

MUSIC NEWS: Des Ark, Moby, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Das Racist, Etta James, Hurts, Beyoncé, Alex Winston, Alex Metric & Steve Angello

DESARK©Marc Krause #1 cropped


Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.


Des_ark_lovitt_press Des Ark Don't Rock the Boat, Sink the F*cker (Lovitt)

Aimee Collet Argote has been using the name Des Ark since 2001, and her history with music is as long as ten years will allow — cutting her teeth in queercore bands like Rubeo, hitting a career high with the J. Mascis–produced Loose Lips Sink Ships in 2005, touring endlessly on the DIY circuit for the last few years as she prepared its long awaited follow-up. So while the newly released — and eloquently titled — Don't Rock the Boat, Sink the F*cker sounds like it came out of nowhere, that's only one aspect of its carefully considered charm: This collection shows Argote at the top of her craft, and puts her in the position of being one of the more captivating queer singer-songwriters working today — exploring the dialectics of love and anger, protest and ennui. And yet this is not a political record as much as a record of intimacy: It's about sex and drugs and broken hearts with an eye on redemption and the simple life: "Let's buy some land and start a family, whatever you ain't never had," Argote sings at the album's end before extolling the emotional virtues of "telling stupid jokes and working on our garden." On Don't Rock the Boat, even the banal is transformed into a radical statement.

START WITH: "Bonne Chance""Howard's Hour of Shower" / "FTW Y'all!"


Das-Racist Road In terms of underground hip-hop, no one is doing it quite like Das Racist — a New York rap collective whose work is informed by everything from Dadaism and critical theory to Jay-Z and Saved By The Bell. This week, group member Heems (né Himanshu Suri) took to AlterNet for a less whimsical missive about what we've learned — and haven't learned — in a post-9/11 and post-Bin Laden America: "On 9/11, I saw the Towers fall from my classroom window. On 5/2, I discovered that racism against Middle Eastern and South Asian people in America is as alive as ever."

Road Legendary blues singer Etta James was hospitalized in Southern California earlier this week with "a potentially deadly infection."

Screen shot 2011-05-15 at 9.51.53 PM Road The rift between Diplo and M.I.A. just got wider. In an interview with Women's Wear Daily, the producer called Maya out for being politically naive and professionally unreasonable: "She's good in a lot of aspects, but when it comes to diehard, facts-on-the-ground politics, she's at zero." When asked if they were still friends, he added, "No, no, no. Not anymore. No one in my camp talks to her anymore. She's kind of really gone crazy."

Road Relatedly, French DJ and producer SebastiAn released the second track from his forthcoming album, Total: "C.T.F.O." — or "Chill The F*ck Out" — is a distorted synth banger featuring M.I.A., who doesn't seem to be finished with the electro-noise sound she delivered on last year's /|/|/|Y/|. SebastiAn's debut album will be released on May 30.

Road According to a post on their Facebook page, Grizzly Bear will return to the studio later this month to commence work on the follow-up to 2009's excellent Veckatimest. "We're really not, like, theme-album people," singer Ed Droste says. "It's not going to be some overarching political message. It's going to be songs of the heart. That's what we do."

LE_Hurts Road The much-loved UK duo Hurts recently turned in a remix for Lady Gaga's "Judas" — which Popjustice called a "gothic popstep triumph." It's basically an articulate way of saying Wow.

Road Stevie Nicks: "When my album and Lindsey's albums come to a stop, then Fleetwood Mac will gather again."

Road Beyoncé announced that her upcoming fourth album will be titled, quite simply, 4. Remarkably, the singer delivered a staggering 72 songs to her label in consideration for the album — ostensibly including previously reported collaborations with Sleigh Bells and Odd Future's Frank Ocean. Meanwhile, her former Destiny's Child bandmate Kelly Rowland — whose new single, "Motivation," is currently slaying Beyoncé's "Run The World (Girls)" on the charts — has also announced an album title for her third solo effort: Here I Am is expected to see a summer release.


Lucy The full-length debut artist album by Lucy Wainwright Roche, first released in October of last year, gets a rerelease this week. If you missed it last fall, you'll probably want to give Lucy a listen: Rufus and Martha's half-sister serves up a modern folk-pop hybrid every bit befitting of her famous last name and occasionally even transcendent of it. Besides saying something about your own caliber of singing and songwriting, getting the Indigo Girls to serve as your background singers takes nerve. But convincing This American Life's Ira Glass to appear on a duet version of Elliott Smith's "Say Yes?" That's kinda genius.

13god The Notwist could be one of the most underrated bands going right now: The German pop collective practically created a new language that incorporates indie rock, pop, folk, abstract techno, jazz, and even jungle into one cohesive and often emotionally-wrenching sound. With 13 & God — one of their innumerable side projects — the Notwist team up with Anticon experimental rap crew Themselves, adding hip-hop to their increasingly complex palette. Standouts like "Armored Scarves" and "Old Age" expand the possibilities for both groups, all the while increasing the likelihood that Own Your Ghost will become a sort of cross-cultural, cross-genre denouement.

Mobydestro Ever since the inexplicably beyond-anyone's-dreams success of 1999's Play, Moby has very much taken advantage of the freedom of a man who just sold 10 million records. Destroyed is his first wholly independent release after leaving Mute last year, and it reads like a greatest-hits album of songs you've never heard: "Lie Down In Darkness" returns to the crispy gospel breakbeat of his breakthrough album; "Sevastopol" is an updated take on Moby's "Go"-era. As a collection, however, Destroyed is more often a cold and isolated affair — like a winter album getting ready for a summer release.

Also out today: Franz Ferdinand — Covers EP (Domino), Kate Bush — Director's Cut (EMI), The Elected — Bury Me In Rings (Vagrant), Glasvegas — Euphoric /// Heartbreak: Domestic Edition (Columbia), Austra — Feel It Break (Domino), Tinie Tempah — Disc-Overy (Capitol)


Alex Winston — "Sister Wife" 

Once you get past the fact that certain melodic portions of "Sister Wife" are totally lifted from the Christmas classic "Sleigh Ride," you're likely to discover a pretty perfect pop song here. But the allusions don't end there: Fans of Japanese horror kitsch will definitely find multiple references to the 1977 classic House in this comically creepy clip.

Death Cab For Cutie — "Home Is A Fire"

Just in advance of its May 31 release date, Death Cab for Cutie release the second single and video for Codes And Keys. "Home Is A Fire" finds its muse in the wheat-paste street art scene and features Shepard Fairey as both its star and director for maximum authenticity.

CockNBullKid — "Asthma Attack"

Anita Blay didn't seem to be going for the whole sultry pop star nickname thing when she chose CockNBullKid as her nom d'artiste — and for that matter, choosing to make a line like "Oh London I'll never forget you / You were the one I lost my two front teeth to" a lyrical hook on a single for your forthcoming major label debut isn't something Katy Perry would have done. But "Asthma Attack" has an irresistible quality to it all the same and Blay's charisma still shines through effortlessly, in some ways redefining pop seduction in the process.

Alex Metric & Steve Angello — "Open Your Eyes" (feat. Ian Brown)

The Stone Roses were closely aligned with indie-dance club culture in their day, so it's not surprising that lead singer Ian Brown would collaborate with two of the world's most respected big-room house producers for a song that effectively updates the Madchester baggy aesthetic for 2011. As for the video: It's got boxing robots, y'all.

MUSIC NEWS: Lykke Li, Those Dancing Days, Daft Punk, Adele, Sugababes, Justin Bond, Antony & The Johnsons, Take That

Lykke Li


Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.


Lykke-Li-Wounded-Rhymes-2011 Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes (XL)

If 2008's Youth Novels followed the more hopeful trajectory of yearning and discovery, then Lykke Li uses Wounded Rhymes — an album whose centerpiece is a song in which she declares that "sadness is my boyfriend" — to trace the bitter comedown. While songs like "Little Bit" and "Let It Fall," from Li's debut, paired disappointment with sweetness, the sentiment on Wounded Rhymes is comparatively harsh: On "Unrequited Love" — a sparse, country-tinged lament — Li seethes with an almost callous resignation to loneliness, while "Get Some" sees that fatalism to its hardened conclusion. "Don't make demands / I don't take none," she scowls at one point. "I'm your prostitute / You gon' get some." Which isn't to say that Lykke Li's second album is harrowing or unpleasant, but in fact, just the opposite. Like a younger Dusty Springfield — who somehow managed to sing "Every Day I Have To Cry Some" with a smile on her face — Li's reverb-drenched vocals recall a different era of music-making, wresting the Wall of Sound ambiance from Phil Spector in order to transmit a very modern conclusion: "You see pain like it is pleasure / Like a work of art." It's one of the final statements that Lykke Li makes on Wounded Rhymes, and perhaps, its most telling.

Those-dancing-days Those Dancing Days Daydreams & Nightmares (Witchita)

In their native Sweden, Those Dancing Days are proper "pop" stars, but what that means from a descriptive standpoint is a slippery proposition: On the one hand, Daydreams & Nightmares mines a more commercial territory than most indie rock albums — "Can't Find Entrance," for example, was penned by Max Martin and Shellback, who have previously written for Robyn, P!nk, and Britney Spears — but on the whole, Those Dancing Days take more inspiration from the all-girl vocal groups of the Northern Soul era and the propulsive energy of UK post-punk. An unlikely hybrid, for sure. But the result is inexplicably cohesive while also seemingly contradictory — pulsing with neo-Motown swagger ("When We Fade Away"), owing a debt to New Order ("I'll Be Yours"), and reframing the Ronettes as an indie-pop guitar band ("Dream About Me"). If Those Dancing Days are "pop" in the same sense of the word that we'd use with any other Max Martin collaborator, it's only in the sheer sense of joy this album brings: Where their debut album lacked the unhinged nature of teenage art, Daydreams & Nightmares makes up for it with a forceful, but frenetic maturity.


DaftPunk Road For a group that's been around for almost fifteen years and only have four albums to their name — discounting remix collections, greatest hits, and live albums — Daft Punk sure carry an insane amount of cachet. In fact, they may have set the standard: You're not anyone until you have your own limited edition Coca-Cola bottle.

Road As one of the earliest and most idiosyncratic female voices in contemporary music, Poly Styrene led the legendary X-Ray Spex as a teenager and gave punk rock its earliest feminist anthem with "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" Sadly, the singer's official website announced this week that Poly has been diagnosed with breast cancer. A new solo album, Generation Indigo, is still slated for release on March 28.

Road Finally! A well-earned success story: This week, Adele is poised to take her first U.S. number-one album with 21. The album is projected to sell more than 300,000 copies in its first week out.

Keisha Buchanan - Under Control Road As the last remaining original member of Sugababes, Keisha Buchanan was controversially outed from the group last year just in time for them to release the horribly disappointing Sweet 7. But with her debut single "Gimme Pressure" having leaked, Buchanan is lashing out. Sample lyric: "I'm a graduate, you're a college kid / I wrote a book on the game that you been studying / Ready or not, here I come / I bet you're missing my voice on those records you're on." Musically, it sounds a lot like Tinie Tempah's recent UK hit "Pass Out," but that's not a bad thing!

Road Antony & The Johnsons have announced a new EP called Swanlights, to be issued as 10-inch vinyl and digital download only. In addition to two new songs (including the previously hard-to-find "Find the Rhythm of Your Love"), the EP will also feature the first-ever official Antony & The Johnsons remix by Oneohtrix Point Never.

JustinBond Road Justin Bond (of Kiki & Herb fame) is set to release a debut solo album later this month called Justin Vivian Bond: Dendrophile. Says Bond: "A dendrophile's a person who gets an erotic charge out of nature. I am one!" Among other things, the album will feature a duet with Beth Orton of the Carpenters' classic "Superstar."

Road Jessie J's debut album won't be out in America until later this month, but you may already know her from stints as a backing singer for Cyndi Lauper and songwriter for Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus. (You can thank or blame her for "Party in the U.S.A.," in case you're wondering.) Earlier this week, while promoting the album in England, Jessie J confirmed her bisexuality: "I've dated guys and I've dated girls," she told a radio show. "Get over it. It's not a secret."


Ron-sexsmith-long-player-late-bloomer-2011-front-cover-64643 Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith has earned accolades from everyone from Elvis Costello to Elton John, he's collaborated with everyone from Shonen Knife to Coldplay's Chris Martin, and his songs have been covered by everyone from Rod Stewart to Feist. On his twelfth album, Long Play Late Bloomer, Sexsmith steps up another incredible notch in an already enviable career.

Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius releases her debut solo album, Late Nights & Early Mornings, this week. As a songwriter, she's written for Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and Jamie Foxx, but on her own, Ambrosius stays in the slow lane and never really picks it up: While lead single "Hope She Cheats On You" (With A Basketball Player) promises a modern R&B direction, several other key tracks like "With You" — a collaboration with Alicia Keys — are minimal to the point of barely there. Disappointingly, the album is not stripped down so much as it is underdressed.

Dumdumgirls L.A.'s Dum Dum Girls release the He Gets Me High EP this week, and this one is a somewhat game-changing follow-up to their distorted pop debut: Along with lead singer Dee Dee on production duties is Richard Gottehrer — who besides having written "My Boyfriend's Back" and "I Want Candy," is also responsible for producing the debut albums by Blondie and The Go-Go's. Also necessary: A fuzzy, ethereal cover of The Smiths' "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out."

Also out today: Lucinda Williams — Blessed (Lost Highway), Beady Eye — Different Gear Still Speeding (Dangerbird), Melissa Etheridge — Icon (Island), Stateless — Matilda (Ninja Tune), Harry Connick Jr. In Concert on Broadway (Columbia), Diplo vs. DJ Tiesto featuring Busta Rhymes — C'mon (Catch 'Em By Surprise) (Mad Decent/Violator)


Take That — "Kidz"

2010's Progress reunited Take That with Robbie Williams and repositioned the band into a more realistic place — where every day isn't the "Greatest Day" and everyone in the world doesn't always "Shine." For their second single, Take That bring on "Kidz," whose protest imagery angered Simon Cowell enough to ban the riot gear from their X-Factor performance in December, but not enough to stop this ominous clip.

Hurts — "Sunday"

Manchester's Hurts return with the fourth single from Happiness. True to form, their anthemic, but elegiac synthpop is just about as true to the format as you can get without actually being the Pet Shop Boys.

Cults — "Go Outside"

Having pretty much won the Internet, Cults came out of nowhere, scored a record deal with Columbia, and released this video for "Go Outside" — featuring James Franco's younger brother Dave and Julia Roberts' niece Emma — all before most bands have set up a Bandcamp page.

Rival Schools — "Wring It Out"

In some circles, Rival Schools frontman Walter Schreifels practically walks on water for his groundbreaking work with Quicksand and Gorilla Biscuits. But for their first new single in ten years, Rival Schools test that divinity and find themselves on the wrong side of projectile pea soup.

Mega Hurts: Brit Synth Duo Confides in Kylie


I'm intrigued in a very 80's way by Hurts, the Manchester synth pop duo of Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson, who were mentioned earlier in this week's music post. Their debut album, Happiness, is out at the beginning of September, and features a duet with Kylie Minogue.

Here they are covering Kylie's track "Confide in Me" (via arjan). I've also posted the videos for their first tracks "Wonderful Life" and "Better Than Love".

Watch all the clips, and listen to the Kylie duet, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mega Hurts: Brit Synth Duo Confides in Kylie" »


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