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Monday November 5th, 2012 16:33 ‘Looking Hot’ Branded Racially Insensitive, Decide For Yourself [Viewing Post]

Take a look at what’s left of the über controversial new video from No Doubt for their track, “Looking Hot.” The sexy song is the second official single from their comeback album, Push & Shove.

Moments after the clip’s premiere on Friday (Nov.2), Gwen and the boys decided to yank the production from circulation after it garnered some quick backlash from the Native American community for its “insensitive” imagery. On Saturday the band posted the following message apologizing to the overly sensitive fans who ruined it for the rest of us:

As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures. Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history. Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people.  This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately.  The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness.  We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video.  Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are.

Well guess what? We Heart Pop respects the band’s decision to make things right, but completely disagrees with all of the butt-hurt cry babies who had nothing better to do than get their panties in a bunch over a playful music video. Seriously, it’s completely harmless and goes a little something like this: Gwen gets decked out in some fabulous and completely traditional midriff-bearing Native American garb, while bassist Tony Kanal acts as a tribesman who helps Gwen flee from her cowboy captors, played by Tom Dumont and Adrian Young. Besides that, there’s a cracklin’ campfire, a chic teepee (which I presume is from Pottery Barn’s Native American collection), lots of dessert, and a colorful array of feathers.

Before I go any further just know that I tried my hardest to find some outstanding version of the video, but No Doubt and their label were very thorough with their anti-”Looking Hot”-campaign and decimated almost every last trace of the visual…ALMOST!

With that, I did manage to find the whole video for your entertainment. Click HERE to watch it now!

What do you think? Racially insensitive or cry baby fodder?

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Monday October 8th, 2012 20:37 Christina Aguilera Remains The Queen Of Flop, But Why?

Although the ever-pretentious Madonna would probably argue that she is the undisputed Queen of flop, the dookie colored crown actually belongs to none other than Christina Aguilera—and rightfully so. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday September 10th, 2012 02:20 Britney Rocks The Spots In ‘Till The World Ends’ Twister Remix Video

Ladies and gents, boys and girls, the time has come to ROCK THE SPOTS!

After months of anticipation, the “Till The World Ends” Twister Remix video that Britney Spears shot with famed music video-director Ray Kay for the re-birth of Hasbro’s classic game has finally arrived!

Naturally, it’s absolutely everything and much, much more!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday July 16th, 2012 11:20 Sorry 1967; Every Summer Is The Summer Of Love

By Mikala Hughes

So, dearest readers, my beloved month of June has come and gone, and with it the month of Pride has nestled back into its 11-month slumber. It’s a little late, I know—I suck. The San Francisco Pride Parade also happens to fall on the weekend of my birthday like clockwork every year, and I can’t help but to cover myself in feathers and glitter and dance through the crowds of smiling, loving people in celebration of Pride, of life, and most of all, of love in all it’s hues. With that said, I have a pretty good excuse, so don’t go getting your panties in a twist (unless you like that sort of thing). I wanted to make a lengthy and ridiculously all-inclusive list of every fabulously out-and-proud individual with a band of mention, with acts like Antony and the Johnsons, the Scissor Sisters, Magnetic Fields, Xiu Xiu, and Rufus Wainwright adding to the fruit bowl, but decided in the end to shorten it to just a few of my top faves in honor of the month of Pride.

Bianca Casady of CocoRosie

The first time I heard CocoRosie’s tracks “By Your Side” and “Noah’s Ark”, I found the vocals a bit strange and I didn’t quite know what to make of them, but regardless I found myself drawn-in and captured by the melodies. Now, several years later, I love both members of CocoRosie to death. Formed in 2003 by sisters Bianca “Coco” and Sierra “Rosie” Casady, the story of their lives both individually and separately would take ages to delve into respectfully, so for now I won’t go there. Musically, their style is completely eclectic, and their vocals range from childish and shaky-edge to operatic and haunting, to something more akin to a gangster rap. It’s for this reason I had the hardest time deciding on which song to showcase. It didn’t help one bit that they are both genuinely amazing lyricists (note the lyrics for their track “Werewolf”, which has a number of great dubstep remixes floating around; breathtaking). Up for debate were also the tracks “God Has a Voice” and “Fairy paradise”, the music video for which is performed live in the middle of a random park with unsuspecting bystander’s lounging on benches and in the grass while Sierra plays the harp, Bianca sings, and some dude beat boxes. I settled on “Rainbowarriors” for the sake of the theme of this article. Note that Bianca is notorious for drawing on a mustache; I love her.

Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend and Discovery

I just love what Rostam is capable of. The member of 2 fantastic groups (the first of which is the band Discovery, whom I’ve written a piece on already), he’s a multi-instrumentalist whose parents originated from Iran and who settled in New York, where he met the members of the alternate group he is apart of known as Vampire Weekend. Popularized originally by the track “Holiday,” Vampire Weekend was formed in 2008, and released their most recent album in 2010 called “Contra”. On that album, Rostam is responsible for co-writing the lyrics to the tune “Diplomat’s Son.” It’s a real pleasure to listen to, so do yourself the favor and hit play.

Brad Fordcox of Deerhunter

Deerhunter is a post-punk, shoe-gaze, indie-rock band formed in 2001 and headed by vocalist and drummer/keyboardist Brad Fordcox. Generally dreamy and often lo-fi, I can’t resist the opportunity to place them on this list for Fordcox‘s lovely vocals alone.

Khaela Maricich of The Blow

I’ve previously touched on The Blow for the song “The Love That I Crave,” and now I’m bringing them back with the track “True Affection.” I’d always had the slightest of inklings that singer Khaela Maricich swung my way, particularly when I heard the track “Come On Petunia” which repeatedly manipulates the words to that old Police song “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” but it wasn’t until I really searched into the matter that I sighed with relief at the confirmation that my gaydar was still in-tact. I’m pleased to say she makes it to this list.

Edward Droste of Grizzly Bear

“Knife” was the first song I ever heard by Grizzly Bear, and at the time my gaydar was definitely sleeping, or staring off mindlessly drooling and unaware, because I had no idea. It’s not the first place my mind goes to, wondering who is and who isn’t. Music isn’t like that; it’s transcendent and liberating and in a million shades of gray. But boy was I pleased to add them to this list due to Grizzly Bear‘s vocalist Edward Droste. A Brooklyn-based indie rock back, they’re not for everyone. But then, who is? The video for this song is unsettling and a little creepy, so of course I can’t get enough. Love, love, love.

JónJónsiÞór Birgisson of Sigur Ros and Jónsi

Jónsi is just beautiful. I’ve loved his first well-known band Sigur Ros for many, many years, perhaps since I was as young as 13 or 14, though I could be remembering wrong. Images of the end-scene to the film Vanilla Sky (which played out to the tune of a Sigur Ros song) come to mind, with Tom Cruise teetering over the edge of a building and then jumping off into oblivion, the wind in his hair and a deep desire for freedom in his heart. Jónsi has come a long way from those days, and his music style has definitely progressed. I can’t express to you the look on my face when I found out that he was living out of the closet and somehow the news had evaded me; it was priceless, I assure you. I couldn’t even begin to choose an adequate song to display the full range and beauty of him, so I just resigned to not scratching the surface and picked blindly. Interesting tidbit, one of the most interesting things about him is that, in his early band Sigur Ros, not only did he sing in his native tongue of Icelandic, but some of the time he was singing in no particular language at all, but a mumbo-jumbo language he created, using his voice more as an instrument in itself. Forever the innovator. If you like the song, check out some his accoustic offerings, such as “Tornado” and “Go Do” off of his self-titled albums under the name Jónsi. They’re so raw and glittery.

Kele Okereke of Bloc Party

From their older material to their newer stuff, Bloc Party is just all-around good stuff. They range from deep and dark, angsty and pleading (see songs like “Skeleton” and “Octopus”), to buoyant and light-hearted, dance-y and carefree (such as “I Still Remember” and “This Modern Love”). Singer Kele Okereke is out and doesn’t mind who knows. He’s fabulous.

Jake Shears and Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters

Frontman Jake Shears along with Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters is openly gay and I love them for it. Inspired by the gay nightclub scene of New York, their tunes are dance-friendly and fun to listen to.

Thao and Mirah

Mirah has such a soft, small voice for such a big heart. Mirah will forever have a place within me for songs like “Don’t Die In Me” and “The Dogs of B.A.” When I discovered that Mirah teamed up with Thao Nguyen to form the duo Thao and Mirah, my heart was forever held captive. Writing pieces of their own, as both play guitar and sing wonderfully, they’ve also covered tracks such as Pat Benetar‘s “Love Is A Battlefield” and Salt-n-Pepa‘s “Push It” for the television show Portlandia’s tour. While Mirah is out of the closet, it remains nebulous as to Thao‘s standing, however it’s been hinted that she is less than the perfect poster-child for heterosexuality. Whatever the case may be, I love the artistic chemistry between them. “Little Cup” is a somber little folksy tune that picks up pace towards the end of the song. If you like it, don’t be shy and delve into the rest of what they have to offer.

Here’s to love and the freedom to love.

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Tuesday April 10th, 2012 14:36 On Being Overpowered By Those Ruby Blues

By Mikala Hughes

Ever stumble across some amazing little snippet of music, discover how long ago it hit the streets and wonder which rock, exactly, you must have been living under not to have heard it before?

The hit “Let Me know” was the first and only track that jogged my memory; it was a track I definitely heard played once or twice out and about in the club scene. For me it was always one of those songs that I found catchy, but for whatever reason I always failed to search for and download it. Sometimes it’s the tracks that never receive any radio-play that end up really rocking your world.

A true disco-queen, Irish singer-songwriter Róisín Murphy‘s music is known for it’s electronic feel, being described as electropop, synthpop, nudisco, house, triphop, and nujazz. Murphy grew up in Ireland loving the fashions of the 1960′s thanks to her mother, who was an antiques dealer. When she was 12 her family relocated to Manchester, England where she spent most of her time listening to The Pixies and Sonic Youth, keeping her singing voice to herself. At 15 years old her parents divorced and moved back to Ireland, but Róisín decided to stay in Manchester, living with a friend for a year before qualifying for housing benefits and moving into a flat of her own. Bullied in school, she fell in with a “group of weird boys who wore black” and considered art the most important subject in school. Murphy first appeared on the scene as one half of the music duo Moloko with her then boyfriend, Mark Brydon, who she met at a party in 1994 with the pick-up line, “Do you like my tight sweater? See how it fits my body.” The two began dating and recording music together, were signed to Echo Records and released their first album Do You Like My Tight Sweater? in 1995. Moloko then released 2 more albums, but by the release of their 4th album the couple was falling apart, and Murphy was left with the majority of the production on that final record.

Once the two ended their romantic relationship, Murphy worked with writer and producer Matthew Herbert and released her first solo album in 2005 titled Ruby Blue which featured the upbeat, snap-your-fingers jazzy composition, “If We’re in Love.” She worked with the likes of Handsome Boy Modeling School for her phenomenal track, “The Truth”, and Boris Dlugosch for the track “Never Enough,” which became a club hit and wedged itself into the top three on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart. Her label, Echo Records initially didn’t care much for Ruby Blue, commenting that the album was odd and that Roisin should rework most of the tracks to be more radio-friendly. But, of course, as all true divas must do, Murphy stuck to her guns and her label inevitably conceded to the album remaining, as Murphy put it, “as pure as possible”.

In 2006 Murphy signed with EMI records and by 2007 she had released her second album Overpowered. The set’s dark and melodramatic namesake track was launched as the first single and was mixed by the likes of the legendary Tom Elmhirst (Amy Winehouse, Röyksopp). The album was a hit, and garnered her a nomination for the MTV Europe Music Award for “Best International Act” as well as a performance on Friday Night With Johnathan Ross. Murphy is currently working on her third solo album, which she has described as being “quite gritty” and “more urban and bass-ey than Overpowered“, but the release of the album has yet to be announced.

In the meantime, Róisín Murphy has worked with the production duo Crookers, singing on their tracks “Hold Up Your Hand” and “Royal T,” David Byrne and Fatboy Slim for their track “Don’t You Agree?”, DJ Mason on the track “Boadicea,” Calvin Harris and Cathy Dennis for the track “Off and On”, and Tony Christie on his album Now’s The Time!, my favorite tune of which is titled “7 Hills.”

The girl is on a roll.

So check her out! You might be as surprised as I was to see what you’ve been missing out on.

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Tuesday April 3rd, 2012 00:54 Pull Up A Chair To The Tiny Desk

By: Mikala Hughes

Alright, all you softies, it’s time to bust out your bleeding hearts and wear them on your sleeves with pride.

Thanks to NPR, formerly National Public Radio, the acoustic, live set has never been more thoroughly amazing. The host of 900 public radio stations in the US, NPR is a privately- and publicly-funded membership media organization that produces and distributes news and cultural programming. Two of NPR’s most successful news broadcast programs, and indeed two of the most successful programs in the country, are Morning Edition, and the afternoon broadcast, All Things Considered. All Things Considered‘s director Bob Boilen began a weekly online multimedia program in January of 2000 titled All Songs Considered which broadcasts and introduces unsigned and unsung up-and-coming artists, as well as music from the best of the best in the indie world. By 2007 All Songs Considered became the cornerstone program of NPR Music, the music site for National Public Radio. It’s this little gem that brings us the amazing Tiny Desk Concert series that completely blows my mind.

Hosted live at Bob Boilen‘s desk in the NPR music office, class acts perform 3-song sets; acoustic renditions into a microphone surrounded by bookshelves and beaming onlookers. Stepping into that legendary little room are beauty’s such as Adele, The Cranberries, The Decemberists, Iron and Wine, Booker T. Jones, Horse Feathers, Freelance Whales, Milagres, Noah and The Whale, Beirut, Wilco, The Civil Wars, Yo-Yo Ma, Local Natives, The Avett Brothers, Foster The People, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Tallest Man On Earth– to name a few.

To give you a little taste of what your eardrums are in for, here are a few of my favorite performances so far.

Local Natives, a Los Angeles-born indie-rock band infamous for their eclectic Afrobeat rythms and stunning three-part harmonies, performed their tracks “Wide Eyes”, “Cards and Quarters”, and “Airplanes”. With closed eyes they spilled their souls out into the little room and took my breath away.

Foster The People, sky rocketed to the top of the charts for their radio-favorite 2011 summer tune “Pumped Up Kicks”, bring a different side of themselves to the table (desk, rather) by performing “Houdini”, “Helena Beat”, and, of course, 7 minutes and 22 seconds into their set “Pumped Up Kicks”.

Adele, sweet Adele. Belting out with a fullness and weight you’d expect from such a diva, she performs “Someone Like You”, “Chasing Pavements”, and “Rolling In The Deep”. The video is full of the most wonderful close-ups of her pretty little face; even those who don’t care for her music can’t deny the raw passion spilling out of her lips.

Beirut is a quirky, multi-instrumental little band of indie outlaws with musical influences that differ as much as the members themselves. A little bit of jazz, a little bit of klezmer, a little bit alternative (whatever the term means nowdays) using horns, drums, organs, accordians, banjos– you name it, they’ve more than likely thrown it into the mix. Performing “East Harlem”, “Santa Fe”, and “Serbian Cocek”, Beirut‘s lead vocalist’s lilting voice carries you through each track from one blow of the French horn to the next.

The Avett Brothers; 12 minutes in performing “Bella Donna” my soul fell to its proverbial knees. This is a group I’ve literally, with no exaggeration whatsoever, seen 5 times and would still go see again, and again, and again. Country-raised with all the goodness and sincerity of true gentlemen, these three brothers at times almost scream out their earnest melodies, harmonizing and playing off of one another in perfect time. With the help of their amazing violinist, The Avett Brothers perform “Laundry Room”, “Down With The Shine”, and “Bella Donna”.

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Tuesday February 21st, 2012 16:16 So This Is Happening: Rihanna, “Birthday Cake” (Remix) Feat. Chris Brown

In what is quite literally exploitation at its worst, Rihanna has recently announced that she will be releasing a remix of her unreleased Talk That Talk track, “Birthday Cake,” featuring her abusive ex-boyfriend Chris Brown.

This is definitely something I cannot and will not support. I mean, where in God’s name is your self-respect girl? This man beat the living shit out of you!!! I for one am all about forgiveness, but there is a right place and a right time for everything and this is certainly not it. What message does this deliver to the millions upon millions of children who look up to you as a role model? What about the millions of women and children who are effected by domestic abuse each year? Yes, you may have justified this retarded publicity stunt as a mode of “chasing paper,” but can you really put a price on your dignity and self-worth when you are already swimming in cash? It seems to me that this was not a very well thought out decision and I hope that it backfires in your pretty little face. I am extremely disappointed and I will continue to be your fan, but I don’t agree and I will not endorse. If I ever encounter you in person, maybe I’ll back-hand you in hopes that it will get me featured on your next single. PUKE!

Could this be the end of that Rihanna reign?

I’m kind of hoping so. Maybe then it will instill some humility in her ass.

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Tuesday February 14th, 2012 15:48 Dear Whitney…

I am still completely sick and speechless over this…

As most of the world now knows the multi-talented Whitney Houston has passed away at the tender age of 48. The singer who was found Saturday afternoon unconscious in her Beverly Hills Hotel room joins the ranks of music’s legendary singers gone too soon. As of now, the famed musician’s cause of death is still officially unknown, however, preliminary autopsy reports found high levels of perscription seditves in her system. It is currently being speculated that Whitney actually drowned in her bath tub while intoxicated on the lethal combination of pills that were discovered in and around her body at the time of her passing. An official cause of death won’t be announced until the toxicology report is finalized in the coming weeks.

This is just too weird, and serves as a reminder that life is both precious and fragile, even when you are a world renown superstar.

I find it even stranger that just 24 hours before her death, after not having thought of or listened to Whitney in years, I randomly began singing her 1999 #1 hit, “Heartbreak Hotel,” and even watched her flawless rendition of the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl many times over. It was definitely a sign. And while Whitney has battled an apparent addiction problem for many years, this does not mean she should be written off because she truly was THE VOICE of a generation (sorry Mariah.) But between the constant media scrutiny of her condition combined with the stresses of her waning fame, I can’t even begin to imagine the inner turmoil she was dealing with. Lord knows, Bobby Brown didn’t help either.

On a happier note, I would like to take this time to express that Whitney Houston and her timeless music has been the backdrop of some of the fondest memories of my life. From jamming out with my Mom to “I’m every Woman” to wallowing in my own post break-up pitty to “I Will Always Love You,” Miss Houston will always hold a special place in my heart and in my music library.

I also find it important to mention that having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide her legend will far surpass her untimely demise.

I love you dear Whitney and may you rest in peace. Your demons can hurt you no more.

And It may be a little cliche, but this one’s for you old girl!

Look at that beautiful face. I. Can’t. Stand. It.

 

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Thursday January 26th, 2012 02:47 How “Somebody That I Used To Know” Held Onto Its Groove

By Mikala Hughes

Take Australian-Belgian multi-instrumentalist Gotye, mash him with rising starlette Kimbra, and then give that beauty a go on a single guitar with the 10 talented hands of Canadian indie-band Walk Off The Earth featuring The Creepshow‘s Sarah Blackwood and you’ve got one killer ode to a broken heart.

My love affair with Gotye began in 2007 when I heard his heart-wrenchingly raw “Heart’s a Mess” off of what I found to be his second album, Like Drawing Blood, released in 2006. In addition to having torn through every nook and cranny in that album, I then thoroughly ravaged his 2003 debut entitled Boardface, and after overplaying the majority of both albums for a solid 4 years, you can imagine my excitement when I was finally given some new material to fawn over with the release of his most recent offering, Making Mirrors, which features his beautifully composed “Somebody That I Used To Know”. The track is breathtaking, featuring New Zealand’s little doll Kimbra (check out the video’s for her tracks “Cameo Lover” and “Settle Down“; she’s quite refreshing) being painted in and out of a living work of art. In November of 2011 “Somebody That I Used To Know” won Single of the Year, Best Male Artist and Best Pop Release at the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Music Awards, and not undeservedly.

It wasn’t until January 23rd when, while flipping through the channels on my television, I settled lazily on the Ellen Degeneres show– just in time to catch one of the most amazing tributes to the song I’ve ever seen. After learning that the group, Canadian indie band Walk Off The Earth, boasted a formidable 33 million view’s in a matter of a mere 2 and a half weeks on YouTube for their cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know”, I had to see the original for myself.

There’s a reason that, in searching for the original track by Gotye, the first most popular result is “Somebody That I Used To Know’s official video, and the second most popular result is Walk Off The Earth‘s cover.

I’m just sayin’.

 

 

 

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Thursday January 12th, 2012 22:08 Making Snow Angels: The Miike Snow Experience

By Mikala Hughes

And just when I thought Swedish indie pop couldn’t get any better–there was Miike Snow.

Consisting of childhood friends Pontus Winnberg, Christian Karlsson, and American songwriter Andrew Wyatt, Miike Snow was formed in 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden and were popularized by their hits “Animal” and “Black & Blue.”

Winnberg and Karlsson first gained success through their production aliases Bloodshy & Avant, working with such artists as Kylie Minogue and Madonna. It wasn’t until 2004 when the duo produced a little known track by the name of “Toxic” for Britney Spears (which won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording) that the pair met their third band member, Andrew Wyatt.

As songwriters the trio excel at what they do, and it’s no surprise that as producers they shine in the same light. With an ear for the beat hidden within the melody, Miike Snow has masterfully remixed tracks for Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend, Depeche Mode, and I Blame Coco just to name a few. More impressively the trio’s original tracks have been remixed by an even greater slew of bands such as Dubstep artists Netsky and Emalkay, as well as Caspa, Tiga, Fake Blood, George Mathews, Dj Mehdi and Benny Blanco. And the best part? All of this publicity was garnered from their only full-length release to date– 2009’s self-titled Miike Snow.

In 2010 the trio released a number of singles including “Billie Holiday”, “The Rabbit”, and “Remedy” which was collaboration with dance music mavens, the Crookers. In addition, their newest track, “Devil’s Work”, was released just this month to rave reviews and will be featured on their Sophomore effort, Happy To You, scheduled for release in March of 2012.

So get on it kiddies! You know you want to play in the snow!

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