Last Lap: Wednesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Missy Elliott talked to Gerrick D. Kennedy at Pop & Hiss about her ongoing collaboration with Timbaland, the legacy of Aaliyah, and her Behind the Music episode, which premieres tonight at 10PM ET/PT. Also check out our sneak peeks of the episode, which will get you excited for the episode, and also remind you that Missy looks like a Gmail Robot in the video for “Sock It 2 Me.” [Pop & Hiss/LAT]

Get out the tissues and read his touching tribute. It’s worth it. []

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by (@Lacezilla)

Beyoncé: Year of 4 VH1 Special Set To Premiere Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on VH1

International superstardom is exhausting, especially if you’re Beyonc?! After a fierce Sunday set at Glastonbury, Beyonc?’s 4 finally hits shelves this week, and yes, we’re absolutely ready for this album’s off-the-charts intimacy levels to stupefy our senses. As a hard-working entertainer dedicated to her craft, it’s no surprise that the talented renaissance woman needed and deserved a break from years of relentless recording, promoting and touring prior to releasing this record. But what, exactly, did Queen B do during her year away from the music business?

Premiering tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. on VH1 and Palladia (7 p.m. ET/PT on MTV and BET), VH1 special Beyonc?: Year of 4 arrives just in time to bring the icon’s year-long adventure to light. (If you miss it, we’ll have it streaming on for 24 hours, too). Capturing her many experiences while traveling the world and re-examining her career, the film is equipped with footage taken with Bey’s camera and her own very-personal narration. Truly bringing us into her often-private world, Beyonc? ruminates on her life thus far, her marriage to rapper Jay-Z, her company and brand (after parting ways with father and former manager, Matthew Knowles), and the future she intends on building as a role-model for women around the world. In the sneak above, we follow Bey as she toboggans down the Great Wall of China, hangs with friends and family, and recognizes how taking time off never even occurred to her.

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Ke$ha Reveals Her “Un-Auto-Tuned” Voice On Team Coco News

Ke$ha and Conan O’Brien are really running with their collaboration. When she returned to his show on Monday for its summer concert series, she also curated her own installment of It Came from the Intertubes (a Best Week Ever-type feature that Conan’s site launched last month), and taped the above sketch about Auto-Tune. Gags about the oft-used software are a little played out, but voice modulation is always at least a little funny, and Ke$ha really sells it, so it works. She neighs!

She also takes the opportunity to slip a little actual criticism into the bit. After facetiously explaining that Pavarotti, Bob Dylan (ha!), and The Beatles all used Auto-Tune, she flatly intones, “Being against Auto-Tune is like being against the idea of a DJ. It just lets people know you’re old.”

And on that note, here’s Dylan rapping the first verse of “Mama Said Knock You Out”:


Patrick Stump and Lupe Fiasco Rep Chicago, So We Count Down The Five Best Chicago Anthems

When we first heard “This City”, the new single from Patrick Stump‘s forthcoming solo album Soul Punk, we realized it was entering an exclusive club. The song, which premiered on the A.V. Club and features Lupe Fiasco, is an ode to the city of Chicago, an underheralded American metropolis if there ever was one (musically, anyway). Certainly, the Second City has its regional anthems, like the Chicago-house dyad of “Can You Feel It” and “The Percolator” (not to mention Frankie Knuckles tracks like “Your Love,” which was sampled for Animal Collective‘s “My Girls”) and the gotta-dance juke-gone-pop freakout of Dude ‘N Nem‘s “Watch My Feet.” But while New York City, for example, has been a musical muse to practically everyone from Tin Pan Alley to the present (including the band Chicago), the city of Chicago is, for its size, lacking in crowd-unifying refrains.

Which is not to say that there are none. Chicagoans need not resort to the Chi-town rework of LMFAO‘s “I’m In Miami, Trick”; there is a small but significant pantheon of Chicago songs, which Stump’s new single joins:

5. Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago”
The centerpiece of Sufjan Stevens‘s 2005 concept album about Illinois, aptly titled Illinois, “Chicago” quickly became a fan favorite that closed out the artist’s live sets, despite never being a “single” as such. Stevens would release three alternate versions of the song on the b-sides collection The Avalanche. The song resonated outside the city as well: Snow Patrol mentioned the song in the lyrics of their own “Hands Open,” Little Miss Sunshine featured the song on its soundtrack, and Chiddy Bang sampled it for “All Things Go.”

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Coldplay Rave Under The Blacklight In “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”

The first thing Coldplay‘s fun new video for “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” might bring to mind is the Shynola-directed Chris Martin and the Purple Crayon Box of Chalk video for 2009′s “Strawberry Swing”. (It’s certainly what some fans are thinking.) This video, however, is actually the sixth directed by the band’s college buddy Mat Whitecross, and his bright, stylized clip, with splashes of Michel Gondry and, yes, Shynola, might be better described as “Coldplay Goes to Madchester.”

The arrows point to the Ha?ienda entrance!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Javier Colon And Dia Frampton Look To Be The Favorites In Tonight’s Finale Of The Voice

The Voice Finalists: Dia Frampton, Beverly McClellan, Vicci Martinez and Javier Colon

On the penultimate episode of NBC’s The Voice last night, two music business also-rans and two “singing lesbians that America loves” (to paraphrase a recent Los Angeles Times piece) wowed viewing audiences with their passionate final performances. However, as we have come to expect from The Voice, there was one very big twist: Over the course of the last ten weeks and change, Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan have built themselves a passionate fan base with their personal renditions of already familiar songs originally performed by other artists. Last night, though, the contestants showed off something new. Namely, their own original songs!

Obviously, this last-minute twist gives a HUGE advantage to the two performers who already have experience writing and recording their own material, Javier Colon and Dia Frampton. They both took advantage of the opportunity given to them to not only showcase their voice, but also their artistry, and America seemingly approves. As of this morning, Dia’s slow-burning, piano-driven ballad “Inventing Shadows” and Javier’s slow-burning, guitar-driven ballad “Stitch By Stitch” are sitting atop the iTunes singles chart.

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You Oughta Know Live: Foster the People Get Loose On “Don’t Stop”

The four-song set that Foster the People recorded for You Oughta Know Live (powered by Subway) is here! We want to take a moment, though, to talk about something we noticed about the band.

They look just a little too put-together in their press shots. We point this out not to give the band a hard time, but because we thought you might have noticed, too, and that’s the sort of thing that would make us a little wary of the band, if we didn’t know better. We don’t blame their label for making them look good?after all, that’s part of what labels are for?but the band, especially frontman Mark Foster, looks a little uncomfortable in the photographs.

That’s why we try to record these You Oughta Know Live performances. We think the best way to experience a band is to see them live, and the next best is to see a live performance. Here’s where you get to see why we are such fans of the band (the VH1 Blog’s own Mark Graham picked “Helena Beat,” which the band performed as part of this set, as a Song of the Summer contender).

We embedded the last song of the set, “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls),” above because it was, not coincidentally, the strongest of the four performances. Foster in particular undergoes a visible transition as the set goes on, loosening up, losing his jacket, smiling more, until the near-maniacal laugh-vocals in this song’s bridge, which he nails. His all-out rendition belies the uncomfortable nature of the press photos?as does (sorry if this embarrasses you, Mark Foster) the fact that he’s wearing the same t-shirt he did when the band played the Sasquatch Festival in Seattle on Memorial Day. Now that’s the undeniable sign of a songwriter trying to get a break in L.A.: a favorite t-shirt.

The complete set also includes versions of “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Houdini.” Check it out.

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Tuned In: Gillian Welch Pulls No Punches On Conan With “That’s The Way It Goes”

Tuesday was apparently bluegrass night on the late-show circuit; two of the three new musical performances were Americana-inspired. While we were wowed by the finger-picking of Jonny Mizzone?at eight, the youngest of the three New Jersey brothers that comprise the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys?on the Late Show rendition of Earl Scruggs‘s “Flint Hill Special,” it’s no more or less charming than the YouTube performance of the same song that went viral a couple months ago.

Gillian Welch, then, was the highlight of the night, debuting “That’s the Way It Goes,” from her new album The Harrow and the Harvest, on Conan. Welch, who won two Contemporary Folk Grammys before contributing to 2002′s wildly successful O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, has gained a much wider audience in the intervening years despite no new studio recordings since 2003′s Soul Journey. (Among her fans: The Civil Wars. In a recent Posted update, Jon Paul White showed off two Gillian Welch CDs he’d purchased at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, and Joy Williams clapped approvingly.) If the rest of The Harrow and the Harvest is as strong as last night’s performance of “That’s the Way It Goes,” it will have been worth the weight.

Elsewhere on late night?
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by (@unclegrambo)

Last Lap: Tuesday’s Odds & Ends In Music News

Of course she did! The only controversy here seems to be whether or not she should be called Gagapanda or PandaGaga. [Buzzfeed via Natasha VC]

In honor of today’s release of Beyoncé’s 4, our good friends over at Popdust put together this comprehensive countdown of every single that Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child. We won’t spoil their #1 pick for you, but we will tell you that neither of the singles that have been released from this album thus far (“Best Thing I Never Had,” “Run The World (Girls)”) cracked their Top Ten. [Popdust]

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by Adds Social Element To Pandora-Style Streaming … But Can It Last?

Looking for a Pandora-style music streaming service that’s curated by your friends instead of an algorithm? Or want to help DJ your own station? That’s the idea behind, a startup that went viral two weeks ago. The site is open to any user who has a Facebook friend who’s a member. Join a “room” (popular ones include Coding Soundtrack and Indie While You Work), and listen to songs uploaded to the site, or selected from its database, by one of up to five “DJs,” whose songs play one at a time, consecutively by DJ.

Users hoping to play more than one song in a row, like the curated playlists of Muxtape, are out of luck, as is trying to position its legality in terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (as Pandora does). This is also why a user, alone in a room, can only play a thirty-second preview of a song. These measures may not be enough to protect the site from litigation, though, especially if private rooms continue to be allowed.

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