The brand new album from The Shins, Port Of Morrow, is their first since 2006′s Wincing The Night Away. Frontman James Mercer kept busy in the interim, teaming up with super-producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse on the Broken Bells project. So, the first thing we asked James when we caught up with him over the weekend at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival was what made him feel that the time was right to revisit The Shins?
“During the Broken Bells project, everything that I did creatively, I did on the spot with Brian [Burton, aka Danger Mouse],” he explained. “Since I made that conscious decision that I wouldn’t be bringing ideas I made up at home into the studio, all of the stuff that I came up with on my own went to The Shins. I just had a build-up of ideas for songs, and parts, and choruses and verses.”
Well, judging by the reaction to the new material —the band just graced the stage of Saturday Night Live a few Saturdays ago—he picked a perfect time to rededicate himself to this particular creative outlet of his. Port Of Morrow, which comes out tomorrow, is not only the name of the album and a song on the record, but also a real-life industrial port in Oregon. “[Port Of Morrow] is so poetic sounding, it sounds like something out of Shakespeare to me,” Mercer revealed. “I thought about it like this departure point that you would leave, but I also thought about the river Styx. So, it came to symbolize death, I guess? [Laughs] Maybe I shouldn’t have called the record ‘Death.’”
It looks like it’s Deadmau5 vs. Everyone after the DJ went on a vitriolic rant on his Tumblr today. The helmeted electronic producer wrote, “[sic] All to often, there’s an influx of “big names” that would get thrown around the label from time to time and of course, they fly off the table and out the f**kin door faster than they hit my desk. eg. do you want to do a track with big name X, remix huge pop act y, etc etc. no. i f**king don’t. i really REALLY don’t.” The daggers really start flying the more worked up Deadmau5 seems to get with his written rant, going so far as to say, “The last thing i want to do… is take the meanings and feelings of a piece of music and have some f**king dipsh*t blab about lookin sexy, poppin bottles, “droppin bass”, or ANYTHING club related. which fortunately for the world *rolls eyes* makes up for 99% of the “electronic music” fad that’s apparently considered mainstream now.”
Yikes. We can’t help but feel like there’s some sort of direct stab at David Guetta here, given his propensity for high profile collaborations. But then there also seems to be a dig at LMFAO, Taio Cruz and Nicki Minaj as he ends the rant by stating, “The moral of the story is here, is that this is what songwritting should be about. Music is meant to provoke feeling and thought. So if we were to go by popular music, we should all be thinking how sexy we are and we know it, or how our hands should be contstantly up in the air… or maybe we should drop that bass because its too f**king heavy to lift or whatever the f**king problem with bass is these days.” It’s quite an impassioned rant — and a little bit rich coming from someone who was part of that very confusing Foo Fighters, Guetta, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown Grammys mash up.
Fun.‘s sophomore LP, Some Nights, just came out to strong reviews and even stronger sales, buoyed by the phenomenal success of the album’s first single, “We Are Young” (which recently hit #1 on the Billboard charts). The song’s subject matter is a bit mysterious in nature, so when we caught up with the three gents who make up the band in Austin during the 2012 South By Southwest Music Festival, the very first thing we asked them was to clear up the debate surrounding the meaning of the song’s line, “I know I gave it to you months ago.”
“[It's about] The Clap,” Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess deadpanned when we asked him. Admittedly, our jaws instantly hit the floor, but then the guys started laughing. “It’s not literal, having written it,” Nate confessed. “The whole song, also isn’t necessarily about something specific. I think it’s taking insecurities and nights out and combining them into one night. It’s not literal.” PHEW.
In an interview with BBC’s Radio 1, Katy Perry threw us a giant bone (it might be a different kind of bone depending on your gender) by talking candidly about a possible collaboration with Rihanna. Katy said of good friend RiRi, “We’ve collaborated on a lot of things, but just not songs yet. It’s one of those things that’s got so much build up that we have to deliver. I want it to be like that Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin song “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”, not like [Shakira and Beyonce Knowles'] “Beautiful Liar””. Oof, sorry Bey and Shakira, looks like Katy doesn’t like your collaborative effort so much!
Insults aside, Katy continued, “I definitely want to do something that is so iconic. [Rihanna's] kind of busy too. We’re both busy but we planted the seed two years ago. How disappointed would you be if that song came out and it’s no good? Sometimes you have to wait for greatness”. It’s somewhat of a relief to hear the girls want to produce something of good quality, not just something for the sake of sensationalism, especially given the impending Teenage Dream re-release and Rihanna’s never ending succession of albums. But still — on ya bikes ladies, we can’t wait for this promised awesomeness forever!
Rumors are circulating that Jay-Z is looking for big bucks — $150 million to be exact — to send wifey and baby momma Beyoncé on tour. Apparently, a source told the New York Post, “Just weeks after the birth of Blue Ivy, Jay met with Live Nation to discuss a tour for Beyoncé… He wanted a deal worth about $150 million, but they countered with a lower offer.” While representatives from the Bey-Z camp have not commented on the matter, we can’t help but feel a little bit giddy, and are crossing our fingers that there’s some truth in the report. We were expecting an extended hiatus from Bey after the birth of Blue Ivy, and would obviously love to see her back on the road and performing for us. That does beg the question however — what of the baby? Would Blue Ivy embark on her first ever tour, not even a year old? Could momma Bey possibly leave her behind so soon after she came into the world?
There was great music, great food, and great times to be had at the 2012 South By Southwest Music Festival. However, it’s important to note that as hard as people partied while they were taking in the sights and sounds in Austin, there was one particular activity over the weekend that raised tons of money for a cause near and dear to our hearts. On Saturday night, Perez Hilton teamed up with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation for his annual One Night In Austin party (which featured performances by B.o.B., Ed Sheeran, Timbaland and more!). For the first time ever, Perez sold tickets to his SXSW mainstay and graciously donated all of the proceeds —over $46,000!— to VH1 Save The Music. That’s more than enough to restore an instrumental music program at a middle school or high school!
Even if you weren’t able to make it down to Austin this year, you can still help this very good cause. Simply follow VH1 on Foursquare, check into a music venue ANYWHERE across the country, and you’ll receive your own personal Save The Music badge. Then, on your behalf, VH1 will donate $1 to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. It’s that easy! Read more…
Gossip monster aside, we’re really enjoying this performance. It starts of slowly but by the end Katy is really into it, and her vocal becomes more aggressive as she spits into the microphone. We imagine there’s some discomfort at having a woman, and a white woman no less, sing the controversial lyrics, but Katy carries it off with poise, eloquence, and some serious attitude. Our favorite part is when she raps, “That so cray / Ain’t it Kate?” Talk about adding a personal touch! Is this a career change for Katy? Are we going to see her rapping her own material in the future? Or do we smell another Kanye collaboration? A feature on Watch The Throne II, perhaps?
Poor Lana Del Rey; she’s yet to make it through one of her videos alive. In the video for her track “Blue Jeans” video, Lana meets the same plight as in her “Born To Die” video: Death. And this time, like last time, it’s all the fault of her heavily tattooed boyfriend. With a cinematic Noir aesthetic, Lana moves in and out of shadow in a black and white rendering, except she is not the dangerous femme fatale of the Noir genre; she is not preying but being preyed upon.
The clip is racy, with lots of phallic imagery and not so subtle innuendo (tattoo guy sticking his fingers in her almost lifeless lips is pretty creepy, and is only made creepier in the next scene where his elongated body penetrates the still water of a pool, the splashes creating some pretty suggestive imagery), and climaxes with, well, Lana’s climax. As she cavorts in the shadowy swimming pool with tattoo boyfriend, he turns mystically into a crocodile, upon which metamorphosis there’s some awkward bestiality and finally Lana’s petite mort. Is Lana’s constantly dying for love and sex an acceptable motif? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!
Like we really needed confirmation, David Guetta has told BBC Radio 1 that Nicki Minaj (who he worked with on “Turn Me On”) is “Almost crazy.” Except that it’s not entirely what you think. While the limber faced Minaj does sometimes appear to have lost her mind, not only with her zany outfits but with controversial videos like “Stupid Stupid” and performances like her Grammys show, Guetta sees the craziness as coming from a much more commendable place. Guetta denied that Nicki is a “handful” saying, “Oh no, she’s really focused on work… Like incredibly. She’s a real perfectionist, like almost crazy… She’d make me re-do things like ten million times.” That seems like a pretty productive kind of crazy to us, and we guess it’s a testament to Nicki’s huge success! In the interview Guetta also talked about his collaborations with artists will.i.am and Sia, who he’s been writing music with — it really is the reign of the DJ with Guetta being one of the most powerful and prolific figures in pop music at the moment.