Charli XCX says the Backstreet Boys are "epic," and we totally agree.
Charli XCX is known for making edgy, electro-powered pop -- from Icona Pop's summer-obliterating "I Love It" to her own solo jams -- but she's got a soft spot for the Backstreet Boys. Hey, us too, girl. After showcasing the song live earlier this year, Charli unleashed her definitive take on "I Want It That Way" on the A.V. Club's Undercover series. Backed by two dudes in jean jackets, her take eschews Max Martin's thumping production for a lighter, synth-driven take -- at least until Charli belts the chorus like she's Sandra Bullock in "Speed" and instead of driving a bus really fast, she has to absolutely crush BSB hooks.
Watch Charli XCX cover Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" after the jump.
Panic! At the Disco is going dark on "This is Gospel."
Whoaaa. Is this Panic! At the Disco? The protean act's "This Is Gospel" opens with a vocoder-filtered vocal worthy of Imogen Heap and electro-pop verses featuring exactly zero electric guitars. The band's toyed with electronics before (see the drum machine tease of Vices & Virtues' "Hurricane"), but never like this. Talk about letting go. The band's back to rocking by the chorus, as singer Brendon Urie bursts through the effects with his patented stentorian, theatrical roar and a vulnerably soul-racked, absolutely gripping, ripping chorus.
Watch Panic! At The Disco's "This Is Gospel" video after the jump.
Cut Copy finally returns with a killer new song: "Let Me Show You."
GUYS, CUT COPY IS BACK. Hang on... *Deep breath*... Still nerding out over here. Our favorite Aussie indie-dance heroes have officially dropped "Let Me Show You," the lead single off of the band's follow-up to 2011's Zonoscope. The group released the track as a short-run vinyl single at Pitchfork Music Festival -- viral marketing! -- but this is the internet's first listen to the real deal.
Listen to Cut Copy's "Let Me Show You" after the jump.
The Weeknd is back with a stormy new song, "Love In The Sky."
Like lips just brushing against your face, The Weeknd's Kiss Land is almost upon us. Our body is ready. New single "Love in the Sky" finds the R&B singer getting dramatic: "We'll find our love in the sky!" he wails in falsetto as the track fills with clouds of synth strings and Timbaland-esque drums. It gives the track the feel of Justin Timberlake's "My Love," but The Weeknd goes way darker than JT ever would: "Ain't no time to f*** slow," he adds, which is funny because the song's only about 115 BPM.
Listen to The Weeknd's "Love In The Sky" after the jump.
Haim bring the rock on their new single, "The Wire."
When I saw Haim at SXSW earlier this year, the Los Angeles band triumphed over a keyboard glitch by turning up the guitars and delivering rock harder than the last level of "Angry Birds." Much like the HBO drama of the same name, the sister band's "The Wire" shows off that grittier side, opening with sports-anthem drums and a single, ringing power chord, as if ready to launch into a Joan Jett tribute. But "The Wire" isn't all edge: As it eases into the pre-chorus, a vintage synthesizer creeps in and twinkles as the song hits its hook. "It felt right, it felt right," Danielle Haim sings, "But I fumbled it when I came down to the wire."
Listen to Haim's "The Wire" after the jump.
Hey, everyone, Lucius has a huge new single.
"Hey There, Delilah"? Nah. On "Hey, Doreen," Lucius have a different lady in mind. The lead single off of the Brooklyn-based band's forthcoming debut album, Wildewoman, this song definitely makes for a head-turning first listen. The track sounds like the Flaming Lips covering Sly and the Family Stone -- that is, sunny '70s vibes filtered through a warped and weird indie-rock imagination. And vintage gear, no doubt.
Listen to Lucius' "Hey, Doreen" after the jump.
Printz Board's putting up numbers with his new video, "1."
You probably haven't heard of Printz Board, but we promise you've heard him: Dude's been rocking stadiums with the Black Eyed Peas and cowriting hits such as "Where Is the Love?" and "Don't Phunk With My Heart" for years. Also on his resume: Katy Perry, Chris Brown, and Sheryl Crow. So when he calls his new song and video "1" -- yeah, dude knows what the view's like from the top.
Watch Printz Board's "1" video after the jump.
Franz Ferdinand get their Halloween costumes all ready to go in "Love Illumination."
Franz Ferdinand's "Love Illumination" keeps it pretty simple -- the band's signature spiky rock sound, a full-band promise that "we could love you" -- but it turns out they saved all the crazy for the video. "Love Illumination" is one-part David Lynch, one-part '60s psychedelic nightmare, and a lot of parts sheer bonkers madness. And choreography! When the going gets weird, the weird put on horse masks and start dancing, apparently.
Watch Franz Ferdinand's "Love Illumination" video after the jump.
Vampire Weekend covered Robin Thicke, because they love us.
Vampire Weekend's third album is a Very Serious collection of Mature, Important Pop Songs about God and growing up and stuff, but dudes haven't forgotten how to get silly. In their session for the BBC's Live Lounge, everyone's favorite band of boat shoe bros covered Robin Thicke's song-of-the-summer-maybe "Blurred Lines" and embrace the cowbell. Vampire Weekend swerves headfirst into the raunchy vibes as only they can: The whole band switches up one crucial line in "You're the hottest fish in this place!" because "hottest b****" is a thing you're probably not allowed to say while wearing oxford-cloth button-downs.
Listen to Vampire Weekend's "Blurred Lines" cover after the jump.
Smallpools are ready to take over your summer.
If you haven't heard of Smallpools yet, it's probably because they didn't exist: The Los Angeles band was born just this year, when New Jersey boys Sean Scanlon and Mike Kamerman connected with Oregon expats Joe Intile and Beau Kuther. But it's been love at first sight ever since. The band's chemistry ignites on "Dreaming," which quickly cracked No. 1 on the Hype Machine -- not bad for their first single. It's easier to hear why: Smallpools play bouncy electro-pop hookier than a fishing trip with your dad.
Read more about Smallpools after the jump.