Talib Kweli wants you to know where he stands. Hint: look up.
There's no doubting Talib Kweli's lyrical style makes him one of the greats. But just in case you need a visual reminder, the man's bringing it with his video for "Upper Echelon." The mind-melting video's puzzle-piece edits bring together live footage and shots of the MC spitting to the cameras, with Kweli even dropping some 3-D footage as he swags out in movie-theater glasses. (Shout out to "The Hobbit"!)
Watch Talib Kweli's "Upper Echelon" video after the jump.
Warning: spontaneous arm-wrestling battles may occur while listening to Kingsley Flood's brand-new track.
"Good boy, do what Momma says," Kingsley Flood frontman Naseem Khuri begs while kicking off "Pick Your Battles," but the man's not talking about himself. The bluesy rock track crackles with the Spaghetti Western swagger of new-school blues-rock acts such as the certifiably massive Black Keys to recent breakthroughs like Alabama Shakes and up-and-comers such as L.A.'s Vintage Trouble, all rusty mic'd vocals gift-wrapped in barbed wire. One battle we bet the band didn't fight: that opening guitar riff. George Hall's plays like a kid opening Christmas presents -- with a machete.
Listen to Kingsley Flood's "Pick Your Battles" after the jump.
Vato Gonzalez... or Dr. Evil?
It takes one to know one. So when Vato Gonzalez dubs his new track "Cats Are Evil," you know he's on his supervillain swag. The Diplo-approved musician's new banger drags his self-described dirty house to gritty new depths. The song starts minimal before layering up and drilling down into increasingly distorted synths and percussion. The 4/4 drums stomp like angry Transformers, who only break for an oil change and a keyboard hook. (Four minutes of this feels like a week at Burning Man.) As Dr. LCD Soundsystem recommends, the only thing to do here is dance yourself clean.
Listen to Vat Gonzalez's "Cats Are Evil" after the jump.
Hollywood Undead and Black Veil Brides have unseated pop's mightiest divas from the charts.
We've come to expect seeing artists such as Taylor Swift and Adele at the top of the charts -- not that we're complaining. (You look good up there, bbs!) But while we love seeing our favorite divas dominate No. 1, we have to throw up our metal horns when crazy rock 'n' rollers get their shine.
We're talking, of course, about Hollywood Undead and Black Veil Brides: Both made noise on the Billboard 200 albums chart this week with their new albums, debuting at No. 2 and No. 7, respectively -- beating out albums from the Les Miserables soundtrack to One Direction. Not even Harry Styles could stop these guys.
Read more about Hollywood Undead and Black Veil Brides after the jump.
Kitty Pryde wants to holler at you, shawty.
Kitty Pryde (or is that Kitty Timberlake?) might be ready to Rage later this month, but first she'll have to get out of bed. She's working on it with rebooted track "Ay Shawty," once subtitled "THE SHREKONING," formerly the sleepiest, prettiest track on the rap upstart's haha i'm sorry EP. Once a blanket of hazy synths and half-awake rhymes, her new version wakes up with a crisper, cleaner beat from Hot Sugar, which puts Ms. Pryde's vocals right up front. "I really want you to want me, I really want to take off with you" she raps to a mystery man, done hiding under the covers.
Listen to Kitty Pryde Featuring Lakutis' "Ay Shawty" after the jump.
Nashville's Satellite has penned an ode to "Brooklyn."
We're always down to hear more about our favorite borough, but Satellite's "Brooklyn" isn't about Jay-Z's new arena. The rootsy song sounds like it'd be more at home in some wild frontier, dueling with outlaws and looking for love in between sarsaparillas. "All I am/ Is another ghost in your bed," frontman Steven McMorran sings on the chorus, before completing the metaphor: "Just give me the chance to bury my dead." With a voice like that, we'd be inclined to give the man a second chance: McMorran eases between cowboy craggy and a keening falsetto, sounding like Bon Iver after a strenuous season of rustling cattle or maybe just wearing a lot of denim.
Listen to Satellite's "Brooklyn" after the jump.
2AM Club is sorry for party rocking, you guys.
Some pop stars lose their phones at the club -- but not 2AM Club. "Baby, I love you/ I'm just too f***ed up to call," the band's Marc Griffin sings on "Too F***ed Up To Call," a track about a night out that went from good to epic while their significant others stayed home. Dudes are just being real: How can we hate on that? And 2AM Club's honesty doesn't stop at the chorus: "It's not like I was out at a strip club, unless you consider a strip club a strip club," Tyler Cordy raps. Um... now we're not sure. Maybe Drake knows.
Watch 2AM Club's "Too F***ed Up To Call" video after the jump.
The Bronx is back with a brand-new rock anthem.
Half a decade ago, Los Angeles punk band The Bronx traded in their amps for Spanish guitars on a pair of surprisingly authentic albums under their Mariachi El Bronx moniker. The Bronx (IV) will be the group's first album under its original name in five years, and their Mexican holiday hasn't dulled their edge. With a full-frontal attack that lands between the Foo Fighters' alternative assault and The Black Keys' bluesy swagger, the electric "Youth Wasted" doesn't miss a beat announcing The Bronx's triumphant, highly evolved (and highly anticipated) return to rock.
Listen to The Bronx's "Youth Wasted" after the jump.
Sad Robot is ready for a reboot.
Los Angeles band Sad Robot may be a bit bummed out, but on "Automatic Reset," the alt-rock group turns those android tears into an angsty anthem. "I want an automatic reset / don't you fight it if you feel it," Katherine Pawlak sings on the hook -- definitely the best chorus ever about updating your iPhone ever. OK, the song's really about relationships, and the band goes suitably dramatic on the music, laying a bed of crackling drums under pan-seared guitars and Pawlak's savory vocals.
Watch Sad Robot's "Automatic Reset" video after the jump.
Meet Gold Fields: They're under-the-radar...but not for long.
Australia's exploding with new bands these days: the Jezabels! Alpine! Tame Impala! If Oz is the new Brooklyn, Gold Fields are the latest to walk down the yellow brick road. The quartet plays guitar-driven indie-dance music that blends Bloc Party's spiky intensity with the cinematic dance floor jams of Cut Copy. The band's influences are clearly international: On their self-titled EP, "Holy No" grooves with Gorillaz-esque rhythms, while the shimmering "Tree House" nods to Swedish pop. They're masters of the remix game as well, turning Passion Pit's "Take a Walk" into a minimalist house banger and breathing synthesizer life into Yelle's "Chimie Physique." Put dudes on at your next party and expect to hear "What band is this?" five songs in a row.
Listen to Gold Fields after the jump.